Are you staying in Barcelona for your next vacation? This city is one of the must-visit places in Spain, but it also makes for a perfect starting point for another exciting adventure. You might want to consider planning a half-day or full-day tour of beaches, historic sites, and other picturesque locations just outside the city. Explore the different day trips from Barcelona, including the best modes of transportation and the best things to do in other Catalan cities.
1. Day trips from Barcelona: Girona
Girona is a breathtaking medieval city located around 99 kilometers northeast of Barcelona in northern Catalonia, Spain, It is one of the best day trips from Barcelona because of its beautiful cobbled streets, colorful tenement houses, and a well-preserved Jewish district. It is a great place for soaking in the river views and enjoying its quiet contrast with the busy environs of Barcelona.
1.1. How to Get to Girona from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Girona:
BEST: Train at €9 to €35 (less than 40 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Rideshare at €4 to €6 (1 hour and 31 minutes)
Drive: €17 to €26 (1 hour and 8 minutes)
Bus: €6 to €22 (1 hour and 15 minutes)
1.2. What to Do on a Girona Day Trip from Barcelona
Most visitors take day trips from Barcelona to Girona to explore the magnificent Cathedral of Girona, which is home to the world’s widest Gothic nave. It also has a museum that houses the Tapestry of Creation, a panel of needlework that records the story of creation from the book of Genesis. You can also take photos on the bridges across the Onyar River. May is the best time to visit Girona, which coincides with the Temps de Flors flower festival.
If you only take a one-day trip to Girona, you can book a Medieval Girona Half-day Guided Tour, which leaves at 8:00 a.m. and returns at 2:00 p.m. This takes you through a guided walk around the city center, including some of the filming locations for Game of Thrones. You can also opt for a Full-Day Tour that combines a trip to Girona with stopovers at exquisite beach locations on the Costa Brava, including a dip in the cold Mediterranean Sea.
2. Day trips from Barcelona: Valencia
The city of Valencia is located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula and is one of the major urban areas along the Mediterranean Sea. It is also the third-most populated municipality in Spain. This place, which is known as the birthplace of paella, offers tourists an excellent array of stunning beaches, magnificent architecture, and delectable food. Read on to find out why it is one of the best day trips from Barcelona.
2.1. How to Get to Valencia from Barcelona
BEST: Train at €30 to €45 (2 hours and 47 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Rideshare at €17 to €35 (4 hours and 12 minutes)
Bus: €24 to €80 (4 hours)
Drive: €60 to €86 fuel cost (3 hours and 26 minutes) + car rental starting at €30
Plane: €30 to €138 (2 hours and 49 minutes)
2.2. What to Do on a Valencia Day Trip from Barcelona
If you’re taking the Coastal Route, you’ll see the Mediterranean Sea’s stunning Costa Dorada (Golden Coast). The Inland Route, which is almost twice as long, will take you to Valencia’s majestic Gothic structures. These include the 15th-century La Lonja de la Seda (a UNESCO site), the Chapel of the Holy Chalice, and Casco Historico. You can also experience the city’s nightlife by exploring Calle de Caballeros in Barrio del Carmen.
Another refreshing site is Jardin del Turia, an old riverbed that was converted into an astounding park with pines, orange groves, play areas, and fountains. Foodies should explore the Central Market and sample Spanish delicacies like chorizo, Manchego Cheese, and Jamon Iberico. If you’re into sand action, don’t miss spending time at either Malvarrosa Beach or El Saler Beach. Of course, get a taste of original paella in off-beaten-track restaurants.
3. Day trips from Barcelona: Tarragona
Tarragona, formerly known as the Roman city of Tarraco, is an ancient port city found along the Costa Dorada by the Mediterranean Sea in northeast Spain. You can take day trips from Barcelona to Tarragona very easily and spend a day there exploring its amazing ruins, incredible beaches, and delicious food.
3.1. How to Get to Tarragona from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Tarragona:
BEST: Train at €9 to €13 (1 hour and 18 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Rideshare at €6 (1 hour and 29 minutes)
FASTEST: Taxi at €130 to €160 (1 hour and 6 minutes)
Bus: €10 to €15 (1 hour and 45 minutes)
Drive: €17 to €24 fuel cost (1 hour and 6 minutes) + car rental starting at €30
3.2. What to Do in Tarragona
One of the most relaxing things to do in Tarragona is to spend a day exploring Roman ruins and museums, making it one of the best day trips from Barcelona for history buffs. The most notable sites include the well-preserved Amfiteatre de Tarragona, the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona, and the classic indoor food market Mercat de Tarragona. About a kilometer away from the ruins is PortAventura, the largest theme park in the country.
4. Day trips from Barcelona: Cadaques
Cadaques is a town located in Girona, Spain that is found on a bay in the middle of the Cap de Creus peninsula. Do you know why this is one of the best day trips from Barcelona? This place is known for its unique geological landscapes and rocky coast which is bordered by beautiful beaches and coves. It is also a source of inspiration for famous artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.
4.1. How to Get to Cadaques from Barcelona
BEST: Train at €39 to €50 one-way (2 hours and 47 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Train + Line 12 Bus at €18 to €25 one-way (4 hours and 5 minutes)
FASTEST: Bus at €22 to €30 (2 hours and 45 minutes)
Drive: €29 to €42 fuel cost (1 hour and 58 minutes) + car rental starting at €30
4.2. What to Do in Cadaques
Cadaques is one of the most relaxing destinations for tourists. One of the main things to do in Cadaques is to stroll around the beaches of its Cap de Creus headland and enjoy the views at a waterfront cafe. You can also visit the iconic Esglesia de Santa Maria to see its beautiful Baroque altarpieces and climb to its top for a breathtaking view. For history buffs, the best place to visit is the ruins of the Castle of Sant Jaume located above the bay. Art enthusiasts, on the other hand, should visit the Salvador Dali House Museum in Port Lligat.
5. Day trips from Barcelona: Calella de Palafrugell
This is one of the coastal towns found in the province of Girona and is also part of the Costa Brava region. Calella de Palafrugrel is an ancient fishing village that boasts of its well-preserved streets and dwellings, and one of the best day trips from Barcelona. In fact, the Catalan Tourism Agency has awarded it with the Pobre amb encant and Barris i Viles Marineres seal, which certifies that its special beauty captivates visitors.
5.1. How to Get to Calella de Palafrugell from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Calella de Palafrugell:
BEST: Bus at €18 to €24 (3 hours and 21 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Train + Line 42 Bus at €15 to €23 (4 hours and 5 minutes)
FASTEST: Drive: €22 to €31 fuel cost (1 hour and 28 minutes) + car rental starting at €30
5.2. What to Do in Calella de Palafrugell
Calella de Palafrugell is among the best day trips from Barcelona and is a great place for quality beach time because of its many sandy beaches, bays, and coves. You can go to Canadell Beach to rent boats and take cruises, or head over to Playa Port Peligri if you are into diving. You can also wander around the village and admire its steep tiled roofs, traditional fisherfolk homes, and narrow streets. South of this village, you can find the Jardin Botanic de Cap Roig (botanical garden of Cap Roig). If you are in the mood for uphill walking, you can continue up to the San Sebastian Lighthouse in Llafranc.
6. Day trips from Barcelona: Montserrat
Montserrat, which means “serrated mountain,” is a multi-peaked mountain range that forms a part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range near Barcelona. This spot is known for its striking rock formations that take on a pinkish hue. It is one of the best day trips from Barcelona because of these unique mountains. In fact, it was officially designated as a National Park in 1987.
6.1. How to Get to Montserrat from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Montserrat:
BEST: Train at €31 to €43 (4 hours and 24 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Bus at €29 to €81 (7 hours and 50 minutes)
FASTEST: Drive: €64 to €93 fuel cost (3 hours and 4 minutes) plus car rental starting at €30
Bus via Tarragona: €35 to €55 (9 hours and 45 minutes)
Plane + Line 2 Subway + Bus: €33 to €140 (4 hours and 31 minutes)
6.2. What to Do in Montserrat
Because of its natural architecture, one of the best things to do in Montserrat is to go hiking in its mountain park. The Sant Jeroni Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails, but you can try the St. Michael’s Cross and Via Crucis Way if you are a beginner. Another great activity with religious significance is to see the Black Madonna wooden statue in its 11th-century Catholic monastery. This famous sculpture, which was declared the patroness of Catalonia in 1844, was believed to have been carved in Jerusalem during the early Christian times.
Book a half-day guided tour to see popular tourist spots in Montserrat. This usually includes a winery tour or a four-hour sailing adventure. A full-day tour could include lunch in addition to sightseeing. While you can visit Montserrat at any time of the year, the months of April to May and September to October are ideal if you prefer cooler weather and fewer crowds.
7. Day trips from Barcelona: Figueres
This town, whose name translates to “fig trees,” is the capital of the comarca (group of municipalities) of Alt Emporda in the province of Girona. It was the birthplace of several famous personalities, including surrealist artist Salvador Dali, inventor Narcis Monturiol, and singer Monica Naranjo. Find out why we recommend it as one of the top day trips from Barcelona.
7.1. How to Get to Figueres from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Figueres:
BEST: Train at €12 to €35 (55 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Bus at €8 to €12 (2 hours and 45 minutes)
Drive: €24 to €35 fuel cost (1 hour and 25 minutes) plus car rental starting at €30
7.2. What to Do in Figueres
The unique selling point of this little town is the Salvador Dali Museum, a quirky structure that houses what is perceived to be the largest collection of surrealist art in the world. It also contains Dali’s remains in a crypt. While people usually spend less than a day in this town, you’ll have to book your museum tickets in advance because thousands of Dali fans flock to this site each year. Other notable sites here are the Toy Museum of Catalonia and the historic Emporda Museum.
8. Day trips from Barcelona: Sitges
Sitges is a picturesque coastal town that is known as the gay capital of Europe for leading efforts to protect LGBTQ+ rights. The name of this LGBTQ+ friendly town traces its roots to the Old Catalan term for “underground silos.” It is located just 35 kilometers southwest of Barcelona in Catalonia. Read on to see why it is one of the best day trips from Barcelona.
8.1. How to Get to Sitges from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Sitges:
BEST: Train at €3 to €8 (44 minutes)
FASTEST: Taxi at €65 to €80 (32 minutes)
Bus: €4 to €7 (55 minutes)
Drive: €7 to €10 fuel cost (32 minutes) plus car rental starting at €30
8.2. What to Do in Sitges
A lot of tourists take day trips from Barcelona to Sitges for one day, but you can stretch out your trip for two to three days to better immerse yourself in its character and atmosphere. We recommend Platja de Sant Sebastia for a family-friendly beach and the Platja la Bassa Ronda if you want an LGBTQ+ friendly alternative. You can also visit the Cau Ferrat building, which used to be the home of Catalan artist Santiago Rusiñol. There are a lot of well-reputed traditional seafood restaurants like La Nansa and El Trull where you can enjoy fresh fish and delicious seafood rice dishes.
The best way to enjoy the sights up close is to stroll along the Passeig Maritim, a wide boulevard that stretches along the waterfront. Here, you can stop by for refreshments at any of the cafes, restaurants, and ice cream shops that line the walkway. The Old Town center features the old fishermen’s neighborhood, as well as the 15th-century Church of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla. If you’re visiting at the end of Lent, enjoy the Sitges Carnival along the coastline with its colorful floats and late-night parties.
9. Day trips from Barcelona: Penedes
Penedes, another one of the best day trips from Barcelona, is a wine region in Catalonia situated in the south between the pre-coastal mountain range and the Mediterranean Sea. It is also famous for its Cava, a sparkling wine that has had a Denominacion d’Origen (designation of origin) since 1986. However, this county also produces fine red and white wine. You can spend a day or two in the Penedes for a more thorough culinary and wine experience.
9.1. How to Get to Penedes from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Penedes:
BEST: Bus at €4 to €7 (43 minutes)
CHEAPEST: Train at €3 to €6 (1 hour and 11 minutes)
FASTEST: Taxi at €90 to €120 (40 minutes)
Drive: €10 to €15 fuel cost (40 minutes) plus car rental starting at €30
9.2. What to Do in Penedes
Penedes is a paradise for wine enthusiasts, with charming little villages that boast of rich vineyards and beautiful wineries that are famous tourist destinations. The Vilafranca del Penedes is a good spot to start a wine tour, and you can also visit the Church of Santa Maria, the Royal Palace, and its wine museum. You can also head to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia to see the Freixenet winery, take a cave tour, and learn about how they produce their wine here.
10. Day trips from Barcelona: Andorra
Andorra is a great option for day trips from Barcelona, but this is an entirely another country that is ruled by both the bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, Spain and the president of France. It’s a sovereign landlocked country on the Iberian Peninsula and is the sixth-smallest state in Europe. While this is technically not part of Spain, it is still one of the best day trips from Barcelona because of its proximity and the worthwhile destinations that it offers.
10.1. How to Get to Andorra from Barcelona
Here are the best transportation options that will take you from Barcelona to Andorra:
BEST: Bus at €27 to €40 (3 hours)
CHEAPEST: Rideshare at €12 to €14 (2 hours and 59 minutes)
FASTEST: Drive at €33 to €47 fuel cost (2 hours and 26 minutes)
10.2. What to Do in Andorra
You can visit the Grandvalira ski resort and go skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, snowshoe walking, or downhill snow tube riding. You can also enjoy the breathtaking view of the alpine mountaintops at the Mirador Roc del Quer with your family. The capital city Andorra la Velle offers plenty of activities, including a stroll in Parc Central, a visit to the Esglesia de Sant Esteve, and shopping for clothes or souvenirs. Other interesting tourist spots here are the Museo Casa Rull, the Caldea thermal bath complex, the Grande Randonee Pays hiking trail, and the Iglu Hotel and Bar which is made from snow.
11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Where is it worth to go on a day trip from Barcelona?
Day trips from Barcelona are all worthy experiences! The destinations include the monastery in Montserrat, the Dali theater-museum in Figueres, the Game of Thrones filming locations in Girona, and the scenic route along the Costa Brava.
2. What cities can you travel to from Barcelona?
The best cities that you can take day trips from Barcelona include Montserrat, Girona, Figueres, Sitges, Tarragona, and Valencia. The travel time ranges from less than an hour to around four hours. Nevertheless, each of these cities offers stunning sceneries, unique activities, and delectable cuisines.
3. Which is better Girona or Montserrat?
Both Girona and Montserrat are great tourist destinations that offer distinct activities and views. If you are into outdoor activities and mountain views, Montserrat is a great fit for you. However, if you prefer marveling at medieval architecture and strolling around the city, Girona would be the perfect place for you.
4. Should I go to Sitges or Tarragona?
You should go to Sitges for a beach getaway that allows you to soak in the local culture without having to deal with crowds. Tarragona, on the other hand, is a great option if you want to learn about Ancient Roman history and architecture.
5. Where do trains from Barcelona go?
Trains from Barcelona go to a variety of cities and routes. These top train destinations from Barcelona include Madrid, Valencia, Paris, Seville, Salou, Zaragoza, Toulouse, Sitges, Tarragona, and Granada. There are also trains that take you to a different country. These destinations include Lisbon, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Nice, Marseille, and Monaco.
6. Is Paris also one of the best day trips from Barcelona?
Yes. A drive from Barcelona to Paris is going to take around 11 hours. While you can accomplish this in a single day, it is best to make a few stopovers so that you can enjoy scenic spots and relax a bit along the way. A high-speed rail trip, on the other hand, would take less than seven hours. This option is faster and will allow you to see breathtaking views that you normally would not see if you travel by plane or bus. You could take off in the morning and arrive in Paris for a late lunch.
7. How many days is ideal for day trips from Barcelona?
We recommend spending at least two days in Barcelona to give you ample time to see its main attractions, sample its top cuisines, and experience its nightlife. Then, you could extend another day for any of the day trips from Barcelona that we have listed in this article.
If you are looking for more information on the city, you can take a look at Barcelona’s official Tourism website. Visit the TMB website to learn about public transportation in Barcelona. Also, you can plan the top Things to Do in Barcelona and how to spend a weekend in Barcelona without breaking the bank to maximize your experience in this city.