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Best Day trips from Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - : View of the Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi

Barcelona, the vibrant Spanish city is known for incredible pieces of Antoni Gaudi’s architecture, splendid museums with traditional and contemporary art and its bustling pedestrian street, La Rambla. It attracts visitors from all over the world; with its exquisite dining scene and the rich wine culture, it speaks to foodies and connoisseurs and with endless shopping opportunities, it attracts fashion and design enthusiasts.

In Barcelona, you will find everything you may be looking for and more. In this guide, we also wanted to share with you recommendations for the best Barcelona day trips to let you escape the city bustle and discover the beauty of Spain beyond the urban borders.

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Day trip from Barcelona to Costa Brava

Making up a large part of the Catalonian region, the coastal area of Costa Brava runs from right above Barcelona, all the way to the French border. It is known for atmospheric little towns and tranquil villages, rocky coastlines, bays and isles and stunning beaches. 

The region is best explored by car (both for the convenience of your day trip and because many of the villages cannot be reached by public transport). You can begin the tour around Costa Brava by driving up to the medieval town of Besalú, which is located approximately 140 kilometres north from Barcelona. After a drive of 1 hour 45 minutes, you will arrive in Besalú; a pearl for tourists, packed with things to see and do. Visit the Church of Sant Vicente de Besalú and the Besalú Synagogue, and from Besalú you can drive back towards Barcelona, choosing the more scenic roads alongside the Spanish coast, taking the time to stop in the charming coastal villages.

Some of Costa Brava’s tourist highlights also include the beaches (like the hidden Cala Portaló beach that lies within the Cap de Creus Natural Park, north of the town of Cadaqués) and exquisite Catalan Food (take a trip to Lloret de Mar for delicious, fresh seafood). You can easily curate a Costa Brava day trip that matches your interests, your level of fitness and both solo and family travels.

The Costa Brava region is also known for its interesting array of different museums! In Girona, you will find the Cinema Museum, and in Palafrugell, the tourists are invited to visit the unique Museum of Cork. If you are travelling with children, we recommend stopping by Castell d’Aro to see the Museum of Dolls (Museo de la Muñeca).

Day trip from Barcelona to Costa Brava

Beautiful sunset light in Costa Brava of Spain, near town Palamos

Day trip from Barcelona to Waikiki Beach Tarragona

You will find the “real” Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, but the Spanish “Cala Fonda” got its Hawaiian nickname for a reason! It is a true paradise south of Barcelona, next to the city of Tarragona. Even though it is a popular tourist attraction, Cala Fonda tends to be less packed than the beaches in Barcelona, popular among locals and tourists. 

Getting to the Spanish Waikiki Beach is easiest by car, however, it is not possible to drive directly to the beach. You will have to park your car at La Mora in Tamarit, Tarragona and walk from there. From the beach in La Mora (which is also the last point where you can buy food and water, as there is no beach bar or shop at Cala Fonda), the hike towards Waikiki Beach will take you 15 – 20 minutes. Admire the scenery around you, and make your hike an opportunity to take pictures! The trail is not difficult, but make sure to wear a sunhat and use sunscreen, as the sun can be quite sharp.

If you are not fond of driving on your own, it is possible to reach Cala Fonda by public transportation, but it is not our recommended option. The buses do not go all the way to La Mora beach, so you have to get off in Altafulla, then take a taxi to La Mora Campsite and hike from there. Depending on the bus company, you can expect to pay between 9 – 12 USD for a one-way bus journey and the same price for a one-way taxi ride between Altafulla and La Mora.

Cala de roca Plana beach in Tarragona beside Waikiki beach also Cala Fonda

Day trip from Barcelona to La Barceloneta

Technically, La Barceloneta is one of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods, but it is quite independent of the rest of the city. It even has its own flag! La Barceloneta is known for its long, sandy beach, many hip restaurants and vibrant nightclubs along the main boulevard. 

La Barceloneta used to be a fishermen’s village, and the urban constructions started in the middle of the 18th century. You can learn more about the history of the area by visiting “Casa de la Barceloneta”, a small local museum located in the centre of the neighbourhood. It is housed in a preserved building from 1761. From Barceloneta Beach, you can also take the cable car to the Miramar Gardens Viewpoint to enjoy stunning views of the port, and at sunset you can still see how the local fishermen unload their daily catch, preparing to auction the fish.

Nowadays La Barceloneta and its wide beach are most popular, both among locals and tourists, around the annual festivities of Sant Joan on June 23rd. Catalans often refer to Sant Joan as the “Nit del Foc”, which translates to “The Night of Fire” with fireworks being the main aspect of the celebrations. Usually, locals gather on terraces and balconies to have dinner and watch the fireworks together, but it is also common to head to Barceloneta Beach.

The beach begins to fill up during the early evening hours on Sant Joan Day. Groups bring snacks and bubbly cava, picnicking around the beach, ready to watch the firework displays and enjoy the music from the chiringuitos (beach bars). You can reach La Barceloneta by metro; simply take Line 4 to “Barceloneta”!

BARCELONA : People enjoying a sunny day on La Barceloneta beach Barcelona Catalonia Spain

Day trip from Barcelona to Girona 

The city of Girona, situated 104 kilometres north of Barcelona, is known as the capital of the Costa Brava Region. It is famous for its ancient historical sites, remarkable architecture and exquisite cuisine (traditional Catalan cuisine as well as an array of modern fusions). Parts of the city, you may recognize even if you had never been there before; the popular show “Game of Thrones” was filmed in several spots within the city.

Girona is also famous for its many museums. We already mentioned The Cinema Museum, but we also recommend the Jewish History Museum and the City History Museum for those who want to dig deeper into the cultural and historical heritage of Girona and the region of Costa Brava.

How to best plan your Barcelona to Girona day trip? The most convenient public transportation is the high-speed train AVANT that leaves from Barcelona as early as 8.25 AM. The train arrives in Girona at 9.03 AM, which gives your Girona explorations an early start! You can consider starting your sightseeing by joining a Girona Walking Tour in the forenoon. A city walk is a first-hand experience of the city’s ancient sites and a great opportunity to learn more about Girona’s history. Visit the old Roman Arabic-style baths, admire the vast Girona Cathedral and meander through the tiny alleyways of the Jewish Quarter led by a local, English-speaking guide. 

In the afternoon, you can visit some of the museums, or add some activity to your Girona day trip, rent a bicycle and cycle around the many biking trails! Girona is known as one of Spain’s top cycling hubs!

Day trip from Barcelona to Girona

Girona, Catalonia, Spain - Medieval houses on the banks of the River Onyar, and the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona

Day trip from Barcelona to the Montserrat Mountain

The name Montserrat refers to the rocky mountain range in Catalonia, but it has now become the common name for Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery. The cloister is located on top of Montserrat Mountain, about one hour North West from Barcelona. The Montserrat Monastery is of significant religious importance for Catholics, as visions of Virgin Mary have been reported there, and it is home to the famous “Black Madonna”.

Even if you are not familiar with the Catholic tradition, Montserrat is one of our top recommendations for a getaway from Barcelona. The pristine surroundings of the monastery are breathtaking, so make sure to take your camera with you to take photos of the scenic natural views. A trip to Montserrat is also a great pick for the active traveller. Some incredible hiking paths go through the mountains, opening up for views of some of the most magnificent cliffs and rock formations in the Catalonian region. 

From Barcelona, you can go to Montserrat by train. Take the R5 line to Aeri de Montserrat, departing from Plaça Espanya in Barcelona. The journey costs 5.25 EUR one way. The most common way to get to the top of the mountain is by taking the funicular train. The price of the funicular is 7,5 EUR one way or 11,5 EUR for a return ticket (approximately 8,5 USD and 13 USD respectively).

Typically, the cable car runs every 15 minutes. Note that it is possible to purchase combined round-trip tickets for the train to Montserrat and the funicular! You can buy them at the Plaça Espanya station in Barcelona for a total sum of 22 EUR (around 24,5 USD) per person.

We also recommend looking at some of the guided day tours to Montserrat that can be booked with tourist agencies in Barcelona or online. They guarantee a guided experience of the Montserrat Monastery, but also include attractions like local food and wine tasting!

Day trip from Barcelona to the Montserrat Mountain

Montserrat monastery in Spanish mountains. Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain

Day trip from Barcelona to Cadaques

A true pearl in the Costa Brava region, the town of Cadaques is said to be one of the main inspirations for Salvador Dalí’s artworks. Together with Gala, his Russian muse, the famous surrealist painter lived in Cadaques for several decades from 1930 on. Today, one of the main tourist attractions of the city is a museum dedicated to Dalí’s life and work; the Salvador Dalí House in Cadaques.

Keep in mind that if you want to visit the Salvador Dalí Museum, reservations are required. Small groups of max. 8 people are allowed in every 10 minutes for an approximately 50-minute long visit, and you have to show up within 30 minutes of your timed reservation, otherwise, your ticket will be resold to a visitor on the waiting list.

Cadaques is also the ultimate place to get lost in the winding, cobbled streets, filled with independent art galleries, small cafés, hostels and atmospheric homestays. Other famous sites worth visiting include the architectonically outstanding Church of St. Mary from the late 17th century and Natural Park of Cap de Creus, with the hidden Cala Portaló beach. 

Cadaqués is located approximately 175 kilometres from Barcelona, and if you want to go by public transport, a combination of train and bus is the best option. From Barcelona, you take the train to Figueres (hometown of Salvador Dalí). The train journey will take around 2 hours. In Figueres, you change for a bus, which will add another hour to your journey. The total cost of a one-way single journey from Barcelona to Cadaqués will be around 21,5 EUR (about 24 USD).

For your convenience and to get the most out of your visit to Cadaqués, we recommend booking a guided Cadaqués day trip from Barcelona. The travelling time will shorten, which will give you more time to explore Cadaqués, and the whole day trip will be led by a professional, English-speaking guide.

Day trip from Barcelona to Cadaques

CADAQUES, SPAIN - Spain Mediterranean village of Cadaques, whitewashed houses and the church Santa Maria, Costa Brava, Alt Emporda, Catalonia, Cap de Creus

Recommended Day trips from Barcelona

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Best Day trips from Barcelona

Best Day trips from Barcelona

Best Day trips from Barcelona

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!