Exploring beyond Barcelona’s city limits unveils a world full of surprises. From serene mountain retreats to charming coastal towns, the area around Barcelona is a treasure trove of experiences.
And having lived in Spain for years, I’ve come to know the area around Barcelona almost as well as the city itself.
So fancy a break from the urban buzz? Whether it’s a day trip to the mystical Montserrat mountains or strolling through the historic streets of Girona. I’m here to guide you through the best day trips from Barcelona, each a unique journey into Catalonia’s heart.
Planning a trip to Barcelona last minute?
If you’re booking your trip to Barcelona last minute, I’ve got you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!
⭐ Most popular sights in Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia – tickets often sell out weeks in advance so get your entry ticket here (or entry tickets AND a guided tour here)
- Park Güell – grab your skip-the-line entry
- Casa Batlló – click here for tickets and audio guide
🌍 Top tours in Barcelona
- Montserrat Tour, Monastery and Winery (great day trip!)
- Flamenco Show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes (incredible night out)
- Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine, and History (all the highlights at once)
🛏️ Top hotels in Barcelona
- Ohla Barcelona (5-star luxury with an amazing rooftop pool)
- Seventy Barcelona (boutique hotel with beautiful décor)
- Àmfores Boutique Guest House (great budget option with superb location)
🚌 Want free public transport while you’re in Barcelona? Check out the Hola Barcelona travel card!
Best Day Trips from Barcelona
First on the list of great day trips from Barcelona is Montserrat. This unique mountain range, located about an hour from Barcelona by train, offers more than just striking natural beauty.
In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that while it’s not in the city itself, Montserrat is easily one of the best reasons to visit Barcelona.
The Montserrat Monastery, situated atop the mountain, is a significant cultural and spiritual site. It’s fascinating to see how the monastery blends into the rocky landscape.
For those who enjoy a good hike, the area is crisscrossed with trails suitable for various skill levels. The Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, with its rich history dating back from the 11th century and remarkable architecture, is a highlight not to be missed.
Fortunately, heading from Barcelona to Montserrat is super easy, as the train from Plaça Espanya station in Barcelona will take you there conveniently in about an hour and a half. That includes the time needed for taking the cable car you have to jump on to get to the top of Montserrat.
…or to really make a day of it, hop on this tour of Montserrat Tour, with Monastery and Winery visits to really discover everything this iconic mountain range has to offer (and, of course, transport all organized).
Starting with a scenic cogwheel train ride, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Montserrat’s peaks. Explore the historic Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, marvel at its stunning interiors, and if you wish, visit the revered Black Madonna.
You can choose between a half-day or a full-day tour, with the full-day option including a visit to an amazing boutique winery up in the mountains. You’ll get tapas or lunch, depending on your choice, learn about local winemaking, and enjoy a tasting session.
Safe to say, you’re in for a memorable day!
If you’re craving some sun, sea, and sand, look no further than the charming coastal town of Sitges. Just a 40-minute train ride from Barcelona, Sitges is known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back atmosphere.
Famous for its incredible beaches, Sitges also boasts an impressive array of historical buildings and cultural hotspots. If you’re interested in art, check out the Cau Ferrat Museum, once the home of artist Santiago Rusiñol. It provides a glimpse into the artistic heritage of the region.
The town is also known for its vibrant culinary scene, offering a chance to taste fresh local seafood and traditional Catalan dishes. And as the sun begins to set, experience the vibrant nightlife by visiting the numerous bars and clubs that line the town’s streets.
From cozy wine bars to all-night dance clubs, Sitges has something for everyone looking to let loose and have a great time – whether it’s just for a day or as a weekend trip from Barcelona!
A great, hassle-free way to see Sitges (and, bonus, Tarragona – which I’ll get to in a moment!) is with this Tarragona and Sitges Tour from Barcelona. This small group tour, capped at 8 people, honestly feels like a day out with friends.
You’ll get to wander through the ancient Roman ruins of Tarragona, soak up the artsy vibes in Sitges, and unwind on its beautiful beach.
Plus, your transport is all sorted with hotel pick-up and drop-off. It’s the perfect mix of history, culture, and relaxation!
Girona is only about an hour and a half away by train but feels like you’re stepping into a new world – and you sort of are! This city is a tapestry of history, with its well-preserved medieval architecture and narrow streets.
In particular, fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ might recognize some parts of the city – and there’s even a Game of Thrones walking tour of Girona if you don’t want to miss anything.
The Girona Cathedral stands tall in the center of town as a testament to various architectural styles and centuries of history. The Jewish Quarter, or El Call, is another fascinating part of Girona’s old town that’s worth exploring.
This historic area features narrow, winding streets and a rich history dating back to the 12th century. And don’t forget to explore the nearby Arab Baths, a tranquil oasis that transports you back to the days of Moorish rule.
(In fact, if you love history, this small group walking tour of Girona is a great way to learn more about the past 2,000 years that have taken place here.)
A walk along the Onyar River is a must-do, with the picturesque, brightly colored houses lining the riverbank. Girona is also renowned for its food, so it’s a great opportunity to explore Catalan cuisine, known for its diverse flavors and local ingredients.
If you want everything sorted out for you, the Girona and Costa Brava Full-Day Tour from Barcelona is a fantastic way to experience this. It takes you through the winding medieval streets of Girona and the dramatic landscapes of the Costa Brava.
Highlights include a visit to the picturesque fishing village of Calella de Palafurgell and the opportunity to learn about the ancient pathways of the Caminos de Ronda.
With a small-group setting and hotel pickup and drop-off included in Barcelona, it’s a very convenient (and fun!) way to spend your day.
Tarragona, about an hour’s train ride south of Barcelona, is a treasure trove of ancient history and Roman architecture, meaning that doing a city tour from Barcelona to Tarragona is a great idea for history buffs. In particular, this city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Spain.
The Roman amphitheater, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, is a highlight and offers a glimpse into the past. Plus, the Tarragona Cathedral, with its mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, is definitely worth a visit.
To learn more once you get here, this Roman Heritage Guided Walking Tour of Tarragona is a great option. They’ll take you to the amphitheater, Roman walls and more, while explaining all the incredible history of this part of Spain.
Besides its historical significance, Tarragona’s old town, with its narrow streets filled with vibrant cafes and shops, offers a relaxing ambiance. The city’s proximity to the beach makes it an ideal spot for those who want to combine history with some leisure time by the sea (and maybe a coffee or an ice cream while you’re at it).
5. Penedès Wine Region
The Penedès Wine Region, approximately a 45-minute drive from Barcelona, is a must-visit for wine aficionados. Renowned for its exceptional wines and sparkling cavas, this region offers an unforgettable day trip experience for wine enthusiasts and culinary explorers alike.
Begin your adventure with a visit to one of the many wineries in the area, such as the world-famous Freixenet or Codorníu, both known for their outstanding cavas. Take a guided tour of the vineyards, learn about the wine-making process, and indulge in tastings of their finest products.
For a more intimate experience, consider exploring some of the smaller, family-owned wineries in the region, such as Albet i Noya or Can Ràfols dels Caus, where you can enjoy a personalized tour and sample unique, locally-produced wines.
If you’re keen to do wine tastings while you’re here, it’s much better to have someone else do the driving for you from Barcelona. And that’s exactly why I recommend this Penedès Vineyards Tour.
You’ll head to two boutique wineries with tastings of three wines and four types of cava with local cheese and charcuterie. From there, you’ll be taken on a 4×4 adventure tour of the historic 2,000 year old vineyards, including a 10th century chapel on the estate.
It’s a seriously good day tour, perfect for those wanting a full experience of the famous Penedès wine region.
In addition to its wine offerings, the Penedès region is home to charming towns and picturesque landscapes. Visit the quaint village of Vilafranca del Penedès, where you can wander through the bustling market, admire the historic architecture, and sample delicious local cuisine at a cozy restaurant.
Journey to the enchanting town of Besalú, a well-preserved medieval gem located just under 2 hours away from Barcelona by car. This small town is a real step back in time with its well-preserved medieval architecture.
Besalú is famous for its iconic 12th-century Romanesque bridge that spans the Fluvià river, providing a stunning entrance to the town. Walking through the old streets, you’ll encounter a range of historic buildings, including the Church of Sant Pere, a beautiful Romanesque structure dating back to the 10th century, and the remains of a medieval synagogue.
History enthusiasts will also appreciate the Jewish Quarter, where you can explore the remnants of a once-thriving Jewish community, including the fascinating Miqvé, a well-preserved medieval Jewish ritual bath. The town’s cozy cafes and artisan shops add to its charm, making it a perfect place to wander and explore at a leisurely pace.
Want to see three of the best medieval villages in Catalonia in one day, including Besalú? This Medieval Villages Day Tour from Barcelona is for you.
You’ll wander through Besalú’s medieval streets, discover Rupit’s quaint bridges and houses, and marvel at Tavertet’s stunning cliff-top views. It’s incredibly picturesque with fascinating history – and, of course, plenty of photo ops.
Even the drive back to Barcelona is beyond scenic, with sweeping views of forests and mountains as you go.
7. Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar, a charming seaside town along the Costa Brava, is just 1.5 hours away from Barcelona by car or bus.
(I recommend this Costa Brava day tour for seeing the best of this town. You’ll get to explore Tossa de Mar with an expert guide, enjoy the area’s amazing seafood, and get to sail off the coast to enjoy the incredible landscapes – and, of course, some time on the Mediterranean!)
This coastal town is famous for its stunning beaches and the impressive medieval fortress, Vila Vella, that dominates the town’s skyline. The fortress, with its towers and walls, provides panoramic views of the coastline and the town.
Inside, you’ll find cobbled streets, quaint houses, and local artisan shops. You’ll be able to take in the stunning views and well-preserved medieval architecture, including a visit to the remains of the Castle of Tossa de Mar.
The town’s beaches, such as Platja Gran, are perfect for a relaxing day by the sea, with the nearby Cala Pola or Cala Bona letting you enjoy even calmer surroundings and crystal-clear waters. Tossa de Mar also has a vibrant culinary scene, with plenty of options to try fresh seafood and traditional Catalan dishes.
Art lovers, rejoice! Figueres, the birthplace of surrealist master Salvador Dalí, is a must-visit destination just an hour and a half from Barcelona by train.
The star attraction of this small Catalan town is undoubtedly the Dalí Theatre-Museum, as it houses an extensive collection of the artist’s works. You’ll have the chance to explore the museum’s labyrinth of rooms, where you’ll find everything from Dalí’s most famous paintings to lesser-known sculptures, drawings, and even furniture.
Beyond the museum, Figueres offers a charming old town with a lively atmosphere, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a bite to eat at one of the local tapas bars. You can even choose to explore the 18th-century Sant Ferran Castle, one of the largest fortresses in Europe, offering panoramic views of the town and surrounding landscape.
If you want to see the highlights of Figueres – with a bonus trip to another beautiful town, Cadaqués, which I’ll mention in a moment – this Figueres and Cadaqués day tour from Barcelona is a great option.
With your expert guide, you’ll explore the weird world of Salvador Dalí, starting at the Dalí Museum in his hometown, Figueres.
Then, depending on the season, you’ll either wander through the picturesque streets of Cadaqués, soaking up the beach vibes, or visit a beautiful medieval town and Dalí’s enchanting Pubol Castle.
Let’s just say you’re in for a day full of surreal art, stunning landscapes, and incredible history.
9. Castellfollit de la Roca
Castellfollit de la Roca, a picturesque town in Catalonia, sits dramatically on a slender basalt cliff rising over 50 meters high. This town, with its ancient stone houses perched precariously on the cliff’s edge, offers a view you’re unlikely to forget.
Although it’s one of the smaller towns in the region, its stunning location and quaint streets make it an ideal destination for photography enthusiasts and those seeking a distinct experience. The town is celebrated for its local products, providing a wonderful opportunity to sample Catalan culinary delights.
Reaching Castellfollit de la Roca involves a scenic, roughly two-hour drive from Barcelona. The journey itself is an experience, passing through some captivating landscapes.
And for those preferring a stress-free organized trip, consider joining the guided Medieval Villages Day Tour from Barcelona that I mentioned earlier – it also includes a stop at Castellfollit de la Roca!
Cadaqués is a picturesque town on the Costa Brava. Known for its whitewashed houses and cobblestone streets, it’s like stepping into a postcard.
This town gained fame as a favorite spot of Salvador Dalí, and you can visit his house in the nearby Portlligat, which has been converted into a museum. The rugged coastline around Cadaqués is stunning, with small coves and beaches to explore.
In fact, once you arrive, take a leisurely walk along the waterfront promenade, where you’ll find local artists selling their creations and inviting cafes perfect for a seaside snack. Wander through the maze of charming streets, and don’t miss the beautiful Church of Santa Maria, offering panoramic views of the town and the coast.
The town itself offers a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for strolling through the streets and exploring local art galleries. The local cuisine here, particularly seafood, is a highlight, and you’ll find many restaurants offering fresh and tasty dishes.
Getting to Cadaqués is a bit of an adventure – it’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Barcelona. The roads are winding but offer some spectacular views. There’s no direct train, so driving is your best bet.
…or, of course, there’s always that Figueres and Cadaqués day tour from Barcelona I spoke about above. It will get you there with zero hassle on your side – and will make sure you see all the highlights!
(Just keep in mind that the tour doesn’t include Cadaqués in July and August, as it visits somewhere else then. But the rest of the year, you’re good to go.)
Miravet, a small yet captivating town, is renowned for its traditional pottery. The town is dominated by a striking Templar castle, set high above the Ebro River. The effort to climb to the castle is rewarded with expansive views.
The Ebro River enhances Miravet’s allure, offering options for a peaceful boat ride or a stroll along its banks. You can also opt for a guided kayaking tour of the Ebro River from Miravet to learn about the area’s rich history and natural beauty.
Miravet’s serene ambiance makes it an ideal spot for relaxation. A car journey of about two hours from Barcelona is the most practical way to reach this somewhat off-the-beaten-path location.
Montblanc, located about an hour and forty-five minutes by car from Barcelona, is a hidden gem steeped in medieval history. The town is encircled by well-preserved medieval walls and gates, and wandering through its narrow streets feels like a journey back in time.
Begin your visit by exploring the town’s ancient walls, which date back to the 14th century and offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, admiring the charming stone houses adorned with colorful flower boxes, and make your way to the impressive Gothic-style Santa Maria Church.
History buffs will particularly love the various landmarks and monuments scattered throughout the town, such as the medieval Pont Vell (Old Bridge) and the picturesque Plaça Major, the heart of Montblanc’s social life. If you’re visiting during late April, don’t miss the Medieval Week, a lively festival that celebrates Montblanc’s rich history with reenactments, artisan markets, and more.
Just a stone’s throw from Barcelona, Badalona presents its unique allure, often overshadowed by its famous neighbor. The beach here is particularly noteworthy – it offers the same scenic beauty as Barcelona’s beaches but with fewer crowds.
A leisurely walk along the Badalona promenade is a great experience, especially on a sunny day. The city also boasts a rich historical tapestry, highlighted by the Roman ruins of the ancient city of Baetulo.
A visit to the Badalona Museum is also a good way to explore this history. Conveniently, Badalona is very accessible from Barcelona, being just a 15-minute train or car ride away, making it an ideal destination for an impromptu day trip.
And as a more luxurious alternative, why not check out this catamaran tour from Barcelona to Badalona – with a winery visit included!
You’ll relax on the luxury catamaran, drink in hand, as you take in Barcelona’s skyline from the sea. Then, you’ll be whisked off to a beautiful local winery where you’ll explore vineyards, learn about organic winemaking, and enjoy a wine tasting with local snacks.
It’s a perfect mix of sea, sun, and sips – all in an easy 4-hour getaway.
A little over an hour away from Barcelona by train, the delightful town of Vic offers a blend of history, culture, and picturesque beauty that makes it an ideal day trip destination. Renowned for its well-preserved medieval center and bustling markets, Vic provides a charming escape from the city.
Begin your exploration in the vibrant Plaça Major, the heart of Vic’s old town, surrounded by colorful arcaded buildings and bustling with activity. This lively square hosts a popular market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, perfect for picking up local products (Vic is also famous for its cured meats, particularly salchichón) or simply people-watching from one of the many terrace cafes.
Take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Vic Cathedral, a stunning example of a mix of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, and Neoclassical. Don’t miss the chance to visit the adjacent Episcopal Museum, which houses an impressive collection of medieval art and artifacts.
It’s not all about history though, as nature lovers should head to the nearby Parc de S’Armengou, a great green space that offers walking trails, picnic spots, and beautiful views of the town and the surrounding countryside. With its rich history and charming atmosphere, Vic is a delightful destination that will leave you eager to return.
Cardona, situated about an hour and a half’s drive from Barcelona, is a town steeped in history and natural beauty. The most striking feature of Cardona is its imposing castle, which dates back to the 9th century.
The Castle of Cardona, perched on a hilltop, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valley. This historic fortress also houses the Collegiate Church of Sant Vicenç, a fine example of Catalan Romanesque architecture.
And for an unforgettable experience, consider booking a guided tour of the castle’s medieval tower, known as the Torre de la Minyona, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Next, venture to the nearby Cardona Salt Mountain Cultural Park, a truly unique attraction showcasing one of the most important salt deposits in the world. Take a guided tour of the former salt mine, now a fascinating museum, and learn about the history and significance of salt extraction in the region.
Cardona’s charming old town, with its narrow streets and lovely squares, is also worth a visit. Take a leisurely walk and admire the beautiful Romanesque Church of Sant Miquel, a testament to the town’s rich history and architectural heritage.
16. Lloret de Mar
Lloret de Mar, about an hour’s drive from Barcelona, is a popular coastal destination known for its vibrant beaches and lively atmosphere. While it’s a favorite spot for those seeking a lively beach scene, Lloret de Mar also has a cultural side worth exploring.
The town’s main attraction is the Castle of Sant Joan, an ancient fortress with parts dating back to the 11th century, offering panoramic views of the coastline. For a more tranquil experience, the Santa Clotilde Gardens, situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, provide a serene and picturesque setting.
The town’s maritime promenade is lined with restaurants and shops, making it a great place to enjoy local seafood and do some shopping.
About an hour’s drive from Barcelona, Blanes is a coastal town that offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Known as the “Gateway to the Costa Brava,” Blanes is famous for its stunning beaches and the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, one of Europe’s most important botanical gardens with a breathtaking array of plants and spectacular sea views.
Another highlight is the Sa Palomera Rock, a large rock that marks the start of the Costa Brava and provides stunning views of the coastline. For history enthusiasts, the Castillo de San Juan, a medieval castle perched on a hill, offers a glimpse into the past and panoramic views of the town.
The town center of Blanes is vibrant, with a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it a great place to explore and enjoy local cuisine.
18. Sant Cugat del Vallès
Sant Cugat del Vallès, located just a 30-minute train ride from Barcelona, is a charming town with a rich history. The most notable attraction in Sant Cugat is the Monastery of Sant Cugat, an impressive example of Catalan medieval architecture dating back to the 9th century with one of the most beautiful cloisters in the region.
Stroll through the narrow, winding streets of Sant Cugat’s old town, stopping to admire the beautiful Plaça Octaviano, a bustling square surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Modernist-style Casa Aymat, a stunning example of early 20th-century architecture.
For a dose of nature, head to Parc Central, a beautiful green space that offers walking paths, a pond, and ample spots for picnicking or simply relaxing under the shade of trees.
Sant Cugat offers a relaxing atmosphere with its pedestrian-friendly streets, lovely parks, and a variety of cafes and restaurants where you can savor local dishes and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle.
Immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural treasures of Terrassa, a city located just a 40-minute train ride from Barcelona. Known for its significant collection of Modernist buildings and ancient Roman ruins, Terrassa offers a unique day trip experience that caters to both history enthusiasts and architecture buffs.
Begin your visit by exploring the Vallparadís Park, a sprawling green space that houses the fascinating Terrassa Museum, which includes the Castle of Vallparadís and the Iberian settlement of Les Martines. Wander through the park’s picturesque grounds, taking in the beauty of the surrounding nature and the historic sites it encompasses.
Make your way to the Plaça Vella, a lively square surrounded by charming buildings, cafes, and shops. Here, you’ll find the impressive Romanesque Church of Sant Pere, a historic complex consisting of three churches that showcase distinct architectural styles from the 5th to the 12th centuries.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Terrassa’s Modernist heritage, with highlights such as the Casa Alegre de Sagrera, the Vapor Aymerich, Amat i Jover textile mill (now the Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia), and the stunning Masia Freixa, a beautiful example of Modernist architecture designed by Lluís Muncunill.
20. Montseny Natural Park
Montseny Natural Park, located about an hour’s drive from Barcelona, is a natural paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. This UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve boasts a diverse landscape with lush forests, rolling hills, and serene streams. It’s a perfect place for hiking, with trails suitable for all levels, offering stunning views of the Catalan countryside.
Whether you prefer leisurely walks or challenging hikes, Montseny Natural Park offers a variety of trails to suit all levels of fitness and experience. Trek through lush forests, climb rugged peaks, or meander along the banks of crystal-clear streams, all while taking in the park’s incredible biodiversity.
For those interested in the cultural heritage of the area, be sure to visit the Montseny Ethnological Museum, which provides insight into the traditional way of life in the region. Alternatively, explore the picturesque villages nestled within the park’s boundaries, such as Viladrau, Santa Fe del Montseny, or Seva, where you can enjoy local cuisine and experience the warmth of the welcoming communities.
Mataró, located about a 40-minute train ride from Barcelona, is a coastal city with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Boasting a rich history, lovely beaches, and a thriving cultural scene, Mataró provides a great day trip from Barcelona for those looking to explore the lesser-known gems of Catalonia.
Start your day at one of Mataró’s beautiful beaches, such as Platja del Callao or Platja de Sant Simó, where you can soak up the sun, take a refreshing dip in the Mediterranean, or try your hand at water sports like paddleboarding or sailing.
From there, head into the city’s rich history by visiting the Roman villa of Torre Llauder, an archaeological site that offers insight into Mataró’s ancient past. Wander through the charming old town, stopping to admire the Basilica of Santa Maria, a striking example of Gothic architecture, or the Modernist buildings designed by the renowned architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
For art lovers, the Fundació Iluro is a must-visit, showcasing a diverse collection of contemporary art in a beautifully restored 18th-century building. Round off your day with a visit to one of Mataró’s lively bars or restaurants, where you can savor delicious seafood dishes and soak up the local atmosphere.
Castelldefels, just a 30-minute train ride from Barcelona, is a coastal town that offers a perfect blend of beach relaxation and historical exploration. Boasting a magnificent beach, a historic castle, and a variety of leisure activities, Castelldefels is an ideal day trip destination for relaxation-seekers and adventure enthusiasts alike.
Kick off your visit by heading to the massive Platja de Castelldefels, a 5 km stretch of golden sand and inviting Mediterranean waters. This beautiful beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or taking part in water sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, and paddleboarding.
Anyone who’s keen on history won’t want to miss the Castle of Castelldefels, a hilltop fortress dating back to the 10th century. Wander through the castle’s grounds and enjoy panoramic views of the town and the surrounding coastline.
Nature lovers will appreciate a visit to the Canal Olímpic de Catalunya, a water sports facility originally built for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Here, you can rent kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddleboards and explore the peaceful waterways surrounded by lush vegetation.
23. Vilanova i la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú, approximately a 45-minute train journey from Barcelona, is a great seaside town with a rich maritime heritage. Known for its beautiful beaches, bustling marina, and rich cultural heritage, Vilanova i la Geltrú offers a fun day trip from Barcelona that caters to a wide range of interests.
Spend a relaxing day at one of the town’s incredible beaches, such as Platja del Far, Platja de Ribes Roges, or the quieter Cala Ginesta. Bask in the sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or get moving with activities like beach volleyball or paddleboarding.
Immerse yourself in the town’s history by visiting the Vilanova i la Geltrú Railway Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of vintage locomotives and rolling stock. Alternatively, explore the charming old town, with its narrow streets, traditional shops, and the impressive neoclassical-style Church of Sant Antoni Abat.
For a taste of the local culinary scene, head to the bustling La Geltrú Fish Market or enjoy a delicious seafood meal at one of the many restaurants along the marina.
24. Horta de Sant Joan
Horta de Sant Joan is a hidden treasure up in the mountains, renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery. Famed as a place of inspiration for Picasso, who claimed to have learned much during his time here, the town exudes an artistic legacy.
One of its main attractions is the Parc Natural dels Ports, a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts, featuring rugged landscapes and numerous trails. The town itself, with its historical stone buildings and narrow alleys, transports visitors to a bygone era.
Just keep in mind that getting to Horta de Sant Joan requires a bit of travel, approximately two and a half hours by car from Barcelona, as there’s no direct train service to this scenic mountain retreat.
Siurana, a bit further from Barcelona, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This small village sits atop a cliff, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Adding to its dramatic appeal are the ruins of an ancient castle, creating a scene straight out of a fairy tale. The village, with its quaint streets and traditional stone houses, transports visitors to another time.
Siurana is a popular spot for climbers and hikers due to its challenging terrain and picturesque trails. However, its natural beauty alone is enough reason to visit, even for those who aren’t into adventurous sports.
Reaching Siurana is an adventure in itself, involving about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Barcelona, as there’s no direct public transport option. That said, a car journey to this clifftop village is well worth the effort.
What is the closest beach town to Barcelona?
While there are several lovely beaches within Barcelona itself, the closest beach town to the city is Castelldefels. Located just 25 minutes away by train or car, Castelldefels offers a laid-back atmosphere, an expansive stretch of golden sand, and a variety of water sports and leisure activities.
With its picturesque beach, historic castle, and lively promenade, Castelldefels is an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy the Mediterranean coast without venturing too far from the city.
What beach towns are by train from Barcelona?
The beautiful coastal region of Catalonia boasts numerous picturesque beach towns that can be easily accessed by train from Barcelona.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, these charming destinations offer sun, sand, and a relaxed atmosphere perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway:
- Sitges: Just a 30-minute train ride from Barcelona, Sitges is known for its beautiful beaches and historic old town. With a lively promenade, fantastic restaurants, and a range of cultural attractions, Sitges is a popular choice for those looking to enjoy the Mediterranean coast.
- Mataró: Located only 30 minutes away by train, Mataró offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and beautiful beaches. Spend a relaxing day at Platja del Callao or Platja de Sant Simó, and explore the city’s rich history by visiting the Roman villa of Torre Llauder or the Modernist buildings designed by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
- Castelldefels: A 25-minute train ride from Barcelona, Castelldefels is known for its expansive 5 km-long beach, Platja de Castelldefels, and its historic hilltop castle. The town also offers numerous water sports and leisure activities, making it an ideal destination for a fun-filled day trip.
- Vilanova i la Geltrú: Just 45 minutes away by train, Vilanova i la Geltrú boasts beautiful beaches, a bustling marina, and a rich cultural heritage. Relax at Platja del Far or Platja de Ribes Roges, and explore the town’s history by visiting the Vilanova i la Geltrú Railway Museum or the charming old town.
- Calella: Approximately an hour’s train journey from Barcelona, Calella is a family-friendly destination with a lovely beach and a range of attractions suitable for all ages. Enjoy sunbathing and swimming at Platja Gran de Calella or stroll through the town’s pedestrianized shopping streets.
- Blanes: Situated 1.5 hours away by train, Blanes is known as the “Gateway to the Costa Brava” and features beautiful beaches, botanical gardens, and historic sites. Spend a relaxing day at Platja de Blanes or S’Abanell Beach, and explore the town’s history by visiting the Castle of Sant Joan.
These beach towns, all easily accessible by train from Barcelona, offer diverse experiences and attractions for those looking to venture out of the city.
Is Sitges Worth a Day Trip?
Absolutely! Sitges is a charming coastal town that has gained popularity due to its beautiful beaches, historic old town, and vibrant cultural scene. Just a 30-minute train ride from Barcelona, Sitges is an easily accessible destination that offers a delightful change of pace from the bustling city.
With 17 sandy beaches to choose from, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun. The town also boasts a picturesque promenade lined with palm trees, where you can take a leisurely stroll, dine at one of the many waterfront restaurants, or simply enjoy the stunning sea views.
Sitges is known for its rich cultural heritage and artistic atmosphere, with a range of museums and galleries to explore, including the Cau Ferrat Museum and the Maricel Museum. The town’s historic center is a maze of narrow, cobbled streets that are home to beautiful architecture, such as the Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, as well as quaint boutiques and cozy cafes.
The town also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Sitges International Film Festival and the famous Sitges Carnival. No matter when you visit, you’re likely to find something exciting happening in this vibrant town.
Is it Worth Going to Tarragona?
Yes, a visit to Tarragona is absolutely worth it, especially for history and culture enthusiasts. This fascinating city, located about 1 hour and 10 minutes away from Barcelona by train, boasts a rich Roman history, impressive architectural landmarks, and a captivating old town.
Tarragona is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the magnificent Roman amphitheater, which once hosted gladiatorial battles and is now a must-visit attraction. Other significant Roman sites include the impressive Tarragona Cathedral, the Roman Circus, and the ancient city walls.
The city’s old town, known as Part Alta, is a treasure trove of narrow, winding streets, charming squares, and picturesque plazas. Take a leisurely stroll through this historic area, stopping to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, visit local shops, and dine at one of the many delightful restaurants.
In addition to its historical sites, Tarragona also hosts a variety of festivals and cultural events throughout the year, such as the Tarraco Viva Festival, which celebrates the city’s Roman heritage with reenactments, workshops, and exhibitions.
Does Tarragona Have a Nice Beach?
Yes, Tarragona has several lovely beaches where you can relax and enjoy the Mediterranean sun. The city’s main beach, Platja del Miracle, is located just a short walk from the city center and features golden sand, calm waters, and a range of facilities, including sunbed and umbrella rentals, showers, and restrooms.
For a more secluded experience, consider visiting one of the smaller beaches in the area, such as Platja de l’Arrabassada, Platja de la Savinosa, or Platja Fonda. These tranquil spots offer a more serene atmosphere and are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or simply taking in the beautiful surroundings.