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
For fans of the artist Salvador Dali, Figueres is a must. The artist was born in the town and he designed the museum dedicated to his works; the Dalí Theatre and Museum. You can also book a very good guided tour from Barcelona that takes you to Figueres and Cadaques, two towns with a lot of Salvator Dalí history.
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. You can even do a Game of Throne Tour there.
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.
3 Countries in 1 Day Tour from Barcelona
By Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Vilanova i la Geltrú – Off The Beaten Path
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
Cadaques – Salvator Dali’s Home
If you want to discover one of the most beautiful small towns in Spain, Cadaques will be the perfect destination for your day trip from Barcelona!
Cadaques is a coastal town located at the border with Southwest France. It’s particularly famous for its connection with Salvador Dali. The famous painter used to live there! Nowadays, you can visit the Salvador Dali House Museum. It’s absolutely fabulous! If you’ve been to his museum in Figueres, you know exactly what to expect from his house!
The rest of the town is also a great place to visit. Narrow streets, white houses, crystal clear water… it has it all! As you roam around town, make sure to stop in one of the seaside restaurants and get some seafood and tapas.
The beach is also a good place to go to. Don’t forget to take your towel as you will want to have a little swim in these beautiful waters.
The best way to get there is by car. You need to go through the mountains and down to the coast. It’s a beautiful scenic drive and you can really get to enjoy it by car.
Alternatively, you can take a train from Barcelona to Figueres and then a bus to Cadaqués. It will be a long day but it’s worth it! Finally, you can choose to go on a Salvador Dali tour from Barcelona. They will take you to Figueres to visit the museum and then to his house in Cadaques. If you are an art lover, this one’s for you!
Salvador Dali tour from Barcelona
By Pauline from Beelovedcity
Calella de Palafrugell – Fishing Village
If you’ve ever visited Barcelona then you’ll know that the Catalan capital is not merely a city, but a whole way of life. The Mediterranean way of life. But in many ways, this bronzed and sun-bleached approach to work and play, of balmy evenings by the sea with cold cañas and pan-fresh paella, is actually borrowed from the Costa Brava.
Located just an hour or so north of the city, this pine-scented stretch of azul waters and quiet coves epitomizes all that makes the Spanish vida buena so alluring. And if you want to experience the best of it without wasting a single moment, simply head straight to Calella de Palafrugell. With its blinding white houses and wisteria-draped alleyways looking out over a fishing-boat-bobbing coastline, it is hard to believe that this magical little seaside village is a real place and not some sort of DisneyLand attraction.
Like all the best spots along the coast, there’s little to do here other than stroll along the promenade and seek shade on a cafe terrace under the iconic ocean-facing porticoes. You can bake yourself on the hot sand and cool off in the crystal clear waters. And then it’s time for a late lunch or early dinner of ‘arroz con bogavante’ (lobster rice) and a frosty bottle of crisp Galician white wine at somewhere suitably informal like Restaurante Tragamar.
You can easily visit Calella de Palafrugell for a day trip from Barcelona but be warned that it’s highly likely you’ll wish you could linger a little longer – for one last dip in the Med, for one last copa de vino. For one last look at the loveliest place on earth.
By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com
Tarragona – Roman Ruins
On the East Coast of the Catalonia region, about 85 km from Barcelona, is the charming seaside city of Tarragona. Famous for its alluring beaches, such as Playa del Milagro, and a port that dates back to the Roman era, this city is both a beach and history lover’s paradise. Hop on the Renfe train located in Barcelona’s city center for an hour long ride to experience this incredible coastal city. The train route to Tarragona is easy to navigate with numerous ticket times offered throughout the day.
Similarly, the city is easily walkable and features a variety of ancient Roman structures, some of which closely resemble their original architectural form. The exquisite Roman amphitheater, located near the train station, is perched high on the hillside and overlooks the blue Mediterranean Sea. The town also has a fascinating Roman-inspired Cathedral, found winding through the old medieval town of Tarragona. Many of the ancient Roman buildings you’ll see are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
After exploring the ancient old city, take a leisurely walk along the lovely Rambla Nova where you’ll witness striking human tower statues and dozens of shops and restaurants. Near Rambla Nova you’ll also find the archaic Roman Forum. In addition, you’ll be able to visit the necropolis, aqueduct and circus, which are other well preserved Romanic archeological sites to explore. The well preserved Roman aqueduct is located outside of the city center, requiring transportation to visit.
Around lunch time, head over to the waterside to the old fishing village called El Serrallo. Stroll around the tranquil promenade, order some fresh seafood caught early in the morning, or partake in a plate of delicious vegan paella.
Costa Daurada: Catamaran Tour and Snorkeling
Tarragona & Sitges Small-Group Full-Day Tour
From Barcelona: PortAventura Theme Park Ticket & Transfer (family-friendly)
From Tarragona: Siurana Reservoir, Kayak, And Walking Tour
By Ciara Turner-Ewert from Wellness Travel Diaries
Begur – Beach | Food | History
If you are looking for a less-traveled destination, Begur should be on the top of your list. This beautiful medieval village is less than 2 hours from Barcelona and well worth the bus trip. There are three main reasons to visit Begur; water, food, and history.
There are a plethora of beaches you can explore within the city. There’s an opportunity for swimming, sun bathing, diving, and even exploring some local coves. One thing to note about the beaches, they are all downhill from the main part of town, which means you need to save enough energy to trek back up the hill to catch the bus back to Barcelona.
The food in Begur, like the rest of Catalonia, will delight your taste buds. As the village is on the ocean, fresh seafood is what is recommended you order.
Finally, local history is evident all over the village. Take a trek to the top of the hill where Begur Castle lays. This 15th-century castle is a hike to get to, but worth the effort. The medieval buildings around are something to behold, make sure you bring your camera. No matter what you end up doing during your time in the village, Begur will be a highlight of your trip.
By Adrian Ann from AdriansTravelTales
Sant Feliu de Guixols
Located along the Costa Brava coastline and just 1 hour and 15 minutes by car from Barcelona, Sant Feliu de Guixols is the perfect place for a day at the beach. If you don’t have a car the train and bus line runs past Sant Feliu de Guixols.
The main thing to do in Sant Feliu de Guixols is lounge on Platja De La Badia. Its calm waters and sandy beach are a hit with families. The beach is close to town which means restaurants and facilities are never far away.
For seasonal produce head to the town’s main market. It is set in a heritage building and backs onto the main square. You’ll brush shoulders with locals and converse with farmers selling their goods.
If you like history, make some time to visit the Sant Feliu de Guixols monastery. It was built in the 10th century and is a great example of Romanesque architecture. To get a grasp on the town’s past, consider visiting the nearby Town History Museum. One feature is the shipwreck rescue center which was built in 1867 for sailors who shipwrecked on the Sant Feliu’s shores.
By sustainable travel bloggers Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.
Tossa Del Mar
Tossa del Mar is one of the most beautiful towns along Costa Brava, that can be reached on a day trip from Barcelona. It’s around 103 kilometers north of the Catalan capital. Tossa del Mar offers some stunning beaches and views along with a historic heritage, making it an interesting stop for history buffs as well as beach lovers.
One of the attractions include the Ancient Hospital of Sant Miquel, which was built in 1773 to help poor people. Another popular landmark is the walled-in Old Town which still has the original stone walls intact from the 14th century. In Tossa del Mar, visitors can also admire the Roman Villa of Ametllers, which was built in the 1st century BC.
The Parish church is one of the historic buildings in the city with grand architecture, dating back to the 18th century. It is so large, that the entire town population of Tossa del Mar can be fitted inside the church for larger celebrations.
The main beaches that attract visitors are Tossa Beach, also known as Platja Gran, located in front of downtown. And La Mar Menuda as well as El Codolar. It is at Tossa Beach, where you can see the old medieval castle in the western part of the beach.
It’s possible to get to Tossa del Mar by bus or train. The train goes to Blanes, and there you can switch to a bus to Tossa. There is also a direct bus daily from Barcelona to Tossa, which takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
By Alexander from Gourmandtrotter
Madrid – Spain’s Capital
Well if you are already in Spain, you may be familiar with both Barcelona and Madrid, the prime cities of the country. What is more interesting is that you can visit Madrid from Barcelona by train which is a 321 km journey to the center and moreover its the capital of Spain.
Well, there are several modes of travel from Barcelona to Madrid, be it the adventurous road trip, through the countryside and witness towns like Lleida, Guadalajara and then make it up-to Madrid or choose the high-speed AVE train. If you are not a fan of tiring and bustling road trips the AVE train is definitely the best way to reach Madrid in less than 3h. Since it is quite a long way from Barcelona to Madrid, we recommend you stay in Madrid overnight. Take a look at our hotel recommendations for Madrid here.
Madrid adds in a different vibe than Barcelona. Some of the best neighborhoods in Madrid that you should visit are places like Centro, Lavapies, Chueca, and Malasana.
Centro is the historical heart of Madrid. Other districts like Lavapies are famous for their diverse eateries and Hip bars. The amalgamation of people’s energy in combination with the rich and preserved culture is what makes this town unique.
By Paulina from Paulina On The Road
Valencia – Home of Paella
Barcelona has endless attractions to explore so it may be that you never even want to leave the city, but if you fancy using the Catalonian capital as a base to discover more of Spain, then you might be interested to learn that Valencia is easily visited as a day or weekend trip.
The coastal city of Valencia is a wonderful destination for those interested in history, architecture, beaches, and great Spanish cuisine and it also boasts the epic City of Arts and Sciences building which features a planetarium, oceanarium, botanical garden, and museum.
Valencia is also the city of Paella, the national dish of Spain. There are many varieties to try, whether you like Seafood, mixed meats or vegetarian.
The quickest way to get from Barcelona to Valencia is by train, with some journeys taking as little as 2h40 one way. The train is also a scenic route between the two cities, allowing you to soak up the views that you would miss if traveling by air.
There are a few top tips to keep in mind though when planning your trip.
- Try to book your tickets as far in advance as possible to get the best prices.
- Try to get a seat on the left-hand side en route from Barcelona to Valencia so you can take in the views of the Mediterranean!
- Make sure you book the Euromed train service for a journey that takes under 3 hours, as opposed to the Talgo train service that takes 4+ hours.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to plan the travel yourself, you could opt for an organized day trip with train or minibus transfers included so you have all the transport and highlights organized for you.
If you do have more time, I’d suggest spending a few days in Valencia, but a day trip is also very doable.
By Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
As you can see, there are many options when you plan your day trips from Barcelona, so you should definitely plan some extra days to fully explore the surrounding areas as well.