There are many interesting day trips from Barcelona, so many good choices that we suggest you slot at least one of these into your itinerary. The villages make a nice contrast from the city and a chance to learn more about Catalonia.
As we did not have time on our visit to take all these trips, for this article we reached out to our Spanish or Spain based friends for their tips. They are passionate about the places they have suggested and we hope their local advice helps you choose the perfect day trip from Barcelona for your itinerary.
Check out these tips if you are visiting Barcelona for the first time
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Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World suggests that you visit Besalu, a very photogenic medieval village in Costa Brava.
Besalu is one of the nicest places to visit in Garrotxa, in the region of Costa Brava (Catalonia). It is an easy day trip from Barcelona, so it is perfect for a day trip out of town. Although spending a night there is a great way to get to know it better and fully enjoy its atmosphere; the town is small enough for you to be able to fully explore it in a day.
Once in Besalu, you will be captured by its charm. Imagine a series of narrow alleys, lovely courtyards and historical buildings and churches, and a beautiful bridge to cross a river that flows gently.
The bridge, in the feature image at the top of the page probably is what made Besalú famous. Called Pont Vell (Old Bridge) it was built in the 12th century in Romanesque style to join the two sides of the River Fluvia. You can take photos of it from various angles – I recommend getting on the banks of the river for the best views.
Another thing to do in Besalú is visiting the Monastery of St. Pere and the surrounding square. It’s an airy, beautiful square with a few places to hang out for a drink or quick meal nearby.
How to get to Besalú
Public Transport: There are four buses from Barcelona to Besalú, and the trip takes about 90 minutes.
Recommended tour: We suggest this Catalonia Medieval Villages Day Tour which includes visits and tours of 3 villages, Besalú, Tavertet and Rupit.
Sinjana, the creator of Backpack & Explore, is an analyst by profession whose heart lies in writing and travelling (in that order).
Castelldefels is a posh neighbourhood away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast. Just 20km away from Barcelona, Castelldefels is famed for its hill-top castle and 5km long beach. There’s a reason why top Football Stars like Lionel Messi and Suarez chose to live here.
One of the highlights, the Castle of Castelldefels is a 16th-century fortress standing at the highest position along the coastline between Garraf Massif and Barcelona. Make some time to visit the church inside the castle complex dates to the 10th century.
After this, head towards the beach. While walking, you will come across the Olympic canal located 1 km away from the beach. This artificial canal was built for the canoeing competitions at the 1992 summer Olympics.
Castelldefels beach has sunshades, shower cubicles, children’s play area, and a game room. While there are many shacks with music and dance parties all evening, you can also find a quiet and serene corner in along the beach.
Other places of interest in Castelldefels are the Church of Santa Maria and the Buddhist monastery in Garaff. This is an great coastal day trip that will allow you a lovely contrast for your Barcelona itinerary.
You might also like to check out Sinjana’s video on visiting Tibidabo Amusement Park in Barcelona.
How to get to Castelldefels
Public transport: The train from Barcelona Sants takes 20 minutes
If you are looking to escape Barcelona’s hustle and bustle for a day Elisa from France Bucket List recommends heading to the Costa Brava to hike part of the Camí de Ronda.
The Camí de Ronda Route (GR92) is a historical coastal walk that borders the Costa Brava in northern Catalonia, between Blanes and Portbou.
This long-distance walk follows the old coastal paths used by the state authorities to control smuggling or maritime black markets. Also, it guaranteed fishermen the return to the ports of origin if they sank against the rocks off the coast.
Most of the Camí de Ronda runs along narrow paths, with continuous ascents and descents, so it is a car-free trail. On the way, hikers will walk through amazing landscapes, secluded creeks and picturesque fishing towns, so it is a great way to combine nature and culture.
Everybody knows about the Calanques of Marseille-Cassis in the south of France. The Camí de Ronda is the same concept with the same kind of landscapes, but it is lesser-known than the Calanques abroad.
The total length of the Camí de Ronda is 43 km. It is divided into different sectors of different lengths and difficulty so hikers can choose the sector that suits them best.
The three main access points are Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Palamós and Begur, all three accessible by public bus from Barcelona. Because of the mild weather of this area by the Mediterranean Sea, people can walk the Camí de Ronda all year round.
How to get to Camí de Ronda
Public transport: The train from Barcelona Sants takes 2 hours
Recommended tour: Want to walk the trail with a guide? This tour includes the guided walk and a snorkel in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea
Sophie Nadeau from Solo Sophie loves all things quirky and today shares one of the quirkiest places near Barcelona, Figueres.
While Barcelona is a beautiful destination in its own right, as the capital of Catalonia, it offers many a fantastic transport link to the wider region and beyond. And for those who are fans of history, and in particular art history, a visit to the small city of Figueres is an absolute must.
Situated just across the border from France, the easiest way to reach Figueres from Barcelona is via public transportation, with the train taking between an hour and a half to two hours depending on which route you choose.
Once in Figueres, there’s plenty of things to do and even more to see. Of course, the main draw of the Spanish settlement is the Teatro Museo Dalí (Dali Theatre Museum). Situated in the very heart of the old town part of Figueres, the institution is part museum and part art installation, all personally curated by Dalí in his birth town in the decade preceding his death.
Elsewhere in Figueres, there are several other Dalí locations, including a hotel where the famous artist is alleged to have frequented. If you’re looking for a more off the beaten path place to visit during your time in Figueres, head a little way out of town, and you’ll soon discover the expansive ruins of Sant Ferran Castle, which can be visited for a small fee.”
Read Sophie’s full guide of a visit to Figueres from Barcelona for more details on her experience.
How to get to Figueres
Public transport: The fast train from Barcelona to Figueres takes 53 minutes.
Recommended tour: Want to jump on a guide? This day tour includes a visit to Salvador Dalí’s surreal world at the Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres and includes a guided walking tour of Girona’s medieval monuments.
Kristen and Jeff are an Australian couple who provide travel tips and inspiration on their blog, Our Passion for Travel.
Located less than an hour via high-speed train from Barcelona is the beautiful Catalonian city of Girona. If you love European old towns, are a Game of Thrones fan or a food lover, you’ll be pleased you added a Girona day trip to your itinerary.
Girona’s beautiful old town is filled with cobblestone streets, stunning squares and a series of bridges that cross the River Onyar. Paris may have the Eiffel Tower, but Girona has the Eiffel Bridge. A unique red steel pedestrian bridge, it’s a great spot to admire the colourful buildings that hug the river. You can’t miss the impressive Girona Cathedral, which juts up high above the rooftops.
If parts of the city look familiar, that may be because you’ve seen it on Game of Thrones. As a filming location for many iconic scenes in the HBO series, a GOT walking tour is one of the most popular things to do in Girona. An easily walkable town, it’s been transformed into Kings Landing, Braavos and Oldtown for the series.
On top of the beautiful sights, Girona is also a culinary gem. It is home to the famed El Cellar de can Roca, which consistently ranks in the world’s top 10 restaurants. If you can’t get a booking here, don’t despair. You can try the Roca brothers famous desserts at their shop, Rocambolesc.
If you plan to visit by train, make sure you book your highspeed train ticket in advance to get the best prices.
How to get to Girona
Public transport: The train from Barcelona Sants takes 90 minutes
Recommended tour: Fans will enjoy this Game of Thrones location walking tour!
More day tours to Girona for you to consider
Next up is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona, Montserrat. Mar is the brainchild behind Once in a Lifetime Journey and juggles her time between the blog and flying to the most luxurious and out-of-the-ordinary destinations.
Montserrat is the name of the mountain, the monastery and one of the patron saints of Catalonia. It’s a religious site where Catalans make the pilgrimage to up the 450-550m ascent that takes roughly 1.5-2hours.
Recently, it has become a tourist favourite with around 3 million visits a year. Travelling from Barcelona by car will only take an hour, with an additional 30mins to catch the cable car, so it makes for a perfect day trip from the capital. You could also catch a bus, train or get a tour.
At the top, you are inspired by the panoramic views of the mountain range and the beautiful architecture. This spiritual site is a working monastery with around 80 Benedictine monks. Greet the tinted 12th century Our Lady of Montserrat statue, who is the reason why the religious site was created. She was found in a grotto and is said to have blessed Catalonia with many miracles.
Another top thing to do is watch the boys’ choir of Montserrat or l’Escolania. The famous choir has been performing since the 13th century and still sounds incredible. Stroll around at your own pace to the wonderful Sanctuary and basilica, take an audiovisual tour, explore the Museum of Montserrat or just sip a coffee with jaw-dropping views. If you opt to hike, your visit will be completely free. Parking a car will cost an additional €6.5.
How to get to Montserrat
Public transport: Bus from Barcelona and cable car from the base
Recommended tour: This tour to the monastery includes a ride on Sant Joan’s railway and a one hour hike with a professional guide.
Day tours to Monserrat Monastery and wine region
Vicki loves to travel with her husband Eduardo in their hometown Barcelona as well as all around the world while spending as little as possible without missing experience and quality. You can follow their travels on Instagram
With so many great day trip destinations from Barcelona, it‘s not so easy to decide where to go. Sant Cugat del Vallès is arguably the easiest day trip to reach and perfect for architecture-loving travellers. At just 17 km from Barcelona, you can reach this small Catalan city in only 30 minutes from the centre of Barcelona. And yet Sant Cugat is overlooked by many tourists.
The city itself is a real eye-catcher with its medieval Catalan style. The most impressive attraction of the small town is its monastery. The monastery and the neighbouring church are located in the city centre and are therefore hard to miss. You can visit the monastery and the museum inside for free. However, the most beautiful place in the monastery is the spectacular courtyard. Sometimes there are even concerts here that you can attend. The museum is also well worth a visit. In addition to Spanish and Catalan, all information can also be found in English.
After your visit to the monastery, you should visit the Sant Cugat del Vallès market. It is located in the neighbouring square. In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, you will find all kinds of dishes here. But the bars and cafes on the square and in the surrounding old town also offer delicious food and refreshing drinks.
How to get to Sant Cugat del Vallès
Public transport: The train from Catalunya station takes 45 minutes.
Wendy Werneth is a world traveller, polyglot and founder of The Nomadic Vegan. Today she tells us why you thinks you should visit Tarragona.
While Tarragona has some lovely beaches and is the closest major seaside town to Barcelona, the city’s real attraction is its fascinating history. Previously known as Tarraco, it was first founded around the fifth century BC and later became an important colony of the Roman Empire.
Several of buildings and monuments from the ancient Roman era are still standing, although in many cases they were modified and repurposed in subsequent eras. For example, the Roman circus, where chariot races were once held, now boasts the addition of a “nun’s tower” added in the 14th century.
The most impressive of all the Roman ruins is probably the amphitheatre, which is marvellously situated overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This too was reused in medieval times, and a Romanesque church from the 13th century now stands inside it. When you wander through the two ancient forums – the Colonial Forum and the Provincial Forum – you’ll be walking on the same large paving slabs that were part of the original Roman road.
The archaeological museum holds a number of ancient Roman artifacts and should not be missed. Highlights include a fish-themed mosaic more than six meters long and a sculpture of Antinous, the boy lover of Emperor Hadrian.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite exploring the town, stop in for lunch at El Vergel, a top-rated veggie restaurant that rivals the many great vegan restaurants in Barcelona.
How to get to Tarragona
Public transport: The train from Barcelona Sants takes an hour.
Recommended tour: This tour to Tarragona & Sitges includes half a day in each of these fantastic places.
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