8 Locations Around Barcelona Perfect for Day Trips
Gaudi's eccentric architecture, a culinary heritage, a culture different to anywhere else, and of course home to one of the world's most entertaining football teams. Barcelona is a world-class metropolitan city famous for a whole range of reasons. There is a huge emphasis on culture in the city, which in itself makes it a premier tourist attraction of Spain. As the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is also the ideal stop to discover the neighboring provinces that showcase the beauty of Spain's diverse landscapes, historical past, and age-old traditions.
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A lovely drive up north from Barcelona leads straight to the arty town of Figueres. The birthplace of Salvador Dali, one of the most significant tourist spots here is the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dalí, a museum designed by the famous artist with that oh-so-unique mustache.
Museum enthusiasts will especially love Figueres as the Toy Museum, Museu De L’Empordà, and the Technology Museum make for a delightful day spent discovering the history of playful objects, art, and antique typewriters. Figueres’ La Rambla, lined with shops and cafes, makes for a entertaining spot to spend the evening before you head back home from your day-trip.
Escape into the lap of nature, a quick one-hour drive from Barcelona and you'll end up at mountainous Montserrat, a town that boasts fresh air, adventure activities, and a path to enlightenment with the help of the Virgin of Montserrat.
Religiously significant to the locals, the abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, attracts pilgrims in the thousands throughout the year. The town is ideal for rock climbing and hiking enthusiasts and has some spectacular scenery. For a more relaxed day, visitors can take the Funicular up this unique mountain range to appreciate some of the most promising panoramic views in all of Spain.
A seaside town situated half an hour away from Barcelona, Sitges shines bright thanks to its charming Mediterranean allure that includes lavish mansions by the water, trendy bars, and a vibrant community with people from all walks of life. The vibe in the city completely transforms when it hosts the annual Carnival with thousands of personalities dancing on the streets in colorful costumes, a spectacle well worth making the trip to see.
The city is also home to the Sitges Film Festival, known the world over as one of the topmost festivals to specialize in horror films. On the average non-festival day, visitors can sunbathe on the beach or have a refreshing drink at one of the charming waterside cafes.
A paradise for meat lovers and architecture fanatics alike, Vic is situated a little over an hour from Barcelona. The locally produced cured meat sausages are considered among the finest in the country and the 11th-century monastery, Sant Pere de Casserres, acts as the perfect vantage point to appreciate the never-ending vistas of the surrounding area.
The Vic Cathedral and Roman Temple of Vic further add to the city’s classic appeal, but it is the town’s main square, Plaça Majos, with its 14th century Town Hall where the crowds often head to for an evening filled with great food and lively music.
Spend a day among the Romans; Tarragona guarantees the most amazing ruins that give us a glimpse into the eventful past of the area. The Tarragona Amphitheatre once hosted mighty fights between gladiators and the nearby Circ Roma has remains of a Roman circus with tracks for chariot racing. The Roman Le Ferreres Aqueduct dates back to the first century and is the perfect setting for a leisurely walk as you walk among a piece of ancient history.
The one-hour coastal drive from Barcelona is worth a day-trip as sun lovers will find that Platja Savinosa and Arrabassada promise soft sandy beaches along with the merriment that is an indispensable part of any popular seaside destination.
Girona’s riverside location gives it a unique characteristic that is enhanced further by its historic medieval charm. From the Girona Wall to the Jewish Quarters, visitors here have a chance to step back in history and experience a city that seems to been trapped in the past.
A short half hour train ride from Barcelona, Girona isn’t without its individuality. Among the many bridges that traverse over the River Onyar, is one by the famous Gustav Eiffel. Girona was also used as a backdrop in the popular TV series, Game of Thrones. As for the oddities that characterize the town, visitors are encouraged to see the statue of a lioness on a pole, situated in Cathedral Square, and then step up and kiss its bottom, a peculiar tradition that still exists today.
A medieval town steeped in history and a short distance away from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monestir de Poblet, Montblanc has a very laid back atmosphere and a welcome respite from the crowded streets of Barcelona. Unless, that is, you visit Montblanc in April during Medieval Week when the locals re-enact the Legend of St. George by decorating their houses and dressing up in ancient attire.
Other attractions in Montblanc include admiring its 13th and 14th-century buildings, visiting one of its many Gothic churches, and making the most of rural Spain’s welcoming nature.
A day trip from Barcelona is also a chance to visit a whole different country. Landlocked between France and Spain, in the Pyrenees mountains, is the tiny, yet stunning principality of Andorra. The drive from Barcelona takes almost three hours, but visiting Andorra is a prospect not to be missed. As a top-notch ski destination, it's even worth looking into staying in Andorra at one of the luxury spa resorts for the weekend.
The country’s tax-free status means visitors can shop till they drop, and then shop some more. Andorra though is not without cultural significance either. The Perfume Museum, the Miniature Museum, and the Postal Museum speak of the region’s colorful history and peculiar interests. Adventure lovers will find that summers in Andorra are idyllic for mountain biking, hiking, and taking in the untouched natural exquisiteness that is an integral part of this nation.
Visiting Barcelona is a great way to grasp the spirit of Spain, and simultaneously appreciate the continuous blend between the old and the new. However, taking time out from your city-break and exploring Spain’s quaint and off-the-beaten-track towns and villages results in some truly compelling discoveries and experiences that are a window into the very soul of this fascinating country.