While you’ll have practically an endless list of things to see and do in Barcelona, you’ll also be perfectly situated for some fabulous day trips. Whether you want to explore Roman ruins in an ancient city, climb a mountain, lounge on a beautiful beach or something else, this list has got you covered. In fact, you might just want to extend your trip to tackle them all.
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Besalu (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Besalu is located in the province of Girona is a little over 90 minutes north of Barcelona, with one of its most popular attractions the 12th-century Romanesque bridge that sits over the Fluvia River with a gateway at its midpoint. The village itself is over 1,000 years old, and today, it has a quirky mix of new and old. Its church of Sant Pere was consecrated in 1003, while the bridge and areas of the Jewish quarter have all been restored, making it a literal walking museum. There are arcaded streets, pretty squares and the remains of a medieval synagogue, located in the lower town near the river. Take a walking tour and it will cover the main points of historical interest like the Jewish ritual bath, the church of Sant Pere and the Jewish quarter.
Tarragona (Hotel Prices & Photos)
If you’re hoping to see Roman ruins in Spain, head to Tarragona, about an hour and 20 minutes south of Barcelona where you’ll be able to witness an incredible amphitheater that was constructed nearly 2,000 years ago overlooking the Mediterranean. Just outside of town is a magnificent aqueduct and in town is a gorgeous Old Town and Gothic cathedral. The National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona is well-worth a visit too, taking visitors on a journey back through time.
Cadaques (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Located in Cap de Creus National Park, a little two hours from Barcelona, this whitewashed coastal village lies on the Cap de Creus peninsula on a bay, with the Mediterranean on one side and Peni Mountain on the other. It’s best-known for being the primary residence of the late Salvador Dali who visited frequently during his childhood and later had a home in nearby Port Lligat that serves as a museum today. Many other famous artists have called Cadaques home too, including Pablo Picasso. If you want to learn more about its history, visit the Cadques Museum.
Morella (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Surrounded by walls with a castle at the center, the ancient town of Morella is a three-hour drive from Barcelona and it’s one of the world’s most magnificent walled towns. Its buildings were constructed in various styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic, and it offers plenty of culinary treasures too. Locals make traditional sweets called flaons and mantecadas and in the shops, you’ll find a wide variety of local honey, sheep and goat cheese, and truffles referred to as “black diamonds.”
Castellfollit de la Roca (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Less than two hours from Barcelona is Castellfollit de la Roca, one of the Catalonia region’s smallest towns with a population of only 1,000 living in an area smaller than a square kilometer. Its homes and church, set atop the edge of a basalt precipice, is one of the most photographed and painted images in the area, and looking out from here you’ll get a gorgeous view of the valley and two rivers. Wander through the oldest part of the village that dates back to the Middle Ages with its narrow streets, lovely squares and homes that are predominantly made from volcanic rocks.
Alquezar, Huesca (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Less than three hours from Barcelona, the beautiful Moorish village of Alquezar has impressive surroundings and a rich cultural heritage, tucked in the foothills of the Pyrenees inside the Sierra y Canones de Guara Nature Reserve. It’s a great place for outdoor adventurers with its Descenso de Barrancos Canyon popular for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The town itself is home to a castle and the Santa Maria la Mayor collegiate church, the region’s most visited monument. As soon as you step through its Gothic gate you’ll feel as if you’ve taken a step back in time.
Tossa de Mar (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Tossa de Mar, an hour and 20 minutes north, is a coastal resort with its fortified old town the only medieval fortress extant of its kind anywhere in Catalonia. Walk around the turrets and lighthouse, then enjoy the afternoon on the beach beneath the battlements. If you’re looking for seclusion, Cala Pola is a remote beach that can be reached with a two-hour hike over a craggy, forested path.
Montserrat Mountain (Hotel Prices & Photos)
If you’re looking for a day of scenic hiking, head to Montserrat Mountain which rises up to 4,055 feet at the highest peak. Renowned for its jagged rock formations that look a bit like a giant serrated handsaw, it offers a wide range of trails for all levels of fitness and just over halfway up is the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. It’s considered a sacred place, popular for pilgrimages as the home of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat.
Sitges (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Less than an hour from Barcelona, Sitges is one of the best places to visit in Spain, and it makes an easy day trip with a cosmopolitan vibe as a popular spot for wealthy Barcelonians’ holiday homes for hundreds of years. The population quadruples in the summer months, while fall brings the popular International Film Festival that focuses on horror and fantasy. At any time of year, you’ll find world-class shopping and countless tapas bars to enjoy.
Figueres (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Figueres, an hour and 40 minutes from Barcelona, is known for its spectacular architecture that includes the 18th-century Castell de Sant Ferran and the Teatre-Museu Dali, a famous theater-turned museum that was transformed by Dali himself. Impressive outside, inside you’ll discover a surreal world of art, with paintings, statues and sculptures. Figueres also has a small old town to explore along with a smattering of enticing cafes and restaurants.