The 20 Best Day Trips from Barcelona

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20 Best Day Trips from Barcelona, Spain

So many Barcelona day trips, so little coffee. While Barcelona is a traveler’s dream, the surrounding area of Catalonia is extraordinary. If you’re visiting the Catalan capital, I highly recommend you explore the underrated regions in this northeastern part of Spain. After a decade of living in Barcelona and traveling to new towns and cities, I’m still amazed by the variety of unique destinations that lurks within my 200-kilometer radius. From the craggy Costa Brava coves to the inland’s ancient medieval villages to the exquisite wineries of the Penedès – it’s hard to choose what to do. I’ve curated this list of the 20 best day trips from Barcelona, and I mention some I personally find overrated. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to help you choose!

Barcelona's best day trips: Find new things to do outside Barcelona. Tips from a local!

 

The 20 best day trips from Barcelona, Spain, written by a local! Plus travel tips on how to get there, tours, map and tips. Beautiful Catalonia has villages, beaches, countryside, and mountains. Most places you can travel by train!

A detailed guide of the best Barcelona day trips.

Tips on planning your Barcelona day trip

  1. You can take most of these day trips from Barcelona by train. Rodalíes (also called Cercanías in Spanish) is the regional Catalan train network and is operated by RENFE. FGC (FGC.cat, Ferrocariles de la Generalitat de Catalunya) is the regional train operator. You can buy tickets at the station or online.
  2. If you’re short on time, you don’t feel like planning, or you want to chill with a guide, a day tour can be worth it. You don’t have to DIY everything. I’ve suggested some day tours from Get Your Guide and Viator, both reliable platforms. Both Get Your Guide and Viator also allow a 24-hour cancellation if you change your mind!
  3. If I had to choose three, the cities near Barcelona worth visiting: Montserrat, Sitges, and Cadaqúes.
  4. If you ARE buying a day tour, my top 4 best Barcelona day tours are these: Montserrat, Sitges, Costa Brava, and the Cadaqués-Dalí tour.
  5. For the traveler who wants to maximize their time in Europe, you can visit THREE countries in one day: Andorra, Spain, and France. This is the rare Barcelona to Andorra day trip. (I’ve never done it, but it’s a popular excursion. I know Americans like to squeeze in trips because we have little vacay days, and I don’t judge how people travel.)  Check out day trips from Barcelona to France and Andorra.
  6. If you’re keen on renting a car, you can compare the prices of car rental companies in Barcelona (Budget, Avis, Hertz, etc.) using Auto Europe.  You get free cancellation up to 48 hours before pickup. And no credit card is needed for booking!
  7. Driving around Spain isn’t the easiest. If you’re from the US, you should know that 99% of the rental cars are stick-shift. Also, toll roads are expensive. See rates here. The easiest way to pay through a toll road is with your credit card. We have a car which we use for our trips. We just suck up the toll fees because taking the national highways can take too long. I’ve heard their also more prone to accidents.

BEACHES + CULTURE

1. Sitges

The best day trips: Take the train from Sitges to Barcelona and back!

Sitges is a relaxed, beach town not too far from Barna and a cinch to travel to by train. Meander down the beach promenade and enjoy a seafood paella at one of the seaside restaurants. (We like Restaurante Mare Nostrum.) Be sure to walk up the steps to the majestic Sant Bartolemeu i Santa Tecla Church, where you can get a sweeping view of the Mediterranean Sea. Then continue through the whitewashed historic center of art galleries and museums. Sitges is the home of the Sitges Cinema festival, an internationally acclaimed festival celebrating horror and fantasy films held around Halloween. Also, check out the annual zombie walk! During Carnaval season, expect huge festivities and flamboyant parades here. If you’re a beach lover, you can find concealed coves dotted around the area like Cala l’Home Mort. Taking a Barcelona to Sitges day trip is one of the easiest!

From Barcelona to Sitges: By train – Take the R2 Sud train at Estació de França, Passeig de Gracia, or Estació Sants heading toward Sant Vincenç de Calders. It takes 30-46 minutes, depending on which station, and it leaves every 20 minutes. The stop is “Sitges”. By car – It’s 41.6 kilometers (43 minutes). Take the C-32 all the way down. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a Sitges day tour!  

2. Tossa de Mar

The best day trips from Barcelona, Spain: Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar. Can you build a sandcastle like this?

Tossa de Mar is a quaint beach town with a walled city perched on a hill, right next to the sand. Behind those walls is the Villa Vela (“Old Town”). This is the jewel of Tossa de Mar: a labyrinth of bumpy stoned alleys and historic homes. It seems everywhere you turn, you’ll get a gorgeous view of rocky coves or fishing boats dotting the sea. You can walk up the hill of the Villa Vela or opt to take the tourist train (which my kids love). Once you get to the top, the driver will give you about 15 minutes to wander the rocky landscape. The main beach is Platja Gran, which has the walled city in the background and a small promenade. For more isolated beaches, try smaller coves around like Platja d’es Codolar or Platja Llevadó. Tossa de Mar is one of the best Barcelona, Spain, excursions 🙂

From Barcelona to Tossa de Mar: By Train – Take the RENFE Rodalíes train R1 to Blanes or Maçcanet-Massanes, which is about 1.5 hours and runs along the coast. From there, take the bus using the Rodalíes website. Then take the bus – see the schedule hereBy bus from Barcelona – I’ve taken this route, and it’s pretty convenient because it’s direct. The bus leaves from Estació del Nord, and the destination is “Tossa Estació”. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. See the bus schedule. By car: It’s 103 kilometers from Barcelona and takes 1 hour, 15 minutes. The fastest route is to take the AP-7, which has a toll road. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Try one of these Tossa de Mar day trips out of Barcelona

  • Explore Tossa de Mar and other parts of the Costa Brava on this boat trip with a professional guide. Try this convenient half-day tour of Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar (Catalan lunch included). Book the Tossa de Mar boat tour
  • Go with a knowledgeable guide to explore Tossa de Mar in a personalized small-group tour. Stop by Blanes beach, the lush Marimurtra Botanical Gardens, and then to Tossa de Mar to have lunch served with sparkling cava. Book the Tossa de Mar and Costa Brava tour

3. Cadaqués

Cadaques: one of the best Barcelona day trips by train.

Cadaqués: The crown jewel of the Costa Brava, one of the best cities to visit near Barcelona.

It’s a wonder how this laidback whitewashed fishing town has been well-protected against any ugly commercialism that has invaded other places around Catalonia. Cadaques’ cobblestoned lanes, white buildings, azure-colored doors, and green vines draping many walls make the town a Costa Brava tourist darling. Cadaqués was made famous primarily by surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, who’s spent many summers here, and who also has a museum in the nearby Portlligat. In fact, he lived there until his wife’s death in 1982. If you fancy, this small town could make a romantic overnight trip as the surrounding area of Cap de Creus Natural Park is also a breathtaking place to hike and discover. I’ve been here a few times, and I never get tired of it 🙂

From Barcelona to CadaquésBy train + bus – The train leaves Barcelona takeoff from different destinations. On the RENFE website, the destination is “Figueres”. When you get there, walk to the bus station (literally across the street). That’s where you can buy your bus ticket to Cadaques. See more on bus timetables here. By bus – From Barcelona Nord bus station, it takes about 3 hours, using the bus company Sarfa. Go here and enter departure stop “Barcelona Estació del Nord”. The destination is “Cadaqués Estació”.  By car – It takes about 2.5 hours by car. The last part of the trip is reaaaaally winding, so take heed if you tend to get carsick. The fastest route is to take the AP-7 with a toll road. Then take the C-260 to GI-614 to Cadaqués. (Because it’s kind of far, it would be fun to stop off at Costa Brava beach towns and make it a road trip from Barcelona!) Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Try one of these Cadaqués day tours from Barcelona

  • For Salvador Dalí fans, you can immerse yourself in a 12-hour tour of Figueres, Cadaqués, and Portlligat (the Dalí triangle). A knowledgeable guide will take you to the spots where Dalí was born, where he grew up, where he worked, and even see his tomb at the Museu-Teatre Dalí. (I felt a bit weird taking a photo of that.) Book your full-day Salvador Dalí tour
  • If you love nature, you also might want to see Cap de Creus National Park, the gorgeous landscape of the most easternmost part of Spain. Get picked up at your hotel, discover the rugged Costa Brava, and sip on some Catalan wines during this elegant tour. Book your Cadaques and Cap de Creus tour

4. Begur

Begur: One of the best day trips, Barcelona, Spain.

Sa Tuna = old world + sand | Adobe Stock © peresanz

Begur is a unique destination that has it all: beaches, medieval castles, and all things Cuban, of course. You’ll find remnants of Carribean culture highlighting the town with its colorful colonial mansions, Cuban-themed annual festivals, and cocktail bars. It’s because, during the 19th century, many Begur residents emigrated to Cuba and built their fortunes. They later returned with their riches to build stunning colonial homes in Begur. The town is also blessed with nearby beaches, lining some of the coastal perimeters with the camís de ronda. These ancient routes are charming footpaths all around the Costa Brava, which were built so residents could move from village to village. Some of the most beautiful old-world beaches in the Costa Brava are here – visit Sa Tuna (hard to get to but worth it) and Aiguafreda.

From Barcelona to BegurBy bus – The most direct way is to take the bus using the Sarfa bus company. Start at the Barcelona Nord Bus station, and the destination is “Begur”. It’s about 2 hours and 20 minutes. By car – It’s about 133 kilometers from Barcelona and over 1.5 hours drive. Take the AP-7. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a Barcelona to Costa Brava day trip

  •  While there aren’t any specific day tours just for Begur, you can explore the best towns of the Costa Brava with stops at Begur, Pals, Calella de Palafrugell (#5 below), and Girona (#10 below). I think it’s one of the best day trips around Barcelona! Book your Costa Brava tour here on Viator

5. Calella de Palafrugell

Calella de Palafrugell: one of the stunning cool cities near Barcelona, Spain.

Calella de Palafrugell: a photographer’s delight

Its name is a mouthful, and Calella de Palafrugell is a tiny stunner. This traditional Costa Brava fishing village evokes the small-town charm of the Costa Brava and is surrounded by white village homes, rocky inlets and coves, and is punctuated with colorful docked boats. Parts of the town also has traditional cobblestone streets to meander and have a fresh seafood dish like sea urchin, the local specialty. Also check out the lush Cap Roig Botanical Gardens right next to the sea. 

From Barcelona to Calella de PalafrugellBy train – This is the best way to get here (train station is 25km away), using the Sarfa bus company. Start from the Barcelona Nord Train station. The Destination is “Palafrugell (Estació)” It’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes. By Car – It’s about 120 kilometers north of Barcelona, and 1 hour and 20 minutes. The fastest way is to take the AP-7 going north. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book fun or romantic trips to Costa Brava

  • There aren’t specific day tours just for Calella de Palafrugell, but you can explore the best towns of the Costa Brava with stops at Begur, Pals, Calella de Palafrugell, and Girona (see below). Book your Costa Brava tour here on Viator

6. Garraf

Garraf, one of the cool beach cities near Barcelona by train.

I shall book a home here in this lifetime. Les casetes de Garraf.

Garraf’s beach area called “Les casetes de Garraf”, a petite moon-shaped, rocky beach with the cutest art deco cabanas, which you can rent. (I drooled over the ones on Airbnb.) This is a short day trip but worth it if you’re looking for a charming beach to spend the day. Garraf Beach is 350 meters long and 25 meters wide, so it’s packed on a summer’s day. Also check out the nearby Gaudí’s Bodega’s Guell, a quirky-looking restaurant designed by Antoni Gaudí, which is walking distance from the beach. I haven’t been there – and the official website information is cryptic – so tell me if you visit!

From Barcelona to Garraf: By Train – It’s only 38 minutes taking the regional Rodalies, the R2 Line, from Passeig de Gracia. It leaves every 30 minutes. Make sure your train stops in Garraf because some R2 trains skip this stop and go directly to Sitges. By car – Take the C-32. It’s 5 kilometers past Castelldefels. Parking can be difficult, but there are some spaces. This past summer, my family and I were able to park the car nearby luckily! Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

There aren’t any day tours here, so the easiest way is to go on your own.

CULTURE + HISTORY

7. Colònia Güell

Colonia Guell, one of the easy day trips from Barcelona

I was supposed to get married here: Gaudí crypt at Colònia Güell | Adobe stock © alzamu79

The Colònia Güell is a textile village outside of Barcelona in Santa Coloma de Cervelló. It was built in 1890 after the owner, Eusebio Guell, commissioned him to build Park Guell. While the colony is a decorative delight of Catalan art nouveau architecture, the protagonist is the church, the Crypt Gaudí. This church is the precursor to the majestic Sagrada Familia, which was a sort of artistic testing ground of architecture. (My ultimate dream was to get married at the Gaudí’s crypt at the Còlonia Güell. California would do.) It was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. Colònia Guell makes for a quick day trip outside Barcelona.

From Barcelona to Colonia Guell: By train – Take the commuter train (FGC) from Plaza Espanya. Lines S3, S4, S8, and S9 all go there and takes over 52 minutes. The train stop is “Colonia Güell”. By car – It’s just 18.7km and 30 minutes to arrive. Take the B-10. Park your car in the free parking lot and follow the signs to the Visitor’s Center. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a Barcelona day tour 

  • Get the complete Gaudí day tour to the Colònia Guell, Gaudí Crypt, and the mountains of Montserrat on this highly-rated day trip. First, stop off at the Gaudí crypt on a guided tour. Then head off to Montserrat, where you’ll board the rack railway train and get a guided visit of the Montserrat Benedectine monastery. Book your Colònia Güell and Montserrat tour here or book it on Get your Guide.
  • Taking your own transport and need to buy tickets? Buy tickets from the official Barcelona tourism website and save 10% off here.

8. Figueres, the Dalí Theatre-Museum

The Dalí Theater-Museum, one of the best side trips from Barcelona.

Have many WTF moments at Dalí’s hometown theatre-museum

Figueres, the town itself, isn’t anything to write home about; however, the Dalí Theatre-Museum is a must-see for art lovers. You get to see the surreal artist’s seriously messed-up side and have major WTF moments. You’ll also recognize some art pieces from your high school art class — like Mae West’s face made out of furniture. Plus, see where the master is buried himself. Figueres the town, however, is a typical modern pueblo, where you’ll see a vibrant local life. If you have kids, another worthy visit is the Museum de Joguines (Toy Museum). My daughter loved how it showed one of Dalí’s childhood toys housed here. 

Barcelona to Figueres: By train – The fastest way to go to Figueres is by taking the AVE, a high-speed train. The trip ranges from 2 hours to 3 hours, depending on departure time/stops. Check the timetables at the RENFE website. By car – It’s about 140km driving distance and takes about 1.5 hours. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a Figueres day tour 

9. Tarragona

Small, but big. Tarragona: you can make it as one of your weekend trips from Barcelona.

A Roman amphitheater in Tarragona, Spain. So after fights, sunbathing? | Adobe stock © axl007

Once an important Roman epicenter, Tarragona is a port city on the Costa Dorada with seaside a 2nd-century Roman amphitheater and a 12th-century cathedral. You can start to the day looking outside the “Mediterranean balcony” (really, just a place where you can look out over the sea), then visit the Circ Romà (ancient Roman chariot track), the 1st-century aqueduct, then walk down the breezy promenade, Passeig de Les Palmeres. My family and I spent my birthday weekend in Tarragona, which also makes a pleasant Barcelona weekend break.

Barcelona to TarragonaBy train – It’s easy to get to and the train ride takes about 1 hour. Visit the RENFE website for timetables. By car – It’s about 1.5 hours and 100km south of Barcelona. It’s easy: C-32 and AP-7. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a Tarragona day tour!  

10. Girona

Girona, one of the easy train trips from Barcelona.

M-m-m-m-m-my Girona!

Perched on a hill overlooking the River Onyar is this ancient walled city of Girona. If you’re obsessed with Game of Thrones, this is where you can take a tour of the film spots (I have never seen the series, but everyone one tells me, “lots of sex and violence”.) Its gems are the Romanesque and Gothic 11th-century Girona Cathedral, the maze-like Jewish quarter, and the well-preserved Banys Àrabs (ancient bathhouses). Take a walk uphill from the cathedral, and you can catch sweeping views from the Girona’s highest point, the Torre de Gironella. You can also take a nice stroll down the riverside Rambla, where a cluster of bars, galleries, and cafes form the social center of the town. 

Barcelona to GironaBy train – Take the RENFE train from Sants or Passeig de Gracia, which takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. By car – It’s about 103 kilometers and takes about 1.5 hours. Take the A7. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a Barcelona to Girona day trip

There are a ton of Girona day tours from Barcelona. The most popular ones and highly rated are this:

CHARMING TOWNS + NATURE

11. Besalú

Besalú, one of the best trips from Barcelona.

Besalú, the most popular medieval town in Catalonia.

Besalú is one of my favorite medieval towns that captures the essence of Catalunya. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to experience an authentic village without the hordes of tourists. It has a 12-century Romanesque bridge overlooking quiet waters of the Fluvia River. Get lost in the small Jewish Quarter or check out the Sant Pere monastery. It’s small, but it packs a punch of culture and history.

Barcelona to Besalú: By bus – This is the most direct way to get to Besalú. The bus company is TEISA, and the bus stop is at Pau Claris, 117. See the bus scheduleBy car – It’s 131 km north of Barcelona and takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Take the AP-7. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a day tour!  

12. Olot and La Garrotxa

Livin’ on the edge: Castefollit de la Roca. Photo courtesy of Turisme La Garrotxa

Olot is a small town surrounded by a volcanic region called La Garrotxa in the Girona province. The Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park has over 40 non-active volcanoes, the tallest being el Croscat at 786 meters high. An interesting landscape of La Garrotxa is the basalt cliff of Castellfollit de la Roca, which is formed by two overflowing lava flows. By car, you can also create a cool itinerary of enchanting medieval villages like Vall d’en Bas or Santa Pau. For hiking, explore the area on any of the 28 walking routes, ranging from easy to hard (Click here to discover the hiking trail itineraries.)  Visit the La Garrotxa website with useful general information

Barcelona to Olot: By bus – The best way to get to Olot is to take the TEISA bus, which only runs on weekends. There is a “Bus del Volcans” that goes through the area with 6 stops (map). The first stop is “Parc Nou i Paratges de la Moixina”. This is the best page I’ve found in English about the La Garrotxa regionBy car – Olot is about 113 kilometers north and takes about 1 hour 45 minutes. The best way is to explore the area is by car. Take the C-17 towards Olot and go to Santa Pau. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a day tour to La Garrotxa 

13. Rupit

Ru-pit after me: it’s pronounced, Roo-PEET.

Rupit (part of Rupit i Pruit municipality), which is 822 meters above sea level, is an enchanting stone village built along the side of a medieval castle. Amazingly, many of these homes were built in the 16th and 17th century! One of the most famous sites is a wobbly suspended bridge, which connects two sides of the town. It’s also surrounded by vegetation and nature – like some waterfalls running through it. Take a short hike to the ‘fall, Salt de Sallent, that goes down 100 meters. Also, check out the Sant Miquel Church and the hermitage of Santa Magdalena. Rupit’s population is minuscule – with just under 300 residents. But it’s managed to stay authentic and well-preserved over the centuries.

From Barcelona to Rupit: By train + bus – The journey takes almost 3 hours. From the Barcelona Sants station, take the R3 Rodalíes train to Vic. Then take the bus 462 (bus company is Sagales), to Plaza Nova de l’Era. By car – It’s 106.6 km north and takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. Take the C-17 and the C-153. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a day tour from Barcelona to Rupit 

  • Hike around the Collsacabra Cliffs and visit Rupit on this unique excursion. From Barcelona, head to Rupit in a minivan with your guide. Start hiking from the medieval town across forests and along the cliffs to catch a glimpse of the Susqueda reservoir, and see the waterfall, Salt de Sallent. Then enjoy a 3-course Catalan meal back in Rupit. Book your Rupit Hiking Tour
  • Take the Medieval Villages tour (click to see the description under #11 Besalú) and see the best medieval towns near Barcelona to visit! Book your Catalonia Medieval Villages Day Tour

14. Vic

Vic: one of the day tours from Barcelona

Vic is famous for its cured meats and the Queralt Bridge

One of the best small towns near Barcelona is Vic, another medieval wonder. WIth its Romanesque bridge, modernist buildings, and beautiful cathedral, it’s a romantic town to visit. Visit the Plaça Major, the main square on a Saturday, and you’ll find a bustling and atmospheric market. It also has the beautiful Sant Pere Cathedral (mixed in neoclassic, baroque and Romanesque design). Vic is also famous for its cured meats like sausages like the fuet, salchichón, or botifarra. Highly recommended!

From Barcelona to Vic: By train – It’s just 1 hour and 20 minutes. Take the R3 Rodalíes train from Barcelona Sants station. By car – It’s about 70km north of Barcelona and takes over one hour by car. Take the C-17 and AP-7. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a day tour!  

  • See Vic and the Pyrenees mountains. From Barcelona, head directly to Vic to see the Cathedral and lively main square. Then go to Queralbs, a tiny mountain village of stone houses. Then take the rack railway train to the peaceful valley of Vall de Núria in the Pyrenees. Book your Vic + Pyrenees villages tour on Get Your Guide

15. Peratallada

Peratallada: don’t wear stilettos on these streets. Adobe Stock | © mrks_v

Halfway between Barcelona and the French border is the small town of Peratallada, a well-preserved, ivy-covered little medieval village. Its name is loosely “pedra tallada” which means carved stone, describing these bumpy sandstone streets. Visit the Peratallada Castle, which was built between the 11th and 14th century and is surrounded by a moat. Also, visit the Romanesque Sant Esteve Church and the quaint shops selling local wares. For local Catalan gastronomy, try the delicious galtes (pigs’ cheeks), a local delicacy.

From Barcelona to Peratallada: By train – The best way is to take the AVE to Girona using RENFE. Then from there, take the 8 bus. The line is “Girona – La Bisbal – Begur – Palafrugell”. From “Girona Estació” to the stop “Peratallada” is about 55 minutes. See the Sarfa bus website for more info. By car – It’s about 131 km from Barcelona, about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Take the AP-7. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a day tour!  

NATURE + MOUNTAINS 

16. Montserrat

Visit Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain, as one of the easy places to travel from Barcelona.

The hills are alive…with the sound of silence.

If you want to see just ONE of the best places to visit near Barcelona, it’s Montserrat. These are the closest mountains near Barcelona, which has a uniquely-formed serrated shape. And its breathtaking, Instagram-worthy views also make it a popular destination. Montserrat is famous for La Moreneta, a black Virgin Mary statue that’s performed several miracles, which is at the Montserrat Monastery. But you don’t have to be religious to enjoy Montserrat – hiking the easy trails around the peculiar mountain range is a strangely spiritual experience. I believe it’s the calmness and contrast of big-city Barcelona that makes it a truly special place. If you don’t find this space spiritual, you are dead inside.

From Barcelona to Montserrat: By train – There are many ways to get to Montserrat, and schedules change based on season, so I recommend studying your route and itinerary. From Plaça Espanya take the R5 train. If you want to take the cable car (called Aeri de Montserrat), stop at “Aeri de Montserrat”. Then take the crazy-awesome-scary cable car. If you want to take the rack railway train, then stop at “Monistrol”.  When you get to Plaça Espanya, ask at the ticketing service and they’ll be sure to help you. By car – It’s about an hour total from Barcelona to Montserrat. There are two options: 1) park your car at the Cremallera de Monistrol Vila car park, then take the cremallera (train) from there. Or, 2) drive all the way up and park at the Montserrat Monastery. Note that these 400 spots fill up quick in the morning.

MAKE IT EASY – Make a Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

  • Don’t want to day trip but just want to get there? From the official Barcelona tourism website, buy the complete Montserrat transportation and museums entrance. The Tot Montserrat card includes round-trip metro ticket from/to Plaça Espanya, round-trip train ticket from Barcelona-Plaça Espanya to Monistrol stop de Montserrat, round-trip ticket on the Cremallera (rack railway) or Aeri to Montserrat, Unlimited use of the Sant Joan and Santa Cova funiculars, Entrance to the audiovisual exhibit “Montserrat behind closed doors”, and admission to the Museu de Montserrat. Plus a meal in the self-service restaurant at Montserrat. Buy your Tot Montserrat card from the official Barcelona tourism website
  • Book a Montserrat-Barcelona tour and see the best setting of a monastery outside Barcelona. This complete tour of Montserrat with a guided visit to the Montserrat Monastery, the 10th-century Oller de Mas castle and winery, and enjoy Catalan wine and lunch. Book your Montserrat, wine, and tapas half-day tour on Get Your Guide
  • Join this insanely popular and budget-friendly half-day tour of the Royal Basilica of Montserrat and get a tasting of three liquors. Montserrat is one of the best trips from Barcelona! Book your half-day tour of Montserrat on Viator

17. The Pyrenees

The sanctuary of Vall de Núria.

It takes between 2 to 4 hours to get the Pyrenees mountains from Barcelona, depending on your exact destination, but I’ve squeezed it in for any die-hard outdoor enthusiasts. The Pyrenees mountain range that forms a natural border between France and Spain and the general area extends 200 kilometers of pine prairies, deep valleys, high mountains, and small villages. In the summer, you can enjoy mountaineering, hiking, or camping around the mountains.It includes one of Spain’s seven national parks here, Parc Nacional d’Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, which has many rivers, valleys, and lakes. In the winter, skiing is king.  For skiing, the largest resorts are La Masella (2 hours from Barcelona) and Baqueira Beret (4 hours away). If you just want to be surrounded by nature and is easy to get to, Vall de Núria (Nuria Valley) is near the French border, and it’s a peaceful region where you can enjoy the flora or hike. The mountains surrounding goes up to 3,000 meters high!

From Barcelona to the Pyrenees (Vall de Núria): By train – From Plaça Catalunya, take the R3 Rodalies train to Ribes de Freser, where you can take the rack railway to Vall de Nùria. Buy the combined ticket for the whole journey. By car – It’s over 132 kilometers from Barcelona and about 2 hours’ drive via the C-17. Toll roads apply. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a day tour!  

18. Montseny Natural Park

Montseny, one of the most refreshing Barcelona, Spain, day trips

Landscape and farmhouse in the Montseny mountain | Adobe Stock © peresanz

If you just want a relaxing one-day getaway from Barcelona, Montseny is the destination of slow travel — nature-style. The Montseny National Park was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978 – and has a wide range of high mountains, low valleys, and marshes and is one of the best hikes near Barcelona. You can also go horseback riding, forage for mushrooms, or even get married here. One of the most impressive sites is from the highest mountain of Montseny, Turó de l’Home, peaking at 1,712 meters of altitude. Montseny is also surrounded by small villages like the quaint Santa Maria de Palautordera and Campins and has about 25 restaurants in the village area. Find out more about Montseny National Park, or if you want to know more about hiking, read this insightful post about a woman’s solo hike in Montseny.

Barcelona to Montseny: By train – You can stop at different places in the park. One way is to take the RENFE train line 2 and stop at Sant Celoni. They’ve also recently integrated a new “Bus Parc” which is an integrated RENFE ticket and Park Bus ticket!  Find out more here. By car – The fastest way is to take the AP-7 and exit “Sant Celoni”.Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a Montseny hiking tour 

  • Get a guided hiking tour exploring romanesque bridges, walking through scenic trails, while enjoying the countryside homes and lush foliage around you. And have a hearty lunch of organic, locally-sourced Catalan food! Book your Montseny Guided Hiking Tour with Lunch

WINE REGIONS + NATURE

19. The Ebro Region

An oasis: Balneario de la Fontcalda in the Terra Alta

Terres de l’Ebre (the “Ebro lands”) is at the very south of Catalonia. I’m generalizing the area because there is really so much to see. One area is the Terra Alta, which has wineries, olive oil mills, and hiking and cycling trails. One of my favorite places I discovered is the Balneario de la Fontcalda (see the image). Truly unexplored stone buildings, it’s an inland area, and I hate to say this, but it’s truly one of the local’s secrets. If you want to do the Via Verda, head toward the town of Arnés, which is where the 24-km hike begins. Via Verda means “green way”, and they’re natural bike and hiking paths such as the Val del Zafán, the Terra Alta Greenway. If you want to discover more Vias Verdes, go to this website

Tortosa majestically stands between the Ebro River and the urban landscape. Visit the Tortosa Cathedral, Gothic Palaces, and visit the medieval walls. It has an old Jewish quarter, which came about after the Muslims conquered the city in 1148. The muralla was constructed in the 14th century to protect the city and the Jews. Explore the Muslim, Christian and Jewish culture. If you want to sleep here, I recommend staying at is the Parador de Tortosa, a castle-turned-hotel.

One of the most underrated cities close to Barcelona

Tortosa: The River Ebro runs through it

From Barcelona to Tortosa: By train – Take the high-speed train, which takes over 2 hours and 20 minutes to get there. Visit the RENFE website for tickets. It goes direct, so it’s a great time to kick back and enjoy a film on the train! By car – it’s over 2 hours to get here and is around 180km south of Barcelona. Take the C-32 and AP-7. Toll roads apply. Rent a car from Auto EuropeFor the Via Verda: Take the C-43, T-333 to Prat de Comte, T-330 to Arnes, where you can start the Via Verda. Rent a bike at Egambi, Bicisports Aubanell, where they’ll help you get started on your bike route. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a day tour!  

Discover the wine region of the Terra Alta. Get picked up from your Barcelona hotel, then learn about the Terra Alta landscape and vineyards. Visit a winery, have a glass, and enjoy a local meal! Book your Terra Alta winery tour on Get Your Guide

20. Penedès Wine Region

The Montserrat hills peek behind the Freixenet winery. Adobe Stock | © ggfoto

If you’ve got a fondness for wine and cava, the nearby Penedès region is a romantic and fun place to explore. Nestled between Tarragon and Barcelona, Penedès produces high-quality red wines, white wines, and the local cava, the regional sparkling wine (not to be confused with champagne). There are over 280 wine cellars, and you’ll find huge estates like Freixenet and Codorniu, where they give in-depth and fun tours. If you have kids, they’ll enjoy the train that goes through the cellars of Freixenet. I loved it 🙂

From Barcelona to PenedèsBy train –  Getting to Penedès is easy, but you’ll need a car to hop from winery to winery. The most accessible train stop is near Freixenet. From the Barcelona Sants station, it only takes over 40 minutes. To get there, take the R4 Rodalíes train towards Sant Vicenç De Calders, and stop at “Sant Sadurni d’Anoia”. Freixenet is only 36 meters away. By car – Take the B-23 and the AP-7. Toll roads apply. It takes about 40 minutes. Compare lowest car rental rates on Auto Europe.

MAKE IT EASY – Book a winery day tour

Other Places to Visit Near Barcelona?

Here’s the dish on other popular towns you may have heard of, which I’m not fond of:

Lloret de Mar: This hugely popular resort town is on the Costa Brava and has some quality beaches and a stunning Catalan Gothic and modernist church, Iglesia de Sant Romà.  However, I don’t recommend it as a day trip as its overrun with high-rise hotels and holiday-makers. But this is where they sell t-shirts that say “What happens in Lloret de Mar stays in Lloret de Mar”.

Salou: Salou is another resort town on the Costa Dorada and is a huge draw for summer holiday goers. I stayed here this summer, and the ambiance is over-the-top touristy. But if you have kids, they say Port Aventura land and Ferrari Land is fantastic. That – I’ll probably go to, one day. It does have a gorgeous coastline at the Cap de Salou. It also has the caminos de ronda, the charming ancient footpaths lining the coast. 

Seriously, where should I go?

Don’t know where to travel from Barcelona?

If you’re short on time, go to Colonia Guell, Montserrat, or Sitges. They are easy places to travel from Barcelona.

If you want both medieval and beach, go to Tossa de Mar.

If you want to see another big city (but not as big as Barcelona), go to Girona or Tarragona.

If you want a charming fishing village, go to Cadaqués, Calella de Palafrugell, or Begur.

If you want nature but don’t want the beach, go to Montserrat, La Garrotxa, Terra Alta, or the Pyrenees.

If you want to visit a winery, go to La Garrotxa, Penedès, Terra Alta, or Montserrat. Alella (not on the list) is also nearby.

If you want to get sick of hearing people speak English and partying all the time, Go to Salou or Lloret de Mar. I kid. Not really.

Map of Barcelona Day Trips

Have any place outside Barcelona to add to the Best day trips near Barcelona? Which one?
Get practical, detailed information on the best day trips from Barcelona, Spain: how to get there, tours, tips, and a map.

About the Author Justine

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

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Leave a Comment:

3 comments
Nicole says November 26, 2018

Hi there,

I’ve really liked your article on the trips that you can do around Barcelona. I’ve visited many places which you’ve mentioned and they were all delightful! I would totally recommend the Montserrat and Montseny trip as well as Costa Brava (specifically Calella de Palafrugell).

Thank you for your articles!

Reply
    Justine says November 29, 2018

    Thanks, Nicole!

    Reply
Rafael says November 27, 2018

Excellent post by Justine. One more time you got it!

Reply
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