Easy Day Trips from Barcelona
Barcelona is an eclectic city with an endless list of things to do and places to see. From the fascinating Gothic Quarter to pristine beaches and delicious tapas in the Barceloneta neighborhood, Barcelona is a destination that’ll provide you with memories you’re not likely to forget anytime soon.
But it’s not just Barcelona itself that deserves attention. In fact, there are many beautiful places near Barcelona to visit on day trips if you have a spare day or two.
These places to visit outside Barcelona are beautiful, charming, and full of character. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the best day trips from Barcelona, a list of Barcelona day trips you’ll love.
Best Barcelona Day Trips
This list of day trips Barcelona includes historical towns, incredible natural sites, unique museums, and Catalonia’s biggest themed park! You can visit most of these beautiful places near Barcelona by train or with a guided tour.
Girona is one of the best cities to visit near Barcelona. The city was established in 218 BC under the name Gerunda and served as a major town in the Roman Empire. Also, it has been a major center of Jewish life for centuries, and its Jewish Quarter is widely known as one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in all of Europe.
A trip to Girona means visiting beautiful churches, walking along the famous medieval walls (we recommend taking this small-group walking tour), and tasting delicious food. The city also boasts pretty little streets with an undeniable medieval influence that’ll make you feel like you’re in Game of Thrones (fun fact: Girona was used as a filming location for several key destinations and scenes in the famous series).
Girona is one of the easy day trips from Barcelona. Conveniently, it’ll take you between 40 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to Girona from Barcelona, the former by train and the latter by bus. We’d recommend the train – you can catch it from Barcelona-Sants or El Clot Aragó train stations, and you’ll arrive at Girona’s main train station.
Located about an hour and a half northeast of Barcelona, the Montserrat Monastery is named after the mountain range that looms behind it. Montserrat means “sawn mountain” in Catalan because of the unique shape of the mountains.
Enjoy the gorgeous landscapes as well as some important Catalan history and culture during one of the best day trips from Barcelona. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to see the coveted La Moreneta statue (the Black Virgin statue), the saint patron of the Catalans.
Another thing you absolutely need to do during your day trip to Montserrat is listen to the Escolanets singing the Virolai, the hymn to the Virgin of Monserrat. The escolanets is a choir exclusively made up of 14-year-old boys who live and study in the Monastery, a tradition that has been alive since the 14th century. The escolanets offer different performances, but the singing of the Virolai is from Monday to Friday at 13:00 and on Sunday at 12:00.
There are many ways to visit Montserrat, being the organized day tour from Barcelona the most popular choice. If you are looking for a self-guided Barcelona day trip, getting to Montserrat is simple: catch the R5 Barcelona-Manresa train line (Ferrocarrils Catalans trains) from Plaça Espanya in Barcelona to Monistrol De Montserrat (the town at the foot of the Mountain). From there, you can take the Montserrat Cable Car or continue straight up to the Monastery by changing to the green rack railway (Cremallera de Montserrat).
Visit the port city of Tarragona, south of Barcelona, and experience the incredible ancient Roman ruins and buildings that litter the city. Known as Tarraco during the Roman rule, the city was founded in 218 BC, and it was one of the first Roman cities beyond the Western Empire. In Roman times, Tarraco was much more important than Barcino (current Barcelona), and the city’s monumental buildings are a silent witness of this golden past.
Today, visitors can experience an unusual combination of ancient ruins and Medieval buildings. Make sure you visit the Tarragona Amphitheater, the Cathedral of Tarragona, the Roman Circus, and the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona for some historical education. Then, visit to Mercat Central De Tarragona (a traditional market), and the Plaça del Forum (a lively square), and try the local cuisine.
TIP: This Roman heritage walking tour in Tarragona is perfect for history lovers!
Tarragona is ideal for a day trip from Barcelona – it’ll take you just over an hour to get there by train. You can catch a train directly from Barcelona-Sants Station to Tarragona Railway Station, the main station in the city.
Only about an hour and a half away from Barcelona by train, Besalú is one of the most beautiful little Medieval towns in Catalonia. In the foothills of the Pirineus mountains, the town is full of rich history just waiting to be explored and a plethora of incredible attractions to be visited.
Located on the shores of the river Fluviá, the Besalú County had significant political and social influence in Catalonia back in Medieval times. Today, the town is revered for its incredible Medieval atmosphere and architecture, particularly the Romanesque bridge. You can also see the remains of the County Castle, which is thought to have been built in the Xth century.
Besalú was also home to an important Jewish community that seemed to have coexisted relatively peacefully with the rest of the Christian community (although not always).
The easiest way to get to Besalú from Barcelona is by bus. Catch the bus from Gran Via and take the 658 bus to Besalú, where you’ll arrive at the main station. There are four buses a day. To get the most out of your day trip from Barcelona, however, we recommend visiting Besalú on a day tour. There are many guided tours to Besalú from Barcelona, and depending on your interests, you can combine Besalú with other lovely Medieval villages nearby or with a hike.
5. Port Aventura
Enjoy a fun day trip from Barcelona to Port Aventura – a top-class theme park located about an hour southwest of Barcelona. You can get there and back easily by bus, departing from Barcelona Nord Station and traveling directly to the Port Aventura World Resort – Click here to buy your Port Aventura tickets with transportation
Boasting nine different rollercoasters (the Dragon Khan is a must) and five water rides, as well as loads of other fun things to do, Port Aventura is an excellent place to visit for a day of unencumbered fun and entertainment. It’s one of the top attractions near Barcelona, and it’s number six most visited themed park in all of Europe.
In addition to the main theme park along with all its rides, the Port Aventura World resort also includes Ferrari Land (a second theme park established in 2017), the Caribe Aquatic Park, as well as several hotels, and even a convention center. However, you need more than a Barcelona day trip to enjoy all the parks!
The birthplace of none other than Salvador Dalí, Figures is an excellent part of Catalonia to visit and is ideal for lovers of art and all things refined. It’s situated in the northeastern part of Catalonia, and it’ll take you about an hour to get there from Barcelona by train. You can catch a quick and direct train from Barcelona-Sants station to Figures Vilafant, so it’s the perfect destination for a day trip from Barcelona!
The most popular place to visit in Figures is the Dali Museum, which is one of the must-attractions near Barcelona whether you’re passionate about art and history or not. At the Museum, you can learn all about his life and see some of his most famous pieces. If you’re really keen, you can even visit the Dalí Jewels Museum to see some of the jewelry he designed.
However, the best way to really do Figures properly (if you are interested in Dali, that is) is to go on a Dali-themed tour. You’ll be able to visit the most important sites related to Dalí in both Figures and Cadaqués, as well as his summer house in Port-Lligat.
7. Costa Brava
Stretching from the town of Blanes to the border with France, the Costa Brava is a gorgeous coastal region. Costa Brava is one of the best day trips from Barcelona if you like to enjoy the beaches with a touch of medieval villages and some awesome cuisine.
We’d recommend visiting the beautiful little town of Tossa De Mar, offering panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. If you’re a hiking fanatic, you absolutely have to do the Camí de Ronda coastal hike – in particular, the section from Sant Feliu de Guixols to Sagaró. The area is similar to the Calanques of Marseille-Cassis, and the views are absolutely breathtaking.
TIP: A day trip to Costa Brava is best done by car so that you have a bit more freedom to explore the region yourself (try DiscoverCars for car hire). Or, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy this guided tour that’ll have everything taken care of for you!
8. Beach Day at Sitges
Only 40 minutes from Barcelona, Sitges is the perfect destination for a day of lounging on the beach, enjoying incredible food, and experiencing unbelievable nightlife. You can take the R2 Sud Cercanias line in the direction of Vilanova i la Geltrú or Sant Vicenç De Calders.
Not only is it famous for its gorgeous shoreline, but Sitges is also home to arguably the most prominent and important LGBTQ+ community in Catalonia. And if you visit Sitges in February, you’ll be able to experience the town during the Carnival period – a guaranteed good time, no doubt about it!
If you’re looking for a beach day trip from Barcelona, Sitges’ Platja De Sant Sebastià and Platja de la Bassa Rodona are great options, depending on your preferences. The former is a lovely family beach, and the latter is a fun and open gay-friendly beach.
Spend all day lounging on the beach and enjoying the warm Mediterranean water, and then enjoy an incredible seafood lunch at La Paradeta. You’ll be able to select the fish of your choice, and they’ll cook it for you straight away – what a treat!
If you have time, make sure you check out Sitges’ Old Town, boasting cobbled streets and gorgeous historic buildings dating back to the Modernisme and Noucentisme movements.
Terrassa is one of the most unknown places to visit around Barcelona on this list. The capital city of the Vallès Occidental, Terrassa is mostly known for its textile past, which left the city a beautiful collection of Modernist buildings by famous architects. Today, Terrassa is a city of culture, industrial tourism, music, and good gastronomy, a hidden gem for tourists waiting to be explored!
Terrassa’s main attraction is its industrial heritage, from re-visited textile factories and steamers to beautiful mansions commissioned by rich industrials. The most famous building is the Masia Freixa (1896), designed in the Modernist style by Lluís Muncunill i Parellada. But there are more!
La Seu d’Ègara (pictured above) is my favorite place to visit in Terrassa. This monumental complex located in the Parc de Vallparadís was built in Romanesque style 1.500 years ago and outstands for its well-conserved architecture and exceptional wall paintings, from the 5th to 7th centuries.
Complete this travel back in time with a visit to the Cartoixa de Vallparadis, a former medieval castle built in the XIIIth and XIVth centuries, or relax in one of the city’s many green spaces.
Getting to Terrassa is very easy. From Plaça Catalunya train station, it’s a 44-minute ride by regional train (line S1, Ferrocarrils Catalans).
10. Ruta del Cister (Cistersian Route)
Embark on an incredible journey when you head out to explore Catalonia’s infamous Ruta Del Cister, otherwise known as the Cistercian Route. Cistersians are an order of Catholic monks and nuns that originated in France with an incredibly long history, especially in Catalonia. The Cistercian Route is a route that’ll lead you to and past three prominent Catalan monasteries in the Cistercian order – Santes Creus, Poblet, and Vallbona Des Les Monges (monastery for nuns).
Traveling the route itself is an incredible experience, inviting visitors to explore tradition, culture, heritage, and so much more. You’ll also find yourself surrounded by incredible nature and beautiful surroundings.
The best way to do this is to hire a car and drive it yourself – that way; you can do it in your own time and pick and choose the sites that interest you.
11. Penedès Wine Tour
If you’re a wine lover, a Penedès wine tour from Barcelona is sure to be something you’ll enjoy. This Catalan wine region is located about an hour south of Barcelona and is known in particular for its version of sparkling wine, Cava, but it also produces several top-quality dry red and white wines, as well as some delicious dessert wines.
The Penedès wine region falls into the provinces of Barcelona and Tarragona, and the first evidence of wine having been cultivated in the area dates all the way back to the seventh century.
Today, the best way to get a good experience of the Penedès wine region is to go on a guided tour so that you can visit local wineries and sample a little bit of everything too! Although there are many awesome tours available, we recommend two excellent options – the first tour focuses on a smaller, family-owned winery, while the second is slightly more focused on traditional cava produced by a famous brand. Take your pick!
And there you have it, the list of the best day trips from Barcelona with something for every traveler. Which Barcelona day trips tempt you most?