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Barcelona is the vibrant capital of Catalonia and a must-visit on any itinerary through Spain. While there, it is so convenient to take wonderful day trips around the region.

Perched on the shores of northeastern Spain, Barcelona has captivated visitors’ imaginations for centuries. Winding alleys, the energetic boulevard La Ramblas, and enough Gaudi sights to please even the most enthusiastic architectural fans make it a European favorite.

Barcelona has an unrivaled foodie scene with incredible restaurants and cafes. More than cuisine, the city offers a seamless fusion of contemporary and old-world charm. Once a Roman-founded city, there’s plenty to keep you busy on any Barcelona itinerary. Adored as a cultural hotspot, Barcelona has taken on a life of its own.

There is no shortage of incredible day trips from Barcelona to help you explore more of Spain. Beyond the city limits, go sightseeing from the golden coastline of the Costa Brava to the Roman ruins of Tarragona.

I had the pleasure of living for several months in Barcelona, taking advantage of the many day trips nearby. There is a lot to do so be sure to make the most of your time with this list of the best Barcelona day trips.

10 Best Day Trips From Barcelona


1. Girona

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

The brightly colored town of Girona is an easy day trip from Barcelona. Cobbled streets flanked by arcaded houses fill the Old Town under the lofty Grand Cathedral. The medieval walls have been home to a variety of residents throughout history, from the Romans to the Moors and more.

Eagle-eyed fans may recognize Girona’s Banys Arabs as one of the sets from Game of Thrones. It’s a brilliant place to discover some of the city’s history. A visit to Girona is not complete without strolling by the Onyar River, where colorful houses line the town’s center. Consider hopping on this Girona and Costa Brava guided day trip which takes you to Girona and the nearby area.

How to get there: You can reach Girona from Barcelona in just 40 minutes via high-speed train from Barcelona-Sants to Girona station.

2. Figueres

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

One hour northeast of Barcelona, Figueres is home to Spain’s third most-visited site, Teatre-Museu Dalí. A museum that embraces all that Dali’s surrealism embodies, it is both interactive and cheeky in its approach. 

There’s more to Figueres than Dali’s homage to surrealism. Explore the Alt Empordà region by strolling through a pedestrian street called La Rambla de Figueres. This charming capital offers a mix of modern cafes and restaurants, along with an 18th-century castle. You could even combine Girona with a visit to Figueres on this small-group tour.

How to get there: The fastest way to Figueres from Barcelona is by high-speed train from Barcelona-Sants to Figueres Vilafant which takes just 55 minutes. Trains run twice hourly.

3. Montserrat

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

Head out into the Spanish countryside to visit one of the country’s holiest sites. At the top of a ragged mountain range is Montserrat Monastery, a Benedictine monastery with origins dating back to 880 AD. The monastery is also the location of the Virgin of Montserrat, one of a handful of black madonnas of Europe.

Montserrat is a popular day trip from Barcelona with beautiful views and a memorable cultural experience for visitors. Adventurous travelers can hike to the highest peak at Sant Jeroni or take the cable car to enjoy the scenic views as you make your way to the top. If you want to do all of those things, this half-day tour includes the hike, entrance tickets, and cable car.

How to get there: A lot of travelers visit by car, but if you don’t fancy hiring one then public transport to Montserrat is easy too. The train from Plaça Espanya in Barcelona to Monistrol de Montserrat takes approximately one hour via the R5 line. From there, the cremallera trains run every 20-40 minutes up to the monastery.

4. Sitges

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

Along the coastline southwest of Barcelona is Sitges, the whitewashed seaside town that has become a weekend beach escape for Barcelonans. You have two options: relaxing on the beaches or visiting the Church of Sant Bartomeu and Museu del Cau Ferrat. By visiting these places, you will have the opportunity to learn about history and culture.

The former fishing village has attracted artists and intellectuals since the 1960s and now boasts a vibrant LGBTQI+ scene. If you’re visiting in February or March, it’s worth checking out the Carnaval for a series of parades and masked balls. 

One way to experience Sitges is on a combined tour that also offers an opportunity to see Montserrat on the way.

How to get there: Trains run every 20 minutes or so from Barcelona Sants station to Sitges, where you depart just 500 meters from the beach. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes and it’s easy to purchase train tickets directly at the station before departing.

5. Tarragona

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

Spain has no shortage of Roman ruins to be visited, but Tarragona has some of the best. Once the most elegant and cultured city of Roman Spain, a Tarragona day trip must include a selection of the finest Roman ruins including Amfiteatre Romà and the Fòrum Provincial.

As Catalonia’s second largest port town, seafood is aplenty. Head to Serrallo fishing quarter for the freshest fish dishes for lunch before finishing the afternoon sightseeing at the grand cathedral. 

How to get there: In less than 1 hour and 30 minutes, you can reach Tarragona by train from Barcelona-Paseo De Gracia station.

6. Colonia Güell

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

Colonia Güell in the Santa Coloma de Cervelló area of southwest Barcelona is an ideal day trip from Barcelona. A former industrial village, the site was commissioned by Count Eusebi de Güell to support workers from his textile mill.

Gaudi was the architect assigned the honor of designing the town’s church, the Church of Colònia Güell. During his time, he only managed to complete the crypt. Assigned as a UNESCO-listed world heritage site, the crypt is now open to visitors. You should consider pre-booking tickets with an Audio Guide!

How to get there: Take FGC lines S4, S8 or S33 to Colònia Güell from central Barcelona.

7. Begur

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

Postcard perfect, Begur is one of the best day trips from Barcelona. Whitewashed buildings, towering trees, and a laid-back atmosphere make it a dreamy destination. Day trippers will love Begur. A 15th-century medieval castle is perched atop a hill that overlooks the town and several fishing villages in the area have retained their charm.

From the town’s colorful historic quarter to the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean, Begur is a total delight. Looking for beaches? Some of the best to visit nearby are Playa Cala Aiguablava, Platja de Fornells, Platja de Fornells, and Sa Tuna.

How to get there: There are no direct trains from Begur, so it’s best to drive from Barcelona. The journey takes approximately an hour and a half via the AP-7. If you don’t want to drive, you can catch a train from Barcelona to Flaca and take a 30-minute taxi from there.

8. Costa Brava Coastline

The title of Spain’s most beautiful beach holiday hotspot belongs to the Costa Brava. From unspoiled coves to coastal hiking paths, visitors can appreciate everything the area has to offer. Quiet fishing villages and whitewashed towns clinging to the coast are all part of the draw of Spain’s rugged coast.

Calella de Palafrugell and L’Escala are adored for their golden stretches of sandy shores. While the sleepy hilltop village of Pals has maintained its medieval charm. Those looking for a secluded escape will love Llafranc, and Roses are famed for its sunsets thanks to its west-facing position. 

How to get there: You can travel to Costa Brava by train or bus. Larger towns are connected by the railway line between Barcelona and the French border. Smaller villages are usually reached by bus or taxi from one of the larger train stations along the Costa Brava coast. The most convenient way is by car or joining a group tour on a day trip.

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

9. Tossa de Mar

Curving around a protected headland, Tossa de Mar is one of the most beautiful ancient towns on the Costa Brava. Surrounded by defensive medieval fortifications, the picturesque Old Town has held onto its allure despite modern expansions of the town.

From golden beaches to crystal-clear coves, Tossa de Mar is perfect for beachgoers of every kind. Outdoor enthusiasts will also enjoy hiking the Camí de Ronda, while culture lovers can make the most of the only fortified medieval town that still remains intact on the Catalan Coastline. With seven towers, a lighthouse, and a maze of cobblestone streets, there’s more than enough to fill your day.

How to get there: There are no direct trains from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar. This small group tour is one of the best options for free time and seeing the area. For public transport: take the commuter train Line R1, towards Blanes and continue to Tossa de Mar by bus or taxi. There are departures to Blanes from Barcelona Sants Station, Plaça de Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, and El Clot-Aragó.

10. Cadaques

Best Day Trips From Barcelona

A whitewashed village on a rocky outcrop in easternmost Catalonia, Cadaques is unequivocally beautiful. Pebbled beaches and pretty laneways add to the aesthetic appeal of this seaside hamlet. A handsome harbor and brilliant-blue waters all add to the essence that makes Cadaques the sought-after destination it has become.

A magnet for celebrities, the limited accessibility combined with unrivaled beauty make this pocket of Catalonia a sought-after hotspot. Surrealist artist Salvador Dali previously frequented the town. Since then a string of famous artists, musicians, and celebrities have followed, from Henri Matisse and Picasso to Mick Jagger and Shakira.

How to get there: The best way to reach Cadaques from Barcelona is by car. The drive takes a little over two hours via the AP-7. If you would prefer to travel by public transport, take a train to Figueres and then a bus or taxi the rest of the way to Cadaques.


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The 10 Best Day Trips From Barcelona

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Jessica

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