Excursions from Barcelona: The Best Day Trips

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Aina Martin
@ainamartin
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Just out of Barcelona you will find sacred mountains and monasteries, golden beaches, vineyards, spectacular national parks, sleepy Catalan villages and much more. If you have more days to visit Barcelona then consider some excursion around!

Getting bored in Barcelona is difficult, if not impossible: the city is full of museums, attractions, walks to take and tapas to enjoy.

Maybe you have photographed all the magnificent modernist buildings of Gaudi, visited on Picasso Museum Sagrada Familia e Park Guell, ate tapas and relaxed on the beaches of Barceloneta.



If you are lucky enough to stop in the Catalan city for a few more days, then it might really be worth taking advantage of also discover its surroundings.

Read also: What to see in Barcelona in 3 days

In fact, Catalonia is a land to be explored and full of history! In this article I will suggest 8 excursions from Barcelona: you can choose to move independently, but also to book a guided tour to be more peaceful and enjoy your holiday without stress!

  • 1 – Girona
  • 2 - Figueres and the Theater - Dalì Museum
  • 3 – PortAventura World
  • 4 - Sitges
  • 5 - Montserrat Monastery
  • 6 - Tarragona
  • 7 - Tossa de Mar.
  • 8 - Besalù and the medieval villages of Catalonia

If you decide to rent a car (which is a great idea) my advice is to compare and find the best prices su Rentalcars.



1 – Girona

Di S-F / Shutterstock

The first day trip from Barcelona that I recommend is a Girona, also because it is certainly one of the most famous.

The city is one of the most characteristic and picturesque in Catalonia: its medieval old town and colorful houses on the river Onyar make it a gem not to be missed.

If you decide to visit Girona in one day remember to include these 4 stages in your itinerary:

  • La Cathedral Santa Maria, whose nave is the largest in Europe;
  • Il Call, the Jewish quarter of the city;
  • I Arab baths, where you can retrace the history of the city and learn about the period of Arab domination;
  • Il Pont de les Peixateries Veilles, designed by Eiffel (yes, the one of the famous tower!).

Girona, in addition to being a beautiful city, has become famous in recent years thanks to one of the most watched TV series ever: Game of Thrones. If you are a fan of the show, don't miss this guided tour (from € 18) among the various locations where it was filmed: it won't be difficult for you to catch a glimpse of the Temple of Baelor of King's Landing in the imposing Cathedral!

How to reach Girona in one day from Barcelona

Girona can be reached in an hour and a quarter by car from Barcelona, ​​but if you don't have a car the most comfortable alternative is the train which takes about 1 hour and 10 and costs around 10 euros. You can see HERE timetables and PRICES of trains to Girona.



If, on the other hand, you want to be quiet and enjoy the trip without stress, consider joining a guided tour like this (highly recommended because it also includes the Costa Brava) which will take you from Barcelona to Girona.

2 - Figueres and the Theater - Dalì Museum

Di Vladimir Sazonov / Shutterstock

Not very far from Girona it is located Figueres, birthplace of Salvador Dali.
Here stands what is the most important museum dedicated to the brilliant Catalan artist: the Theater - Dalì Museum.

The visit is a truly unforgettable experience that is enjoyed by both adults and children.

The building was designed by the same artist who defined it as the greatest surrealist work in the world. The route is a real itinerary in the art and mind of Salvador Dalì.

You can buy HERE the SKIP THE LINE TICKETS online for the Dali Theater - Museum

How to reach Figueres and the Dali Theater - Museum in one day from Barcelona

Figueres can be reached in an hour and a half by car, but it can also be reached comfortably by train in 2 hours or 2 hours and 50 depending on the type of train chosen.

you can see here timetables and prices of trains from Barcelona to Figueres.

A very viable alternative is to participate in a guided tour to Figueres departing from Barcelona.


There are different types of tours: from those that also include a stop in the nearby city of Girona (which is on the road), to those dedicated exclusively to Dali and which include two stops also in Port Ligat, where the artist lived with Gala, ea Pubbol, where is the castle that Dalì gave to his wife.


To help you, I looked for the best ones such as prices and reviews and I have put them for you below:

1 day tour to Figueres and Girona: Take an air-conditioned bus to Girona, where you enjoy a guided walk in the old town and Jewish quarter, before heading to Figueres and the Dali museum. The tour price includes the museum ticket.

Salvador Dali Tour (Figueres + Cadaques): Probably the best tour for Dali lovers, this day trip is the best-selling and not only visits the artist's museum, but also his museum house in Port Ligat, just outside the beautiful Cadaques (also on the itinerary ).

3 - PortAventura

Di Evgeny Kuzhilev / Shutterstock

If you like the amusement parks, then you should know that about 115 km away from Barcelona is one of the most famous theme parks in Spain: PortAventura World.

PortAventura actually are 3 parks:

  • PortAventura Park: a "classic" park (if it can be defined as such) full of adrenaline-pumping attractions but not only, with many different settings, from Mexico to China.
  • Caribe Water Park: perfect as a summer destination, with swimming pools and various entertainment ... you can even try rafting!
  • Ferrari land: ideal for speed lovers as one of its attractions is a very high and very fast roller coaster!

Roller coasters, shows, a water park and from 2017 also a themed area dedicated to Ferrari: PortAventura is the right place to spend a day of fun and carefree and a stop not to be missed.

How to reach PortAventura in one day from Barcelona

The park can be reached by car in about an hour and a half or by train with the R - 16 line which in an hour and a quarter will take you directly in front of the park entrance. As usual here you will find tickets and prices for trains.

I advise you to purchase skip-the-line tickets for PortAventura in advance so as not to waste time at the entrance.

If you want to enjoy the day without any stress, consider the idea of book this day trip from Barcelona to PortAventura: transport and tickets are included!

4 - Sitges

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Sitges is a small town on the Costa Dorada which is approx 30 minutes from Barcelona.

It is a very popular location among the community LGBT, but I recommend it to anyone who wants to spend a summer day by the sea away from the city or who simply wants to stroll through the narrow streets of the historic center of a typical Catalan town overlooking the sea.

Not to be missed is a visit to the Church of Sant Bartomeu: the view of the sea and the city is magnificent!

How to reach Sitges in one day from Barcelona

As I said Sitges can be easily reached in 30 minutes by car from Barcelona, ​​but in summer I do not recommend it: finding parking is impossible! The more comfortable alternative is the train of line R2.

There are also several guided tours to Sitges from Barcelona which also include stops in the cities of Girona or Tarragona.

If you are in fact only interested in Sitges, I wouldn't bother taking a tour… the train is cheap and easy and you can inquire about the city at the Santiago Rusinol and Bacardi Museum. HOWEVER, if you have a limited time in which to explore the delights of the Barcelona region, there are some great combo tours on offer. Here are a couple I would recommend:

Tour of Montserrat, Sitges and wine tasting: I love the itinerary of this tour because it takes you to the two destinations I love the most and complete with tasting! It starts with a visit to the famous Torres canteen in the Penedes region, then a Montserrat and to the Black Madonna and then you relax in the wonderful Sitges. A great day!

Tours of Tarragona and Sitges: Another great multi-destination tour, this full-day excursion combines Sitges with the Roman ruins of Tarragona, a little further on. A highlight is the well-preserved aqueduct outside Tarragona.

5 - Montserrat Monastery

Di Reidl / Shutterstock

One of the most beautiful day trips from Barcelona is certainly theexcursion to the monastery of Montserrat.

Montserrat is the name of the highest mountain in Catalonia, but also of an important one monastery.

Here you can decide to venture into one of the many wonderful trekking routes (there is something for all tastes, for experts, but also for enthusiasts) or simply choose to take the funicular to reach the summit to admire a spectacular panorama.

Don't forget to visit the particular monastery nestled in the mountains and dedicated to Virgin of Montserrat, also known as the "moreneta" for the dark color of its skin.

How to reach Montserrat in one day from Barcelona

The best way to reach the Monastery on your own is to take the R5 train from Plaza de España. Once you get off at Monistrol de Monserrat you can decide whether to reach the monastery with the Cabinovia or with rack railway.

If you decide to go independently with the means I recommend you to buy the Trans Montserrat combined ticket which includes: Barcelona metro + train + cremallera + funicular + audiovisual space (€ 33,45, is also valid for the return journey).

THEBarcelona tourist board also sells the MONTSERRAT EXPRES, a very advantageous package (from € 36) that includes transport by train and cog train, a backpack with the guide and an audio guide with earphones in 8 languages!

La most comfortable solutioninstead, is to participate in a one day guided tour from Barcelona to Montserrat like this one (which has a ton of reviews - more than 350 e ALL positive).

Alternatively you can choose to participate in this free tour which only includes transport by air-conditioned bus (in summer you will not regret it and State which is a Spanish agency, it is a guarantee - I have done a lot of tours with them)

In any case, if you want to combine the view of Montserrat with trekking or a wine tasting or tapas, there are tons of tours: HERE YOU WILL FIND MOST OF IT.

6 - Tarragona

Di marcin jucha / Shutterstock

The city of Tarragona it is rich in history and culture: the magnificent Roman amphitheater overlooking the sea is a proof of this.

Tarragona has been declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 and is famous among tourists as much for its historical beauties as for its beaches.

If you have decided to visit the Catalan city in one day, here are, in my opinion, 3 places not to be missed:

  • The Amphitheater overlooking the sea;
  • Le city ​​walls, the oldest and best preserved;
  • La Cathedral of Santa Tecla, whose facade amazes for its style that mixes Romanesque and Gothic.

How to reach Tarragona in one day from Barcelona

Tarragona can be easily reached by train from Barcelona: there are several (regional or high-speed) and depart frequently from the main stations of the city.

⇒ Timetables and prices of trains from Barcelona to Tarragona.

You can also take advantage of a guided tour departing from Barcelona: some, for example, will also accompany you to the nearby Sitges.

Half day tour to Tarragona: this half day tour in Tarragona takes you to discover the aqueduct, the forum, the amphitheater and the circus, in short, all the points of greatest interest.

Tours of Tarragona and Sitges: a 10 hour tour that we have seen before, a full-immersion between tarragona and Sitges.

7 - Tossa de Mar.

Di kavalenkava / Shutterstock

As a day tour from Barcelona, ​​but also for the weekend, Tossa de Mar it is a destination to be seriously considered.

The strong point of this coastal town is its fortified town Vila Vella (Old Town), the only existing medieval fortress in Catalonia.

It only takes a couple of hours at most to wander between its turrets and lighthouse, so be sure to pack your sunscreen and get ready to spend the rest of the day on the gorgeous beach.

If you like walking, ask the tourist office for directions Cala Pola, a beautiful secluded beach that is a couple of hours on foot on even steep forest paths, not very easy to reach.

How to get to Tossa de Mar from Barcelona

About 12 buses a day depart fromNorth Station (or you can pick them up at Barcelona airport if you prefer), and they take around an hour and a half to reach Tossa.

Tickets cost between 8 and 15 euros each way.

If you want to escape to the Costa Brava, buses are probably the best way to travel independently.

Alternatively, you can join daily tours.

Lloret de Mar it is known for its nightlife, but objectively, even if I don't love it very much, it is nice even during the day and is almost always included in the tours.

This fantastic tour of the Costa Brava introduces you to Lloret's stunning Art Nouveau church, before boarding a ferry to Tossa.

Costa Brava: full-day tour from Barcelona: includes a visit to the Blanes cliff-top botanical gardens, a swim in a secluded cove (a must on the Costa Brava!) and a visit to Tossa de Mar.

Costa Brava, Tossa de Mar and HikingThis excursion instead takes full advantage of the magnificent coastline around Tossa and you will see wonderful views of steep bays with emerald waters, before enjoying a delicious lunch in the city.

8 - Besalù and the medieval villages of Catalonia

Di Oleg_P / Shutterstock

Finally, here is my last tip for a day trip from Barcelona: i medieval villages of Catalonia.

Not too far from Figueres, near the Garrotxa park, among ancient extinct volcanoes, there are some of the most beautiful medieval villages in Catalonia. Here are the 3 villages that I recommend you include in an itinerary:

<br>• Besalù, with its old Sephardi neighborhood and the mixture of Jewish and Christian styles that makes it particularly fascinating;

<br>• Rupit, where you can admire the ruins of an ancient castle;

<br>• Castellfollit de la roca, built overhanging a vertiginous volcanic stone wall.

How to reach the medieval villages of Catalonia in one day from Barcelona

To visit the medieval villages of Catalonia you will need rent a car. Alternatively, your best bet is to join a guided tour departing from Barcelona.

Catalonia is a territory to be discovered and there are certainly many more things to do than I have suggested, but these excursions from Barcelona are a good start to get to know it!

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