10 ideas for trips you can take from Barcelona
Article updated 16 January, 2019.
Barcelona's surroundings are really worth seeing so do not miss the chance to see some of what Catalonia has to offer. Here are a few ideas...
Barcelona is a dynamic and lively city where it is impossible to get bored. But if you have time, the rest of Catalonia also has plenty to offer.
Beach, party and shopping
European gay capital, Sitges is a trendy and festive beach resort with numerous bars and restaurants dotted along the seafront promenade.
At the end of the sandy beach (that’s softer than in Barcelona), stretches the old town with its church, its steep streets and its pretty white houses.
- Read our full article on Sitges here.
Getting to Sitges from Barcelona
Sitges is around 30-40 minutes drive from Barcelona and the road along the coast offers some spectacular views.
The R2 train links the capital to the seaside resort every 30 minutes from Clot, Passeig de Gràcia and Sants. A return trip costs around €10.
2. Dali museum at Figueres
An impressive and original visit
The Dali museum in Figueres is one of a kind! You can easily spend half a day there, there is so much to see. Given the whimsical nature of the works it’s also a space that children love. You can see giant tableaux, optical illusions, a face room, mechanical jewellery and even a flooded car. It is both wacky and wonderful!
Price and opening hours of the Figueres Dali Museum
Entry to the Dali museum costs around €12. For over 65s, students and the unemployed there is a reduced ticket price and it is free for children under 8.
Getting to Figueres from Barcelona
The Dali museum is around 1.5 hours from Barcelona by car.
From Barcelona Figueres is accessible by train and by bus (Sagalès).
Combo: trip to Girona and Figueres
It costs around 70 euros and includes:
- a guided tour of Girona
- a guided tour of the Dali museum
- entry to the museum
- discounts in the boutiques and restaurants
- coach transfer
- Guided tours are in English, Spanish and Catalan.
3. Trip to Colonia Güell and Gaudí’s crypt
Industrial and modernist architecture
Around 20 kms from Barcelona, Colònia Güell, the large industrial complex and UNESCO world heritage site, is really worth a trip. A superb crypt designed by Gaudí, still under-visited by the public makes the trip even more appealing.
Getting to Colònia Güell from Barcelona
- By train (S4, S8, S33): from Plaça Espanya to Estació Colonia Güell. Trains leave every 15 minutes. Expect to pay €6 return.
- By car: around 25 minutes from the centre of Barcelona
4. Costa Brava
If you love beaches and beautiful countryside, then the Costa Brava, stretching from Blanes (North of Barcelona) to the French border, has plenty to offer.
Here the programme includes charming coastal villages (Cadaquès and Calella de Palafrugell) or medieval ones (Tossa de Mar, Besalú, Pals, Peratallada), and also botanical gardens (Marimurtra, Pinya de Rosa) or overpopulated concrete cities for partying cheaply (Lloret de mar).
History, boutiques and architecture
Girona is the second city of Catalonia after Barcelona. It is located beyond the Costa Brava and has its own airport. It is a dynamic and pleasant city with a historic centre full of charm (take a tour of the monastery, the church and the Jewish quarter) and a whole heap of lovely little boutiques.
Girona is equally well known for its brightly coloured houses bordering the river. The perfect place for taking superb photos! And you will find many examples of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture walking through the city centre.
- Giron’a Rocambolesc glacier has often been named the best in Spain so don’t forget to take a little trip to it!
Getting to Girona
- By car: 1 hour 15 minutes from the centre of Barcelona
- By train: there are three ways to get from Barcelona to Girona by train. The fastest is to take the TGV on its way to France (38 minutes, a little over €30 return). You can also take a regional train which will take more or less time depending on the timetable. (between 1 hour 15 and 2 hours 10 for between €9 and €12 one way).
- By bus from Estació del Nord, around €22 return.
- There is also a good deal on a guided tour of Girona +entry and guided tour of the Dali museum at Figueres + bus transfer from Barcelona to Figueres and Girona (return) for around 70 euros!
6. A trip to Sant Cugat del Vallès
Sant Cugat Monastery
Sant Cugat is a prosperous little suburb tucked away behind the Collserola mountain. Its historical centre has foundations dating from 2000 to 1500 BC. The benedictine monastery, the medieval church and the 12th century Roman cloisters are really worth a look.
- The monastery tour costs around €3.50 (€1.50 concessions).
- Entry is free for children all year round and for everyone the first Sunday of the month.
- It’s open from the 1st of June to the 30th of September from Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 1:30pm and 5pm to 8pm. It is closed on Mondays but open Sundays and holidays from 10am to 2:30pm.
- From the 1st of October to the 31st of May, the times change: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 1:30pm and 4pm to 7pm, Sundays and holidays from 10am to 2:30pm.
- The monastery is closed on the 1st and 6th of January as well as the 25th and 26th of December.
The charming Mercantic market
The other major pull of Sant Cugat is the Mercantic antiques fair, open all year round from Tuesday to Sunday. The place is very pleasant to stroll around even if you don’t plan to buy anything.
- Mercantic is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30am to 8pm and Sundays from 9:30am to 3pm.
- Open holidays except the 25th of December and the 1st and 6th of January.
Getting to Sant Cugat
- By car: around 25 minutes from the centre of Barcelona.
- By train with lines S1, S2, S5 and S55 (FGC from Provença station in Eixample): around 40 minutes and €6 return.
7. Port Aventura
Fun and excitement
Whether you’re here with family or you’re simply looking for thrills, you will love Port Aventura amusement park! Sensitive souls, hold onto your hats, the big 8 Shambhala is the highest in Europe and was voted best European attraction in 2012.
- You can buy a transport + entry pack here for around €65.
- Entry alone costs €45 per adult, €39 for children and seniors. Buy your tickets here.
- The journey by car from Barcelona takes around 1 hour 15. There is also a train from the capital to the park that takes around 1 hour 30. It leaves roughly every 90 minutes.
Mountain and religion
Montserrat is the name of a monastery but also a large mountain range that’s very dear to the Catalan people. A visit to the religious centre is very interesting and the mountains offer some great hiking opportunities.
- Entry to the monastery is free
- By car it takes about an hour to get to Montserrat.
- By public transport, it will take you much longer as you must first take the train from Plaça Espanya and then change to the funicular or cable car. Although of course you will enjoy a beautiful view!
- You can buy a half-day bus tour from Barcelona to Montserrat for around €53.
- Clicking here, you can book a trip to Colònia Güell (mentioned above) and Montserrat in the same day for €63 (10% reduction on the usual sale price). Explanations are in Catalan, English or Spanish.
9. Skiing in the Pyrenees
And how about going skiing during your Winter holiday in Barcelona? Given the proximity of the Pyrenees, it is totally possible! There are buses that take you from Barcelona to the slopes (La Molina and Masela stations) for €40 per person.
- For more information on the ski resorts near Barcelona, see our article on Advice for a skiing trip or weekend from Barcelona.
10. A trip to the Costa Daurada
The Costa Daurada is located South of Barcelona. Its name means Golden Coast, and refers to the many sunny hours it gets. Like the Costa Brava, it is dotted with little concrete villages. However, it contains numerous treasures: the Roman city of Tarragon (UNESCO world heritage site), large beaches, vineyards (Cava, Monstant, Penedes, Priorat…), the Ebro Delta, golf courses…
Whatever trip you decide to take, we hope you enjoy it!
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