Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Spain with over 10 million tourists a year pre-pandemic. With so many people in just under 102km or 39 square miles, you may be looking for an escape. This is where day trips from Barcelona would come in handy for you, so keep them in mind if you’re needing an escape from this busy city.
Here are twelve day trips you can do from Barcelona. I divided them into other Catalunya cities, other Spanish cities, and different country excursions from closest to farthest away.
If you are looking for unique things to do in Barcelona, but you’re not sure where to start. Then check out my Barcelona Off the Beaten Path guide for all of this and more! I separate it by neighborhoods with restaurants, bars, and nightlife to visit in each.
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Day Trips from Barcelona
Montserrat is located about an hour and a half outside of Barcelona and makes for a perfect day trip out of Barcelona. You’ll need to grab the train from Plaza de España. Look up the train times the day before and plan to arrive a bit early. The Plaza de España station is a busy one and you want to find the right one.
Why visit Montserrat? It’s perfect for nature and hiking lovers as there are many trails available to you. Always check the weather beforehand since it can and will vary from the weather in Barcelona. If it rained the day before the trails may still be muddy so prepare accordingly.
Montserrat is also the location of a Benedictine monastery where around 80 monks live according to the rules of Saint Benedict. Inside the monastery you can find the image of the Virgin of Montserrat.
If you have the time, I highly recommend visiting this place. As long as the weather is nice, you will not be disappointed. If just visiting the Monastery and the surroundings isn’t enough for you, then I suggest this tour which in addition to the Monastery includes lunch at a farmhouse.
Sitges is a small beach town less than an hour south of Barcelona. You can grab the train from Barcelona Estación Francia, Passeig de Gràcia or Sants. When the weather starts getting nice, the train gets packed so make sure to get there early if you want a seat.
Expect a more relaxed vibe here with small streets and cute little shops. You can enjoy the beach as well as the town. A good place to spend a few hours and escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. If you don’t want to just explore the beach, but want to try something more unique then check out this tour! It includes a food and natural wine tasting in Sitges.
Pro tip: Buy a roundtrip ticket. The station in Sitges is much smaller and lots of people head back to the city in the afternoon. You’ll have to arrive at the station even earlier if you need to get a ticket as many people only buy one way and hold up the lines at the ticket booths.
Located an hour and a half north of Barcelona is Blanes. This place is beautiful! So far I’ve only been once but will be going back this summer. The beaches here are much larger with beautiful blue water. Blanes is accessible by train. Go to Sants station and grab the R1 line all the way up to Blanes. The train does not leave you in the center of town so you will have to catch the bus, a taxi, or walk towards the center. Whichever you’re up for or feel more comfortable doing.
If exploring is more than your thing, then this is the place for you. There’s the Sant Joan viewpoint to see the town and ocean from above. It’s a bit of a hike, but not too bad. The Marimurtra Botanical garden is a must for views. This is the one spot I didn’t get a chance to see during my last visit but would make the trip back for. By the beach there is one part of rock that does extend into the water and is worth walking on.
Tarragona is the capital of the province of Tarragona located south of Barcelona. Here you can find lots of ancient ruins from its time as a Roman colony. There’s a mix of ruins, history, and religious buildings to keep you more than occupied for a day. If this sounds like you, then check out this Roman Heritage Walking Tour to give you more in depth info at what you’re looking at.
The train will take you to Tarragona. Grab it from Passeig de Gracia or Sants station. If you do drive there or have the time, check out the Ferreres Aqueducts! They’re a bit outside of the city so you’ll need a bit of time getting there and back. Make sure to double check the bus times and know what time is the last one coming back into Tarragona. If you plan to take the bus, bring cash! They do not accept cards. I learned the hard way.
If you visit during the summer time or at least when the weather is warm and want to try something different. Consider doing a catamaran and snorkeling tour off the coast of Tarragona.
Tortosa is more a unique spot that is not directly on the coast, but next to the Erbo river. Even without the allure of a tan, this city is worth a visit. Not many people I’ve met have either heard of it, let alone visited it. Depending on the train you get, the trip can be between 2 and 2:30 hours south of Barcelona. You can grab a train hearding here from Passeig de Gracia and Sants stations.
Tortosa has a lot of history of conquests and a variety of rulers over its time. During Roman times, the city was called Dertosa. In 714, Tortosa was occupied during the Arab conquest and remained under Muslim rule for more than 400 years.
I wrote a whole post regarding what to do in Tortosa (on a budget). Make sure to check it out to inspire your trip itinerary to Tortosa.
Manresa is a city located inland from Barcelona. Although you won’t find a beach, do expect lots of monuments and a modern image. There’s museums and castles to explore so your time here can be what you make of it. Take your time here to relax and take in a slower moving city or see everything it has to offer. There is a two hour guided tour of the city to discover the iconic landmarks of the city.
To get to Manresa you’ll take the R4 from Plaza Catalunya. It’ll take about an hour and a half to arrive. Make sure to get to the station early so that you have extra time in case you get lost as the station is big.
Considered by many to be the second most beautiful city in Catalonia, so definitely worth a visit! There’s amazing architecture to take in and a historic center to adore. There’s a free walking tour you can take to get used to your new surroundings. It’s an easy train ride, about an hour away from Barcelona. You can grab the train from Sants, Passeig de Gracia, or el Clot stations.
There are lots of activities held here which make it perfect to visit. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, then this is the spot for you. You’ll see lots of your favorite scenes here, even though some may not look like how you saw them on the show. If you go, you’ll see what I mean!
Tossa de Mar
A beautiful seaside town found north of Barcelona. This one is the first on our list that unfortunately is only accessible by car. There are day trip tours that leave from Barcelona that would get you here. Check this one out if you’re looking for a full day tour.
Here you can expect to see beautiful crystal blue water and enjoy the historic Old Town with its cobbled streets and towers. There’s a beach you can enjoy with a nice view. If you’re willing to walk a bit to find a more isolated spot, there’s lots of calas (coves) that people enjoy going to.
Lleida is the last on our list that is in Catalunya. It’s located west of Barcelona. It’s accessible by train from the Sants station. Grab the AVE train which will take a bit over an hour as it is a quick train. Lleida is the capital of the Lleida province.
Mainly a university city, lots of the activities here on the weekends cater to students and young adults. Aside from that it’s a rather quiet city with a catedral and castle looking over the city on a hilltop. There are streets to do some shopping and some medieval sites to check out while you visit.
Zaragoza is located in Aragon, which is the autonomous community located next to Catalunya. Did you know Aragon used to be its own kingdom?! So expect to see lots of monuments and palaces here. There is lots of Moorish influence from that time period and some of the palaces can feel as if you’re in Morocco. Getting a tour by a local would be the best way to get to know this city.
You can reach Zaragoza by bus, train or car, depending on your preference. It’s about half way between Barcelona and Madrid which could be a nice way to break up the trip if you’re planning to go between the two with anything but the fast train.
Andorra is a small country found between Spain and France. It is actually the only country with Catalan as the official language. People love visiting Andorra for one of two reasons: shopping and snow sports. The reason it’s huge with shoppers is because it’s a tax free shopping so you can snag lots of bargains. The city also has lots of spas so you’ll be able to really relax after all that shopping. Andorra is full of mountains so during the winter there are lots of ski resorts for all different levels.
There are lots of tours that leave Barcelona to Andorra. Some of them include other nearby cities as well. I did a three country tour the time I visited which included a city in Spain, one in France, and the capital of Andorra. So if you only want to spend time in Andorra, I’d recommend taking a bus that goes directly there or renting a car.
Even though Perpignan is in France, it is only about a two hour drive from Barcelona. It is part of French Catalunya so after French, Catalan is the second language of this city. You can expect to find castles and fortresses here. If you go by car, you can explore outside of the city where I’ve seen there is beautiful landscapes. This city is not on the beach but nearby if you have a car.
Trying to get here with public transportation is possible but it’ll take you a long time. I’d recommend renting a car to get here. It’s the easiest and most convenient way. if you’re looking for places to visit then check out this blog post: Day Trip to Perpignan, France!
Which will you visit first?
There are lots of other cities and towns to visit which I’ll add once I’ve had the opportunity to actually go to them. I wanted to include places I’ve actually been to. This way I could give you real insight into each city. Had you heard of any of these cities before or had the chance to visit them? Tell me which ones you have visited in the comments and which ones I should add to this list.
If you need more options of things to do in Barcelona, don’t forget to grab my Barcelona Off the Beaten Path guide. This way you can avoid major crowds but still have an amazing experience!
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