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Barcelona is an absolutely gorgeous city filled with rich history, but it’s also the perfect place to stay while making some great day trips around Spain! You could easily escape the city to explore amusement parks, beaches, and more. Below, find some of the best day trips from Barcelona!
Travel time from Barcelona: 2.5 hours by car or 3 hours by train
If you want to take a day trip from Barcelona and visit another country, head to Andorra! Located just a little under three hours away, you can get to Andorra by car or you can take the bus.
Once in Andorra la Vella, Andorra’s capital city, you can walk around and see the pockets of historic architecture in the city. Make sure to stop and see the beautiful Església de Sant Esteve, a church with a signature bell tower. The Puente de Paris is the most famous bridge in the city, and the 7 Poets is a modern statue that looks almost out of place.
Perhaps the city’s most famous landmark is the Salvador Dali statue, called The Nobility of Time, which is easy to reach since it’s in the middle of Andorra la Vella’s main shopping district.
If you find yourself with extra time, you can enjoy a visit to one of the local spas. Caldea has an indoor and outdoor pool located in a beautiful modern building, along with steam rooms and saunas to enjoy in between swims.
For meals, try Escudella, Andorra’s national dish. This hearty stew is perfect for those visiting Andorra in winter, since it’s hearty and meaty and packed with protein.
Recommended by Stephanie from History Fangirl
Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour 19 minutes
Girona is one of the best places to visit if you’re considering a day trip from Barcelona. There are many reasons. One is that there are plenty of things to do in Girona. You can gaze at the gigantic cathedral in the centre of the city, which was featured in Game of Thrones.
Walk along the ancient Roman Walls and dine in numerous top-quality cafes and restaurants. La Fabrica is one cafe I highly recommend you check out! The food is excellent and the coffee even better!
Getting to Girona from Barcelona is easy. All you have to do is head to one of the big train stations in the city, such as Sants Estacio, or Passeig de Gracia, hop on the high-speed train and you’ll be in Girona in just under an hour! It’s as simple as that!
When you get to Girona, I recommend you head to the river first. This way you’ll get to see one of the most impressive sights in Girona, the river snaking through the city, with multicoloured houses lining the banks on either side.
It’s an iconic image of Girona and sets the tone for the rest of the day. A trip to the top of the walls offers a fantastic view of the city and beyond too!
Recommended by Tom from The Travelling Tom
Travel time from Barcelona: 4 hours
The Montanejos hot springs are 340 kilometre south of Barcelona. This beautiful natural area is a perfect getaway and offers adventurous hikes and stunning hot springs in a gorge of stunning limestone cliffs. The mountainous area is located in the province of Castellon near the Serra d’Espadà.
Since it’s called Montanejos hot springs, you would assume the water will be warm. But don’t be fooled by this name, because the water is actually pretty chilly. Of course, this depends on the time of the year, but just to make sure you won’t have the expectation of a very hot hot spring!
The water of the Montanejos hot springs does have a rejuvenate and positive effect on your skin because they have minerals in them that cleanse the skin.
The towering limestone rocks and crystal clear turquoise waters are inviting to take a dip in. The hot spring pools are big enough, and that’s a good thing because during the summer period it can get busy here with locals and tourists enjoying their time in nature.
If you’re looking for more things to do in the direct area of Montanejos, then there are enough activities to do. Such as hiking the mountains, or going on a tour through the Montanejos gorge where you’ll explore the beautiful gorge, hidden caves, and much more!
Recommended by Ilse from Digital Travel Couple
Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour
The Montserrat Monastery is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona. Perched into the mountainside, the monastery is an architectural wonder and equally impressive for religious and non-religious visitors.
The construction of the monastery started in the 9th century, but it did not become a monastery until 1025. From the monastery, you will have an excellent view of the valley below.
Montserrat Monastery is also home to one of the most famous Black Madonnas, La Moreneta. In the 12th century, several miracles were attributed to this Madonna statue and pilgrims have visited this place ever since. According to tradition, you must touch the ball she is holding in her hand and make a wish and it will come true.
While the monastery is obviously the main attraction, there is more to do in Montserrat. You can visit the local art museum that features works by Picasso and Dalí.
Of course, the stunning mountains invite you to go hiking or even rock climbing. Depending on your fitness and skill level, there are guided tours you can take, or you can go independently.
The Benedictine Monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat is located about 45 kilometers outside of Barcelona. You can either take an organized day tour or simply hop on the R5 train in Placa Espana to Aeri de Montserrat.
The trip is about 1 hour long and costs between 5-8 EUR. From Aeri, you can take the cable car up to the monastery. You can also hike up the mountain if you prefer.
Recommended by Maria from EuropeUpClose
Travel time from Barcelona: 2.5 hours
One of the most beautiful places to visit in the area of Barcelona is for sure the old town of Peniscola in Spain. Its located in the Province Castellon on the Mediterranean Coast, around 2:20 hours away from Barcelona, and can be therefore easily be visited for a day trip.
Actually, Peniscola was already voted as one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, and really – this fortified town is breathtaking. Due to its unique location, this city is often called “the city in the sea” and the snow white old-town houses let it appear with an extra portion of charm.
The most important attraction is here the Peniscola Castle, which is rising 64 meters above the azure blue sea. And the wonderful cobbled stone streets with the many lovely shops, that lead through the town. There are also many fantastic beaches, which are actually just perfect for swimming and sunbathing!
Peniscola can easily be reached by car or also by bus and trains that are connected with Barcelona. If you want to stay there for the night you will find wonderful places to stay inside the middle of the picturesque white old town, like the charming Hotel Boutique La Mar – Adults Only.
Recommended by Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma
Travel time from Barcelona: 2 hours
From Barcelona Sants railway station it’s just an hour and a half direct train to Perpignan in southwest France. The capital of French Catalonia, Perpignan is an interesting blend of Catalan and French culture. A day is just the right amount of time to explore this relatively small city.
From the train station in Perpignan, it’s about a 15-minute walk into the old town. Start the day by riding Le Petit Train de Perpignan. This hour-long sightseeing tour will give you a good overview of the city. Afterward, spend some time wandering through the old town on foot.
Check out the shops and cafés as you head in towards the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, the most famous attraction in Perpignan. The palace is a 13th-century gothic-style fortress. For a small entry fee, you can explore the rooms inside and get great views of the city from the fortress walls.
Finish up the day with a meal at one of the restaurants in the old town. Like the “menú del día” in Barcelona, many restaurants offer a set daily menu of dishes selected by the chef. For a very reasonable price, you can get a lot of tasty food.
Recommended by Lauren from Wayscaped
Travel time from Barcelona: 2 hours by car
Priorat is the perfect spot for an amazing day trip from Barcelona to enjoy some of the best wine Spain has to offer!
A 2-hour drive south along the coast then turn west to the mountains is what it takes to experience this gem of a wine region. You can also take a train, but I recommend having a car (or better yet a tour guide since you will be wine tasting…) to easily get between wineries. Let someone else do the driving while you enjoy the scenery on the ride.
I suggest researching ahead of time and making appointments with the wineries you’d like to visit. I’d recommend no more than 3, they are not close together like in Napa Valley, CA. Some wineries I recommend that you check out:
- Mas Martinet – who doesn’t want a wine tasting on top of the mountain beside the vines the grapes in your glass came from??
- Clos Figueras – enjoy an amazing lunch paired with their wines and a tour of the cellar
- Clos Mogador – another amazing stop with delicious wines
Be sure to have room in your suitcase to bring some bottles back with you, but also know that the price might be a bit higher than other regions in Spain. But after tasting the wine and seeing the landscape (and the skill needed to farm it), you completely understand and have an amazing bottle and story to share with friends.
Recommended by Jess from Wine, Dine, and Roam
Saint Cugat del Vallès
Travel time from Barcelona: 37-minute drive or 1-hour train ride
Sant Cugat del Vallès is not only one of the most beautiful, but also the closest trip destinations from Barcelona. The popularity of this destination is not only due to the proximity to Barcelona but also because of its stunning architecture and small-town atmosphere.
Therefore, it’s a real change from the hustle and bustle of the city of Barcelona. The small town of Sant Cugat is just 17 km away, which is only about half an hour’s train ride from the Catalan capital.
You can easily walk to the center of the city from the train station. Your path leads you through the most popular shopping streets in the city. Just walk straight ahead and follow the signs until you arrive at Sant Cugat’s most popular attraction: the impressive monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès.
The monastery and its adjacent church are located in a small, quiet square in the center of the city. Here you can rest and eat something while enjoying some delicious Catalan specialties.
The town’s market, which is located on the adjacent square, just a few minutes walks from the monastery, is particularly popular. In addition to typical regional delicacies, you can also enjoy international specialties.
The monastery of Sant Cugat can be visited free of charge. Don’t forget your camera, because you can take some beautiful photos in the inner courtyard of the monastery.
Recommended by Vicki from Vicki Viaja
Sant Feliu de Guixols
Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour by car, 2 hours by train
Located just 1 hour and 15 minutes from Barcelona by car, Sant Feliu de Guixols is the perfect day trip destination. Especially if you like the beach! The Costa Brava coastline has a wealth of beautiful beaches and Platja De La Badia in Sant Feliu de Guixols is one of the best.
The waters at Platja De La Badia are calm and clear making it popular with families and a great place to go for a swim. The beach is sandy and close to town, so restaurants and other facilities are never too far away.
We would recommend spending the majority of your time swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach games but if you would prefer a more cultural day trip, Sant Feliu de Guixols delivers on that too. The Sant Feliu de Guixols monastery was built in the 10th century and is worth a visit. It is a great example of Romanesque architecture.
For a greater understanding of the history of the town visit the Town History Museum. It has lots of interactive exhibits and features the shipwreck rescue centre which was built in 1867 for sailors who shipwrecked on the Sant Feliu’s shores.
For lunch head to the Sant Feliu de Guixols market and pick up picnic supplies. You’ll enjoy a truly local experience, picking out all the local goodies and chatting with local farmers.
Recommended by Oksana and Max from Drink Tea & Travel
Travel time from Barcelona: 35 minutes by train, 1 hour by car
If you’re looking to discover a city that’s not too far away from Barcelona but, at the same time, can give you the feeling of being disconnected from a big city, then a getaway to Sitges will suit your needs perfectly.
Located 40 kilometers away from Plaza Catalunya, Sitges is a small city that preserves the local atmosphere with all the comfort of a tourist place. It’s also easy to reach, you just have to catch a train from Paseo de Gracia, Francia Station or Sants Station and after 40 minutes you will arrive at this beautiful place.
There are several things you can do there if you want to get to know the local history you can go to the Museu du Maricel or to the Museu del Cau Ferrat. In case you prefer to discover the local vibe, just a nice stroll through the city will do. One of the reasons why so many people love Sitges is the beach! Small but cozy, nice sand and really transparent water.
If you are planning to go there in summer and during the weekend you’ll probably need a reservation for lunch or dinner. One of the most famous places is La Zorra, a great spot for paella and different kinds of rice dishes typical from Spain.
In case you’re looking for something more casual go to El Cable, a small tapas place really well known in Sitges, they even have some famous tapas (try the one with tuna tartar).
Sitges is a perfect place to spend a day away from the chaos you may find in Barcelona.
Recommended by Laura from Laura No Esta
Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour
Barcelona is a Spanish city that’s famous for its incredible architecture and vibrant culture. But what if I told you there’s a Roman version of Barcelona that’s off-the-beaten-path? Located on the Costa Daurada in the northeastern part of the Catalonia region in Spain, Tarragona is a mini-Barcelona that’s away from the hordes of crowds.
Taking a day trip to Tarragona is a must-do in your Spain itinerary. The best way to explore this hidden gem is through a self-guided walking tour as you want to experience and soak in the sights and sounds at your own pace.
Tarragona is about 97 km away from Barcelona. To reach Tarragona, you can take a direct train from the Sants/ Passeig De Gracia stations in Barcelona. It’s a convenient one-hour 10-minute journey. You can also opt for a one-hour 30-minute bus journey from the Barcelona Nord station to Tarragona.
The best things to do in Tarragona are Tarragona Amphitheatre, Mediterranean Balcony, Old Town, Rambla Nova, Tarragona Cathedral, and Tarragona Beach.
If you plan to stay in Tarragona, then try booking your hotel accommodation near the city centre as the hotels in this area not only give you the best access to different parts of this port city but also provide you with the best facilities.
As far as food is concerned, Chef Clive serves you the best coffee along with fresh pastries, margarita pizza, and carrot cake. For a tasty but cheap meal, you can visit the Tarakan and La Botifarra restaurants. And for fine dining, there’s no better place than the Arcs restaurant.
Recommended by Vaibhav from The Wandering Vegetable
Travel time from Barcelona: 36 minutes
When visiting Barcelona, look up and you’ll spot Mount Tibidabo in the distance. The 1,680-foot mountain is a landmark in Barcelona worth visiting, especially if you’re looking for a place to see a stunning view of the city.
Even though Tibidabo isn’t far from the centre of Barcelona, you’ll need a day to enjoy the sights. A famous attraction is its amusement park, which is one of the oldest in the world and a great place for an adrenalin rush. With six zones and lots of heart-pumping rides, such as Russian Mountain, kids and big kids at heart will love this day trip from Barcelona.
Another thing to do at Tibidabo is visit the Sagrat Cor Cathedral to admire its stunning stained-glass windows and impressive architecture. It took 60 years to build and the Jesus Christ bronze statue is a look-alike to the one in Rio de Janeiro.
How to get to Tibidabo? Take the train to Avinguda Tibidabo FGC Station then catch a tram to Plaza Doctor Andreu before boarding the Tibidabo funicular (Spain’s oldest) to get to the top or if you need to burn up some energy, you can hike to the top too!
Recommended by Christina from Travel2Next
Travel time from Barcelona: 2 hours 40 minutes by train
If you’re looking to get out of Barcelona for a day you may be intrigued by a trip to Valencia lies which lies just a few hours away. The coastal town of Valencia can, therefore, be visited as a day or weekend trip or as part of a multi-stop trip through Spain.
The train to Valencia takes around 3 hours from Barcelona (depending on the service you book), so while this would be a pretty long day if you were to visit in 24 hours, it is still definitely doable. There are also slightly slower and cheaper options by train and bus which are great for those travelers who are watching their budget.
Top tips for traveling to Valencia as a day trip:
- Book your train for as early in the morning and as far in advance as possible
- Aim to get a seat on the left-hand side for the journey from Barcelona to Valencia so you can take in the sea views.
- Look out for the Euromed train service to Valencia as this route takes under 3 hours, as opposed to the Talgo train which takes 4+!
Once you arrive in Valencia you’ll be instantly impressed by its beauty, variety, and laid-back atmosphere, with museums, beaches, buildings, botanical gardens, and more to explore. It’s also a wonderful spot for foodie travelers. Valencia is THE place to go to try the best paella in Spain, with fresh seafood being caught in the morning ready to be served up by lunch!
This style of cuisine will give you a different taste to that of Catalonia and allow you to dine on authentic Valencian dishes. For the best paella in Valencia, head to the La Riua restaurant.
Recommended by Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
Travel time from Barcelona: 3 hours by car or 1.5 hours by train
Zaragoza is the fourth largest city in Spain and the perfect day trip out of Barcelona. The city is located on the Ebro River, in a valley with an astonishing diversified landscape of mountains, forests, and deserts. By car, you are just around 3 hours on the way out of Barcelona but by train, you are there in one hour and twenty-five minutes.
This city is less known to tourists but is filled with surprises.
The main sights of the city of Zaragoza are located on and around the car-free square ‘Plaza del Pilar’. This makes it one of the busiest places in the city center. Plaza del Pilar is also called ‘Plaza de las Catedrales’ due to the presence of no less than two cathedrals.
Here you can visit ‘La Catedral-Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar’ and ‘Catedral del Salvador de Zaragoza’. The Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is undoubtedly the eye-catcher of the city. This impressive 17th century cathedral is the largest Baroque church in Spain and well worth a visit.
In Zaragoza, you can also visit the largest river aquarium in Europe, namely Acuario de Zaragoza.
As in any Spanish city, you will also find an indoor food market in Zaragoza. The Mercado Central dates back to 1895 and is a colorful and lively place, full of tasty products. There is always a pleasant buzz. You can buy fresh products or eat at the different stands. Do you prefer to eat in a restaurant?
Then El Tubo is the area where you can find the best tapas. Several good tapas bars are located next to each other in the neighborhood. At Casalac you can go for tapas with a refreshing touch, the chef will spoil you with his trendy dishes while using many different fresh vegetables.
Recommended by Stéphanie from BEY OF TRAVEL
There are so many great things to do in Spain! Check out more of our Spain posts below.