Barcelona, a vibrant and bustling metropolis, captivates visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and lively atmosphere.
However, beyond the city's boundaries lies a treasure trove of hidden gems to be explored.
From picturesque coastal towns to ancient ruins and natural wonders, Catalonia and the Costa Brava offer many exciting day trip options for those seeking adventure, culture, and relaxation.
In this comprehensive guide, we will unveil the best day trips from Barcelona, taking you on a journey to discover the lesser-known but equally enchanting destinations in the region.
Planning Your Day Trips
When embarking on day trips from Barcelona, planning strategically to make the most of your time and optimize your travel experience is essential.
While public transportation is available to many destinations, renting a car offers greater flexibility and allows you to explore multiple places daily.
We recommend grouping destinations geographically to minimize transit times and maximize your sightseeing opportunities. Now, let's delve into the top day trips from Barcelona and uncover the wonders that await.
The 9 Best Day Trips from Barcelona
From the awe-inspiring Montserrat Mountains to the sun-soaked beaches of Sitges, these day trips offer a slice of Catalonian culture and scenery that you won't want to miss.
Our curated list highlights the 9 best day trips from Barcelona, providing you with experiences that are both diverse and accessible.
Ready to see what the Catalonia region has to offer? Keep reading to map out your next unforgettable journey.
1. Ruins of Empuries: A Glimpse into Ancient Civilizations
Just a short drive from Barcelona, the Ruins of Empuries transport you back to the ancient Greek and Roman eras.
Located near the charming beachside village of L'Escala, these lesser-known ruins offer a captivating glimpse into the past.
Founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC and later occupied by the Romans, the ancient town was eventually abandoned and remained hidden under layers of sand until its discovery in 1908.
As you wander through the ruins, you'll be awed by the grandeur of the old walls, columns, and Roman mosaic floors.
Take a moment to reflect in the grand amphitheater and visit the onsite Archeology Museum to delve deeper into the history of Empuries.
While in the area, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the Alt Emporda wine region, named after Empuries, and savor the region's exquisite wines.
Address: C/ Puig i Cadafalch, s/n, 17130 L'Escala, Girona, Spain.
The Ruins of Empuries are located near the beachside village of L'Escala, which is a short drive from Barcelona.
How to Get to the Ruins of Empuries from Barcelona
To reach the Ruins of Empuries from Barcelona, a drive of approximately one and a half hours will take you through the scenic route passing by Girona.
Alternatively, public transportation is available, but it involves changing buses in Figueres or Girona, extending the journey to over three hours.
Consider joining a guided tour that includes the Ruins of Empuries and other highlights of the region for a comprehensive and time-efficient experience.
2. Montserrat: Majestic Mountains and Spiritual Serenity
Nestled amidst Catalonia's rugged landscapes, Montserrat Mountain stands as a symbol of Catalonia's identity and spirituality.
This distinctive mountain range, known for its jagged rock formations resembling a giant saw, offers a breathtaking escape from the city's hustle and bustle.
A visit to Montserrat is an excellent addition to your Barcelona itinerary, combining natural beauty with cultural significance.
The Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, perched halfway up the mountain, is a sacred place and home to the revered Black Madonna.
Pilgrims flock to the monastery to pay their respects, but even if you're not religious, the buildings' architectural beauty and the mountain's panoramic views will leave you in awe.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Montserrat offers numerous hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels, allowing you to immerse yourself in stunning natural surroundings.
Address: Carretera de Montserrat, s/n, 08199 Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain.
The exact location of Montserrat is in Catalonia, Spain.
How to Get to Montserrat from Barcelona
Getting to Montserrat from Barcelona is straightforward. Trains depart from Barcelona's Espanya rail station; you can purchase tickets there.
Look for Line R5 headed towards Manresa. The train journey to Montserrat takes approximately one hour.
If you prefer to drive, the journey takes around the same time. Upon arrival, you can either park at the bottom of the mountain and take the cable car or rack railway up or drive directly to the monastery, with ample parking available.
3. Tossa de Mar: A Coastal Haven
Escape to the picturesque seaside town of Tossa de Mar, where sun-drenched beaches and medieval charm await.
This hidden gem, nestled on the Costa Brava, boasts a stunning pale sand beach known as Platja Gran.
Stroll through the network of cobbled streets in the charming old town, where you'll find La Vila Vella Castle, providing a majestic backdrop to the beach.
Venture into the medieval walled town Vila Vella, and admire the breathtaking views from its ancient walls.
If you're looking for a unique perspective, consider taking a tourist train that offers a leisurely ride through the town.
Tossa de Mar is also a paradise for beach lovers, with several beautiful and secluded beaches waiting to be discovered.
Dive into the crystal-clear waters, sunbathe on the golden sands, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this coastal haven.
Address: The exact address for Tossa de Mar is Carrer de Sant Telm, 3, 17320 Tossa de Mar, Girona, Spain.
The town is located on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, approximately 103 kilometers northeast of Barcelona.
How to Get to Tossa de Mar from Barcelona
If you prefer to drive, the route to Tossa de Mar is relatively straightforward. Follow the scenic coastal road, which may be busier during peak times.
For a faster option, take the toll road E-15. Public transportation is also available, with a bus journey taking around two hours.
Another convenient option is to book a guided tour from Barcelona, allowing you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights without worrying about transportation logistics.
4. Premia de Mar: A Tranquil Seaside Escape
For a peaceful day by the sea, head to Premia de Mar, a charming beachside town just a short train ride from Barcelona.
This hidden gem retains its old-world charm while embracing a contemporary and laid-back atmosphere.
As you step off the train, you'll find yourself on a beautiful white sandy beach, perfect for a relaxing swim or sunbathing.
When it's time for a delicious meal, stroll along the beach promenade to discover beach bars and restaurants offering tantalizing seafood dishes.
For sushi enthusiasts, visiting Offu Sushi Bar at the marina is a must. Locals gather in cafes and bars in the evenings, creating a lively yet authentic Catalan experience.
Experience the true essence of the coastal lifestyle in Premia de Mar.
Address: Carrer d'Àngel Guimerà, 19, 08330 Premià de Mar, Barcelona, Spain.
Premia de Mar is a coastal town located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is situated approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Barcelona.
How to Get to Premia de Mar from Barcelona
Getting to Premia de Mar from Barcelona is a breeze. A short train ride of just over half an hour will take you directly to the beach, where you can begin your day of relaxation and exploration.
If you prefer to drive, the journey takes under an hour, allowing you to enjoy the scenic coastal views.
5. Girona: A Tapestry of History and Color
Just a stone's throw away from Barcelona, Girona beckons with its picturesque streets, colorful houses, and rich history.
As you wander through the enchanting old town, you'll encounter the iconic houses lining the Onyar River, reminiscent of a postcard scene.
Explore the Jewish Quarter, a beautifully preserved neighborhood showcasing its historical significance.
To gain a fresh perspective, stroll along the ancient city walls, offering panoramic views of the city. The Arab baths, remnants of Girona's Moorish past, provide a glimpse into the city's diverse cultural heritage.
For a unique experience, visit Girona in May during the Temps de Flors (Flower Festival), when the city transforms into a vibrant display of floral art.
Address: Plaça de l'Oli, 1, 17004 Girona, Spain.
Girona is a city in Catalonia, Spain, located in the northeast of the country. It is situated approximately 99 kilometers northeast of Barcelona.
How to Get to Girona from Barcelona
Getting from Barcelona to Girona is a breeze, with multiple transportation options. If you prefer the convenience and flexibility of driving, take the A7 highway, and you'll reach Girona in approximately one hour and 20 minutes.
Trains also run frequently between the two cities, with a journey time of around 40 minutes. Buses offer an alternative, although they are less frequent and take longer.
6. Colonia Guell: A Glimpse into Gaudi's Vision
Step into the world of Antoni Gaudi with a visit to Colonia Guell, a short drive from Barcelona. This industrial village, founded by Eusebi Guell, showcases Gaudi's architectural genius, albeit unfinished.
Gaudi designed the village's church, the Crypt, as a remarkable testament to his innovative style and vision. Although incomplete, the Crypt stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore the abandoned factory workers' houses and wander through the castle ruins, gaining insight into the lives of past inhabitants.
Colonia Guell offers a unique opportunity to witness Gaudi's artistic brilliance in a lesser-known setting.
Address: Claudi Güell, 6, 08690 Santa Coloma de Cervelló, Barcelona, Spain.
Colonia Guell is a village located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló, in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is situated approximately 20 kilometers southwest of Barcelona.
How to Get to Colonia Guell from Barcelona
Driving to Colonia Guell from Barcelona takes approximately half an hour, allowing you to immerse yourself in Gaudi's architectural wonders without extensive travel.
If you prefer public transportation, take train lines S33, S8, or S4 and alight at Colonia Guell station near the site.
7. Sitges: Where Mediterranean Beauty Meets Bohemian Vibes
Situated along the coast near Barcelona, Sitges offers a unique blend of natural beauty and bohemian charm.
Historically favored by wealthy Barcelonians as a holiday retreat, Sitges has retained its elegant appeal and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
This coastal town has something for everyone, from its well-manicured beaches to its vibrant cultural scene.
Wander through the town's charming streets, lined with picturesque buildings and boutique shops. Sitges is renowned for its annual International Film Festival, attracting film enthusiasts worldwide.
Embrace the town's free-spirited values and join the numerous annual events. Whether you're seeking relaxation or cultural immersion, Sitges promises an unforgettable experience.
Address: Passeig de la Ribera, 29, 08870 Sitges, Barcelona, Spain.
Sitges is a coastal town in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is located approximately 35 kilometers southwest of Barcelona.
How to Get to Sitges from Barcelona
Sitges is easily accessible from Barcelona, offering various transportation options. A scenic drive of under an hour along the C-32 southbound will take you directly to Sitges.
Alternatively, take the R2S train line from Barcelona, with frequent departures and a journey time of approximately 30 minutes.
Buses also provide a convenient mode of transport, taking around 45 minutes to reach Sitges.
8. Tarragona: A Journey through Ancient History
For history enthusiasts, Tarragona presents a captivating day trip from Barcelona, steeped in ancient Roman heritage.
Founded in 218 BC, Tarragona showcases artifacts from its rich history, from the waterfront amphitheater to the Monumento a los Castellers.
Immerse yourself in the old city's labyrinthine alleyways, discover the city's version of La Rambla, and visit the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona to uncover the region's past.
After exploring the historical sites, stroll through the Parc de Amphitheater, leading to the golden sandy shore beyond.
Tarragona offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for a day trip.
Address: Plaça de la Font, 1, 43003 Tarragona, Spain.
Tarragona is a city in Catalonia, Spain, located on the Costa Daurada. It is situated approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Barcelona.
How to Get to Tarragona from Barcelona
Taking the train is the most convenient option to visit Tarragona as a day trip. The high-speed train service ensures a journey time of just 30 minutes, allowing you to maximize your time exploring the city.
Driving is also possible but takes almost three times longer than the train journey, considering potential traffic congestion. Buses provide an alternative, although the travel time is longer than trains.
9. Begur: A Mediterranean Paradise
Begur is hidden along the coast and offers a delightful escape to a Mediterranean paradise.
This off-the-beaten-track town exudes a unique flavor, thanks to its ties to Cuba and the colonial houses built by returning Begurencs.
Take your time to explore the town's charming streets and discover the crumbling Begur Castle, providing panoramic views of the region from its ancient foundations.
Near Begur, you'll find some of the region's finest beaches, each with unique charm. From secluded coves to expansive sandy stretches, these beaches offer a tranquil retreat for sunbathing and swimming.
Immerse yourself in the relaxed coastal lifestyle and dream of owning your holiday house in this idyllic setting.
Address: Carrer de Sant Miquel, 1, 17255 Begur, Girona, Spain.
Begur is a town located in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It is situated on the Costa Brava, approximately 130 kilometers northeast of Barcelona.
How to Get to Begur from Barcelona
To reach Begur, a scenic coastal drive from Barcelona, takes under an hour, allowing you to enjoy the picturesque views.
Public transportation options are limited, making driving the most convenient for a day trip to this Mediterranean paradise.
Barcelona's vibrant cityscape is undeniably captivating, but the surrounding regions of Catalonia and the Costa Brava hold a world of wonders waiting to be discovered.
From ancient ruins and stunning landscapes to charming coastal towns and cultural heritage sites, the best day trips from Barcelona offer diverse experiences.
Whether you explore the Ruins of Empuries, hike in the Montserrat mountains, or relax on the beaches of Sitges and Tossa de Mar, each destination promises to leave a lasting impression.
Embark on an unforgettable journey and unveil the hidden gems beyond Barcelona's boundaries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is it worth to go on a day trip from Barcelona?
Day trips from Barcelona offer a rich variety of experiences. Montserrat Monastery is perfect for those seeking spirituality and natural beauty.
Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dali, offers a surreal experience with its Dali Theatre-Museum.
Sitges is ideal for beach-goers and nightlife enthusiasts, while Girona provides medieval history and Game of Thrones locations.
Costa Brava offers breathtaking beaches and hidden coves, perfect for a day of relaxation or adventure.
What is the most scenic train ride from Barcelona?
The train journey from Barcelona to Montserrat is among the most scenic.
Lasting under an hour, the ride provides panoramic views of the mountain range, carved over millions of years by natural forces.
The Montserrat Monastery, a spiritual haven, is perched atop these rugged mountains, making the journey visually and emotionally impactful.
What is the cute town outside of Barcelona?
Sitges, located just south of Barcelona, is a charming town that offers a unique blend of traditional Spanish culture and modern glamour.
Often compared to St. Tropez, Sitges is popular among the LGBT community and has 17 stunning beaches, with Platja de la Bassa Rodona and Platja de la Barra being particularly popular.