Last Updated on June 3, 2020 by Anisa
While there is plenty to do in the city of Barcelona, there are also many interesting places within a couple hours drive/train ride. Since we only had time for an excursion to Montserrat, I wanted to ask my fellow travel bloggers to share the spots they thought make the best day trips from Barcelona.
In this post, I have compiled a list of 17 Barcelona day trip ideas with information about what to see and the best way to get there.
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Day Trips from Barcelona
I was impressed with the recommendations that my fellow travel bloggers had for the best day trips from Barcelona, Spain. I had no idea there was so much to see around the area. Whether you are interested in a beach day, exploring old towns, museums, hiking, amazing views, or even going on a hot air balloon ride, there is something for you. It was nice to see that many of the Barcelona side trips are accessible by public transportation, some of the more remote locations require a car. You can also join an organized tour. Viator offers several great options. Click here to check out the different tours, availability, and prices.
I look forward to returning to Barcelona so that I can do some of these day trips out of Barcelona. Thanks again to the bloggers that helped create this list of amazing Barcelona day trips!
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Recommended by Anisa
Montserrat means jagged mountain, and as Montserrat comes into view, you will see the name is fitting. In addition, to the gorgeous natural scenery, the monastery on top has been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years. We were limited on time so decided to do a half day tour to Montserrat that also included a visit to a winery. Looking back, even though I enjoyed our tour, I would have liked to do a Barcelona to Montserrat day trip because there is plenty to do in the area.
We took a tour bus to Montserrat and then a train up the mountain. Once, we got to the top, we visited the Monastery, heard the famous Montserrat Boys choir sing, tasted the local liqueur, and visited the market. Inside the Basilica, don’t miss the Black Madonna. If you have time, you can wait in the line to touch her like other pilgrims. I would have liked to take the cable car all the way to the top and do some hiking.
The views alone make a Barcelona day trip to Montserrat worth it, but the cultural and historic sites make it a must-do. You can do an organized Montserrat day tour or just take the train to Montserrat and explore on your own.
Recommended by Sarah from Endless Distances
Púbol is maybe the most underrated day trip from Barcelona, due to its remote location. However, this also makes it a peaceful and authentic trip into the heart of true Catalonia, where you can rest from the hectic Barcelona crowds. Púbol is a small town which people travel the world over to see the Gala Dali Castle, nestled in the center of the town. This castle was built by the famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali as, in his words, a “love letter” to his wife Gala. This was Gala’s home, and she is even buried in the crypt. The Gala Dali Castle is completely unique with its surrealist design, and at €6 for visitors under 26 and €8 for those over, it is a steal.
Púbol is around 1 hours 20 minutes from Barcelona when driving or 1 hours 45 minutes on the train. You can take the train to Flaçà station which gives you a beautiful 4km walk (or taxi) through the countryside to reach the castle.
Recommended by Perri from Seeking the Spanish Sun
Sitges is a cute coastal town just a 40-minute train ride from Barcelona. It’s easy to hop on the R2 Sud train from Passei de Gràcia train station and tickets only cost €4.20 each way. The journey is scenic with lovely views of the sea as you follow the coastline south away from the city.
Sitges Old Town is a maze of pretty cobbled streets with amazing museums and shops for you to explore. The promenade is lined with palm trees and dotted with great beach bars and ice cream stands. Wander along the soft sand and enjoy the panoramic views of the Costa Brava. You could spend an afternoon eating seafood tapas and watching surfers catch a break and children splash in the shallows. Plenty of options for your Barcelona to Sitges day trip!
While Sitges is known for vibrant nightlife and its selection of Gay-friendly bars, the party side in no way stops it from being absolutely charming. If you want to take a break from the crowds and chaos of Barcelona, head down to Sitges to sit back, relax and enjoy the charms of this small Catalonian seaside town.
Ballooning in La Garroxta
Recommended by Laurence from Finding the Universe
An awesome day trip from Barcelona (although one with an early start!) is ballooning in La Garroxta. This is a volcanic landscape, actually home to multiple volcano cones – although don’t worry, they’re dormant these days! Ballooning over this scenery is a once in a lifetime experience. The area, which stretches from the tall Pyrenees mountains out to the rugged coast of the Costa Brava, is truly breathtaking.
Not to mention that the ballooning experience with Vol de Coloms (who we flew with) also includes a glass of champagne and a full breakfast!
Getting to La Garroxta is definitely easiest if you drive, especially for the ballooning as the flights launch for sunrise. You will have to have an early start for this one! Once the balloon ride is over and you’ve had your breakfast, there’s also lots to do in the area you’ve just flown over, from exploring beautiful medieval towns to hiking inside volcanoes!
Recommended by Vicki from Vickiviaja
Rupit is a cute medieval village in the heart of Catalonia, about 98 km away. It’s a perfect day trip outside Barcelona for anyone looking for a relaxing walk through the village center. It’s full of stone houses from the 16th and 17th century. Nature fans will love Rupit too as it is surrounded by beautiful nature with many opportunities for great hikes.
The highlight of Rupit, Spain is a suspension bridge, the Puente Colgante de Rupit, which leads over the Riera de Rupit, a small river that runs through the little village. From the village center, you can walk to the Església de Santa Magdalena (Santa Magdalena Church) which is located right next to Rupit. From here, you have an amazing view of the walls of the village.
The easiest way to Rupit is by car. Since Barcelona and Vic (the town nearest to Rupit) are connected by highway, the route is quite easy. You can also go to Vic by train and take a bus from there to Rupit.
Recommended by Jessica from Independent Travel Cats
Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and the main reason people come here is to visit the Dalí Theatre and Museum. The theater museum contains the largest collection of Dalí’s artwork and the collection spans his life. The museum itself is a piece of art and a bit of a maze, so expect to get a bit lost but that is part of the experience.
Other things you can do in Figueres include visiting Sant Ferran Castle, seeing Dalí’s birthplace, visiting the Church of Sant Pere, and visiting the toy museum. There are also a number of restaurants, cafes, shops, and hotels here.
You can get to Figueres by car or by bus. Figueres is about a 1.5-hour drive or bus ride from Barcelona. Figueres is one part of the Dali Triangle which also includes Dali’s home in Portligat and his wife’s home at Púbol Castle. There are also several other Salvador Dalí sites near Barcelona that you may want to visit if you are a fan of the artist.
Recommended by Claire from Tales of a Backpacker
Girona is a picturesque medieval city north of Barcelona and is a popular destination to visit, particularly in May for the yearly Flower Festival called Temps de Flors. Fans of “Game of Thrones” recognize Girona, as parts of the city have been used for filming locations for Kings Landing, Braavos, and Oldtown. Even if you’ve never seen the show, it is hard not to fall for Girona’s charm.
The city has plenty of beautiful architecture to admire, including a bridge Gustave Eiffel designed before his famous Parisian tower, a Benedictine monastery, a stunning baroque church, and an impressive cathedral. The pretty streets, riverside houses and old city walls of Girona all combine to create a magical little city. There is a buzzing food scene in Girona too, and as well as the myriad of delicious restaurants, you can take a Catalan cooking class or a food tour to really explore the foodie delights of Girona. There is no shortage of things to do in Girona!
Girona is easy to get to by train or bus from Barcelona. With the high-speed train, you can reach Girona in as little as 38 minutes on the Ave from Barcelona Sants station. Avoid the regional trains, if possible, for your Barcelona to Girona Day trip, as they take significantly longer.
Vilanova i la Geltrú
Recommend by Maire from Temples and Treehouses
I discovered Vilanova i la Geltrú, one of the best Barcelona day trips, by chance. A friend was visiting me in Barcelona and we decided to wing it with a surprise day trip. We simply got on the first train leaving Barcelona’s gorgeous beachside station, with no idea where we would end up, and that’s how we arrived in Vilanova. The train ride took under an hour and cost around 5 Euro.
Vilanova i la Geltrú is an off-the-beaten-track destination, but a worthwhile one if you have extra time on your Barcelona trip. Historically a fishing port, the city has a lovely beach, romantic period buildings, and a cute town square. It’s where you can find the Catalonia Railway Museum, with its collection of vintage locomotives. When we visited, there was even a festival happening, with a roving band leading a procession through the streets.
Plus, there’s a really unusual statue on the beach, which again we stumbled on by chance, with no other tourists around. It’s a sculpture of a bull with a woman in its belly and is apparently based on a story from Greek mythology.
Visiting Vilanova was an action-packed and pretty delightful day, and I think it’s well worth a visit if you have time to spare!
Recommended by Jessica from the Seasoned Travelr
Blanes is a gorgeous coastal city along the world-renowned Costa Brava in Catalonia, just a short trip north of Barcelona. There is a little something for every type of traveler, which makes it the perfect day or weekend trip!
Are you a foodie? Satisfy your cravings with a delicious Paella Marinera (seafood paella). Want to relax? Spend the day on the beach, soaking up the Spanish sun and marveling at the crystal clear waters. Looking to keep fit? Take a hike up to the Castell de Sant Joan, and you will be rewarded with incredible views of the coast (or you can be lazy like me and take a car up). Nature lover? Visit the gorgeous Botanical Gardens with impressive views of the coast. Looking for nightlife? Blanes offers a wide array of bars and clubs, and also has festivals all year long! Visit at the end of June for the parties of Sant Joan (the shortest night of the year), or at the end of July for their Festa Major (“Big Party”), where there will be tons of concerts and fireworks.
Driving is the fastest way to get to Blanes. Go north of Barcelona taking the C-32 or AP-7 (a little bit slower). That will take a little more than an hour, just be aware of tolls! If you don’t have a car, you can get to Blanes by train or bus. Trains leave Barcelona Sants Train Station about every 30 minutes and take about 1.5 hours. You can just buy tickets at the train station. Buses leave from Barcelona Nord Station or from the airport, but not as often as the trains. It takes about 2 hours to get to Blanes by bus.
Recommended by Dídac & Laura from Mapping the Map
Located close to the wine region of El Priorat, just 1.5-hour drive from Barcelona, you will find the Poblet Monastery, a World Heritage site since 1991. The Poblet Monastery, which is considered one of the largest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in the world, was founded in 1150. Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, gave that land to the Abbey of Fontfroide (located near Narbonne, in the south of France) after the conquest of Lleida from the Moors, so that the monks could build a Cistercian monastery there.
If we had to choose one place in the Monastery where you can feel the history of Catalonia, this place is the royal tomb that can be found on both sides of the altarpiece. Among other royals, here lie the remains of Jaume I The Conqueror, who lived in the XIII century and decided to be buried in the Poblet Monastery. His name is due to the fact that he led the conquest of the Balearic Islands and Valencia from the Moors.
Together with the monasteries of Santa Maria de Vallbona and Santa Maria de Santes Creus, the Poblet Monastery is part of the “Ruta del Cister” (Cister Route). In fact, Santa Maria de Poblet is the biggest one of those three monasteries and the only one that still has a community of monks living there.
Castellfollit de la Roca
Recommended by Wendy from Worldwide Wendy
A few years ago we did a road trip in the Catalonia region. We visited many beautiful places like Blanes, Figueres, Besalu, the famous monastery of Montserrat with it’s Black Madonna and the lesser known Poblet Monastery. But the place that impressed me the most was the little village, Castellfollit de la Roca.
This small village is situated a 2 hours drive to the north-east of Barcelona. The location on top of a columnar basalt cliff is stunning. Houses are built to the very edge of the cliff. The masterpiece is a tiny church, named Sant Salvador Church, on the tip of the rock. Wandering through the little alleys and enjoying a nice meal in one of the local restaurants will make for a great day trip from Barcelona.
Recommended by Sanne from Veni Vidi
Tarragona has lots to offer. The city was already important in Roman times, and several Roman ruins can be found in the city, such as the Roman Amphitheatre (built in the 2nd century AD). The Amphitheatre is right beside the sea. On its other side, the remains of the Roman circus can be found. When you can’t get enough of the Romans, make sure to visit the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona (MNAT) as well.
However, in Tarragona, there are more things to see than Roman remains. The cathedral of Tarragona is gorgeous and very elegant. It incorporates both Romanesque and Gothic features and was built in the 12th-14th century. The cloister of the cathedral is also worth visiting. Another must see in Tarragona is the Monumento a los Castellers, a monument depicting people building a human tower, located on the Rambla Nova. On the other end of the Rambla Nova, you can find the Balcó del Mediterrani with beautiful views over the Mediterranean sea.
In Tarragona, the sea is never far away, even when you’re getting lost exploring its lovely streets. Its one of the best day trips by train from Barcelona. It only takes approximately half an hour from Barcelona-Sants to Tarragona.
La Selva Region
Recommended by Veronika from Travel Geekery
La Selva means ‘forest’ in Spanish and thus it’s no surprise the whole region of La Selva is beautifully green. This undiscovered part of Spain features charming towns, castles, fortresses, plenty of fun attractions and lush greenery. If you love history, don’t leave out the cute sleepy town of Hostalric with its military fortress and the beautiful castle of Montsoriu with incredible views.
Thermal springs are also the real deal here – check them out in Sant Hilari Sacalm and outside the city, or walk through the town of Caldes de Malavella, drink from all the springs and admire the ancient Roman bath remnants. You can even have a spa treatment yourself – for that, check out the Balneari Vichy complex. Near Sant Hilari Sacalm, the nature is simply wonderful. I particularly enjoyed a treetop trail belonging to the hotel Vilar Rural just outside of the city.
To get to La Selva, you can use the train or car. Regional trains connect Barcelona to Caldes de Malavella or Hostalric. However, to really enjoy the region to the fullest, renting a car is a must.
Penedés Wine Region
Recommended by Mike of 197 Travel Stamps
I’ve traveled back and forth to Barcelona for nearly two years now. On the weekend, I’ve always liked to get out of the city to explore something new and exciting. Incredibly, it has taken us over one year to find out about the Penedés wine region located just a short 1-hour drive northeast of Barcelona. Since the beauty of the area lies in the landscapes and the remote wineries, you need a car to make this Barcelona winery day trip work.
There are several wineries in the area that offer tours through their cellars and an insight into their wine-making techniques. We opted to visit the Parés Baltá, an organic winery that uses ancient techniques to produce their high-quality wines. First, we visited the vineyards to learn about their alternative fertilizing techniques before we stepped down into the dark and cool wine cellar.
The price of €15 for the tour also included the tasting of several premium wines, some cheese, and serrano ham to accompany the wines. Since I was driving, I couldn’t drink too much of the delicious wine but we bought some bottles in their shop to bring home.
Recommended by Gábor from Surfing the Planet
Begur is one of the most picturesque villages in the Costa Brava region. This small hilltop village is most famous for the coastal area around since near Begur you can find some of the most famous beaches in the Costa Brava such as Aiguablava for instance. Nevertheless, Begur is also a nice and authentic village with some interesting sights to see.
At the top of the hill you can visit the ruins of a small castle, and from there you can also enjoy a nice view of the coast and the Medes Islands. The dominant color on the streets of Begur is white, and there are many beautiful villas (especially in Calle Vera) that were built by local people who came back after their adventures in Central America, mostly in Cuba. The “Feria de los Indianos” is the most famous festivity in town, held usually at the first weekend of September to celebrate the connections between Begur and the Caribbean country.
Begur is accessible from Barcelona by bus, the Sarfa company operates several buses a day between Begur and the Catalan capital.
Tossa de Mar
Recommended by Justine from Latitude 41
Tossa de Mar is one of the best beach day trips from Barcelona on the Costa Brava. It has the best walled medieval town called the “Villa Vella” with the Gran Platja beach and the Mediterranean Sea right next to it. For sweeping views, climb up to the Villa Vella to one of its seven watchtowers that overlook the cove. Alternatively, you can take a tourist train and stop to explore the Villa Vella and the surrounding elevated area of pine trees. Visit the Iglesia de Sant Vicenç, which was constructed over a Roman temple and was dedicated to the martyr, Vincent of Saragossa. For a historical outing, check out the Villa Romana dels Ameterllers, one of the most important and best-conserved archaeological ruins of the Roman province of Tarraconensis.
To get to Tossa de Mar from Barcelona center, go to the Estació del Nord bus station or the Barcelona Ronda Sant Pere station. Take the bus run by Sarfa, but book tickets online first. The trip takes over 1.5 hours and is well worth the ride 103 kilometers north of Barcelona!
Recommended by Allison from Eternal Arrival
Cadaqués is a beautiful day trip from Barcelona, located on the northern edge of Costa Brava, not too far from the border with France. It takes about 2.5 hours to get here from Barcelona by car, making it one of the top Barcelona day trips, especially during the summer months.
Cadaqués is a small, all-white fishing village well-known for its significance to art, primarily Salvador Dalí who used to live here. In fact, there is an excellent museum dedicated to him, the Casa Museu Salvador Dalí, located in his former home. Besides Dalí, though, it was also a place for other artists to relax, unwind, and get inspired. Artists such as Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso also spent some time here. While in Cadaqués, make sure you check out the beautiful Church of St. Mary, built in the 17th century and still the highest point in Cadaqués. You’ll want to spend hours photographing the gorgeous white walls of the town that look straight out of a Greek island, and the seafood here is incredible. You may end up extending your stay!
Which Barcelona Day Trip will you choose?
As you can see, there are lots of options for great day trips from Barcelona. You can see historic towns, beautiful beaches, excellent museums, castles, and more! Have you gone on any of these day trips? Which one do you think is the best day trip from Barcelona?
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Expert Tips for Day Trips from Barcelona
- Try to do at least one day trip outside of Barcelona during your time there.
- While you can do some day trips by public transportation, having a car makes things much easier.
- These day trips can be done independently or if you like there are lots of great Barcelona day trip tours offered through Viator. Click here to check out the options, prices, and availability.
- Also, check out my advice for traveling from Barcelona airport to the city center.
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