When it comes to weekend trips from Barcelona, you’re seriously spoiled for choice. From serene beach towns to historic cities to even different countries, each offers a unique slice of Spanish life just a short journey away.
As someone who lives in Spain and has had the chance to spend a ton of time in Barcelona, I’ve got plenty of insider tips on the best spots to check out. That’s why, in this article, I’m going to share all my favorite weekend getaways from Barcelona.
Each one has something special to offer, whether you’re looking for history, beaches, or just a change of scenery. Stick around, and I’ll show you some of the best places to visit that are just a short trip away from Barcelona.
Best weekend trips from Barcelona
If you’re based in Barcelona and looking for a great weekend getaway, Valencia should definitely be on your list (and sure, I may be biased as I live here, but hear me out!). It’s a vibrant mix of modern and traditional Spanish life, and getting there is a breeze – about 3.5 hours by car or train, or just an hour by flight.
(My personal choice? Always the train. It’s comfortable, quick and you’ll start and end in the city center – no messing around with airports.)
Why Valencia, you ask? Well, it’s not just the home of paella (though that’s a big plus). The city is a perfect blend of history, with its gothic monuments, and cutting-edge design – think the City of Arts and Sciences, an architectural marvel.
Spend your Saturday strolling through the Turia Gardens, converted from an old riverbed, and then hit up the historic Central Market for some local treats. Continue through the historic Old Town where the Valencia Cathedral, claimed to house the Holy Grail, is a must-see.
From there, wander through the narrow streets and discover the Plaza de la Virgen and the bustling Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
Sunday could be all about the beach – Valencia has some fantastic sandy stretches right near the city. Or, if you’re more of a culture vulture, the Museum of Fine Arts is a must-visit with its collection of Spanish masters.
Now, where to stay? Valencia has options for every budget.
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Dimar – A sleek, modern hotel located right at the heart of the city. It’s close to everything and offers comfortable, stylish rooms.
- Best luxury hotel: Caro Hotel – This boutique hotel is a blend of luxury and history, set in a 19th-century palace. Perfect for a special treat!
- Best budget hotel: Cosmo Hotel Boutique – Great value for money, with chic, colorful rooms and a rooftop terrace to enjoy those Valencia views.
Girona is just a short trip from Barcelona (about one hour and 10 minutes by car or 40 minute by train). This city is a real charmer, with its medieval streets and stunning old town.
It’s small enough to explore over a weekend but packed with history. And if you don’t have that much time to spare, it can even be done in a (packed, but doable) day!
For a weekend trip though, start your day with a walk along the city walls for some amazing views, then head into the Jewish Quarter, one of the best-preserved in Europe.
Don’t miss the Girona Cathedral – it’s got the widest Gothic nave in the world! And if you’re a fan of ‘Game of Thrones,’ you’ll recognize both the Cathedral and some of the city’s ancient streets from the show.
Foodies, you’re in luck. Girona also has some incredible dining spots, from cozy tapas bars to upscale restaurants.
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Nord 1901 – This hotel is right in the heart of the old town, with spacious rooms and a lovely courtyard pool.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Camiral at PGA Catalunya Resort – For a touch of luxury, this hotel offers a golf course, spa, and exquisite dining.
- Best budget hotel: Ibis Girona Costa Brava – A reliable, affordable option with all the essentials, located a short drive from the city center.
Cadaqués is about two hours by car from Barcelona or 3.5 hours by train, but whichever mode of transport you pick, this little seaside town is an absolute gem. Famous for being Salvador Dalí’s summer home, Cadaqués has a unique charm with its whitewashed buildings and crystal-clear waters.
Spend your weekend wandering the cobbled streets, visiting the Salvador Dalí House-Museum in nearby Portlligat, and of course, soaking up the sun on the beach.
The town’s relaxed vibe is perfect for unwinding, although don’t forget to leave time for a visit to the church of Santa Maria, which offers a stunning view of the town and sea.
Seafood lovers, rejoice! Cadaqués has some of the freshest seafood around, best enjoyed at a seaside restaurant with a view of the Mediterranean.
On Sunday, explore the area’s natural beauty. The Cap de Creus National Park, just a short drive from Cadaqués, offers breathtaking landscapes and secluded coves. It’s a perfect spot for hiking or a leisurely picnic.
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Playa Sol – Located right on the waterfront, this hotel offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Boutique Horta d’en Rahola – A beautiful boutique hotel with stylish rooms and excellent service.
- Best budget hotel: Hostal Marina Cadaqués – A charming, budget-friendly option in the heart of Cadaqués, just steps from the beach.
Looking for a blend of beach and history? Then Tarragona is your ideal weekend getaway from Barcelona.
It’s super easy to get to – about one hour and 10 minutes by car or train. Trust me, the train ride is a breeze and lets you skip the hassle of parking.
Once in Tarragona, you’re stepping into a city where ancient Roman history is alive and kicking. In particular, the Roman amphitheater by the sea is an absolute must-see.
Imagine gladiators battling it out with the Mediterranean as their backdrop. But the Roman ruins aren’t just confined to the amphitheater – the entire city is dotted with them.
And Tarragona isn’t just about ancient history. The city’s old quarter is a lovely place to wander around, with narrow lanes full of small shops and cafes.
And hey, if you’re a beach person, Tarragona has some lovely sandy spots to relax on.
For a great place to stay, check out these options:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Lauria – Right on the Rambla Nova, the main street, it’s perfect for exploring the city.
- Best luxury hotel: AC Hotel Tarragona by Marriott – A touch of luxury with modern amenities and close to all major attractions.
- Best budget hotel: Catalunya Express – A great choice for budget travelers, offering comfort without breaking the bank.
Now, let’s talk about Montserrat. It’s a unique mountain range about an hour’s drive from Barcelona, or two hours by train.
If you don’t have a car already, there’s no need to hire one just for this trip, as the train is fine. That said, you can skip those options altogether if you’d rather have someone do everything for you and take a day trip to Montserrat.
Whichever option you choose, Montserrat is home to the famous Montserrat Monastery, a site of religious significance and a beacon of Catalan culture. The mountain itself, with its unique rock formations, is almost otherworldly. You can take a funicular or hike to get some breathtaking views.
The monastery hosts the famous ‘Black Madonna’ and is a hub for pilgrims and tourists alike. If you’re into hiking, there are numerous trails around the mountain offering stunning vistas.
For music lovers, try to catch a performance by the Montserrat Boys Choir, one of the oldest in Europe.
Here are some great accommodation options in Montserrat:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Abat Cisneros Montserrat – Historical and right next to the monastery, it’s perfect for a full Montserrat experience.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Bruc – While not a traditional luxury hotel, it offers comfort and excellent views of the mountain.
- Best budget hotel: Hostal Guilleumes – A cozy, affordable option, it’s great for travelers looking to enjoy nature without overspending.
For an even more foreign weekend trip from Barcelona, venture a bit further across the border to Andorra.
It’s a small principality nestled between Spain and France, and it’s about 2.5 hours by car from Barcelona. The train takes a bit longer, around 3.5 hours, but the scenic journey is worth it.
Andorra is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, especially if you’re visiting in the winter for skiing. But it’s not just about winter sports – in the summer, the mountains offer beautiful hikes, mountain biking, and stunning scenery.
The capital, Andorra la Vella, is known for its duty-free shopping, so it’s a great place to grab some bargains. Also, don’t miss the Caldea, one of Europe’s largest spa complexes, for some relaxation after a day of mountain activities.
Check out these hotels for your stay in Andorra:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel de l’Isard – Comfortable and centrally located in Andorra la Vella, it’s ideal for both shopping and mountain access.
- Best luxury hotel: Andorra Park Hotel – Offers a bit of luxury with spacious rooms and an outdoor pool, perfect for unwinding.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Pyrénées – A great budget-friendly option with basic amenities and a prime location in the capital.
Vilafranca del Penedès
Alright, let’s talk about Vilafranca del Penedès, a dream destination for wine lovers. Just around 50 minutes by car or an hour by train from Barcelona, it’s the heart of Catalonia’s wine country.
The train journey is pretty relaxing and lets you enjoy the scenic views without the stress of driving.
Vilafranca is famous for its vineyards and cava (Spanish sparkling wine) production. Spend your Saturday touring some of the wineries, tasting different varieties of wine, and learning about the winemaking process.
The town itself is charming, with a beautiful old quarter and the impressive Santa Maria Basilica.
On Sunday, explore the Vinseum – the Museum of Wine Cultures of Catalonia. It’s not just about wine; it’s about the culture and history of the region.
Later, take a leisurely stroll in the town’s market square, Plaça de Jaume I, and enjoy some local cuisine.
Here are some great places to stay in Vilafranca del Penedès:
- Best overall hotel: Mercer Casa Torner i Güell – A modern hotel in a historical building, offering a blend of comfort and character.
- Best luxury hotel: Cava & Hotel Mastinell – Nestled in the vineyards, it’s perfect for a luxurious wine country experience.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Basic – A straightforward, no-frills option that offers great value for your stay.
Next up, for all the thrill-seekers and families, is PortAventura World, about one hour and 15 minutes car or half an hour longer than that by train from Barcelona.
(The train might be your best bet here, as it drops you right near the park.)
PortAventura World is one of Europe’s most iconic theme parks, with something for everyone. It has six themed areas, each with its own unique attractions, shows, and restaurants.
In particular, Ferrari Land, with the highest and fastest vertical accelerator in Europe, is a must-visit for adrenaline junkies.
Spend your Saturday getting your heart racing on the rides and enjoying the live shows. On Sunday, you can either go back for more theme park fun or relax at Caribe Aquatic Park, the water park with a Caribbean theme.
Here’s where to stay when visiting PortAventura World:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel PortAventura – Located within the park, it offers easy access to all the attractions.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Mansión de Lucy – Offers a more luxurious experience with themed rooms and exclusive benefits.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel El Paso – A budget-friendly option, it’s themed and adds to the overall experience of the park visit.
Peníscola is a bit of a longer journey – around two hours and 15 minutes by car or three hours by train from Barcelona – but totally worth it for a weekend trip. The car gives you more flexibility, but the train journey is a stress-free way to enjoy the Spanish countryside (and you don’t need a car once you get there).
Peníscola is often referred to as the “City in the Sea”, and you’ll see why as soon as you get there. The town is perched on a rocky headland, with the Mediterranean Sea surrounding it on three sides.
The highlight is the stunning Templar castle, once the residence of Pope Benedict XIII. The views from the castle walls over the sea are truly memorable.
Spend your Saturday exploring the castle and wandering through the old town’s narrow streets, full of small shops and charming cafes. The beaches here are also fantastic – perfect for a relaxing afternoon.
On Sunday, take a walk along the promenade and enjoy some fresh seafood in one of the beachside restaurants. For nature lovers, the Sierra de Irta Natural Park is just a short drive away and offers beautiful hiking trails and secluded coves.
Here are some great accommodation options in Peníscola:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel RH PortoCristo – A modern hotel right on the beachfront, offering great views and convenience.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Boutique La Mar – A smaller, boutique option for a more intimate and upscale stay.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Bodegón – A budget-friendly choice that doesn’t skimp on comfort and is close to all the main attractions.
Head to Sitges if you’re looking for a charming coastal town that’s just a stone’s throw from Barcelona – around 40 minutes by car or train. Trust me, the train is super convenient, and you’ll avoid the sometimes tricky parking situation in Sitges.
Sitges is famous for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and a fantastic array of restaurants. It’s also known for its Film Festival and Carnival.
But there’s more to Sitges than just partying. The town boasts a lovely old quarter with the striking Church of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla as its crown jewel.
Spend your Saturday exploring the Cau Ferrat Museum, once the home-studio of artist Santiago Rusiñol, and the Maricel Museum, both showcasing impressive art collections. After soaking up some culture, hit one of the many beaches for a relaxing afternoon under the sun.
Sunday is perfect for leisurely strolls along the promenade and maybe a bit of shopping in the boutique stores. If you’re a fan of good food and wine, the local restaurants and bars will not disappoint.
Here’s where to stay in Sitges:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Medium Sitges Park – Set in a striking modernist building in the historic center, it offers comfort and convenience.
- Best luxury hotel: ME Sitges Terramar – A stylish beachfront hotel that offers a touch of luxury and stunning sea views.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel El Cid – A great choice for budget travelers, offering clean, comfortable rooms and a friendly atmosphere.
Next up, we’re crossing the border to Perpignan, France, about two hours by car or three hours by train from Barcelona. If you’re up for a little international flavor, the train journey is quite scenic and hassle-free.
Perpignan, with its unique blend of French and Catalan cultures, is a city that’s often overlooked but full of surprises. The Palace of the Kings of Majorca and the Castillet are must-visits, giving you a glimpse into the city’s rich history.
On Saturday, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s streets and squares. The Saint-Jean Quarter is particularly charming, with its narrow lanes and colorful buildings. For art lovers, the Hyacinthe Rigaud Museum is a real treat.
Sunday is great for exploring the local markets – you’ll find everything from fresh produce to artisanal crafts. Don’t miss out on the chance to try some local Catalan-French cuisine, a delightful fusion that’s unique to the region.
Accommodation options in Perpignan include:
- Best overall hotel: La Villa Duflot – A stylish hotel set in a beautiful garden, offering a peaceful retreat.
- Best luxury hotel: Château La Tour Apollinaire – A luxurious chateau with unique rooms, perfect for a special weekend.
- Best budget hotel: Ibis Budget Perpignan Centre Méditerranée – A reliable choice for those looking for a straightforward, affordable stay.
The city of Zaragoza is about three hours by car or a quick 1.5-hour train ride from Barcelona. The train is definitely my recommendation here – it’s fast and drops you right in the heart of the city.
Zaragoza is a hidden gem with a rich history evident in its stunning architecture. The Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is an architectural marvel and a key religious site.
Don’t miss the Aljafería Palace, a stunning example of Islamic architecture in northern Spain. In fact, you could spend your Saturday exploring these historical sites and wandering through the city’s old town.
Zaragoza is also great for shopping, with a mix of traditional shops and modern boutiques.
Sunday could be dedicated to enjoying the city’s green spaces, like the Parque Grande, or visiting some of its many museums. The Zaragoza Museum, with its art and archaeological collections, is particularly interesting.
For your stay in Zaragoza, consider these hotels:
- Best overall hotel: NH Collection Gran Hotel de Zaragoza – Known for its elegance and central location, it’s perfect for a comfortable city stay.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Palafox – A bit of luxury with spacious rooms and a rooftop pool.
- Best budget hotel: B&B Hotel Zaragoza Los Enlaces Estación – A modern and affordable option, great for travelers on a budget.
Madrid, the capital of Spain, might be a bit further from Barcelona, but it’s an unmissable weekend destination. While you could drive for about six hours or fly for an hour, I highly recommend the train.
It only takes around two hours and 45 minutes, and it’s a comfortable journey that lands you right in the city center.
Madrid is a bustling metropolis, blending modern lifestyle with rich cultural heritage. Start your Saturday at the Prado Museum, home to an extensive collection of European art.
Then, head to the Royal Palace and take a stroll in the adjacent Sabatini Gardens. For a taste of local life, spend your Saturday evening in the vibrant La Latina neighborhood, known for its tapas bars and lively atmosphere.
On Sunday, explore the El Rastro flea market for some unique finds and visit the Reina Sofia Museum to see Picasso’s famous ‘Guernica’.
Madrid is also great for shopping, with areas like Gran Vía and Salamanca offering everything from high street brands to luxury boutiques.
Here are the best places to stay in Madrid:
- Best overall hotel: Only YOU Boutique Hotel Madrid – A chic hotel in a central location, perfect for exploring the city.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Ritz Madrid – Offers classic luxury and impeccable service, located close to the Prado Museum.
- Best budget hotel: Room Mate Mario – A stylish yet affordable option, centrally located and great for those on a budget.
Cala Fonda, also known as Waikiki Beach, is a hidden gem near Tarragona, about one hour and 15 minutes by car or two-and-a-half hours by train from Barcelona. This secluded cove is a bit off the beaten path, making it a perfect escape for those looking to relax in a natural setting.
The beach is surrounded by cliffs and dense vegetation, giving it a sense of untouched beauty. There are no facilities here, so it’s a bring-your-own everything spot – perfect for a peaceful day under the sun.
Spend your Saturday soaking up the sun and swimming in the crystal-clear waters. For a bit of adventure, there are several hiking trails around the area offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
On Sunday, you could either come back for another beach day or explore the nearby city of Tarragona, known for its well-preserved Roman ruins, before heading back to Barcelona.
Check out above for my picks for the best accommodation options in nearby Tarragona.
The party capital of the world, Ibiza, is just a hop away from Barcelona. The flight takes around one hour, making it the most convenient option, although the nine-hour ferry could be an adventure in itself if you’re looking to take your car (even if that amount of time isn’t ideal for a weekend trip).
Ibiza isn’t just about nightclubs and parties – it offers stunning beaches, quaint villages, and a surprisingly serene countryside. Spend your Saturday exploring the Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s old town, with its cobbled streets and historic sites.
The beaches, of course, are the highlight. Whether you’re looking for lively beach clubs or secluded coves, Ibiza has it all.
And for a change of pace, you could even take a boat trip to the nearby island of Formentera.
Sunday is perfect for relaxing at one of the many beautiful beaches or exploring the island’s quieter northern part, known for its rugged landscapes and charming villages.
Here’s where to stay in Ibiza:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Nautico Ebeso – Located right on the beachfront in Ibiza Town, it offers great views and modern amenities, making it ideal for exploring the island.
- Best luxury hotel: Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel – Known for its live DJ events and luxurious amenities, it’s perfect if you’re looking to indulge and enjoy the famous Ibiza nightlife.
- Best budget hotel: Hostal Marí – A cozy and affordable option in San Antonio, offering a comfortable stay without breaking the bank.
Besalú is a medieval town that’s honestly like stepping back in time. It’s just around one and a half hours by car from Barcelona, with the drive being pretty scenic.
Once you get to Besalú, the first thing you’ll notice is the iconic Romanesque bridge leading into the town. It’s like something out of a fairytale.
Spend your Saturday exploring the cobblestone streets, the medieval architecture, and don’t miss the 12th-century Mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath – one of the few remaining examples in Europe.
On Sunday, delve into the town’s history at the Besalú County Museum or relax in one of the local cafes savoring traditional Catalan dishes. It’s a small town, but it’s packed with character and history.
For your stay in Besalú, check out these options:
- Best overall hotel: Comte Tallaferro – Located right in the historic center, it offers a blend of comfort and charm.
- Best luxury hotel: Els Jardins De La Martana – Though not a typical luxury hotel, it’s unique and offers an unforgettable experience with stunning views of the bridge.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel 3 Arcs – A great budget-friendly option, right in the heart of Besalú, offering a comfortable stay.
Next up, Mallorca, an island paradise. The flight from Barcelona is just around 45 minutes, making it a perfect quick getaway, especially when time is of the essence.
Sure, the ferry is an option, especially if you’re bringing a car, but it takes about nine hours. For a weekend trip, I’d say fly and make the most of your time.
Mallorca is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. Spend your Saturday in Palma, the capital city, exploring the historic Santa Maria cathedral and wandering through the charming streets.
Don’t forget to enjoy some seafood tapas along the way (and some local wine)!
On Sunday, hit one of the island’s many beautiful beaches. Whether you’re looking for a lively beach club or a serene bay, Mallorca has it all.
For a more cultural experience, visit the hilltop town of Valldemossa, famous for its Carthusian Monastery.
Here are some great places to stay in Mallorca:
- Best overall hotel: HM Jaime III – Centrally located in Palma, it offers modern comforts and easy access to the city’s attractions.
- Best luxury hotel: Belmond La Residencia – Located in Deia, this hotel provides luxury in a tranquil and beautiful setting.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Amic Horizonte – With stunning views and affordable prices, it’s a great pick for budget travelers.
As the birthplace of Salvador Dalí, Figueres is about one and a half hours by car or one hour and 20 minutes by train from Barcelona. The train is a convenient option, dropping you off close to all the main attractions.
Figueres is most famous for the Dalí Theatre-Museum, designed by Dalí himself. It’s not just a museum; it’s a work of art. Spend your Saturday immersed in the surreal world of Dalí and explore the town’s quaint streets.
On Sunday, visit the Sant Ferran Castle, one of the largest fortresses in Europe, or relax in a local café, enjoying the laid-back vibe of the town.
Accommodation options in Figueres include:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Duran – Located near the Dalí Museum, it’s known for its comfort and great location.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf – Though a bit outside of Figueres, it offers luxury amenities and a peaceful setting.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Trave – A solid budget-friendly option, offering basic amenities and a good location.
Tossa de Mar
Next on our list is Tossa de Mar, a coastal town with a real old-world charm. It’s about one hour and 15 minutes by car or two hours and 10 minutes by train from Barcelona.
While the train journey is scenic, driving gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace.
Tossa de Mar is famous for its stunning beaches and the iconic Vila Vella, the old town with its medieval walls and cobblestone streets. Spend your Saturday exploring this historic area and soaking up the sun on the beach.
The views from the top of the Vila Vella are simply breathtaking – you can see the entire coastline!
On Sunday, take a boat trip to see the dramatic Costa Brava coastline from the sea or just laze on one of the beautiful beaches. The town is also great for seafood – there are plenty of restaurants serving up fresh catches.
Here’s where to stay in Tossa de Mar:
- Best overall hotel: Golden Mar Menuda – Right on the beach and close to the old town, it offers convenience and comfort.
- Best luxury hotel: Boutique Hotel Casa Granados – A charming hotel with a personal touch, offering luxury in a tranquil setting.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Windsor – This affordable hotel is in a great location and offers a comfortable stay.
Let’s move on to Pals, a picturesque medieval village about one and a half hours by car or three hours by train from Barcelona. The car journey is definitely more convenient, allowing you to explore the surrounding countryside.
Pals is like a step back in time with its well-preserved Gothic architecture, stone streets, and the impressive Church of Sant Pere. Spend your Saturday wandering through the village, visiting the Torre de les Hores, and maybe even playing a round of golf at one of the nearby courses.
On Sunday, enjoy a hike or a bike ride in the surrounding countryside. The area is known for its rice fields, so don’t forget to try some local rice dishes in the village restaurants.
Accommodation options in Pals include:
- Best overall hotel: La Costa Golf & Beach Resort – Perfect for those who want to mix beach time with golf, offering a comfortable and relaxing stay.
- Best luxury hotel: Mas Salvi Hotel – A restored farmhouse turned luxury hotel, nestled in the countryside for a peaceful retreat.
- Best budget hotel: Aparthotel Arenal – Offering great value for money, it’s ideal for travelers on a budget.
At just about 50 minutes by car or two hours by train from Barcelona, Blanes is the gateway to the Costa Brava and a perfect seaside escape.
Blanes is known for its beautiful beaches and the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens on the Mediterranean. Spend your Saturday exploring the gardens and relaxing on the beach.
In the evening, check out the lively promenade for some great dining options.
On Sunday, visit the Castillo de San Juan for some stunning views of the town and sea. The town also has a charming old center, with narrow streets and hidden squares.
Here are some great places to stay in Blanes:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Beverly Park & Spa – A short walk from the beach, this hotel offers comfort and relaxation with its own spa.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Blaumar – Although not a traditional luxury hotel, it offers a more upscale experience with great sea views.
- Best budget hotel: Hostal Bonavista – A budget-friendly option, offering basic but comfortable accommodations.
Calella de Palafrugell
Let’s head over to Calella de Palafrugell, a charming little coastal town about one and a half hours by car from Barcelona. This drive is totally worth it for the stunning sea views you’ll get along the way.
Calella de Palafrugell is a picturesque spot with whitewashed houses, rugged cliffs, and beautiful coves. Spend your Saturday exploring the Camí de Ronda, a coastal path that offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
Then, relax on one of the town’s lovely beaches, like Platja del Canadell.
On Sunday, immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the botanical gardens at Cap Roig or taking a boat tour to explore the nearby coves.
And don’t forget to try some fresh seafood – it’s a must here!
Here’s where to stay in Calella de Palafrugell:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Alga – Offers a comfortable stay with beautiful gardens and is close to the beach.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Sant Roc – This hotel provides a touch of elegance with stunning sea views.
- Best budget hotel: La Colina Bed & Breakfast – A cozy and affordable option, perfect for budget travelers.
Next, we’ve got Campdevànol, about one hour and 15 minutes by car or three and a half hours by train from Barcelona. If you can, take the car – it gives you more flexibility to explore this nature lover’s paradise.
Campdevànol is famous for its “7 Gorgs,” the seven waterfalls and natural pools that are just a hike away. Spend your Saturday hiking and swimming in these natural wonders. It’s a refreshing and exhilarating experience.
On Sunday, explore the town itself or take a leisurely walk in the surrounding countryside. The area is known for its peaceful natural beauty, so it’s perfect for unwinding.
Accommodation options in Campdevànol include:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel La Sèquia Molinar – A modern and comfortable hotel, ideal after a day of hiking.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Terralta – Located a bit further away, it offers luxury in the heart of nature.
- Best budget hotel: Fonda Xesc – A simple yet charming option, offering a genuine local experience.
For a super close weekend trip from Barcelona, check out Castelldefels – just about 30 minutes by car or 25 minutes by train. With such a short journey, it’s perfect for a quick getaway.
Castelldefels is known for its long, sandy beach and its laid-back vibe. Spend your Saturday soaking up the sun on the beach or trying out some water sports.
The town also has a great selection of restaurants and bars for a lively evening out.
On Sunday, visit the Castelldefels Castle for a bit of history and some great views. Or, if you’re into nature, explore the Garraf Natural Park, which offers beautiful hiking and cycling routes.
Here are some great places to stay in Castelldefels:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Playafels – Right on the beachfront, this hotel offers comfort and great location for a beachside stay.
- Best luxury hotel: Bel Air Hotel – Offering a bit of luxury with sea views and stylish rooms.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Rodsan Suizo – A great budget-friendly option, perfect for those who want to be close to the beach without spending a fortune.
Horta de Sant Joan
Alright, let’s venture to Horta de Sant Joan, which is about two and a half hours by car from Barcelona. This small town in the Terra Alta region is a bit off the typical tourist path, making it a peaceful retreat for your weekend.
Horta de Sant Joan is steeped in history and natural beauty. It’s famously known for inspiring the artist Pablo Picasso, and when you see the stunning landscape, you’ll understand why.
Spend your Saturday exploring the Picasso Centre to learn about his time in the town and then head out to the Els Ports Natural Park for some breathtaking hikes.
On Sunday, take a leisurely stroll through the old town’s narrow streets, marveling at the medieval architecture. The town is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, so it’s also a great opportunity to taste some local olive oil and wine.
Here are some great places to stay in Horta de Sant Joan:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Miralles – Right in the heart of the town, it’s comfortable and convenient for exploring.
- Best luxury hotel: Les Capçades – A little outside the town, it offers a luxurious stay with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
- Best budget hotel: Hostal Casa Barcelo – A charming and affordable option with a homey feel.
Next up, let’s talk about Illes Medes, around one hour and 50 minutes by car from Barcelona. This small group of islands off the Costa Brava coast is a haven for nature lovers and divers.
The main draw of Illes Medes is its marine reserve, which is one of the most important in the Western Mediterranean. Spend your Saturday scuba diving or snorkeling to explore the vibrant underwater world.
If you prefer to stay dry, boat tours around the islands offer a great way to see the marine life and enjoy the scenery.
Sunday is perfect for relaxing on one of the nearby beaches in L’Estartit, the closest mainland town to the islands. The area is also great for hiking with several trails offering picturesque views of the coast and the islands.
Accommodation options in L’Estartit include:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Santa Anna – Close to the harbor, it’s convenient for trips to the islands and offers a comfortable stay.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Nereida – Offering a touch of luxury with great amenities and close to the beach.
- Best budget hotel: Hostal Dalfo – A budget-friendly choice, perfect for a relaxed, no-frills stay.
Heading to Mataró is easy, as you’ll only need about 35 minutes by car or 45 minutes by train from Barcelona. This coastal city is a great mix of beach relaxation and cultural exploration.
Mataró has a lovely beach promenade that’s perfect for a leisurely walk or a relaxing day by the sea. The city is also known for its modernist architecture, particularly the works of architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
Spend your Saturday exploring these architectural gems and the historic city center. On Sunday, dive into the local culture by visiting the Mataró Museum or catch a show at the Conservatori Municipal de Música.
The city also has a vibrant dining scene, with plenty of spots to savor traditional Catalan dishes.
Here are some places to stay in Mataró:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Atenea Port Barcelona Mataro – Located by the port, this hotel offers beautiful sea views and modern amenities.
- Best luxury hotel: URH Ciutat de Mataró – A bit of luxury in the city center, with a spa and wellness center.
- Best budget hotel: Ibis Barcelona Mataro – A reliable and affordable option, perfect for budget-conscious travelers.
Sant Feliu de Guixols
Jumping over to Sant Feliu de Guixols next, which is about one hour and 10 minutes by car or two hours by train from Barcelona. This coastal town in the heart of Costa Brava is a blend of beach vibes and cultural richness.
Sant Feliu de Guixols is known for its beautiful beaches and its impressive Benedictine monastery. Spend your Saturday morning exploring the monastery and the town’s historical center. Then, hit the beach in the afternoon for some sun and sea.
On Sunday, I recommend taking a walk along the Camino de Ronda coastal path. It offers some of the most stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. For a bit of adventure, there are also plenty of water sports options available.
Here’s where to stay in Sant Feliu de Guixols:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Montjoi – Offers great views of the bay and is just a short walk from the beach.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Hostal del Sol – A historic building turned hotel, offering a luxurious stay with beautiful gardens.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Barcarola – A budget-friendly option, still offering comfort and a great location.
Next up is Vic, about one hour by car or one and a half hours by train from Barcelona. This town is a fantastic blend of old and new, making it a unique destination for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.
In Vic, the main attraction is the old town, with its medieval streets and buildings. Spend your Saturday exploring the Plaça Major, the city’s main square, and don’t miss the Vic Cathedral.
On Saturdays, there’s also a vibrant market in the square where you can find local crafts and food.
On Sunday, visit the Episcopal Museum of Vic, which houses a remarkable collection of Romanesque and Gothic art. Vic is also known for its cured meats, so be sure to try some local specialties.
Here are some accommodation options in Vic:
- Best overall hotel: Parador de Vic-Sau – Located in a stunning natural setting, it’s perfect for a peaceful retreat.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Mas Albereda – A rustic yet luxurious hotel, providing a cozy and upscale experience.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Can Pamplona – An affordable choice with all the necessary comforts for a pleasant stay.
Lastly, let’s talk about Begur, around one and a half hours by car or three hours by train from Barcelona. This small town on the Costa Brava is known for its beaches, medieval castle, and charming old town.
Spend your Saturday wandering through Begur’s narrow streets, lined with colorful houses and small boutiques. Don’t forget to visit the Begur Castle for some amazing views of the coast.
The town’s beaches, like Sa Riera and Aiguablava, are perfect for relaxing or taking a dip in the sea.
On Sunday, explore the surrounding coves and take a hike along the coastal paths to discover some hidden gems. The area’s natural beauty is simply captivating.
Here’s where to stay in Begur:
- Best overall hotel: Hotel Aiguablava – Perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, it offers stunning views and easy beach access.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Sa Calma – Located in a renovated 19th-century house, it provides a luxurious and intimate experience.
- Best budget hotel: Hotel Rosa – An affordable and cozy option in the heart of Begur, perfect for budget travelers.
Where can you go by train from Barcelona?
Barcelona’s central location and excellent train network make it a hub for exploring many parts of Spain and beyond. Some of the most popular destinations include Madrid, Valencia, and Seville, as well as closer spots like Girona and Tarragona.
All this makes it easy to hop on a train and visit historical cities, beachside towns, and picturesque villages.
For instance, the high-speed AVE trains can whisk you to Madrid in just under three hours, making Spain’s capital an accessible option for a quick trip. Heading south, Valencia is about three hours away and offers a blend of beaches, history, and the stunning City of Arts and Sciences.
Seville, with its rich Andalusian culture and iconic architecture, is a bit further, taking around five and a half hours, but it’s definitely worth the journey. For shorter trips, the charming city of Girona, known for its well-preserved medieval streets, is just 38 minutes away, while Tarragona, with its ancient Roman ruins, is only an hour’s ride.
The train network also extends to the French border, with cities like Perpignan and Montpellier within reach for a cross-border adventure.
What countries are easy to travel to from Barcelona?
From Barcelona, it’s easy to travel to several countries, particularly France, Andorra and Portugal. High-speed trains can take you into the heart of France, and flights to various European destinations are short and frequent. Portugal, while a bit further, is still easily accessible for a longer weekend or short break.
France is the most convenient international destination by train. You can reach cities like Lyon, Paris, and Toulouse in a matter of hours, thanks to the high-speed TGV trains. Paris, for instance, is just over six hours away by train.
For a change of scenery and culture, Portugal is a great option, with direct flights to Lisbon and Porto. The flight to Lisbon takes about two hours, making it a feasible destination for a short trip.
Additionally, flights from Barcelona to other European countries like Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands are plentiful and reasonably priced, opening up a wealth of travel possibilities for those looking to explore beyond Spain’s borders.
How far is Barcelona to the French border?
Barcelona is very close to the French border, with a distance of about 160 kilometers or roughly two hours by car. This proximity makes cross-border trips quite feasible, even for a day trip. If you prefer to travel by train, it’s just as convenient, with direct high-speed services available.
The drive to the border along the AP-7 highway is scenic and straightforward, offering views of the Mediterranean coast and the Pyrenees. Once you cross the border, the charming town of Perpignan is a short drive away, where you can experience a blend of French and Catalan cultures.
Train travelers can hop on the high-speed TGV or Renfe-SNCF services, which connect Barcelona with various French cities like Montpellier, Lyon, and Paris. These trains make stops at Figueres and Girona, so you can also consider a multi-stop journey to explore more of the region.
Whether you’re driving or taking the train, the journey from Barcelona to the French border is not only easy but also filled with beautiful landscapes and cultural opportunities.
What is the closest beach town to Barcelona?
The closest beach town to Barcelona is Sitges at about 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of the city. This makes it a perfect destination for a quick beach getaway, being easily accessible by train or car in under an hour. Sitges is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a charming old town.
Sitges offers a total of 17 beaches, each with its unique vibe, from family-friendly to lively party spots. The town is also famous for its annual film festival and Carnival celebrations.
The train journey from Barcelona to Sitges is straightforward, with regular services running from Barcelona’s Sants station, taking about 30 to 40 minutes. By car, the C-32 toll road provides the fastest route.
Besides the sun and sea, Sitges is rich in history and culture, with the Cau Ferrat Museum and the Maricel Museum being notable highlights. The town’s dining scene is a delight too, offering everything from seafood to international cuisine.
What are the best weekend trips from Barcelona by plane?
From Barcelona, several exciting weekend destinations are just a short plane ride away. Some of the best include Paris, Rome, and Lisbon, offering a mix of history, culture, and cuisine. However, plenty of others are less than two hours by plane away.
- Paris: The city of love is about a two-hour flight from Barcelona. Spend your weekend marveling at the Eiffel Tower, exploring the Louvre, and strolling along the Seine.
- Rome: In just under two hours, you can be wandering the ancient streets of Rome. From the Colosseum to the Vatican, Rome is a living museum.
- Lisbon: A two-hour flight lands you in Lisbon, known for its picturesque streets, historic trams, and delicious pastéis de nata.
These destinations are perfect for a short break, offering distinct cultural experiences, impressive historical sights, and a chance to taste some of Europe’s best cuisines. Flights from Barcelona to these cities are frequent and often reasonably priced, especially if you book in advance or catch a deal.
What are the best weekend trips from Barcelona by train?
Taking a train from Barcelona can lead you to some incredible destinations, perfect for weekend explorations. Apart from the popular Madrid and Valencia, there are several other gems like Girona, Tarragona, Figueres, Vic, and Perpignan that are well worth a visit.
- Madrid: The Spanish capital is just under three hours away on the high-speed AVE train. Once there, you can dive into its rich history, bustling squares, and renowned art museums like the Prado.
- Valencia: In about three hours, find yourself in the city famous for its mix of history and modern architecture, including the stunning City of Arts and Sciences, and of course, its beautiful beaches.
- Girona: Just 38 minutes away, Girona offers a journey into the past with its well-preserved medieval streets and Jewish Quarter. The city’s rich history and compact size make it perfect for a short but fulfilling trip.
- Tarragona: An hour away by train, Tarragona is known for its impressive Roman ruins, including an ancient amphitheater by the sea. It’s a wonderful blend of history and beautiful Mediterranean beaches.
- Figueres: At about one hour and 20 minutes from Barcelona, Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dalí. The town’s main attraction is the Dalí Theatre-Museum, designed by the artist himself.
- Vic: About one hour by train, Vic offers a unique mix of old and new. The city’s old town and the vibrant market in the Plaça Major are particularly enchanting.
- Perpignan: Though technically in France, Perpignan is easily accessible from Barcelona, taking just over an hour by high-speed train. This city offers a lovely blend of French and Catalan cultures, and is a great option for those looking to add an international flavor to their weekend.
Each of these destinations offers a unique experience, from Girona’s medieval charm and Tarragona’s Roman history to Figueres’ surreal art and Perpignan’s cross-cultural ambiance.
They’re all just a train ride away from Barcelona, offering the perfect blend of convenience and adventure for a weekend getaway.