Whether you are living in Barcelona long-term or are just visiting for a holiday, it is always fun to take a day trip away from the busy city and see some new places. Barcelona’s fantastic location means that there are plenty of interesting spots nearby that can be visited in just one day. From picturesque mountaintops to canyons to beautiful medieval towns, here is our list of the best day trips to take from Barcelona, with all our tips on transport, cost and activities to enjoy during your day.
Montserrat is definitely our number one recommendation for those looking to leave the city. With incredible views and some fascinating culture, it is the perfect day trip for anyone looking for an adventure! Depending on your level of mobility, there are different routes you can take, with an option of taking a cable car instead of hiking all the way up the mountain. You can even walk some routes with children.
If you are feeling active, you can hike right up to the very top to see the best 360 views which are most certainly worth the effort of getting there. It should be noted that the path can become quite difficult near the very top and it can get rather cold the higher you climb, so we recommend that you bring layers even on a sunny day and wear appropriate footwear for the terrain.
If you’d prefer to just explore the culture and visit the famous Monastery, you can take the cable car which allows you to enjoy the beautiful views without requiring too much exercise. Many people travel here to see the ‘Black Madonna’ – a famous figure of the Virgin Mary – but you should reserve a spot in advance. You can enter the rest of the monastery for free and also visit the Santa Cova shrine, the museum and the multiple restaurants and shops in the area. For more information, visit the Montserrat website where you can find prices and more details for planning a visit.
How to get there:
By car – Montserrat takes just one hour if you are driving, and there is plenty of parking available.
By bus – Many tour companies will take you on a day trip to Montserrat by coach from as little as 15€. This is a sensible way to travel as all the timings will be arranged for you and a guide will lead you to the very top! There is also a bus that runs from Estació Sants bus station to Montserrat Monastery which takes 1 hour 25 mins which is priced at 5.10€ each way.
By train – Take the R5 train from the Plaça España station in Barcelona directly to the bottom of Montserrat where you can then take the cable car or the rack railway up the mountain. Tickets can be purchased from the train station which include the cable car and even lunch at the top!
Girona (Gerona) is a small historical city in the north of Catalonia that is famous for housing the second largest cathedral in the world. Many production companies have used Girona as a set for filming, including Game of Thrones with the iconic scene on the cathedral steps. If you are interested in learning more about the history and culture of Girona we recommend that you take a guided walking tour through the ‘Ciutat Vella’ (old town) so that you can enjoy seeing the delights of the city as you learn.
There are several noteworthy viewing points that allow you to look over the whole of the city and even see the Pyrenees mountains in the background such as Jardins de La Francesa and the city walls walk!
We would recommend paying a visit to the cathedral and the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya which are both free to enter, as well as the Art Museum which costs 6€ and displays the best of Girona’s rich artistic offerings. Make sure you also stop for lunch in the Plaza de la Independència where you’ll find a wide selection of Spanish and French restaurants.
How to get there:
By car – The journey should take around 1 hour and 20 minutes and there are many carparks in the city centre
By bus – Buses run from Barcelona to Girona and cost just under 30€ for a round trip. However, if you book with a group tour, you get the bus journey as well as a city tour included from just 25€! The bus takes 1 hour 45 mins.
By train – You can take the train from Barcelona Sants directly into Girona from 25€ for a return ticket. The journey takes just 4o minutes!
#Congost De Mont Rebei
If you are looking for a day trip that involves hiking and beautiful views – this is your perfect location! With stunning views of the crystal clear waters and dramatic rock face, you will get some incredible photos to make all of your Instagram followers jealous. If you wish to complete the full hike, it takes around 5-6 hours in total and has a difficulty level of medium. There are many different activities to enjoy as well as the hiking, such as swimming, rock-climbing and kayaking and the area is accessible all year round.
You can visit this area alone, with friends and family, or as part of a group tour, just as long as everyone in your group is prepared to walk quite a distance! On a sunny day we recommend bringing swimwear as the water is beautiful to swim in.
How to get there:
By car – From Barcelona it takes around 3 hours 15 by car, so we recommend that you leave first thing in the morning to maximise your time at the gorge.
By bus – Although you can take a bus independently, this will take much longer, so it is better to book onto a group tour which takes you directly to start of the gorge walk by bus.
By train – The train takes about 4 hours as you must take a taxi from the station to get you to the gorge. It should cost around 50€ which is much more expensive than the scheduled tours you can book onto.
#Figueres and Besalú
If you’d like to make the most of your day and make multiple stops, Besalú and Figueres are two towns situated close by to each other with very different things to see.
Home to the famous ‘Dalí Museum‘, Figueres is a popular destination for fans of his art as well as those looking to explore a new town. The museum is a fascinating sight from the outside and displays some of Dalí’s best art inside. You can while away the hours strolling around the museum and exploring the fascinating world of Salvador Dalí from just 10€ per person. Once you have seen enough, take a stroll down the cobbled streets and try some of the delightful ice creams on offer or a fresh coffee and pastry on La Rambla before you head on towards Besalú.
Besalú is a beautiful medieval town surrounded by green land and the peaceful river Fluvià. It was designated as a place of historical and artistic importance in 1966 and is most famous for its 12th-century Romanesque bridge (pictured below) that sits over the wide river, which features a gateway at its midpoint and stunning views on either side. Wonder around the narrow streets and try some local salamis and cheeses or a tasty crêpe to keep you going before you sit down to a delicious meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the water.
How to get there:
By car – If you have decided to rent a car, the journey takes just 2 hours if you stop at Figueres and continue on to Besalú. See the map below for directions.
By bus – The best option is to join a group tour departing from Barcelona as the price includes the bus as well as guided tours of the towns (some trips also stop at Girona for a longer day trip).
By train – The train takes 1 hour 50 mins from Barcelona Sants to Figueres, and a further 20 minute taxi ride to Besalú.
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