If you want to explore the region of Catalunya, there are plenty of activities to do in terms of areas you can visit or entertaining activities that are offered outside the Catalan capital city.
In some cases, you do not need to rent a car, you can travel by train or bus if you want to discover the surroundings of the city centre. It is a very rich region with many areas that you can visit just by skipping Barcelona for the day. On the North or the South of Barcelona, you can discover great sights, beautiful cities, museums and beaches. Here is our selection of day trips from Barcelona.
Best known as the Catalan sacred mountain,the site hosts the Santa Maria Monastery of Montserrat and is known for the shrine of the Montserrat Madonna Virgin. This is an astonishing place where you can enjoy an incredible sight from the steep, rocky mountain. Lots of Catholics go there for pilgrimage but also many visitors are present just to discover this peacefull, striking site. There is also a funicular which takes visitors to the place where the Madonna was discovered.
This site is said to have inspired Gaudi, the legendary artists from Barcelona who designed the Sagrada Familia, for some of his Works and he designed the fence of Montserrat himself.
To go there, you can take the FGC train (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Cataluña) from Plaça de Espanya that will get you there in one hour.
90km from Barcelona, once called the “Spanish Venice”, Girona offers visitors many monuments to visit and incredible sights. Full of attractions, the city lies on the River Ter and is gothic-style designed. It used to be an important intellectual town during Medieval times and gathered many Jewish thinkers and you may see in the Bonastruc centre that there is a profound Jewish culture. The town is also known for attracting a lot of students who come for the Girona University as well as the particular, pleasant atmosphere that reigns inside the town walls.
To get there, you can take the train from the Sants Estacio in Barcelona and the journey lasts for about an hour.
Located in the province of Girona, this small city is the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and hosts the teatre-Museu Dalí, a museum designed by Dalí himself, and which is one of the most famous museums of Catalunya. The name Figueres comes from the fig trees in Catalan. Amongst the must-see places, you may find the Dalí´s houses as well as the Sant Ferran Castle, a large military fortress built in 1753 which is actually the largest monument in whole Catalunya.
The city is very attractive for tourists; the Dalí Museum is a masterpiece: established on the ruins of the former theatre, it shows the offbeat style of Dalí and you can find a lot of pieces from his personal collection. You can also enjoy artworks from other artists such as El Greco or Marcel Duchamp. As a symbol, Dalí was buried in a crypt in the basement of the theatre, a way to say that he died with his works.
To get there, you can take the train from Passeig de Gracia or Sants Estacio. The journey lasts about 2 hours.
Sabadell & Terrassa
Two of the main textile towns of Catalunya which benefits from a profound Modernist heritage. You can visit many museums and enjoy the great architecture from Medieval times. Located at 20km from Barcelona, Sabadell was pioneer during the Industrial Revolution of Catalunya; it has become the most important wool city in Spain and was even nicknamed the “Catalan Manchester”. Therefore, the city is immersed in the industrial culture but also offers some incredible sights from Art Nouveau. Amongst the places of interest, Torre de l´Aigua, Casa Duran, Can Feu Castel or El Mercat Central are the most famous.
Terrassa forms part of the European tour of Art Nouveau cities. The city offers incredible Romanesque churches as well as interesting museums and monuments. Some must-see places are the three churches of Sant Pere and the Museum of Terrassa.
To get there, you can take the FGC from Plaça Catalunya.
One of the most popular trips for tourists and beach lovers. The difference with Barcelona beaches is that Sitges is way more artistic, with a mix between sun, sand, art and culture. There is a large promenade surrounded by palm trees and bars which bring a friendly and warm atmosphere to the village. The Sitges Carnival is very famous in Catalunya and attracts a lot of tourists as well as locals. Remember that Sitges used to be a fishing village and most fishes in Barcelona are actually caught in Sitge, especially in Vilanova, and it is a great place if you want toe at quality sea food. There are some museums, among which the most famous are probably the Museu Cau Ferrat -which hosts works from Catalan artists such as Picasso- and the Museu Romantíc, which shows the way of life of a Catalan family during the Romantic period.
To get there, you can take the train from Passeig de Gracia, Sants Estacio or Estaçio de França with a journey that lasts less than one hour. You can also take the bus from Plaça Espanya and lasts about 45 minutes.
Andorra la Vella
Located between France and Spain, it is the capital city of Andorra and its cultural centre. The town is particularly famous for its stoned small streets and houses. You may find a lot of monuments dating from the eleventh century which were built in a Romanesque style. The town is particularly fitted if you want to take long walk and to admire some very old monuments while enjoying many other attractions of the city. Moreover, if you want to do shopping, note that the city benefits from tax heaven.
To get there, you should take the shuttle bus from Barcelona, no train can reach Andorra due to its rocky landscape.
Located about 90km from Barcelona, it is a seaside city which offers great Roman ruins. During Roman times, it was the capital of the Roman province of Hispania. You can feel the real Roman atmosphere inside the stone walls of the city. Some remainings of the period can still be seen such as the Forum, the Circus, the Theatre, the Scipios Tower or the Palace of Augustus. There are also a lot of must-see houses and museums throught the city with many Roman inscriptions on their walls. In the museum, you can find some archeological discoveries that have been preserved through centuries.
If you want to get there, you can take the train from Sants Estacio and the journey last about 1h15.