Barcelona is famously full of amazing places to visit. Why drag yourself away from the historic center of the Catalan capital? You can tour the Gaudi works or take an evening paella class – Barcelona becomes even more alive at night. But while Barcelona’s city center may be full of incredible cultural activities, whether it is your first trip or fiftieth, you should still invest in one of the many day trips from Barcelona. Catalan culture is fascinating, and the surrounding landscape is beautiful to explore by public transport or rental car. You could visit Montserrat, gothic churches in medieval villages, or go wine tasting in rolling vineyards.
Top Barcelona Day Trips
In this guide, we’ll cover the best day trips from Barcelona. You could pencil in a relaxing day trip to Arab baths or tackle some of the best hiking trails in the region – the intensity of your day trip is up to you. One thing is sure, though; Barcelona has many day trip options. And the fact that Barcelona has many train lines and low-cost train tickets is excellent, especially if you are visiting Barcelona on a budget. Let’s check out the best day trips Barcelona has available. You’ll love these top 19 contenders.
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Below are some of the top day trip tours from Barcelona. Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Spain!
Top Day Trips and Tours from Barcelona:
1. Costa Brava
The Costa Brava is a massive region in Catalonia. It demands far more than a day to see in its entirety. Costa Brava stretches from just northeast of Barcelona city center to the French border, covering some of the prettiest coastal villages and destinations. It is one of Barcelona’s most popular day trips – either as a self-guided experience or a guided tour like this full-day one. You can venture out to villages with Roman and ancient Greek villages. Or you can take boat trips to spots like the Medes archipelago.
If you want an independent adventure, Costa Brava is best day-tripped by rental car on a road trip from Barcelona. You can drive to the edge of Costa Brava (the resort town of Blanes) in under an hour, then continue along the coastline, hopping from village to town. Road-tripping the Costa Brava as a day trip from Barcelona is hugely rewarding, and you are always close to a delicious dish or a beautiful beach.
We had to add it as a day trip because of how liberating road trips are and how well-suited the Costa Brava is to day trippers, with town after town of coastal destinations to enjoy. We’ll cover lots of attractions along the Costa Brava coastline as day trips in their own right. However, if you struggle to squeeze a day trip in, road-tripping Costa Brava is a fantastic, more general day trip option.
- Distance from Barcelona: 50-minute drive to Blanes, Barcelona’s closest point of the Costa Brava.
2. Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar is one of Barcelona’s most drop-dead gorgeous day tour options. The little cliffside village has an Old Town declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument, and its ruins are right into the Mediterranean Sea. On this day trip, you can walk the village and take in its historical sights before heading to Gran Beach – which has old wall ruins spilling onto the sands.
It is definitely a day trip of two halves. You’ll spend the morning with culture and history and the afternoon in the water or on the beach. Tossa de Mar has lots of scuba diving and paddle boarding opportunities if you fancy something a little more adventurous than an afternoon of sunbathing or swimming.
Tossa de Mar is an hour and 15-minute drive from Barcelona. Unfortunately, it isn’t accessible by public transport easily. Still, you can always book a shuttle service or guided tour if you don’t drive. It is one of the most famous Barcelona day trips, so you should be able to find guided tours easily.
- Distance from Barcelona: 1-hour 15-minute drive from Barcelona
3. Wine Tasting
Going wine tasting is a hugely enjoyable day trip. Barcelona is surrounded by the outskirts with rolling vineyards and more than just a boutique winery. Priorat, Montsant, and Penedès are all particularly famous regions for Catalonian wine. And from Barcelona, we’d highly recommend a small group tour to Penedès wine country. Penedès is hailed for its Cava – a sparkling white wine – but you’ll find all sorts of varieties if you tour the region. You can simply book a wine-tasting tour that includes transport from Barcelona city center. There are many options; some, like this one, even include traditional food like tapas.
Wine-tasting tours are brilliant if you want minimal traveling but love tasting new wines. It combines a bit of countryside sightseeing, too, as you’ll be venturing to some seriously picturesque wineries. The tours are typically half a day long, but they vary depending on your tour.
- Distance from Barcelona: 45-minute drive to Penedès from Barcelona
4. Castellfollit de la Roca
Castellfollit de la Roca is stunning. The tiny village teeters on the narrow ridge of a basalt clifftop overlooking the confluence of two rivers below – surrounded by forest and wildlife. Only around 1,000 residents live in Castellfollit de la Roca. However, it is easily one of the most photographed places in Catalonia and one of the top day trips from Barcelona if you want a wow factor.
Visitors can walk the Old Town and check out some really niche little attractions, including a 150-year-old charcuterie business that is now a museum preserving Catalonia’s charcuterie history. While, for a more unique vantage point over Castellfollit de la Roca’s stunning layout, you can splurge on a hot air balloon ride.
Castellfollit de la Roca is a 1.5-hour drive from Barcelona and is otherwise not accessible by public transport. It is, however, an incredibly scenic drive and bypasses or cuts through numerous natural parks. It even passes through Vic (a medieval town that will feature later in our guide) as the halfway point. If you are debating driving to Castellfollit de la Roca, know that renting a car is definitely well worth it.
- Distance from Barcelona: 1.5 hour drive from Barcelona
If you visit Barcelona, you have to visit Montserrat. Montserrat is a striking-looking mountain town most known for its Benedictine monastery, Saint Maria de Montserrat. The monastery has a statue of the Virgin Mary and child rumored to have been carved by St.Luke, and this statue gives the town its nickname ‘Sacred Mountain.’ If you book a Montserrat tour from Barcelona, you’ll definitely have the monastery on your itinerary. But the whole town is beautiful, and it looks as if the old stone buildings have erupted up from the rocks of the mountains themselves. Montserrat is like something out of a film set.
You can book a Montserrat tour with hotel pick-up – making it one of the easiest day trips from Barcelona. However, to go eco-friendly, just catch the train from Barcelona-Sants Station. It takes just over an hour by train, and there’s no need to book train tickets in advance. Montserrat is one of the most classic day trip experiences; don’t miss this one if you want dramatic scenery and a pilgrim experience.
- Distance from Barcelona: Less than 1.5 hours from Barcelona by public transport
6. Pyrenees Mountains
The Pyrenees Mountains make a fabulous day trip from Barcelona. The mountain range is beautiful and full of ski slopes in winter and hiking trails in summer. For either a hiking day trip or a ski day trip, the Pyrenees Mountains are your best shout from these day trips from Barcelona.
A word of warning; the Pyrenees Mountains are the tallest mountain range in Europe – so expect steep slopes and challenging hikes. The mountains cover a vast 270-mile stretch, with the highest of all the peaks being the 3,404-meter-tall Pico de Aneto. The Pyrenees Mountains are an absolute beast of an area to explore.
As we said, the Pyrenees Mountains are fantastic for skiers and hikers. You can easily take a day trip to ski resorts like Arinsal Ski Resort and Grandvalira, enjoy the snow, and then head back for an evening in Barcelona. While hiking trails like the Ayous Lakes Circuit or Carros de Foc are also incredible in spring and summer. For outdoor enthusiasts, we just had to add it to this guide.
- Distance from Barcelona: The Pyrenees Mountains are roughly a 3 hour 40-minute drive from Barcelona depending on where you visit.
7. Gala Dalí Castle Museum-House
Gala Dalí Castle Museum-House is a rags-to-riches story. The now-turned-Dali Museum was once a forgotten castle stumbled across by the Dali couple. Salvador Dali bought the 11th-century Pubol Castle in 1969, rescuing it from a complete state of despair.
The ceilings had fallen through, and there were cracks in the walls – essentially a ruin of what was previously medieval grandeur. Salvador built the rooms around the ‘new’ layout that the collapsed structures created. Dali Castle was transformed into a romantic, baroque-style architectural masterpiece. And, most romantically, Salvador dedicated the entire project to his wife, Gala.
Now you can visit this castle on a day tour from Barcelona. The castle is now a museum dedicated to preserving the Dali history and story, as well as showcasing the castle’s architectural beauty. Admiring the furnishings and decor, you can independently walk through the castle at leisure. Alternatively, book one guided tour and explore with an experienced guide.
- Distance from Barcelona: 2 hours by public transport and 1.5 hours by car
Girona is a vast medieval city. Set aside the River Onyar, it is overflowing with medieval architecture and ancient Roman fortifications. Girona’s network of manicured gardens and narrow streets date back to the middle ages, and its Jewish Quarter is full of characteristic arches. Even just from looking at pictures of the city, it is easy to see why it was chosen as a filming location for Game of Thrones.
It is one of the top day trips from Barcelona when it comes to architecture and chasing day trips that leave ‘big impressions.’ You can take a guided walking tour of the city or visit independently. Girona has many attractions besides its good looks, including Europe’s smallest square, old volcanoes on its outskirts, and cultural venues like cinemas.
Girona is just 40 minutes from Barcelona by train. It is incredible that you have a different city experience less than one hour away. Girona is a fantastic candidate for day trips from Barcelona if you don’t drive. Game of Thrones fans, especially, consider adding Girona to your Barca itinerary.
- Distance from Barcelona: 40 minutes by train
Ready for one of the most ambitious day trips from Barcelona you could ever take? One option is to get the ferry to Mallorca overnight, enjoy a morning on the Balearic Islands, and then catch a ferry back for the evening in Barcelona. This is ideal for those wanting to maximize their time in Spain. And it requires minimal effort in terms of transportation – you can enjoy a night on the water, delicious cuisine, and access entertainment like film screenings. While for a good night’s sleep, there are private cabins to book. On the return ferry, you can keep your eyes out for dolphins, whales, and seabirds. And you’ll catch the sunset at sea at least once on this trip.
Ferries from Barcelona leave in the evening and arrive early in the morning in Mallorca – often around 5:30 am. You port in Palma or Alcudia, giving you time to explore these little port towns before catching the ferry back. This day trip is best for early birds. But those bold enough to try it will be rewarded by an entirely different atmosphere in Mallorca. Palma has a huge circular castle that dates back to the 14th century, an ancient Arab bathhouse, and a real huddle of aesthetic museums in different plazas. Alcudia has medieval walls and fascinating Roman ruins sites. Historically, Mallorca has loads to offer, and atmosphere-wise, it is much more laidback than hectic Barcelona. It is an expedition-style trip from Barcelona and is perfect for anyone wanting an adventure.
- Distance from Barcelona: 6-7 hours by ferry
10. Calella de Palafrugell
Calella de Palafrugell is a sweet coastal town in the municipality of Palafrugell. The town is pretty, with whitewashed, traditional buildings and plenty of sandy beaches. It is a beach day trip with the oomph to make wandering around the town worthwhile when visiting. For beach lovers looking to venture into a bit of sightseeing, visit Calella de Palafrugell. You can check out the Cami de Ronda Calella-Golfet observation deck, Torre de Calella, and hike the Cami de Ronda de Calella a Llafranc. Or just pick a cafe and try some local cuisine before kicking it on the beach.
Calella de Palafrugell is nice because it has attractions to entertain you if you get bored sunbathing and the potential for a relaxing beach day. It is ideal for those planning day trips from Barcelona with a group of different traveling styles. Versatile and pretty, Calella de Palafrugell is a top recommendation.
- Distance from Barcelona: 3 hours by public transport or 1.5 hours by car
Sitges is a fun seaside town and one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly day trips from Barcelona. The town is renowned for its LGBTQ community and has an outgoing nightlife and party scene. And even better, it is easily accessible by train, just 35 minutes from Barcelona’s city center. Since the last train is just before 11pm, you can enjoy the beach and then indulge in some nightlife before returning to Barcelona – making Sitges a full-day trip to consider.
Sitges is far more than just the beach and partying, though. You can enjoy modernist art at the Museu Cau Ferrat, admire white and blue fishermen’s houses in the Old Town, and visit abandoned villages in the nearby Garraf Natural Park. It is less than one hour from Barcelona yet offers a different vibe. Small but mighty Sitges is a creative hub of culture and community worth visiting. And the frequent trains just make this even more tempting.
- Distance from Barcelona: 35 minutes by train
It may be a bold statement, but this is the top day trip for history lovers. Tarragona is an ancient Roman city with ruins scattered throughout its streets – making it one of Barcelona’s most interesting archeological day trips. Once called Tarraco, if you love Roman history, this city is considered one of the best places to learn about the Romans in Spain. Its most famous (and arguably impressive) ruins are the enormous remains of the ancient Roman amphitheater. But there’s the Roman Circus, forum, and Praetorium Tower too.
The port city is just one hour from Barcelona by a scenic train ride. You head southwest, hugging the coastline with beautiful ad hoc views of the Mediterranean Sea and its prettiest coastal towns. For us, Roman history immediately caught our eye. Still, from a practical level, it is one of the best Barcelona day trip options.
- Distance from Barcelona: 1 hour by train
Heading inland should not be overlooked when planning day trips from Barcelona. Vic is a significant city set one hour inland from Barcelona by car. While it may not look ‘major’ in size, it is the capital of the comarca of Osona and a real cultural hotspot. We vote that you add it to your list immediately. It has an impressive neoclassical cathedral, a December medieval fair on cobbled streets, and niche attractions like the Episcopal Museum of Vic.
Of all these day trips from Barcelona, a Vic day trip is a culture-satisfying guarantee. Its architecture alone is fascinating; the Queralt Bridge, an 11th-century Romanesque bridge (reconstructed many times), and 2nd century Roman Temple of Vic are city highlights.
Vic is easily reached by car in less than an hour, but you could also take a bus in 1 hour and 20 minutes if driving isn’t an option. It is a fairly scenic route, cutting through agricultural landscapes and countryside that drastically contrasts the scenes in busy Barcelona. It is also just a short amount of travel time – perfect for maximizing your time in Vic or squeezing the day trip into half a day if necessary.
- Distance from Barcelona: 1 hour by car
Cadaques is the most inaccessible place on the Costa Brava – or at least that’s what people say. Tucked up by the border, it is one of the last coastal towns before Catalonia flows into France, and only the really enthusiastic travelers push themselves to venture so far northeast. Cadaques is somewhere we’d suggest renting a car to visit, but trust us, it will be worth it. You’ll drive up towards the French border, pass Girona (a brilliant halfway rest point), and finish on the coastline.
It is ideal for combining a visit to Girona with a visit to a quieter, less-visited coastal town – one of the most unique day trips from Barcelona. The fishermen’s town sits on a rocky coastline with stunning beaches, enveloped by the Cap de Creus Natural Park. You can check out the handful of museums; otherwise, just relax on a beach day. It is a glimpse into a totally different lifestyle in Catalonia.
For us, the out-of-the-way element is what gives Cadaques its allure. And the fact that it combines so well with Girona is another huge bonus, meaning that despite its ‘inaccessibility,’ it actually makes practical sense. Cadaques is well worth the extra effort if you feel confident with a slightly longer drive.
- Distance from Barcelona: 2 hours by car and 3.5 by public transport
Cardona is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Catalonia. This day trip will be the most memorable if you like atmospheric, movie-set-style places. Tiny compared to the larger Vic, Cardona is a little village consisting mainly of a medieval walled fortress and medieval castle. The buildings in Cardona date back to the 8th century and include Romanesque and Gothic structures. While Cardona itself is set traditionally on a hill next to the Cardoner River – a traditional tactical location.
In Cardona, allow time to visit the Museu de la Sal de Cardona, its church, and (of course) the Castell de Cardona, which is particularly beautiful and sunrise and sunset. You can also venture out to the nearby salt mines to tour the underground remains of a once-thriving industry.
Sustainability lovers note that Cardona was formally recognized for its sustainability efforts as part of the European Commission’s EDEN program, the European Destinations of Excellence. It is a remarkable village that takes pride in its history and heritage. Cardona has been wonderfully looked after, and walking through its narrow streets and along its fortress walls feels like stepping back in time due to these preservation efforts.
- Distance from Barcelona: 1 hour 15 minutes by car and 2 hours 15 minutes by public transport
Fancy adding another country to your list while visiting Barcelona? Andorra is one of the top day trips from Barcelona. Despite being located smack bang between France and Spain, Andorra is a tiny independent country surrounded by the Pyrenees mountains. It is a fantastic day trip. Andorra is all ski slopes and natural parks – plus, it has a somewhat incongruous duty-free shopping scene. In ski season, we’d recommend it for hitting the slopes. At the same time, in late spring and summer, Andorra is a top hiking destination and great for shopping.
You can reach Andorra from Barcelona in 3 hours and 15 minutes by direct bus. Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive there in 2.5 hours. Driving to Andorra has its own benefits, with the option of driving via Vic and directly through Parc Natural del Cadi-Moixero. By car, it isn’t even one of the longest day trips from Barcelona.
- Distance from Barcelona: 2.5 hours by car and 3 hours 15 minutes by bus
Castelldefels is a beautiful spot on the Mediterranean Sea – heavenly-looking and perfect for a quick day trip from Barcelona. The town has a stunning coastline with a long sandy beach. But it isn’t just a beach getaway; Castelldefels has history and culture with its Castell de Fels and Gava Mines. Pick a couple of its prime attractions and hop around the city center in the morning, heading to the beach after for a relaxed afternoon. You won’t have any issues squeezing a full-day tour of Castelldefels in, as it is just a 25-minute train ride away.
Castelldefels caught our eye for its good looks as a beach destination. However, its proximity to Barcelona is another huge plus. Castelldefels is super convenient. You can quickly jump on the train from Barcelona Sants Station if you fancy a quick beach trip. While if you want something more substantial, Castelldefels is an equally good option, with plenty of history thanks to its castle and archaeological mines.
- Distance from Barcelona: 25 minutes by car or train
18. Premia de Mar
Premia de Mar is so small that calling it a seaside town is likely an overstatement. However, its small size makes it one of the most relaxing beach day trips from Barcelona. There are few sightseeing opportunities, but if you crave quality beach time, you can’t go wrong with Premia de Mar’s sandy beaches. You can swim, sunbathe, and then grab food from a local cafe or restaurant. Premia de Mar is where to go to keep things simple and have a wholesome day on the sands. It isn’t intense like a full-day tour of historical monuments or UNESCO sites. It is just somewhere to relax and escape Barcelona’s crowds.
Another huge bonus of visiting Premia de Mar is that it is accessible by train and car. You can hop on a train straight from central Barcelona and be on the beach in less than an hour. Or you can drive if you already have a rental car. Not everyone feels like venturing up to Costa Brava in search of quiet sandy beaches, and Premia de Mar is a much closer compromise.
- Distance from Barcelona: 40 minutes by train and 20 minutes by car
19. Colonia Guell
Forget heaving Park Guell; Colonia Guell is a Gaudi-built neighborhood with almost identical stories, minus all the crowds. It is one of the lesser-chosen day trips from Barcelona because it is so similar to the much closer Park Guell. But for those wanting a quieter experience, it is a no-brainer. Add it to your itinerary and travel the simple 45 minutes by public transport or grab a 20-minute Uber.
Gaudi built Colonia Guell in the town of Santa Coloma de Cervello. As many people know, Gaudi’s original idea was to create exclusive neighborhoods where Barcelona locals could purchase properties and live in a modernist-designed community. Colonia Guell, in particular, was to be used by industrial workers.
Gaudi was commissioned by Eusebi Guell to add houses, a school, shops, and even a church to the neighborhood. Gaudi’s church crypt has even been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. It is a stunning place to wander around. And it is widely whispered about as Gaudi’s best-kept secret, so we had to add it as one of the off-the-beaten-track day trips from Barcelona.
- Distance from Barcelona: 45 minutes by public transport or 20-minute drive
Barcelona’s ‘day trip radius’ has cultural and natural attractions. Any of these day trips from Barcelona are worth enticing yourself away from the city center for a single day. Barcelona day trips are a must addition to any itinerary, and we’d suggest scheduling at least a couple.
Note that if you are flying into the (more budget-friendly) Girona International Airport, you should combine this with a visit to the Game of Thrones filming location and medieval city, Girona. Adding Girona as a day trip from the airport is a brilliant way to maximize your Barcelona day trips.
Looking for more inspiration about visiting Barcelona? We suggest considering where to stay in the city. Each neighborhood has a distinctive feel- fashionable El Born or the historic center of the Gothic Quarter. Take your time choosing an area.