Are you looking for the perfect day trips from Barcelona, Spain? Barcelona is one of my favorite cities. I was there recently on a Mediterranean cruise and had a chance to explore the city. On a visit two years ago, we hopped on the train and embarked on a day trip to Sitges, Spain and totally fell in love with this city.
There is so much to do and see in Barcelona, such as the Casa Batllo, but there are also so many great things to see around the city. Day trips from Barcelona are a great way to explore the area. There is a day trip for everyone whether you love history, culture, food, Spanish wine, or just want to explore something different and get out of the big city or even try a Barcelona bike tour. Don’t forget to try some of the popular Spanish food in Spain.
You can easily drive to these locations, sign up for a tour, or hop on the train and see where it takes you. I collaborated with some other travel writers to list some of the best day trips from Barcelona. While you are in Barcelona make sure to join a Barcelona food tour to try some unique dishes. Any time of the year is a great time to visit Spain.
Best Day Trips From Barcelona, Spain
Table of Contents
1. Day Trip From Barcelona to Tarragona
For history buffs, Tarragona is an absolute must see. It was one of the most important cities of the ancient Roman Empire when it was known as Tarraco. There are many ancient remains from this period, including two forums (the Colonial Forum and the Provincial Forum) an amphitheatre, and a Roman circus that was used for chariot races.
Often, these ancient ruins were repurposed centuries later, resulting in an interesting hodgepodge of epochs and architectural styles. For example, the 14th-century Nun’s Tower is built into the corner of the Roman circus, and there are ruins of a 13th-century Romanesque church inside the amphitheatre. The archaeological museum is also well stocked with ancient Roman mosaics, statuary and other artifacts.
Be sure to have a peek inside the magnificent Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral and its quiet and peaceful cloister. From a slightly later period, the Casa Castellarnau is a 15th-century house of a noble family and has a picturesque inner courtyard.
Enjoy lunch at El Vergel, which is one of the highest-rated vegan restaurants in Spain and is located right in the heart of the historical district.
Tarragona sits about 100 kilometres down the coast from Barcelona. There are many trains from Barcelona that stop here, as it’s on the main train line between Barcelona and Alicante. Prices and times vary depending on the type of train. The fastest trains take about 50 minutes, while the slowest and cheapest take about an hour and a half to reach Tarragona.
2. Barcelona to Calella de Palafrugell
When we were in Barcelona we did a day trip to Calella de Palafrugell. It was a lovely afternoon of basking in the sun and eating some Spanish food, drinking Sangria and enjoying the views. Calella de Palafrugell is one of three coastal towns belonging to the municipality of Palafrugell in the Province of Girona, Spain, the other two being Llafranc and Tamariu. We did a day trip from Barcelona to this beautiful beach village of the Costa Brava.
Calella de Palafrugell is perfect to spend a day away from the city, while it is pretty busy in the summer season, it does not have the big resorts or hotels like in Lloret de Mar and remains very homely. The coastline of the town stretches about two kilometres south to the El Golfet beach – part of the Cap Roig headland where beautiful Botanical gardens are located. Plan a visit here if time permits. Calella de Palafrugell has several beautiful small coves with boats docked and children playing on the rocks and families enjoying the sun and the sand.
You can choose to do an organized tour to get here or take the train. The nearest railway station to Palafrugell is in Flaçà, which is 25 km away, from you can take one of the Sarfa buses to Palafrugell.
3. Barcelona to Garrotxa Day Trip
Victoria Watts Kennedy |Bridges and Balloons (Image by hjrivas from Pixabay )
The landscape of Garrotxa, just 1.5 hours’ from Barcelona is stunning and there’s no better way to see it than from the lofty heights of a hot air balloon. We went with Vol de Coloms in Santa Pau. The ride lasts 1.5 hours and takes you over a mass of forest-filled mountains, valleys and volcanoes with the sea visible in the distance. At one point we even flew over a dormant volcano that had a church hidden inside it.
The balloon ride is suitable for all ages and abilities, including wheelchair-users. We travelled with 10 people, but you can arrange it for smaller groups.
After the balloon ride, a Catalan feast is served at the Vol de Coloms camp. It includes all manner of treats, including cheeses, omelettes, bread, salad, jamon and delicious pan catalan. And while in the balloon, you get served cava and cake.
A flight costs 170€ and includes cava, cake and a full meal with wine afterwards, as well as a certificate.
If visiting Garrotxa, I recommend staying at Mas Can Batlle, a beautifully designed countryside guesthouse. And other nearby places worth a visit include Olot, Santa Pau and Besalu.
4. Day Trip to Sant Cugat del Vallès From Barcelona
Sant Cugat del Vallès is a peaceful city just 17 km from Barcelona and therefore one of the nearest day trips you can choose from the Catalan capital. There are even some hiking trips that lead you from the Tibidabo Mountain in Barcelona to Sant Cugat.
Sant Cugat del Vallès is especially popular for its old and impressive monastery. The monastery and its church are located right in the heart of the city and definitely can’t be missed when visiting. The most beautiful part and the true highlight of the monastery is the cloister with its open patio in which you can walk around and take beautiful pictures.
After visiting the monastery, you probably will get hungry at some point. Just walk over to the next square in which you can find the market of Sant Cugat. Here you can find all kind of tasty foods. From fresh fruits and veggies to whole meals. From Japanese to traditional Spanish food – there is something for every taste. Just stroll around the aisles of the market and I am sure you will find something delicious.
The way to Sant Cugat del Vallès from Barcelona is easy. Just go to any FGC Station (Ferrocarrils de Generalitat de Catalunya) and take the S1, S2 or S6.
5. Day Trip to Sant Martí del Canigó Abbey From Barcelona
Sant Martí del Canigó (Abbaye Saint Martin du Canigou) is a very beautiful monastery perched on the mountains of the Pyrenees at 1.094 m of altitude. The mountain of Canigó and its monasteries are one of the most cherished places by Catalans. Unfortunately, these territories are part of the French state since the Pyrenees Treaty in the XVII century.
Sant Martí del Canigó is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture, with the first structures dating from the XI century. However, due to its location, it does not have the typical plan of Romanesque churches but a design adapted to the geography of the place. The abbey has two main buildings: the lower building dedicated to Saint Mary and the upper building dedicated to Saint Martin. There is also a beautiful cloister which once had two levels but it was badly damaged during a terrible earthquake in the XV century.
Sant Martí del Canigó is also very important from a religious point of view. Catalans believe the mountain of Canigó has magical powers and this place has been dedicated to the cult since before Christian times.
Sant Martí del Canigó is very easy to reach from Barcelona by car (243 km, 2.5 hours) but if you are on the other side of the border, in Occitanie region, you should also consider Sant Martí del Canigó in your France Bucket List.
6. Visit Emporda Wine Region From Barcelona
The Catalan city of Girona is only a 90-minute drive north of Barcelona. Surrounding the city is the DO Emporda Wine Region, one of the lesser-known Spanish wine regions. The Emporda is also one of the oldest wine regions and is where the Greeks and Romans first started cultivating wine on the Iberian peninsula. Divided into two subregions, Alt Emporda (High Emporda) and Baix Emporda (Lower Emporda) the region is the perfect day trip for wine lovers from Barcelona.
Alt Emporda stretches to the French border, but Baix Emporda is nestled between Girona and Barcelona, making it an easy day trip from Barcelona. Some of the wineries ready for visitors include Cellers d’en Marc, Brugarol, and Clos d’Agon, all close to the Costa Brava towns of Palamos and Calonge. It is best to contact the wineries ahead of time to arrange a visit and tasting. Situated in the heart of Spain’s Costa Brava region, Baix Emporda allows day-trippers from Barcelona to enjoy not only world-class wines but also quaint coastal towns along the Mediterranean Sea.
For lunch, check out one of the seafood restaurants in Palamos, or drive a little farther north to Pals. Set a few miles inland from the coast is the charming Medieval town of Pals. Known for its 12th Century tower, Torre de les Hores, Pals is home to one of Costa Brava’s top Emporda-wine-focused restaurant’s Vicus. Set inside the former town cinema, Vicus focuses on contemporary Catalan dishes using locally sourced ingredients, especially the famous Pals rice. The wine list focuses on wines produced in the local DO Emporda region. Combining lunch at Vicus with a visit to two of the Baix Emporda wineries is the perfect way to escape from Barcelona for a day. Don’t forget to try some Spanish sparkling wine Cava during your visit.
7. A Day Trip to Rupit and Tavertet From Barcelona
Rupit and Tavertet are two beautiful villages situated at a one-hour drive from Barcelona. Due to the proximity of these medieval villages they can be perfectly combined in a day trip from the Catalan capital.
Rupit is considered as one of the most picturesque villages in Catalonia. Walking around this medieval village, situated at the foot of the “Cingles de Tavertet” mountain, is like a trip back to the remote past. The origins of the village dates back to the 9th century and it was built around the Castle of Rupit, which is in ruins now. Much time has passed ever since, but Rupit is still characterized by narrow alleys and cobblestone streets.
You can’t miss out on the Romanesque San Miquel Church, either. In addition to the lovely architecture, the natural environment is stunning. You can do a short hike to the Salt de Sallent, a charming waterfall. Rupit is extremely popular amongst locals, so we recommend you to avoid visiting on Sunday when it can get too crowded.
While Rupit is at the foot of the mountain, Tavertet is on top of it. This village is smaller and much less touristy. Instead of the architecture, Tavertet attracts most visitors for the short walk that leads to the fascinating viewpoint offering a panoramic view of the majestic Pantano de Sau (Sau Reservoir) and the surrounding mountains.
Make sure to also check out these secret places in Barcelona.
8. A Day Trip to Casteldefells From Barcelona
Located 25 km away from Barcelona is the beautiful coastal paradise where lives the shining stars of the Barcelona Football Club. We are talking about Casteldefells. Casteldefells is a great day trip destination from Barcelona if you want to escape the tourist crowd in peak seasons. It’s not hot on the tourist map like other historical cities around Barcelona, but it places you should include in your Barcelona itinerary if you’d like to spend quality time solo or with family.
The castle of Casteldefells perched atop the mountain is the highlight of the city. Perched atop the hills this 16th-century castle is a quaint place to explore. Next cool place to visit is the Santa Maria church. After this, you can take a walk along the Olympic canal to the beach. The coastline is speckled with upscale buildings, resorts, and restaurants.
Despite the rising popularity of Casteldefells among tourists, the beach remains a peaceful retreat from the crowded beaches of Barcelona. In the north, you can see locals partying while as you walk along towards the south it gets calm and more silent. Platja de Casteldefells is a shallow clean beach to spend an entire evening and watch the sunset.
Casteldefells is also known for great food. It is easily accessible from Barcelona by metros, trains, and buses. Transport to and from Casteldefells in free with Barcelona card.
9. Day Trip From Barcelona to Sitges
Sitges is a small but quaint seaside town with around 30,000 inhabitants that is located about half an hour by train from Barcelona.
The town is widely known for its open-mindedness and premium real estate, one of the most expensive in the country. The many gay-friendly businesses, the more than 50 annual festivals, and the year-round sunny weather have made it a very popular destination.
Sitges is also the home of Bacardi, the rum brand started by a local who migrated to the Spanish colonies, and for having a long sea-facing promenade with several smaller beaches.
Make sure to visit the Cau Ferrat Museum, walk the small pedestrian town center, and stroll along the sea promenade. If the weather is nice, sit at one of the many terraces and restaurants that are on Passeig Maritim street, or have a pizza at Spain’s first, Pizzeria del Cap de la Vila, for a relaxed long lunch.
If you’re looking for road trips check out some of these wonderful options for road trip ideas in Europe.
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