Living in Barcelona is such a great experience. The city offers so many things to explore and we wouldn’t change it for any other option but sometimes we all need to escape our area of living and explore a little bit around us.
A day trip outside the noise of the city might be a great idea. Here you will find a list of some of our favorite places to visit that are close enough for a daytrip (or maybe more).
Girona is 100km away from Barcelona. It may sound far but the two cities are connected by a high speed train and it takes only 38 minutes to reach the destination. If you take the early morning train you will have plenty of time to visit the city and enjoy a coffee break or a lunch outside.
Girona has one of the best preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe, a beautiful Cathedral, medieval walls with an amazing view to walk on and narrow streets with interesting local shops.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Let us wake up your curiosity by telling you that a part of season 6 was filmed here.
Girona is also well known for their great gastronomy and in 2013 one of the restaurants named “Celler de Can Roca” won the prize as the best restaurant in the world.
Tarragona is located in the southern part of Cataluña. It is worth a visit for its ancient culture with a UNESCO-listed ensemble of Roman archaeological sites that date to when this was the most important city in Iberia.
In Tarragona you can visit a lot of things like: The Amphitheatre, Tarragona’s Cathedral, Pont del Diable (250-metre section of an aqueduct that channelled water from the Francolí River to Ancient Tarraco), Roman Walls, El Poblet Monastery, Mediterranea Balcony, National Archaeological Museum and so much more.
As an ancient city and also near the sea, Tarragona has a lot to offer. If you like beaches, a few minutes from the center of the city you have some great ones, and if you would like to enjoy some traditional celebration from this city we suggest visiting it around the end of September.
Santa Tecla is a traditional Catalan ritual where people, usually dressed up as mythical animals such as dragons, parade through the streets erupting with sparks from fireworks, dancing together and making lots of noise. End your day trip by visiting “Mercado Central de Tarragona”, a market where you can enjoy a wide range of gastronomic options with a glass of wine.
Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dali and also home to the Dali Museum. Very close to Barcelona but not as touristy, this small city offers great art, tasty food and wine and a quiet atmosphere that you will love. The first on our list of suggestions is of course to visit Teatro Museo Dalí. The building on the outside is designed to look like it is covered with yellow pieces from the local bread and on the roof with white eggs and golden statues. The museum has the best Dalí collections of art in the world, featuring not only painting but also three-dimensional installations and sculptures.
If you are visiting Figueres with kids, don't forget to see the Toy Museum of Catalonia. A collection of more than 15000 toys and games from different historical eras will be a great idea for a family journey.
End your visit with a walk at the Rambla (a long pedestrianised street). There you can experience the true essence of a local Rambla, less touristy than the one in Barcelona and the view is amazing.
Besalú is one of the most stunning medieval sites and a popular tourist destination in Catalonia. This city had a very important impact during the Middle Ages and it was a cultural melting between Christians and Jews in peaceful cohabitation for a number of centuries. This cohabitation has its own proof that you can visit during your stay in Besalú. The Jewish neighborhood, The Jewish mikvé bath, The Sant Pere Monastery, The medieval bridge are some of the attractions we have loved and we will revisite. Another interesting spot to see is The Museum of Miniatures and Microminiatures. There are some 2,000 miniature artworks in the museum, the smallest of which are made to the scale of 1:100.000. It is without doubt one of the interesting things you shouldn’t miss during your daytrip.
Last but not least, try some sample local dishes such as “escudella’ soup and “trinxat”.
Located 50 km from the center of Barcelona, Montserrat is one of the most important climbing spots in Catalonia and in the whole country. The reason why it is popular in Spain is because of its size (7km), with more than 5000 open roads to choose.
But climbing is not the only reason to visit Montserrat, if you love art than for sure you will enjoy The Montserrat Museum. Among others, part of the exhibitions are works by important artists like Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dalí.
Don’t forget to visit the monastery. The Benedictine monastery is visited by thousands of people every day, who come to make their prayers to the Virgin of Montserrat, nicknamed “La Moreneta” because of its dark skin color. Tradition says that you should touch the ball she carries in one hand and make a wish. Many people believe it works...so why not give it a try? ;)
Finish your visit at the local market. Eating some local products while enjoying the Montserrat landscape will be something you will never regret.
Catalonia offers so many opportunities to explore. A great part of them are very close to Barcelona. All you will need is a little extra time and your adventurous spirit to discover the hidden gems.
Which one will you visit first?