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Day Trips from Barcelona | Barcelona City Guide

A treasure trove of history and a pioneer in modern art and architecture, Catalonia’s capital city, Barcelona, is a pastiche of images steeped in stories. As the birthplace of Catalan Modernism, Barcelona boasts architectural marvels such as Antoni Gaudí’s Parc Güell and art by the virtuosos like Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. A trip to Barcelona is always enriching and when combined with day trips to nearby regions, it is all the more fulfilling. Here is an in-depth guide to the ‘Top 5’ day trips from Barcelona to complete your Spanish itinerary!

Top 6 Day Trips from Barcelona

Girona
Girona

Approx. 100 km from Barcelona, Girona is a medieval town settled on the banks of River Onyar. The city even served as one of the locations of the popular series Game of Thrones, a tour that takes you along the ancient streets with castle walls and traditional markets. 

Why Take this Day Trip?

Girona has so much to offer with:

  1. Walkways encircled by Medieval walls that served as fortifications against enemies
  2. An ancient cathedral that once was a mosque used by the settler-Moors, 
  3. The Eiffel Bridge, and 
  4. The Jewish Quarters, one of the best-preserved in the world. 
  5. The weather in Girona is humid and subtropical with mostly sunny days. 

Guided Day Trips from Barcelona to Girona are quite popular with tourists for they include transportation, easy-access tickets to museums, and a well-informed tour guide. 

Travel duration: 40-minute train journey
Plan To spend: Full Day

Montjuic
Montjuic

The birthplace of Barcelona, and now one of the highest points overlooking the harbor, Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona that is a popular tourist destination and a day tour only 20 or so minutes by train.  It is essentially a part of Barcelona, but a little to the outskirts. One can reach Montjuic by cable car - a scenic ride - or by the funicular or even by bus 150.

 Why Take this Day Trip?

Montjuic has exciting things to see including the:

  1. Montjuic Castle
  2. Magic Fountain
  3. Joan Miró Foundation that has an exclusive collection of the artist’s best works. 
  4. Montjuic Cemetary is the burial ground for many prestigious names in Spain’s history including Joan Miró and Catalan’s former Presidents.
  5. Montjuic was also where many of the events of the 1992 Olympics were held. 

Travel duration: 20 minutes bus ride
Plan to spend: 3 hours

Costa Brava
Costa Brava

A coastal region in Catalonia, Spain, Costa Brava is one of the most picturesque regions in all of Spain with temperate beaches and a rugged coastline. Craggy rocks frame dazzling azure waters and white sand beaches to make a popular holiday destination for locals and tourists. 

Why Take this Day Trip?

  1. From tranquil walks to exhilarating water sports like kayaking or deep-sea diving, Costa Brava has something for every mood.
  2. Towns like Cadaqués along the coast were famous among celebrated artists like Dali and Picasso. The confluence of four rivers gives Costa Brava a unique aura, one that is celebrated with fervor. 
  3. Other places to visit here include Cap de Creus National Park and Empúries, among others. 

Travel duration: 2.5-hour train journey
Plan to spend: Full Day

Montserrat
Montserrat

For nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers, a day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona is a must. A 1.5-hour train journey or car ride will take you from Plaça d’Espanya station, Barcelona to Montserrat

Why Take this Day Trip?

  1. You can hike to one of the highest peaks of the mountain range i.e. Saint Jerome that stands at 4,055 feet. The jagged peaks of the mountains resemble a saw, hence the name, Montserrat. 
  2. Visit the Montserrat Monastery and journey across mesmerizing mountains.
  3. Also called ‘Aerie de Montserrat’, hop on a cable car to ascend 4,000 ft from the bottom of the Montserrat Mountain to the Monastery.

Travel duration: 1.5-hour train journey
Plan to stay: Full day

Sitges
Sitges

Sitges is a popular coastal town in Catalonia, Spain bordered by the Garraf mountains and boasting a spectacular coastline. A 30-minute train-journey or a 45-minute car ride will take you from Barcelona to Sitges with ease. 

 Why Take this Day Trip?

The town has exceptional sights and sounds in store: 

  1. It is home to several annual festivals such as the International Film Festival, Carnival, and sporting events. 
  2. Some popular landmarks in Sitges are Maricel Museum and Cau Ferrat Museum that lend Sitges the cultural edge it is commonly known for. 
  3. Art lovers will appreciate the celebration of local craft and talent around town. 

Travel duration: 45 min train journey
Plan to stay: Full Day

Vic

Vic is a fascinating inland town, to the south of the Pyrenees mountains. It’s the capital of Osona and one of the most important towns in central Catalonia given its position. This has lead to an attractive old town and several popular eateries. Most activity takes place around Plaça Major, where you’ll find beautiful mansions and regular markets.

Why Take this Day Trip?

  1. Home to an ancient Roman temple, a beautiful main square and a stunning Cathedral, Vic has plenty to keep one entertained for a whole day
  2. Sampling the beloved local sausages, duet, and llonganissa, both products of the local pig farming tradition are a must on a foodie's checklist.
  3. The city is known to many as the ‘saint’s town’ due to the plethora of churches in the area.

Travel duration: 1.5 hours
Plan to stay: Full Day

How To Book A Day Trip From Barcelona

Traveling to a foreign country, especially for the first time, can be a daunting affair for even the most seasoned traveler. Arranging transportation, booking tickets, and navigating unfamiliar GPS routes is even more intimidating if not done right.

Choose guided day trips from Barcelona to save yourself the trouble of renting a car or figuring out which train to board and where to disembark. From hotel pick-up to air-conditioned motor coaches, easy bookings and cancellations, and inclusions like museum visits, walking tours, and even lunch (for some), guided tours are ideal when you’re with family or traveling in a group. Most of the tours can be booked online and tickets are emailed directly to your phones.

Know Before You Book A Day Trip From Barcelona

  1. Barcelona is a fairly expensive place to visit in Europe and day trips from Barcelona would cost you slightly more as these are popular coastal towns and mountain ranges. Travelers can expect to pay between €60-€150 per day including transportation, accommodation, food, etc.
  2. When you have just 24 hours at your disposal, planning your day is of utmost importance. Figure out all that you'd like to see in advance, check the routes and opening hours of each attraction. If you're not keen on planning, leave the hassle to experts and book yourself a guided tour that has your day charted out with all the prime attractions covered.
  3. Cash, credit cards, and debit cards are widely accepted across the city and nearby areas. You will find numerous ATMs, but you may face a withdrawal fee on foreign currency. Carry your ID cards as they are required when paying with a credit card.
  4. Tipping culture in Barcelona is around 5% at restaurants and it is up to you to tip taxi drivers or in a bar.
  5. Keep aside a whole day for a day trip and try not to plan anything for the evening since you'll be exhausted after all the travel and sightseeing.
  6. Check the weather of your day trip destination before setting out from Barcelona. While Barcelona may be sunny, other parts of Spain may not be.

FAQs

Q. What is the best time to take day trips from Barcelona?
A. Spain is in Southern Europe and hence, tends to get hotter during the summer months. Although Barcelona has temperate weather, it tends to sizzle in the months of July and August. The best time to visit would spring and late fall.

Q. Where can I rent a car in Barcelona?
A. Sixt is one of the rental car companies you can check out for your transportation requirements.

Q. What is the main airport of Barcelona?
A. Barcelona’s main airport is El Prat.

Q. What are some of the local foods I should try in Barcelona?
A. Xuixo, Spanish omelet, paella, tapas, and pan con tomate, to name a few.

Q. Which water sports can I try while in Spain?
A. Some of the most popular water sports include kayaking and snorkelling in Costa Brava, sailing, cliff jumping, and paddle-boarding or deep-sea diving.