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17 Best Day Trips from Barcelona, Spain: Coastal Villages, Mountains, and More!

If you are planning to visit Barcelona, consider adding a couple of days (or more!) to your stay, so you can explore around the city! Day trips from Barcelona can take you to mountaintops and beaches, historic cities, and charming towns and villages.

Barcelona is not only one of the best places to visit in Spain, it also makes the perfect base from which to take day trips to explore Catalonia and beyond!

While a car offers flexibility, you can do many day trips from Barcelona by train or bus, or you can opt for guided tours if you prefer to let someone else take care of the details.

Calella de Palafrugell at twilight

Any way you do them, day trips from Barcelona offer opportunities to check out some exciting destinations in Spain!

The Best Day Trips from Barcelona

From natural parks to wine country and beaches to charming Catalan villages, our round-up of the best day trips from Barcelona has something for everyone.

Take a day trip from Barcelona to explore the famous Montserrat monastery, or to tour the Dali theatre-museum in Figueres. Enjoy sightseeing Sitges by day and party by night. Tour Game of Thrones filming locations in Girona.

There’s a lot from which to choose when it comes to memorable Barcelona day trips.

Excited? Let’s get started discovering the best day trips from Barcelona!

Montserrat

For hikers and nature lovers, the mountain park of Montserrat Spain is definitely one of the best day trips from Barcelona. This natural park in northern Spain has one of the best mountain ranges in the whole country, and it’s also the location of an old Catholic monastery from the 11th century that you can still explore today.

Monastery in Montserrat Spain
Montserrat Monastery

The first thing you’ll see in Montserrat natural park is the jagged mountain range, stretching up around you in all directions. The plaza in Montserrat is great for enjoying the views and snapping photos!

Montserrat has many hiking trails, and they all give you great views of these unique looking mountains. The Sant Jeroni Trail is one of the most popular hikes at Montserrat. The walk to St. Michael’s Cross and Via Crucis Way are other easy hikes.

The Catholic monastery at Montserrat Spain is from the 11th century, with an impressive basilica, intricate ceilings, and a huge pipe organ. Step inside to view the Black Madonna and the grandeur of the interior.

Montserrat has a small museum that includes the famous Saint Jerome by Caravaggio, and works by renowned artists like Monet and Picasso. Near the monastery you will also find a cafe and restaurant.

Any time of year is good for visiting Montserrat, but the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) are usually best. The months of April – May and September – October have cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. Weekdays are also ideal for visiting.

Getting to Montserrat from Barcelona

The three main ways to get to Montserrat independently are by train, bus, or car, but the train is generally the most common way to get there from Barcelona.

From Placa d’Espana Station, take the R5 line (Manresa) to Montserrat. The train takes you to the foot of the mountains at Montserrat, and then you take a quick cable car or rack railway the rest of the way up to the park!

You can buy tickets online here.

Best Guided Tours from Barcelona to Montserrat

This highly-rated small group tour with a professional guide offers early access to the Montserrat monastery, with the option to tour the museum. The 5-hour tour departs from a central spot in Barcelona and returns to the same spot.
Book this tour now!

This highly rated small-group Montserrat day trip can be booked as a half-day trip or a full day trip with optional wine tasting and lunch at a winery. You will have some time to explore independently at the monastery after the guided walking tour with an English-speaking guide.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by David from The World Travel Guy

If you are looking to rent a car for your Spain trip, consider Discover Cars! They scour multiple providers to get the best price for you, including brands like Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, and Sixt.

Girona

Girona, with its medieval streets and pretty river views, makes a wonderful day trip from Barcelona. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Spain.

Game of Thrones fans will love spotting filming locations for the series and it’s a chance to enjoy a different kind of Catalan city compared to the hectic Barcelona.

A view of Girona, Spain
A view of Girona

There are plenty of things to do in Girona to fill a day or even a long weekend in the city.  Don’t miss wandering down the narrow streets of the old Jewish Quarter and along the city walls for the best views of Girona.

Another must-visit is Girona’s magnificent cathedral where you can admire the widest Gothic nave in the world, and visit the Tapestry of Creation in the museum.

The bridges that cross the Onyar River in Girona are some of the best places to take photos of the city, as colorful buildings line the banks of the river. The lattice ironwork of the Pont de les Peixateries Velles was designed by Gustav Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame.

The best time to visit Girona is in May, for the Temps de Flors flower festival, when the streets are decorated with fragrant flowers, although that is also one of the busiest times of the year. 

Spring and fall are also wonderful for a quieter visit than in the peak summer period and beautiful weather.

Getting to Girona from Barcelona

It’s easy to get from Barcelona to Girona independently by train, with high-speed AVE trains running frequently from Barcelona Sants to Girona Station in just under 40 minutes. 

To book bus and train tickets for Spain in advance, consider Omio. I found the booking experience very easy, and hassle-free. They do charge a small service fee but I thought it was well worth the convenience!

Best Guided Tours to Girona from Barcelona

This well-reviewed small-group full day tour combines an exploration of Girona with time along the beautiful Costa Brava at Calella de Palafrugell and the Camino de Ronda. The tour is limited to just 8 guests, and includes hotel pick-up and drop-off.
Book this tour now!

This highly-rated 10-hour small group tour combines Girona with Figueres, for the chance to wander the medieval city of Girona and its famous Jewish Quarter as well as the opportunity to tour the Dali Museum in Figueres. Hotel pick-up in Barcelona is included.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Claire Sturzaker from Why Visit Barcelona

Sitges

After the sprawling sightseeing of Barcelona, taking the direct train down to the compact historical town of Sitges for the day is a breath of fresh air.

Stroll along the beach, swim in the ocean, and dine on fresh seafood in one of the many seaside restaurants and bars (although aim to eat early as there’s often a wait for a table).

A view of Sitges, Spain, one of the best day trips from Barcelona
Sitges is one of the best day trips from Barcelona you can do!

But the main reason to visit Sitges is to wander the historic headland where Modernista palaces and mansions sit around the beautiful Iglesia de San Bartolomé, which overlooks the sparkling-blue Balearic Sea, perfect at sunset.

Sitges can be quite the party town in the summer high season and Carnaval (which generally starts on the Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday), but still retains its romantic charm during the day.

To escape the crowds, continue walking along the beach (with the sea on your left) towards Vilanova i la Geltrú. There’s a 5-mile coastal path that follows the train track between the two towns, passing rocky cliffs and sandy bays along the way.

If you make it all the way to Vilanova i la Geltrú, take the direct train back to Sitges, or onwards to Barcelona. 

Whether it’s a day trip from Barcelona or a Northern Spain road trip, Sitges is a must visit!

Getting to Sitges from Barcelona

You can get from Barcelona to Sitges on your own by train, bus, or car. The train is the most convenient option: it takes just 45 minutes, and there are frequent departures in both directions.

The bus is cheaper, and a car, of course, gives you a lot of flexibility.

Guided Tours from Barcelona to Sitges

This highly rated small group tour combines Sitges with Tarragona, a great choice if you wish to efficiently visit two highly recommended destinations on our list. The full-day tour by air-conditioned vehicle includes hotel pick-up, and includes some time by the water.
Book this tour now!

This well-reviewed small group tour combines the two very different destinations of Montserrat with Sitges for an exciting full day out from Barcelona. The tour includes the funicular to the top at Montserrat, and the beach at Sitges.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Jenny from TraveLynn Family

Tarragona

Tarragona is a must-see Spanish destination for all history fangirls and fanboys. As the former Roman city of Tarraco, this was an important provincial capital from 218 BC until the fall of the Roman Empire.

Buy a day pass to visit the UNESCO-listed Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco. This includes the Amphitheatre, Praetorium and Roman Circus and the Roman Walls. 

The Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona Spain
The Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona

Tarragona’s magnificent Roman amphitheatre, said to have accommodated 12,000 bloodthirsty spectators, looks out across the Mediterranean. Close by are the underground tunnels that link the first-century Roman circus to the Praetorium.

Make sure that you stroll along Archaeological Promenade that flanks Tarragona’s Roman walls. Less than a mile of these walls remains, bordering Tarragona’s Old Town.

Tarragona also has a charming Old Town and a monumental cathedral. If you need a spot of R&R, you can soak up the sun on its broad sandy beach.

The best time to visit Tarragona is from May until October. Try to time your visit with the Santa Tecla Festival, held each September.

Getting to Tarragona from Barcelona

Although you can be in Tarragona from Barcelona in as little as 30 minutes on the high-speed train, the regional train is a better option as it arrives at the centrally-located Estación de Tarragona Adif. The journey time is one hour.  

If you travel independently to Tarragona, consider this excellent guided walking tour of the Roman sites in town. The 2-hour tour is an efficient way to see everything Roman of import, plus you’ll learn a lot as you walk. Book this tour now!

Guided Tours from Barcelona to Tarragona

Splurge on this private guided tour of Tarragona and Sitges from Barcelona. It’s well worth the money to have a private guide and personalized attention as you tour the historic sites in Tarragona. You may be able to tailor how much time you spend in each place as well, based on your interests and the time of year.
Book this tour now!

This highly rated small group tour combines Sitges with Tarragona, a great choice if you wish to efficiently visit two highly recommended destinations on our list. The full-day tour by air-conditioned vehicle includes hotel pick-up, and includes some time by the water.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Bridget from The Flashpacker

Cadaques

Located on a bay in the beautiful Cap de Creus, Cadaques is a small and picturesque Catalonian whitewashed village, making it one of the most relaxed day trips from Barcelona if you visit outside of the peak summer season, when it can get crowded.

A street in Cadaques, Spain
A picture-perfect street in Cadaques

The photo-worthy rocky coastline, with its pebbly beaches and peaceful coves, is one of the major attractions in Cadaques. Grab an outside table at a waterfront cafe and enjoy the views of the boats bobbing in the water.

Stroll the charming cobblestone streets and alleys of the town. Visit the Esglesia de Santa Maria, where you can climb to the top for views. The altarpiece inside is beautiful!

On the outskirts of town, in Port Lligat, you’ll find Salvador Dali’s summer home, now a museum. Dali and his wife built the home in the 1930s, and spent many summers here. You’ll want to reserve a slot to tour the home and gardens.

If you are a history buff, visit the ruins of the Castle of Sant Jaume, located above the bay. The original castle dates back to the 17th century. It was destroyed, but rebuilt in the 19th century by the French.

Enjoy local cuisine for lunch: seafood offerings here are excellent. Casa Anita serves Catalan food and local wine, with no set menu. Compartir is operated by Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and Eduard Xatruch, who used to work at the famous El Bulli. Dishes are served for sharing.

Late spring and early fall are ideal times to visit Cadaques, when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds of summer are absent.

Getting to Cadaques from Barcelona

The best way to get to Cadaques is by car, or by guided tour.

To arrive independently by public transport, take the bus from Barcelona to Cadaqués. The bus ride is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and there are limited services.

Or you can take the high-speed train to Figueres, and the bus from Figueres to Cadaques, for a total journey time of 2 hours each way.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Cadaques

This highly rated small group tour covers the Dali Museum in Figueres, along with Cadaques and Cap de Creus on a 12-hour day trip with hotel pick-up and drop-off. The tour is limited to 8 guests.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by us

Cap de Creus Natural Park

Cap de Creus Natural Park is one of the best day trips from Barcelona. It is a sea and land nature park, and there are plenty of spectacular landscapes to discover here, not only on land. Besides rare bird and plant species, the cliff and rock formations are especially unique and impressive. 

Cap de Creus Natural Park in Spain
Cap de Creus Natural Park

The main destination for many visitors is the lighthouse of Cap de Creus. From here, you have a fantastic view over the surrounding bays and the impressive landscape of the park.

The trip is especially suitable for nature and hiking lovers. There are a lot of great hiking routes ofdifferent lengths and difficulties.
In addition, you should definitely plan a stop at one of the beaches or bays. This part of the Costa Brava coast is one of the best for snorkeling. With crystal clear water, you have excellent visibility here.

Before you leave Cap de Creus, you should make sure to visit Cadaqués. With its picturesque alleys, this small town by the sea is one of the most beautiful towns in Catalonia.

A trip to Cap de Creus is worthwhile all year round. However, if you plan to visit the beach, you should plan your trip during the warm months.

Getting to Cap de Creus from Barcelona

The best way to get to Cap de Creus is by car, or by guided tour.

However, if you don’t have a car, and you want to travel on your own, you can take the bus from Barcelona to Cadaqués, and a taxi from Cadaques to the park, although this makes for a long travel day.

The bus ride is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The taxi ride is about 20 minutes, and you’ll want to schedule the taxi pick-up for the return trip to Cadaques in advance, to ensure you have a ride back to the bus station.

Guided Tour to Cap de Creus from Barcelona

This highly-rated private tour combines the village of Cadaques with the Cap de Creus Natural Park for a fantastic day out from Barcelona. You can tweak the itinerary to suit your interests, and you’ll receive personalized attention from your guide. Wine tasting is included.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Vicki from Vicki Viaja

Figueres

Visiting lovely Figueres with its incredible Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum is one of the best day trips from Barcelona. 

The town of Figueres in Catalonia is the birth town of Salvador Dali. Today Figueres is home to the bizarre Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum. 

Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain
The Dali Museum in Figueres

If you love the artwork of Salvador Dali, you will enjoy Figueres. Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum is one of the quirkiest museums in the world.

The museum displays the largest art collection of Salvador Dali in the world, and the buried body of Dali in a crypt. The museum is eccentric and unusual, just like the artist was himself.

The building represents a theatre. It has a unique glass roof cupola, weird eggs topping the roof, a central stage, and several exhibition showrooms. The showrooms hold installations, sculptures, paintings, and jewels made by Salvador Dali.

In addition, the Toy Museum of Catalonia displays about 4,000 toys and games, and it offers some additional fun in Figueres. also, head to the Empordà Museum if you want to learn about the Catalan history of Figueres.

Besides sightseeing in the town, reserve a table in El Motel restaurant if you wish to eat some of the most delicious Spanish foods in Figueres. This family-run restaurant is a must-visit. It is known for serving the best bites of Catalan cuisine in Figueres. 

The best time to visit Figueres is the months of March, April, and May, for the ideal spring temperatures for sightseeing.

Getting to Figueres from Barcelona

Figueres is about 87 miles from Barcelona. Figueres is reachable within an hour and a half by car from Barcelona.

But, the fastest way to get to Figueres from Barcelona is by high-speed train, which takes only an hour.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Figueres

This well-reviewed small group tour takes you to see the house where Dali was born and the Dali Museum in Figueres, along with Cadaques and Port Lligat during the non-summer months of September through June, and Pubol Castle and Platja del Castell in July and August.
Book this tour now!

This well-regarded tour combines Girona and Figueres. You’ll have a guided walking tour of Girona, with its beautifully-preserved Jewish Quarter, before heading to Figueres to tour the famous Dali Theatre-Museum, which is a work of art itself, in addition to housing many of the painter’s works.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Milijana from World Travel Connector 

Tossa de Mar

Whether you’re a couple or a solo traveler seeking to relax amidst beautiful scenery or a family looking for a fun day out, you’ll find Tossa de Mar one of the best day trips from Barcelona to put on your itinerary.

Tossa de Mar on the Catalan Coast makes for one of the best day trips from Barcelona.
The castle at Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar is one of the most beautiful destinations along the Costa Brava. The Old Town has an impressive wall surrounding it: it’s the only surviving fortified town along the Catalan coast.

A walking tour is the best way to explore the town and the wall. From the beach, walk along the walls up to the lighthouse if you can: although the walk can be a little challenging, the views are well worth the effort! Not much remains of the castle today.

Also walk through the cobbled streets of Vila Vella, the old town. Stop to admire the remains of the Church of St. Vincent, tour the Municipal Museum, and check out the life-sized statue of Ava Gardner!

The Cala Pola trail nearby is a must-do for beautiful views of the castle and the beach. From higher up the trail, you get fabulous views of the coastline. If you didn’t arrive by car, take a taxi to Cala Pola.

You can also spend time at the beach in Tossa de Mar: there are three beautiful beaches from which to pick. Go swimming, diving, or snorkeling, or enjoy sunbathing. There are also many coves to explore nearby if you arrived by car.

Getting to Tossa de Mar from Barcelona

If you have a car, you can drive to Tossa de Mar. The drive is very scenic, and takes about one hour.

If you wish to travel from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar independently using public transport, take the bus. The journey is about one hour and 20 minutes each way, and there are several departures everyday.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar

This small-group Costa Brava guided tour from Barcelona combines Tossa de Mar with Lloret de Mar for a fun day along the beautiful coast. You’ll sail from Lloret de Mar to Tossa de Mar, for a different perspective of the coast, and enjoy walking tours in both towns.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by us

Begur

Begur is one of the must-visit beautiful fishing villages in the Baix Empordà, the northernmost portion of Catalonia. Begur offers lovely beaches, great restaurants, and many festivals through the year.

Begur, Spain
The beautiful town of Begur, Spain

Begur has eight coves and beaches. Sa Tuna, with its sheltered setting, and Aiguablava, with its crystal-clear waters and fine sand, are considered two of the top-rated beaches in Spain.

Spending time at the beaches and coves should definitely be at the top of your itinerary for the day. The scenery here is extraordinarily beautiful and at uncrowded times, you can spend the entire day by the water.

In the village, stroll the narrow streets, and admire the remains of Begur’s medieval castle, which dates back to the 16th century. The castle looms over the town, and affords excellent views to the coast.

Many people from Begur emigrated to Cuba, did well, and returned to build large colonial mansions in Begur, known as Indianos. It is interesting to walk around and view some of these ostentatious houses.

Getting to Begur from Barcelona

Renting a car is the most flexible option for visiting Begur, because you then have the flexibility of exploring a little bit of the coast here as well.

If you want to visit on your own using public transport, take the train from Barcelona to Flaçá, and a taxi from Flaçá to Begur. The train ride is 1.5 hours and the taxi ride is about 30 minutes.

You can also take the bus from Barcelona Nord to Begur, a ride of about 2 hours and 20 minutes one way.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Begur

Consider this private tour of Costa Brava that you can customize to your interests, with as much or as little time at each spot along the way, subject to the total tour time of 8 hours. Pick from coastal villages like Begur and Calella de Palafrugell for an exciting coastal adventure!
Book this tour now!

Suggested by us

Calella de Palafrugell

A charming white village on the Costa Brava, Calella de Palafrugell offers the opportunity to relax amidst stunning scenery. You can also visit nearby Llafranc or Tamariu on the same day trip.

Calella de Palafrugell is one of the most beautiful white villages in Spain. If you aren’t planning to visit Andalusia, with its many famous pueblo blancos, then do not miss the chance to visit Calella de Palafrugell!

Calella de Palafrugell in Spain
Charming Calella de Palafrugell

If you are looking for quality beach time, you’ll find many sandy beaches, bays, and coves in the area. Canadell Beach is sandy, and you can rent boats or take cruises from here. Playa Port Peligri offers great diving.

The village itself makes for delightful wandering, with it steep tiled roofs, whitewashed homes dressed with bougainvillea, and narrow streets. Look for the traditional two-storied fisherfolk homes.

Just south of Calella, the Jardi Botanic de Cap Roig are a must-visit! The water views and views of Calella de Palafrugell from here are superb. In the summer, the auditorium hosts the Cap Roig Music Festival.

In nearby Llafranc, walk up to the San Sebastian Lighthouse: it’s an uphill walk, but the views from the lighthouse (and the watchtower behind) are stunning. You can also walk the scenic coastal path from Calella to Llafranc.

Llafranc has a waterfront promenade you can stroll. Take a cruise, or enjoy one of the local beaches. Dine on local cuisine on an outside terrace.

Getting to Calella de Palafrugell from Barcelona

If you want to visit Calella de Palafrugell from Barcelona independently using public transport, take the train to Girona, and a taxi from Girona to Calella de Palafrugell.

Driving yourself is the most convenient and most flexible option. The drive takes about one hour and 20 minutes each way.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Calella de Palafrugell

Splurge on this private Costa Brava tour from Barcelona, which gives you the option to customize your excursion. As a default, you will visit charming Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc, Begur, and Pals. Included are a walking tour of Calella de Palafrugell and a visit to the El Far Lighthouse.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by us

Cardona

Cardona is located in the interior of Catalonia and should be on your list of day trips from Barcelona if you enjoy history and churches. It is also famous for the Cardona Salt Mountain Cultural Park.

The castle in Cardona, Spain
Cardona’s stunning castle!

Built in the 9th century, Cardona Castle dominates the town. The complex was later expanded by the Dukes of Cardona to include a palace, and the Church of Sant Vicençe and cloisters. You can tour the castle on your own or take a guided tour.

The town of Cardona makes for a great stroll, with its narrow alleys and Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Admire the Església de Sant Miquel, with its 11th century bell tower. If it is open, you can step inside to savor the tranquil interior.

A visit to the salt mine is a must! The salt extracted from the mine made the rulers of Cardona very wealthy, and salt continued to be mined here until the 1990s.

Today you can visit sections of the mine on guided tours. The commentary is generally only in Spanish, but visiting the mine is still fun. If you arrive in Cardona on a guided tour from Barcelona, you will have an English-speaking guide for your tour.

Getting to Cardona from Barcelona

The best way to get to Cardona independently from Barcelona is to drive yourself. The drive takes a little over one hour each way.

There is bus service between Barcelona and Cardona, but departures are limited at the time of writing, and requires an early wake up! The journey is about 2 hours each way.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Cardona

This well-reviewed small group tour includes the town of Cardona and a guided tour of the salt mine for a fun day trip from Barcelona. The 10-hour tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by us

Penedes Wine Country, Catalonia

If you enjoy wine, you will be excited to know that the Penedes region in Catalonia is one of the most important wine-growing areas in Spain. It is especially known for cava, the local sparkling wine but also produces fine reds and whites.

A vineyard in the Penedes region of Spain
A vineyard in the Penedes region of Spain

Located just about an hour south of Barcelona, the Penedes region boasts picturesque rolling hills and valleys, with vineyards set in the midst of charming little villages.

Many Penedes wineries are tourist destinations, and feature beautiful architecture in addition to their fine wines. The Alt Penedes, or the High Penedes, is where the bulk of the wine is produced. Baix Penedes and the Garraf, along the coast are the other two regions.

Visit Vilafranca del Penedes to kick off your wine country tour. The town makes a good base for exploring neighboring wineries, and in town, you can visit the Church of Santa Maria and the Royal Palace. It also has a wine museum you can visit!

Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is another good base for winery tours. Freixenet is a must-visit winery here: they offer a caves tour and an explanation of their process. Caves Anna d’ Codorniu and Recaredo are other must-visits.

Getting to the Penedes from Barcelona

If you have a car, touring the Penedes region on a day trip from Barcelona is a breeze. It’s about a 45-minute drive to Vilafranca del Penedes from Barcelona, and about a 40-minute drive to Sant Sadurni d’ Anoia.

If you want to visit either town independently from Barcelona, take the train from Sants! The journey time is about one hour.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to the Penedes

This well-rated small group cava and wine tour from Barcelona is a full day trip. You will visit three established wineries in the Penedes, and learn about the techniques and process for making cava. Wine and cava tastings are included.
Book this tour now!

This full day wine and e-bike guided tour in the Penedes is a more active way of touring the region. Enjoy the scenery as you pedal along small roads, and enjoy wine tastings at a local winery. Brunch is included.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by us

Besalu, Castellfollit de la Roca and Rupit i Pruit

Besalu, Castellfollit de la Roca, and Rupit i Pruit are a trio of small medieval towns in the countryside outside Barcelona, and they make for an excellent day trip from the city if you enjoy history and nature.

Bridge in Besalu, Spain
The beautiful bridge in Besalu

Besalú was an important county in the early Middle Ages, and is designated a historical national property. In Besalu, the best thing to see is the gorgeous Romanesque bridge over the Fluvia River. It dates from the 12th century.

The town of Besalu has arcaded streets that are fun to wander. Admire the Jewish bath, which dates from the 11th or 12th century, and the synagogue, located near the river.

Rupit is a picturesque medieval town, with stone streets and houses. Strolling the streets is the best thing to do here: you’ll want to snap lots of photos as you wander! Admire the ruins of the castle, and the Esglesia de Sant Miquel.

Castellfollit de la Roca has a stunning location on the edge of a cliff of basalt. The setting amidst the mountains is spectacular. It reminded us a little bit of Ronda in the southern province of Andalusia!

Walk the narrow streets of the town and admire the small squares, mostly made from stone. Visit the Church of Sant Salvador, located at the edge of the cliff.

Getting to the Medieval Villages from Barcelona

You ideally need a car to visit all three villages independently in one day. The drive from Barcelona to Besalu is about one hour and 30 minutes.

Castellfollit de la Roca is about 12 minutes from Besalu by car, and Rupit is about a 50-minute drive from Castellfollit.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Besalu and Other Medieval Villages

If you do not have a car, a guided tour is the best way to tour the medieval villages from Barcelona.

This small-group tour is highly rated, and is a full day out from Barcelona, at 10 hours and 30 minutes. You will tour Besalu, Rupit, and Tavertet, and enjoy the views from the sandstone cliffs at Tavertet. You will also see stunning Castellfollit, perched at the cliff edge.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by us

Vic

Vic is located along the Meder River, just about an hour from Barcelona, and makes for one of the easy independent day trips from Barcelona. Visit Vic for its rich history, dating back to Roman times, and its culture.

The Plaça Mayor, Vic’s main square, is impressive, and the best place to begin your visit. Shops and restaurants line the square, accessed via vaulted arcades. Gawk at the beautiful Town Hall, and Casa Comella, a late 19th century building.

Main square in Vic, Spain
Vic’s impressive main square

Admire the Sant Pere Cathedral, which dates back to the 11th century, but was modified through the years until it was torn down in the late 18th century and rebuilt. A few elements of the old cathedral can still be seen.

Walk around the town to take in the architecture and savor the ambience. Don’t miss the historic Roman Temple, with its beautiful columns. When it’s time for lunch, if you eat meat, find a place that serves some of the famous local cured meats.

Visit the Episcopal Museum, which houses an impressive collection of medieval art, both paintings and sculptures, along with ceramics, glass, textiles, and more. It is well worth visiting if you enjoy art and history.

Nearby, you will find the Monestir de Sant Pere de Casserres. The drive to the monastery is scenic, and the monastery itself, a tranquil place, is worth touring as well.

Getting to Vic from Barcelona

Vic is about a 55-minute drive from Barcelona if you have a car.

If you want to visit on your own using public transport, take the bus from Barcelona to Vic and back. The journey is about one hour.

Guided Tour from Barcelona to Vic

This very popular small group tour from Barcelona combines the magnificent scenery of the Pyrenees with a visit to Vic. Ride the rack railway from Queralbs to the Nuria Valley, where you can do some short walks. Enjoy strolling the town of Vic, with its historic cathedral and main plaza.
Book this tour now!

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Montblanc

Montblanc is located near Tarragona, and has been settled since ancient times. Roman artifacts have been found here, along with evidence of Iberian settlements.

Town wall in Montblanc, Spain
Medieval wall in Montblanc

The area was taken over by the Moors in the 8th century, and Muslims, Christians, and Jews co-existed here until the Roman Catholics drove out the Muslims and the Jews.

Walk the Muralla de Montblanch, the impressive medieval walls that once encircled the town. The well-preserved walls include a number of towers and gated entrances.

Wandering the streets of the picturesque town is one of the best things to do in Montblanc.

As you stroll the town, visit the Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor, a Gothic church from the 14th century. Admire the carved doors and the beautiful black-and-white stone pattern outside. You can also climb the bell tower for views.

The Iglesia de San Miguel and the Iglesia de Sant Francesc are also worth visiting. The Romanesque-Gothic Convent of Sant Francesc is from the 13th century. The Antiguo Hospital de Santa Magdalena, the medieval hospital, is also a must-see.

Getting to Montblanc from Barcelona

You can drive to Montblanc from Barcelona if you have a car. The drive will take you about one hour and 20 minutes each way.

To arrive independently using public transport, take the train from Barcelona to Tarragona, and the bus from Tarragona to Montblanc. The train journey takes about one hour, and the bus ride takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

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Peniscola

Peniscola lies on the coast of eastern Spain, and is famous for its beaches and its medieval castle.

The Cala del Pebret y Russo Beach offers great views of the Peniscola Castle. There are lots of good restaurants along the boardwalk.

Peniscola, Spain
A view of Peniscola

Plage Nord is another lovely Peniscola beach, with white sand, clean waters, and a walkway that runs adjacent to the beach. Restaurants and shops line the beach, and you get gorgeous views of the castle.

Tour Peniscola Castle for magnificent city and water views from the top. You can tour the rooms of the castle, and learn more about its history: it was built by the Knights Templar in the 14th century. Walking the castle gardens is also a must!

Stroll the streets of the Old Town to admire the architecture, and enjoy local cuisine for lunch. The Casa de Las Conchas, located near the castle, is a must-see: the facade is decorated entirely with local sea shells!

Nearby, the Parc Naturale de la Sierra de Irta offers secluded beaches for relaxing, and hiking trails. The road through the park is gravel, and can be bumpy!

Getting to Peniscola from Barcelona

Driving is the best option if you want to day trip from Barcelona to Peniscola. The drive will take you about 2 hours and 30 minutes each way.

To arrive independently using public transport, take the train from Barcelona to Tarragona, and the bus from Tarragona to Peniscola. The train journey takes about one hour, and the bus ride takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

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Madrid

There are, of course, many reasons why Madrid is a must-visit destination in Spain. Ideally, you’d want several days in the Spanish capital, known for its many parks, monuments, and museums.

Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain
Madrid’s magnificent Plaza Mayor!

But if a day is all you have, you can still visit Madrid! You can sample some of Madrid’s most iconic sights and savor the ambience of Spain’s lively capital city even on a day trip.

Start by visiting Plaza Mayor, which used to be the center of Old Madrid. Stroll the plaza and admire the uniform architecture and the statue of King Philip III in the center of the plaza. The square is surrounded by cafes and bars offering the best food in Madrid.

After that, make a visit to El Retiro Park, a bustling area with green gardens and many lakes, playgrounds, and cafes. Next on your itinerary should be the famous Prado Museum, which opened in 1819 and contains numerous must-see masterpieces.

End your day trip with a relaxing stroll at Casa de Campo. It’s the city’s largest park, with a variety of flora and fauna, and many attractions, including a lake lined with restaurants and bars.

Fall is the best time to visit Madrid: you’ll find fewer crowds, nicer weather, and cheaper prices. Enjoy pleasant temperatures, along with the San Isidro Festival and other celebrations.

Getting to Madrid from Barcelona

The fastest way you can reach Madrid from Barcelona is the AVE high-speed train. The journey takes 2.5 hours each way.

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Discover the best day trips from Barcelona, Spain! Visit iconic Montserrat, tour Girona or Figueres, or explore the Costa Brava!

Dhara

Dhara's travel interests are eclectic, spanning everything from natural wonders to history, culture, art and architecture. She has visited 22 countries, many more than once, plus almost all 50 states of the USA, and has amassed a hoard of cherished travel moments.

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