Looking for top day trips from Barcelona? Many people visit Barcelona to take in the fantastic sights of the city without realising that there are many incredible sights only a short journey away. Here are our top five unmissable places which are just a short train or car ride from Barcelona. Who knows, they could well become the highlight of your stay!
The capital of Costa Brava is bursting at the seams with culture and history. The warren of winding streets, ancient arcaded houses, stunning churches, medieval baths, and charming squares are always bustling with something interesting to see and do.
With many attractions, festivals, restaurants, and cultural events all year round this medieval city is the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring. It is often viewed as a mini Barcelona so is an ideal day trip to get lost and observe the local life and culture in relaxing and welcoming surroundings.
Montserrat is a totally unique place. The Benedictine Monastery dates back to around 880 AD when it’s reported that shepherds witnessed a bright light descending from the sky and could hear angels singing. They shared their experiences with others who went to the same spot and reportedly witnessed the same thing.
A vicar was then brought to the scene and had the same visions; he concluded that the visions were a sign from God. When they explored the location further they found a cave and within the cave was an image of the Virgin Mary. From that moment on the cave became a holy sanctuary for religious pilgrims.
Not only is the monastery one of the most beautiful in Europe, nestled into the imposing rock face but the natural beauty that surrounds it makes it a fantastic destination for mountain trekking and taking in the breath-taking views over Catalonia.
Don’t miss the wonderful boy’s choir that performs at 13:00 every day and it’s also worth queuing to see the Black Madonna and join in the pilgrim tradition of kissing or touching her hand as a blessing.
The Costa Brava is well worth jumping into a car and exploring. It is famous for its endless coves, bays and beaches, terraced vineyards, and gastronomical importance.
There is something for everyone in the Costa Brava whether you’re looking for art history and culture, walking and outdoor activities, or whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway. Costa Brava was the birthplace and stomping ground for Salvador Dali and there are three amazing museums including his home in the stunning Cadaques.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to just take in the beauty of the area the coastline is exceptionally beautiful offering wonderful walks, world-class golf courses as well as a whole host of water sports.
It is also a foodie heaven and is home to the highest concentration of Michelin-starred chefs in all of Spain. The selection of locally produced wine is also a major reason why this is such a popular destination for people looking for a tantalisingly tasty trip away.
Dali Museum, Figueres
As previously mentioned the Costa Brava is packed with art and culture and none is more famous than being the birthplace of Salvador Dali. Figueres is the town where Dali grew up and is now home to the Dali Museum which boasts the most extensive range of his work.
The town itself is just 15 minutes by car from the beaches of Costa Brava and as it is not as touristy as Barcelona the city offers a relaxing atmosphere, a beautiful old town, low-key cafes and restaurants and even a castle.
Of course one of the main reasons people visit Figueres is to go to the Dali Museum and take in his work in all its surrealist glory. The museum itself is the largest surreal object in the world and inside houses some of his most famous pieces including ‘Rainy Taxi’ and the ‘Face of Mae West Which May Be Used as an Apartment’. This fantastical art experience is a must-see as you explore the mind of a surrealist genius.
Check out our Dali and Figueres tour
Sitges, located 35kms south of Barcelona, is renowned for its film festival, carnivals, and beautiful beaches. It is sometimes referred to as a mini Ibiza and has become one of the most gay-friendly places in the world.
Sitges has 4kms of beaches with a wonderful 20th-century colonial sea-front promenade. It offers a wide range of sports and watersport activities including sailing regattas, beach rugby, and an annual triathlon.
There is always something going on here from art exhibitions, film festivals, carnivals, music concerts, firework displays so it has a really vibrant atmosphere. It is equally loved by young people looking to party as it is by families looking for a family-friendly location. Sitges has always been known for its ‘open-minded’ nature of both the locals and visitors so it is a truly welcoming place where everyone is made to feel at home.
Read more about our excursions from Barcelona.