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Best Day Trips from Barcelona Spain
Barcelona is the Capital of the Catalunya area of Spain. While you could certainly fill your days with the many sights of the city if you have extra time, these day trips from Barcelona provide a break from the bustle and offer some fun experiences outside of the city. Most of the day trips from Barcelona can be done by train or bus, but we also include some options for organized tours, in case you prefer that.
Figueres and Girona
The Museum was originally the town’s theatre, the place where Dali’s work was first displayed. It was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War and then turned into the Museum by Dali himself in 1960. The Museum fittingly houses the most extensive collection of Dali’s works in the world as well as pieces that Dali had collected from other artists. The inside is filled with Dali’s surrealist work while the outside is every bit a work of art as well. Dali is even buried below the Museum.
Trains run regularly from Barcelona to Figueres and take about 2 hours. Along the way, the small town of Girona makes an excellent stopover. Famous as one of the Game of Thrones Film locations, Girona has become a popular day trip from Barcelona.
This charming medieval city is a lovely place to spend an afternoon and try some of the local dishes. The photos of this food tour in Girona made our mouths water! Wander past the fortified walls and along the Onyar River, visit the two Gothic cathedrals, and explore the old Jewish quarter.
Cava Wine Tasting in Alt Penedès
Vilafranca del Penedès and Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, in the Alt Penedès region just south of Barcelona, are the two major areas for cava production. The local sparkling wine is available at every Barcelona restaurant and café, but it’s worth taking a trip to a winery for some beautiful scenery and a lesson in wine-making.
Take the train from Barcelona to St. Sadurní, and visit Codornui, Freixenet, or Bodega Torres. You’ll get a tour, learn the ins and outs of how the winemakers produce the famous sparkling wines, and of course, get to taste a variety of cavas.
Most wineries require advanced reservations and are closed on Sundays, so check before you go. Many also serve lunch, arranged in advance, or you can grab a bite to eat at a café in town. Stopping for a meal in between tastings is always recommended.
Montserrat is a holy sight for Catalans and Catholic visitors around the world. The Montserrat Monastery, perched atop some unusual rock formations 4000 feet in the air, is home to the Black Madonna, a statue believed to be carved by St. Luke in 50AD. The statue is a holy shrine where the faithful come to pray and ask for healing. Monks live at the monastery and perform mass services daily.
Most days the basilica also hosts performances by the Montserrat Boys’ Choir, one of Europe’s oldest boys’ choirs. Of course, even the non-religious will enjoy a visit to Montserrat. The scenic views from the hilltop are simply breath-taking and there are plentiful hiking trails nearby.
Trains run from Barcelona to Montserrat nearly every hour and take just over an hour for the journey. When you purchase your combination ticket, you’ll also need to decide how you want to get up the mountain – by cable car or by train. The views during the 5-minute cable car ride are much better, but many still choose the less nerve-wracking train ride, which takes 15 minutes. Either way, you’ll reach the top and can enjoy a unique experience and a spectacular view of this beautiful place.
Sitges Beach Resort
This stunning beach resort town is only about 35km south of Barcelona. With trains and buses making regular trips from Barcelona to Sitges, it makes a great day trip from Barcelona or even an overnight break from the city.
Barcelona does have its own beaches, but the number certainly doesn’t compare to the 17 that Sitges offers. Called the “St. Tropez of Spain”, it is home to trendy nightclubs, 4-star hotels, fancy dining, and well-heeled tourists who’ve come to soak up the sun.
Sitges celebrates several annual festivals when huge crowds descend on the town. The decadent party of Carnivale is in February or March leading up to Ash Wednesday. In March, you can watch a vintage car rally and in October you can experience the Sitges International Film Festival.
Katie Hammel wrote Easy Day Trips from Barcelona for EuropeUpClose.com
Andorra – The Mountain Country
In an easy day trip, you can add another country to your itinerary! The Principality of Andorra is a micronation squeeze between Spain and France, nested in the Pyrenees mountain range.
This mountainous destination is great for a visit during the whole year. The ski slopes steal the attention during wintertime, while in summer it transforms into a great hiking spot. Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is full of handicraft shops, plenty of restaurants and chic cafés, and galleries showcasing local art. As a duty-free and tax haven country, you can indulge in a shopping spree.
Make sure you leave time for the main sights: Casa de la Vall, a 16th century manor house that served as the country’s Parliament from 1702 to 2011; Església de Sant Esteve, a stone Romanesque church, with a bell tower that dates back to the 12th century; and Dali’s Noblesse du Temps, one of the many interesting pieces of art displayed around the city.
The journey from Barcelona takes you in a beautiful road through valleys, lakes and mountains. You can get there by bus if you want to explore independently. Andorra Direct Bus and ALSA offer this route. The trip takes three hours and buses run several times each day. Alternatively, join an organized day tour, which also will include a stop in the French village of Ax Les Themes and the Spanish village of Baga.
By Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Vilanova i la Geltrú
If you are looking for a fun day trip getaway from Barcelona by train, consider heading out southwest to Vilanova i la Geltrú. Located on a gorgeous coastline and just south of the city of Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltru is not as touristy and crazy like its neighbor Sitges but if you are looking for something more local and away from the crowded beach scenes then consider staying for a train ride to the next location south at La Geltru.
Located only 40 Km southwest of Barcelona, this sleepy sleeping port still has all the lovely beaches, beautiful Spanish squares and churches to explore and lovely walking promenades and outdoor cafes to enjoy on a smaller scale.
Outside of the amazing beaches, you can visit popular attractions like the impressive Catalonia Railway Museum, the colorful and Instagrammable Rambla or main walking promenade, the historic old town center, and lovely plazas to explore like Placa Sant Antoni, Placa de Pau Casals or Placa Major, Placa de Les Cols and the stunning Placa de La Vila.
You can explore some lovely medieval streets around La Geltru, check out the castle and church and then explore the lovely port area the Barri de Mar neighborhood with historic port, lighthouse, the Ribes Rogue Tower and park, many delicious restaurants and so many other monuments and attractions you can visit to enjoy the scenic waterfront areas.
Vilanova i la Geltru is lovely, local and a fantastic slice of Catalonia just a short train ride from Barcelona and a fantastic way to spend the day away from the city. If you are basing yourself in Barcelona meanwhile, check out my post on the free things to see and do in Barcelona here for more inspiration and planning an inexpensive visit to this magnificent city.
By Noel from TravelPhotoDiscovery