Day Trips from Barcelona, Spain
Explore more of Catalonia and northern Spain with day trips to these destinations near Barcelona.
I spent four months in Barcelona and fell in love with the city, its people, food and culture. During my time, I had the opportunity to visit more of Catalonia, a region of Spain known for its distinct language, traditions and pride. The following is a list of possible day trips to take from Barcelona, for those wanting a break from the crowds of tourists and a chance to explore Spain.
If Roman ruins are your thing, a trip to Tarragona is a must during your stay in Barcelona. A quick hour and half train ride away, Tarragona is home to a large collection of Roman ruins, as it was one of the most important ports established by the ancient Roman Empire during the beginning of the first century AD. From Barcelona Sants station, you can easy buy a direct ticket and take the Avant train that runs every half hour. A city built around archaeological remains, Tarragona is located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and boasts a collection of museums, cathedrals, ancient city structures and a colosseum. Visitors can step inside the amphitheatre, view the forum and visit the Roman circus. If you grow hungry after walking around ruins, sit down for delicious lunch and a taste of traditional Spanish vermut at Restaurante Raco de l’abat. Take advantage of the cheaper menu del dia option, which allows you a drink, meal and dessert for a bargain price. At only 5.50 euros each way, a train ride to Tarragona is an easy way to explore more of Spain and its Roman history.
Girona is another destination near Barcelona where you can get your fill of history. An hour train ride away from Barcelona, Girona is home to gothic architecture, cathedrals, an impressive city wall and a river lined with picturesque and colorful houses. One of Girona’s most fascinating attractions is the Arab bath house found within the city walls, open for public visitors. Students pay a single euro to enter! To plan your visit to the baths, click here. Beyond being a historical site, Girona also holds a more modern city center and lots of opportunity for shopping and eating. In Girona you can find El Celler de Can Roca, a renowned restaurant that has received multiple Michelin stars and has been rated one of the world’s best eateries. Of course, plates there are pricey and reservations are nearly impossible to make, so it may make more sense to simply satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to La Bombonera for incredible and uniquely flavored ice cream. If you’re looking to do some shopping, Girona’s boutique center is located around Rambla Llibertat and Placa Catalunya.
When the sun comes out, Sitges is the perfect escape from crowded Barcelona beaches. From Barcelona Sants station, take the Renfe train that runs every 20-30 minutes. A half hour train ride away, Sitges is a quaint town filled with narrow streets, shopping and beach resorts. The sand is softer, the water is clearer and the people are friendlier. You can rent chairs and umbrellas from surrounding resorts,or you can opt to bring you own towel to spread out on the sand. Sitges also hosts one of the best Carnival festivals in Spain. Starting in February, Carnival brings nightlife, parades and endless parties to the normally quiet town. Carnival goers don masks and costumes, stay up all night celebrating, then watch parades throughout the day. The most famous parade is the Parade of Debauchery, which embodies all that the Carnival festival celebrates. During quieter months, Sitges is a relaxed haven for Spaniards to escape the buzz of city life. The white washed building and palm trees give Sitges a vacation destination feel, and even a day trip will leave you feeling more relaxed.
You will not regret a visit to the Montserrat Monastery during your stay in Barcelona. An hour train ride from the city, the Monastery is nestled at the peak of a gorgeous mountain range. The train drops you off right at the base of the mountain, and from there you can choose to ride the cable car to the top or take a second train. I’d recommend the cable car; it is a faster ride and you will have a great view from the windows of the car. Arriving at the top, you will be met with the one of the best views of your lifetime, a town center full of shopping and food, and a number of different walking paths that snake around the peak of the mountain. The monastery serves as the backdrop to all of this, and houses a museum and restaurant. I highly recommend you take the time to make this day trip happen during your time in Barcelona, as it is a great opportunity to connect with nature and snap some awesome photos.