The Best Day Trips from Barcelona, Spain

The Best Day Trips from Barcelona, Spain

Catalonia is a land of contrasts with a unique culture, beautiful countryside, and idyllic coastal villages. And its capital, Barcelona, is not only the most popular destination in Spain but also a gateway city to lesser-known jewels that are often overlooked by thousands of travelers visiting the region.

From northeastern Catalonia to the Costa Daurada, every stop along the way will delight visitors with natural landscapes, beach resorts, interesting history, terrific food, and wine.


Day trips from Barcelona

If you’re looking for the ideal day trip from Barcelona, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our choice of the best places for a short getaway from the metropolis.


1. Girona


Photo: Flickr | Davidlohr Bueso

Just 100 km away from the sun-seeking masses lies Girona, a quiet hidden gem with a charming old town and one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in Spain. With its medieval heritage, the city has been a filming location for movies and TV shows such as Game of Thrones (sixth season). You can marvel at the ancient fortress walls, walk around the colorful houses across the river, or climb up the grand staircase to enjoy the perfect postcard views from the Cathedral. We definitely recommend taking a walking tour of Girona to explore its many more treasures!


2. Cadaqués


Photo: Wikimedia | Anthiro 57

Located 2 hours away from Barcelona, this gorgeous seaside village on the Costa Brava is famous for its azure-blue waters, narrow cobbled streets, white houses, and tiny wild coves.

It’s also known for being home to many artists and writers, including the surrealist genius Salvador Dalí. Cadaqués was his place of residence and a constant source of inspiration for many of his greatest paintings. In this little town, you will find the Dalí Museum-House and incredible landscapes that were a point of reference for his work, such as the Portlligat Bay, Platja Llané, the fishing port, and the nearby Cap de Creus.


3. Figueres


Photo: Wikimedia | Arkadiusz Markiewicz

This pleasant town is the capital of the wine region Alt Empordà and the birthplace of the brilliant Salvador Dalí. The city houses a couple of interesting museums including the Dalí Theatre-Museum, the largest surrealistic object in the world, which contains more than 1,500 of the artist’s emblematic pieces. With its egg-shaped towers and the geodesic dome, the building was specifically designed by Dalí to create a unique visual experience.

Other top attractions to visit in Figueres are the Sant Ferran Castle (with excellent sea-views), the Rambla, the Toy Museum of Catalonia and the nearby wildlife sanctuary for Hermann's tortoises.


4. Montserrat


Situated about 50 km away from Barcelona, Montserrat is a unique mountain range reaching 1,236 meters at its highest point, which offers breathtaking views of the Catalonian countryside. Surrounded by eroded cliffs, unusual rock formations, and Mediterranean forest, you will find the Montserrat Monastery, a Benedictine monk mountain retreat with a sanctuary for religious pilgrims and monumental statues.

Most visitors take a funicular to the top of the mountain, and from there you can choose a walk to explore many iconic peaks including Sant Jeroni, Cavall Bernat or Montgròs. If you’re adventurous and love hiking, don’t hesitate to take a Montserrat day trip from Barcelona. You can easily get there by train or bus from the city centre.


5. Sitges


Photo: Wikimedia | Wikivoyage WTS

Located just 35 km south of Barcelona, the popular resort of Sitges has plenty to offer for families, young couples and solo travellers: beach life, a compact old town filled with a good choice of restaurants, bars and boutiques, and many cultural attractions.

Sitges has so many small sandy beaches (seventeen, in fact) to choose from, which have arguably cleaner sand and waters than the ones in Barcelona. On top of that, the town is also a famous destination in Spain for its LGTB-friendly atmosphere and nightclubs.

A variety of galleries and museums showcase Catalan and Spanish art of the Modernist movement, such as Museu del Cau Ferrat and Museu Maricel de Mar. Other interesting sights to see include Racó de la Calma, the Church of Sant Bartomeu & Santa Tecla and the palm-lined boardwalk (Passeig Marítim).


6. Tarragona


Photo: Flickr | Mike McBey

This former Roman capital on the Mediterranean is one of a kind. Tarragona is a place where history and art collide with beaches and a wonderful food scene. The city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its valuable historical locations, including the magnificent Les Ferreres aqueduct, the well preserved Roman walls, the Amphitheatre and the Circus. You can absorb the sense of history while strolling through its medieval quarter, which features the Cathedral Square and numerous monuments and statues.

At the end of the Rambla, the main promenade of the city, you will find the Mediterranean Balcony, an unmissable spot to go for a walk or have a drink while enjoying the beautiful panoramic views of the sea. Plus, the city is very easy to get via train, just 1 hour and 20 minutes ride from Barcelona.

There are also plenty of entertainment options in nearby places such as the famous beach resorts of Salou and Cambrils. And, if you crave adventure and a little bit of adrenaline, don’t miss out PortAventura, a huge amusement park located 10 km west from Tarragona city center.


7. Mataró


Photo: Wikimedia | Alberto-g-rovi

This coastal town located just 40 minutes by train from Barcelona is a great option to spend a relaxing day on the beach without all the crowds and the bustle of the city. In Mataró, you will find wide promenades with plenty of shops and nice restaurants, and an impressive leisure harbor boasting fantastic nautical facilities (best known as Mataró Marina).

If you’re an architecture lover, you can also visit the Basilica of Santa María, one of the most important sights of the city, as well as its Roman remains and mosaics, Modernist buildings such as Casa Coll i Regàs, and other relics from the Art Nouveau and Baroque periods.

Inspired? Plan your trip today and check out our budget activities and free tours around Barcelona. Make sure to book online to secure your spot, and enjoy exploring Catalonia with quality local guides and fellow travelers!


By Kristina Kinson
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