Make sure to take one of these incredible day trips from Barcelona!
Catalonia is a veritable cornucopia of impressive places to visit and things to do. From seaside towns, to medieval villages, to lush vineyards, to breathtaking nature the options seem endless. Best of all many of these locations can be explored during day trips from Barcelona.
Since most people start their Catalonia experience in Barcelona, the city has its fair share of issues regarding tourism. With nearly 30 million (yikes!) visitors a year Barcelona is overwhelmed by tourism, and after a few days there it’s highly likely you’ll yearn for less crowded and more quiet destination, especially if you visit in peak season, from May to October.
So, what’s one to do? Get out and explore the surrounding area, of course!
We’ve consulted several fellow travel experts and asked them what their favorite day trips from Barcelona are and put together this list. There is something for everyone here, so have a look and start planning your Catalonia adventure!
Note: Many of the below destinations can be reached by public transportation but if you’re looking to rent a car in Spain click here for prices and options.
Here are some of the best day trip from Barcelona according to the experts!
Andorra isn’t a place most people can find on a map. It’s a tiny country wedged between Spain and France and located high in the Pyrenees Mountains. At just under 3 hours from Barcelona, it makes a nice day trip or weekend getaway.
Historically, most people have come for skiing in the winter or take advantage of the countries unique tax (i.e., duty free) status. But there’s a lot more do here than just shopping.
The country has kilometers of trails for trekking, an emerging wine industry with some great mountainside vineyards, and, of course, there is Europe’s largest spa: the massive INUU/Caldea complex.
Give the close proximity of everything to each other, you could go shopping in the morning, visit the spa for lunch, visit a winery on the way back, and still be back in Barcelona for tapas. Andorra makes a great day trip from Barcelona!
Day Trip Tip From: Lance and Laura Longwell at Travel Addicts
Day Trips from Barcelona: Anoia
The Anoia region is best known for the monastery of Montserrat, but there are many other hidden gems to explore. There are lots of hiking trails through the green hills and lush forests, and along the banks of the Anoia river. One particular spot is the tiny village of Canaletes. This village has a population of 40 people and there’s no public transport going there. It’s surrounded by vineyards and fields of olive trees.
Next to Canaletes you can find a secret waterfall and a cave. The waterfall is surrounded by moss and hanging vegetation, like a scene from a fairytale. The cave is just as beautiful, its entrance hidden by the greenery and its floor covered in cave pearls (small spherical rocks).
To find this spot you can follow the hiking trails starting at Vallbona d’Anoia. Vallbona itself is also worth a visit: a small traditional town with medieval architecture, 40 minutes by train away from Barcelona.
Day Trip Tip From: Polina Kocheva at Femtravelers
Begur is a pretty little historic town about two hours north of Barcelona. Many Barcelona residents have their weekend homes in Begur.
The town has great restaurants and boutiques as well as narrow winding lanes full of beautiful old houses. The town’s charm has not been spoiled by visitors. In our opinion the highlight of the town are its eight separate coves each with its own beach. They not only have their own character but the makeup of the beaches vary from pebbles to rock to sand.
A perfect day trip from Barcelona for anyone looking for a bit of peace along the shore.
Day Trip Tip From: Shobha George at Just Go Places
Besalú is one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, a typical Catalan medieval village situated in Girona Province, 130 km North from Barcelona. The best way to get there from Barcelona is by car, although you can also get on a bus run by Teisa Bus, which takes you there in a bit less than 2 hours.
When you arrive in Besalú, the first thing you will see is a fascinating stone bridge (called the Old Bridge) from the 12th century. The view of the bridge, the river and the medieval village provides a picture perfect view. This bridge will lead you to the other side of the Fluvià River, and there you will feel yourself in another era, while you visit Besalú.
You will enjoy a very pleasant walk on the cobbled streets, while you can check out the small details that make this village so charming. The most important sights are the Collegiate of Santa María and the church-hospital of Sant Julià. We recommend you to sit down in a terrace on the riverside to enjoy the tranquility and the beautiful view.
Day Trip Tip From: Gábor Kovács at Surfing the Planet
I’ll be the first to admit, I’d never heard of Blanes before I was researching places to go on the Costa Brava. It’s safe to say I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived there and found it to be an interesting place.
The coastline at Blanes is long, but one thing stands out as soon as you reach the beach. Sa Palomera rock sticks out like a sore thumb, as you make your way down the beach! Climbing the rock offers some great views of the coastline and Blanes itself. There’s plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from if you get peckish, most of which have fantastic views of the Mediterranean sea!
Getting to Blanes is straightforward. You need to take the R1 and then Blanes is the last stop! It takes about an hour to reach there, but it’s well worth it, as Blanes is a great place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona!
Day Trip Tip From: Tom Stevenson at The Travelling Tom
Cami dels Bons Homes
The Cami dels Bons Homes (Path of the Good Men) is an almost completely undiscovered, 200 kilometer hiking trail that winds its way through the Pyrenees Mountains in France and Catalonia.
The trail affords beautiful views, idyllic meadows, stunning valleys, and near complete solitude to anyone making the trek. A few years ago we spent five days on the Cami dels Bons Homes and came across only a handful of other hikers along the way.
Although hiking the entire trail takes weeks, if you’re looking for a quick escape to nature on a day trip from Barcelona, a one day hike on the Cami dels Bons Homes is possible. We recommend the final portion of the trail that starts in Peguera and ends in Berga.
Both towns are within a few hours reach by train from Barcelona, and this particular section of the trail is only 12 kilometers and takes most people about three to four hours to complete.
All of that adds up to a great day trip from Barcelona for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors of Catalonia.
Day Trip Tip From: Randi & Michael at Just a Pack.
Day Trips from Barcelona: Girona
Girona makes a fabulous day trip from Barcelona. This small ancient town has colorful, narrow streets and sidewalk cafes perfect for people watching and is demarcated by the Riu Onyar, creating a commercial, modern town center and historic medieval city.
Make sure to stroll along the river for a postcard perfect shot of Modernista mansions on the waterfront. Day trippers will want to check out Girona’s Gothic cathedrals, extensive Jewish quarter and many museums and art galleries. Don’t forget to end the trip with a scoop of ice cream at Rocambolesc!
When it comes to day trips from Barcelona we just can’t recommend Girona enough!
Day Trip Tip From: Sher at Sher She Goes
Lloret de Mar
If you are looking for the perfect day trip from Barcelona, look no further than Lloret de Mar along the Costa Brava coastline. Located just over an hour from the hustle and bustle of city life in Barcelona, Lloret de Mar offers visitors the opportunity to relax amidst the spectacular Mediterranean beaches that this part of Spain is famous for.
Don’t think that visiting Lloret de Mar is just about experiencing these gorgeous beaches. This area is well worth exploring if you have an avid interest in history, with the medieval Castle of Sant Joan located in this part of Costa Brava and in the heart of Lloret de Mar, the gorgeous Iglesia de Sant Romà church. For those visitors interested in Catalan Gothic architecture, this church is the epitome of this style and offers a unique perspective on this historic town.
A visit to Lloret de Mar wouldn’t be the same without experiencing one of the many hiking trails that take you along the rugged coastline and into the beautiful Spanish wilderness! This is the perfect part of Spain to capture gorgeous sunrise shots while you never quite know what piece of historic architecture you will stumble across…the Fisherman’s Wife statue is the perfect example.
Day Trip Tip From: Chris & Heather Boothman at A Brit and A Southerner
Monserrat is one of the most popular options for a day trip from Barcelona, however, many people having a short visit to the city don’t realize how close the mountain is giving a perfect opportunity to go into nature, hike or explore the Spanish countryside.
Montserrat is easily accessible not only because there are numerous tours dedicated to this destination, but because you can organize your own itinerary with a car or train that departs from Placa d’Espanya station every hour. There are a scenic cable car and a funicular that will take you even higher into the mountain.
Montserrat means ‘serrated’ in Catalan and owes its name to the jagged rock formations that accompanied with nature make for an amazing view. Just imagine watching the sunset from there! Apart from the gorgeous landscape the mountain is famous for the still-functioning monastery Santa Maria del Montserrat Abbey dating back to 10th century and currently housing more than 150 monks.
Day Trip Tip From: Sianna Marinova at EoStories
Sitges is a picturesque town about 35 kilometers South of Barcelona on the Costa Dorada, and is easily reachable by train from Passeig de Gracia train station. It boasts no less than 26 beaches, some of them directly in town. The town is hugely popular with expats who move out of Barcelona and settle in Sitges, but it’s also worth a day trip. The train drops you off in the center of town and you can stroll through Sitges’ old town for a bit of shopping or a coffee in one of the corner cafés.
For lunch, try the local Xató salad with its unique dressing. Then grab an ice cream to go at one of the many gelaterias and walk down to the beach for a relaxing afternoon.
Sitges also has a lot of festivals going on throughout the year, the highlights are Carneval in February/March, Sitges Gay Pride in June and the Festa Major (town festival) in August – there’s something for everyone, and if you’re in Barcelona, it’s worth checking out the Sitges event calendar for the week!
Day Trip Tip From: Edwina Dendler at Traveling German
Vineyard Alta Alella in Alella
If you’re looking for a different type of day trip from Barcelona, we highly recommend Vineyard Alta Alella. You’ll find this family-owned organic vineyard 25 minutes from Barcelona, deep in the Catalonian hills and only 2 km from the Mediterranean sea.
Here you can enjoy a wine tasting paired with Catalonian delicacies, learn about the wine-making process, and finish off the day at the beach!
Day Trip Tip From: Maria Belfort Henriques at One Tiny Leap
Day Trips from Barcelona: Zaragoza (Saragossa)
A long day trip, or as a stop on the way to Madrid, Saragossa is a masterpiece. It’s a city of religious importance, a culinary adventure, and it is the capital of Spain’s Aragon region. Saragossa (spelt Zaragoza in Spanish) is located inland about 300 km west of Barcelona.
Like many visitors, we were drawn here by El Pilar. According to legend, in 40 AD an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint James the Apostle. Instructing him to build a chapel, she gave him a 39 cm tall statue of herself and a jasper pillar. It is the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and has undergone many upgrades over time. The current Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar (or El Pilar) was designed in 1681, although its towers were completed in the early 20th century.
The basilica is in the Plaza del Pilar along with a variety of statues, fountains, the Underground Roman Museum, and La Seo Cathedral. The street leading off the plaza features modern shops and tempting restaurants.
Day Trip Tip From: Rhonda Albom at Albom Adventures
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