Ash
Written by Ash

12 Dynamite Day Trips from Barcelona Done by a Local

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I’ve taken my fair share of day trips from Barcelona.

It’s not that I don’t love my adopted city but sometimes you need a little fresh air, a seaside cove, a hypercoaster, or even a damn church in a volcano.

And I haven’t even started with living the scenes from Game of Thrones.

If you can dream it up: I’ve got a Barcelona day trip for you.

Vamos!

Day Trips from Barcelona

The Costa Brava

This strip of rocky coast extends towards France starting at the city of Blanes.

This is at the top of the best day trips from Barcelona due to its beach weather that’s in full swing in July and August. This is can’t-miss territory for beach lovers and beauty chasers.

Imagine a long stretch of coastal cliffs giving way to picturesque coves overlooking a sea so blue you’d swear you were in the Caribbean.

This is where the locals beach.

While I could ramble on about the seemingly endless selection of coastal towns on offer, I couldn’t have said it better in my article on visiting the Costa Brava.

It won’t be easy to get it all done in just a day trip but luckily there is a fantastic organized tour offered by Ticketbar that will have you up the coast and back in Barcelona by dinner time.

COSTA BRAVA DAY TOUR
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Lloret de Mar

If you wanted to combine the beauty of the Costa Brava with endless fun this is it.

Lloret de Mar finds itself just over an hour from Barcelona: perhaps that’s why it plays host to legions of young people from all over Europe looking for nightlife, low cost hotels, swanky Airbnb homestays, and beautiful beaches.

That said, even if your free-wheeling 20’s are very much in the rear view mirror you’ll still find the option enticing for its splendid coves like Platja de Fenals and Platja de Santa Cristina.

The historical centre also offers nice vibes for nighttime walking and amazing seafood.

You can learn about how to visit in my Lloret de Mar guide.

How to Get to Lloret de Mar

If you’re renting a car you can reach Lloret using the C-32 coastal road.

There’s also a bus option from the Estacio del Nord (and also from El Prat Airport as well as Girona Airport).

By train you can take the RENFE service from Sants Estacio, Plaça Catalunya, Arc de Troimf, or El Clot-Arago) in the direction of Massanet-Massanes. You’ll get off at Blanes and then get a convenient Lloret shuttle (timed with the trains) from there.

Tossa de Mar

This might be the most characteristic of all the Costa Brava towns with its historic city centre and medieval castle overlooking it.

The little fishing boats tied up in the harbour add a touch of romance and simplistic charm to one of the coast’s most spectacular coves.

The bonus is that it’s probably the closest can’t-miss destination on the coast.

The area is dominated by the city beach called La Platja Gran. From here you’ll be able to start your visit by getting pleasantly lost in the tiny streets of the Vila Vella as you make your way up to the castle and the lighthouse.

In going down the other side you’ll find yourself in Codolar cove where you can get on the famous Cami de Ronda walking trail (once used for defense and smuggling) that connects the entire Costa Brava.

Some of the other beaches in the area to check out: Cala Bona, Cala Pola, Cala Giverola and Cala Sa Futadera.

How to Get to Tossa de Mar

Your best bet is renting a car because you’ll have more freedom to check out the area.

If cars aren’t part of the plan there is a bus from the Estacio del Nord which costs €12.35 one way.

Guided Day Trip to Lloret and Tossa de Mar

If you want to get the trip done without worrying about renting a car, finding parking, and navigating the roads alone there’s also a great combination package allowing you a tour of Lloret and Tossa here:

The sailing trip between the two towns is spectacular.

COSTA BRAVA HALF DAY TOUR
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Girona

When people ask me where else to visit near Barcelona this is always #1.

With its perfectly conserved medieval city centre you’ll swear Girona appeared out of another universe, and in fact in you think the look of it is something familiar it’s probably because you’ve seen it in Game of Thrones.

Indeed, this splendid city just an hour from Barcelona was chosen as a filming location for the popular HBO series – taking it into epic visit territory!

You’ll stand in awe of the Santa Maria Cathedral and the city walls (which you can walk on) which gives an amazing panoramic walk like so few other locations can.

Don’t forget to visit the Arab Baths and the bridges on the Onyar river where you’ll be able to see those classic postcard staples: the Onyar Houses.

Looking to make a Barcelona day trip out of it? Read my guide to visiting Girona.

How to Get to Girona

Your best bet is to grab the train (R11 of the RENFE ‘Rodalies’ system) which will take about 90 minutes. It departs from Sants Estacio, Passeig de Gracia, and Clot. Tickets cost €11.25.

You can also get a fast train which departs from Sants and takes about 40 minutes (€17.40).

The Dali Museum (Figueres)

If you’re a big fan of Salvador Dalí you should know that just 140 km from Barcelona in the town of Figueres is the most important Dali museum in the entire world.

While the building itself is a work of art it’s what’s inside that counts: famous paintings from the late artist like The Persistence of Memory and Portrait of My Father.

You’ll also get all sorts of sculptures, mechanical contraptions, furniture, and even jewelry.

Tickets cost €15.00 and the museum hours are 9:30/10:30 am to 6:00 pm in low season and between 9:00 am and 8:00 pm in July, August, and September.

How to Get to the Dali Museum

You can get to the museum with the Portbou train (Figueres stop) from Sants Estacio – it’ll take about 2 hours (maximum 2 hours and 50 minutes) depending on the train.

Prices for the trip range between €12.00 and €16.00.

An alternative is to grab the bus from the Estaciò del Nord that takes 3 hours to get to Figueres in 3 hours. One way tickets cost €20.00.

Taking a car? You can get to Figueres in about 90 minutes using the P7 highway.

Girona and Dali Museum Figueres Tours

If you’d like to take away the hassle of organizing the trip you can book an all-inclusive tour with the official Barcelona Turisme website.

This includes a tour of the museum and a trip to Girona.

DALI TOUR
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Calella

At the heart of the Costa del Maresme (the coast extending north of Barcelona) Calella preserves its fishing village past but has turned into one of the favorite seaside destinations for locals and foreigners.

The positives?

It’s close proximity to Barcelona (around 50 km) combined with the beautiful and wide sandy beaches and lively nightlife.

Don’t miss a visit to the lighthouse to take in the view.

From here there’s also the chance to walk along the seafront, ride a bike ride in Montnegre-Corredor nature park, or hit any of the main beaches: Platja Gran is the largest and richest in services.

Platja de les Roques is the quieter option with small coves pinned in by pine trees and bathed in Carribean-like waters.

Visiting with kids? Platja del Garbi is the best for families for its floating park.

How to Get to Calella

Taking the train is probably the most comfortable way.

Take the R1 line of the “Ferrocarriles” from Arc de Triomf, Estació de França, Passeig de Gracia, Sants, or Plaça Catalunya and you’ll reach Calella in just 75 minutes.

Ticket cost €5.50.

If you’re driving just take the C32 which runs along the Maresme coast – the journey takes about 45 minutes.

Port Aventura World

Port Aventura is simply one of the best amusement parks in Europe. Think Alton Towers but with almost double the capacity.

If your idea of fun is taking a huge heart-stopping 249 foot drop at 134 kilometers an hour on one of Europe’s only hypercoasters then this is the Barcelona day trip for you.

The gigantic complex is located near the town of Salou about 100 km south from Barcelona.

It’s actually made up of 3 different parks: Port Aventura Park, Caribe Aquatic Park, and Ferrari Land.

How to Get to PortAventura World

Taking the train is the most convenient.

The R16 train of the Rodalies (Spanish overground railway) stops directly at the park and can be taken from Estació de França, Passeig de Gracia, or Sants.

The trip takes 85 minutes.

By car journey times are more or less the same.

There’s a third option from El Prat airport with bus company Plana for €16.90 one way.

Organized PortAventura Barcelona Day Trip

Not a fan of having to plan it all yourself?

Get your PortAventura day trip on an air conditioned coach plus entrance to the park clicking the blue button below:

PORT AVENTURA DAY TRIP
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Sitges

Located on the Costa D’Orada (‘Gold Coast’) just 30 minutes from Barcelona: ​​Sitges is undoubtedly one of our favorite villages in all of Catalonia.

When visiting you’ll easily discover why.

The Mediterranean-style historic center is a delightful mix of small shops, restaurants, palaces and churches ready to visit.

The promenade with its palm trees and chiringuitos is great for walking and the city beach is clean and one of the most swimmable on the entire coast.

My biggest tip? Climb up Sant Bartomeu Church for a super sick view.

Many of the beaches here are gay friendly and nudist. It’s a great place to party especially if you’re there during the legendary Sitges Carnival.

How to Get to Sitges

The easiest way to get to Sitges is by train.

The R2 train passes every 20-30 minutes from Barcelona stations França, Passeig de Gracia, and Sants Estació. The journey takes about thirty minutes and the cost is around €7.00 return.

If you go by car with the C-32 coastal highway in about 50 minutes but keep in mind that parking in the city center, especially in summer, may not be the easiest thing to do.

Salou

There are tons of good reasons reasons to visit Salou aside from PortAvenutra: the beautiful beaches, mild year round climate, and nightclubs for all tastes.

This village on the Costa Dorada not far from Tarragona is one of the most famous destinations on the Catalan coast.

If you’re only on a day trip I would hit up its most beautiful beaches (at the Cap de Salou), eat a paella on the Paseo Marítimo, and maybe do some shopping downtown.

How to Get to Salou

At about 100 km south from Barcelona ​​Salou is very easy to reach by train.

From Sants Estacio it’ll take between 70-90 minutes per journey at €8.00-€20.00.

There’s also a Plana bus departing from Passeig de Gracia 36 and takes two hours.

You can also go by car via the C-32 and it will take you about 90 minutes.

Montserrat

Montserrat is one of the most special places in all of Catalonia.

Its rounded rocks in the strangest of shapes are the result of millions of years of water erosion. The peaks, although not very high, offer amazing views stretching across the Pyrenees and the Balearic Islands.

Nestled between these rocks is the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey dedicated to patron saint the Virgin of Montserrat aka “La Moreneta” – named so for its black skin.

Montserrat is a great destination for fresh air, pensive hikes, and religious pilgrimages.

The trip up can also be a lot of fun with the cremellera or cable car.

How to Get to Montserrat

Most Barcelona day trip people take the R5 train from Plaça d’Espanya to Monistrol de Montserrat. It’ll take 75 minutes and costs €11.50 return.

From the train station you’ll take the cremallera to the mountain (15 minutes, €11.60 return), or rent a car to drive in 65 minutes to have freedom of movement and maybe make a few extra stops.

There’s also All-In Montserrat ticket option with return train to Monistrol de Montserrat, cremellera, access to the audio visual room “Inside Montserrat”, open air museum audio guide, and even a liquor tasting.

Tickets cost €44.20 and are available with the button below:

MONTSERRAT EXPRESS
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Montserrat Organized Tour

The Barcelona Tourism Office, authors of some of the best Barcelona day trips in package form, organizes guided tours of Montserrat and Colonia Güell.

It’s at Colonia Güell that you can admire Gaudí’s famous Güell crypt.

From April to November there are tours every day while in low season it’s available only Mondays and Fridays.

The guides speak English and Spanish.

Tickets cost €64.80.

MONTSERRAT PREMIUM TOUR
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La Garrotxa

Volcanoes in Catalunya?

It may seem strange but there’s an area where you’ll find more than 40 volcanoes. It’s called Garrotxa Nature Park. You’ll have nothing to worry of though as all of them are dormant.

What you’ll be able to do here is go for a nice walk in their craters and through the surrounding beech woods.

La Garrotxa is an area of ​​valleys, hills, picturesque medieval villages and excellent rustic food options in the areas around the town of Olot.

Among the top attractions here are the Santa Margarida volcano which houses a small church right in the middle of it! You also can’t go wrong with the medieval village of Santa Pau for a great grilled meat lunch.

There’s also Castellfollit de la Roca: a municipality built overhanging a stunning basalt cliff.

How to Get to Garrotxa

Transport options are lacking here so most people on a day trip drive to Olot.

The 111 km route using the C-17 highway takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Tarragona

The main reason to visit Tarragona is its incredible historical richness.

Look no further than the superbly preserved Roman amphitheater overlooking the sea – one of the most impressive in the world for capacity and location.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has a delightful medieval historic center to explore.

If you prefer seaside life to culture then you’re also in luck as Tarragona also offers beautiful beaches just a stone’s throw from the city.

How to Get to Tarragona

Trains from Barcelona depart frequently for Tarragona.

The cheapest are the R14, R15, and R16. The journey takes about an hour and costs around €7.00.

By car it will take about 80 minutes along the coast using the C-32 and AP-7.

There’s More Free Info if You Need It

I’ve gone all out to show you how to plan day trips from Barcelona but maybe I missed something? Please get in touch in the comments below with any questions you have about Barcelona.

And don’t be afraid to join the day trip discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.

  • January 23, 2020 at 10:03 pm
    Liz
    Hi, if you had to choose a day trip between Costa Brava or Montserrat, which would you choose? Mid March with 2 young kids (4 year old and 11 month old)
    • January 24, 2020 at 5:35 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Liz, In mid March since the services in Costa Brava are somewhat limited and it won't quite be beach weather I would select Montserrat every time! Cheers, Ash
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