Day Trips from Barcelona

Where to go on an excursion from the Catalan capital

Salvador Dali Museum, Figueres, Spain
••• Salvador Dali Museum, Figueres, a great day trip from Barcelona, Spain. Karoly Lorentey/lorentey/flickr.com Creative Commons License

The region of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital, is a rich region with the Pyrenees in the north and the Costa Blanca coast to the south-east. Most of the region is reachable in a day trip from Barcelona.

Top Day Trips from Barcelona

Not only are the trip below the best to take from Barcelona, they are also the closest and easiest (in particular, the first three are).

  • For Nature The 'serated mountain' of Montserrat is great for hiking, and there's a historic monastery to see there too.
  • For Culture The Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres is art at its most accessible.
  • For the Beach Sitges is the nearest popular beach outside Barcelona.
  • For Wine Vilafranca del Penedes and the surrounding area is known for its red wine and cava.
  • For the Bucket List Visit three countries in one day. More: Spain, France and Andorra Guided Tour

Breathtaking Scenery and Outdoor Activities

If cities are cities to you and you're more interested in the Catalan countryside, you have some excellent options right on your doorstep.

  1. Montserrat
    There is no excuse not to visit the Montserrat mountain, close enough to the city to get to on an extension of the Barcelona Metro or take a half-day tour (see below). 
    Where? 60km north-west of Barcelona, easily reachable by local public transport.
    Guided Tour Half-Day Guided Tour of Montserrat
    Combine with?
    Colonia Guell is on the same train line as Montserrat. It can also be visited as a Combined Guided Tour of Colonia Guell and Montserrat
  1. Montseny
    Or visit the excellent hiking territory of 
    Montseny with ancient walls and wells to break up the walks. While a little further afield are the Pyrenees
    Where? 
    About an hour's drive north of Barcelona.
    Guided Tour: Pyrenees Mountain Day Trip from Barcelona
    Where? The nearest point is around two hours drive north of Barcelona.
    Guided Tour Pyrenees Mountain Day Trip from Barcelona

    Day Trips by High-Speed Train from Barcelona

    high-speed AVE train from Barcelona to Girona and Figueres has made some of these day trips a lot easier than they used to be.  

  1. Dali Museum in Figueres 
    Catalonia's other gift to the world of art and architecture is Salvador Dali, whose Museum in Figueres (sometimes spelt 'Figueras') is one of the most enjoyable art museums in the world - perfect for taking kids and art philistines to. 
    Where? 150km north-east of Barcelona. The high-speed AVE train (it's the route from Barcelona to Paris), makes this trip a lot easier than it used to be. Read more about how to get from Barcelona to Figueres.
    Guided Tour:  Dali Museum in Figueres
    Combine With? Girona is nearby: Girona, Figueres and Dali Museum from Barcelona
  2. Barcelona to Madrid 
    Yes, you can visit the Spanish capital from Barcelona! Though, of course, a day is not enough in Spain's biggest city, you can get a surprising amount done, especially considering the location of the train station (see below).
    Book your train tickets, grab a map and get exploring.
    Where? Take the high-speed train from Sants station in Barcelona to Atocha in Madrid. Though you'll spend five hours on the train if you go there and back in a day, the fact that the train dropping you off across the road from the Reina Sofia Museum (home to Spain's most famous modern art, including Picasso's masterpiece, the Guernica) and minutes from the Prado Museum, Spain's most famous art gallery, means you can actually get a lot out of a day trip to Madrid. Read more about how to get from Barcelona to Madrid.

    Wine Tours from Barcelona

    There are several wine-producing regions in Catalonia. You can take tours of the Penedes wine region and sample both reds and cava (Spanish sparking white wine) or take a longer trip to visit Priorat.

  1. Vilafranca del Penedes 
    Try both the local red wines and the internationally renowned Cava sparkling whites in this trip just outside
    Where? About an hour's drive or train west of Barcelona
    Guided Tour Vilafranca del Penedes

    Beaches Near Barcelona

  2. Costa Brava 
    Visit the medieval town of Tossa del Mar
    Where? The stretch of coastline north-east of Barcelona.
    Guided Tour Costa Brava
  3. Sitges
    One of the most popular beach towns close to Barcelona, Sitges is also a famous gay resort. The carnival here is among the most flamboyant in the country.
    Where? A 30-minute train ride south-west of Barcelona.  
    Guided Tour As Sitges is mainly a beach town, a full-day 'guided' tour is unnecessary.
    Combine with? Most tours include Sitges as part of another tour: Montserrat and Sitges and

    Historic Towns and Cities Near Barcelona

    If Madrid is too much for one day (I hardly blame you), there are other cities in and around Catalonia.

  1. Girona
    Another popular trip is to Gironaknown for its old Jewish quarter and attractive riverside buildings.
    Where? 120km north-east of Barcelona, on the way to Figueres.
    Guided Tour Game of Thrones Tour of Girona  
    Combin With? Girona  is usually visited with the Dali Museum in Figueres: Girona, Figueres and Dali Museum from Barcelona
  2. Tarragona 
    Take a trip from Barcelona to Tarragona. The city of Tarragona has some of the best Roman ruins in Spain, regular street markets and the Balcon del Mediterraneo for views out to sea. It is easy to take this trip by yourself or go on a guided tour.
    Where? 50 minutes by train south-west of Barcelona, close to Reus airport.
    Combine With?  Tarragona is often visited with the beach town of Sitges: Tarragona and Sitges Guided Tour
  3. Besalú, Tavertet, Rupit
    A collection of small villages that date back to medieval times. Not worth visiting just the one of them, but an interesting day trip when done together.
    Where? About 130km north-east of Barcelona, just past Girona, a little to the west of Figueres and close to the French border.
    Guided Tour Medieval Villages Tour from Barcelona

    Art and Architecture Outside Barcelona

  4. Colonia Guell
    After visiting Gaudi' Sagrada Familia, the unfinished basilica in central Barcelona, and his other works in the city, complete your Gaudi experience with a visit to the Colonia Guell, the (again unfinished) Gaudi church in a suburb of Barcelona.
    Where? On the way towards Montserrat, just north-west of Barcelona 
    Guided Tour Montserrat, Colonia Guell and Gaudi Crypt Day Trip
    Combine with? Colonia Guell is on the same train line as Montserrat. It can also be visited as a Combined Guided Tour of Colonia Guell and Montserrat
  5. Reus
    Most famous for its airport, Reus is also worth visiting for two reasons: it is the birthplace of Gaudi and the modernist art movement in general, as well as being the town that sparked the vermut (Spanish vermouth) revival.
    Where?  Around 50 minutes south-west of Barcelona, near Tarragona.