So your Barcelona sojourn has been absolutely amazing so far; you’ve been enjoying your time getting lost in the alleys of the historic Barri Gòtic district, strolling along the emblematic avenue of La Rambla, and shopping at the Boqueria market on top of other eye-opening activities.
But now you’ve heard tales of other places of interest surrounding the Catalan capital and the urge of seeing what all the fuss is about is starting to get the better of you. Might as well, right? When else will you have the opportunity to do some exploring under the Iberian sun?
That said, here are some of the best day trips you can take from Barcelona.
Barcelona – Andorra
Andorra is a beautiful lilliputian principality nestled in a beautiful Pyrenees valley between France and Spain. A day trip to Andorra is simply not to be missed if you’re visiting Barcelona for a number of good reasons.
Among others, Andorra is known as a shopping paradise as it has the lowest tax rate in Europe, meaning you simply cannot afford to miss the Andorran shopping experience when visiting Barcelona. Perfume, fashion and electronics brands line up shoulder to shoulder in this duty-free shopping center high up in the Pyrenees mountains.
To others, Andorra is synonymous with skiing, hiking, and even balneotherapy (a method of treating illness with baths) usually practiced in spas and bathhouses. Indeed, Andorra is among Europe’s top destinations for winter activities and relaxation; a truly wonderful place to reconnect with nature through its picturesque valleys, meadows, and forests.
Getting to Andorra
- You can take the bus from Barcelona station to Andorra. The ride will take around three hours to complete with tickets starting from EUR 16
- A bus to Andorra is also departing from Barcelona El Prat Airport Terminal 2. It takes four hours to reach Andorra with tickets starting from EUR 37
- Driving to Andorra is also a popular option. Rideshares are also a common method
Barcelona – Girona – Costa Brava
Head northeast from Barcelona and you’ll arrive at the city of Girona, from where you can continue your day trip to Costa Brava. Day trips to Girona and Costa Brava are some of the most popular and serviced routes for visitors to Barcelona.
A certain highborn by the name of Arya Stark once found herself roaming the streets of Girona begging for loose change. Well, at least that’s what you will inevitably hear since Girona was one of the locations used in the filming of the popular Game of Thrones series.
But even if you’re not a fan of the show, it’s easy to fall in love with Girona due to its medieval vibes, especially notable while strolling along the small streets of the old town.
Head further east from Girona, you’ll no doubt be enticed by the historic Castell de Tossa de Mar, a coastal walled enclosure constructed to repel pirates, marauders, and other unsavory individuals. Castell de Tossa de Mar dates from the 12th century and presents a series of towers from where one may take in the spectacular views of the sea.
Getting to Girona
- High-speed train line from Barcelona to Girona is available. Tickets start at EUR 16 for the 40-minute journey
- If you prefer to drive to Girona, it’ll take you approximately 80 minutes
Some 32 kilometers east of Girona, the Costa Brava – the “Wild Coast” – stretches for 160 kilometers. Costa Brava acquired its namesake perhaps due to the presence of rocky cliffs, pine forests, and sandy cove. Yet beyond its rough facade, brochure-worthy beaches are also present with their turquoise waters painting an authentic Mediterranean landscape.
Getting to Costa Brava
- from Girona, drive or take the bus to Costa Brava. Tickets start from EUR 5
- the journey takes about 50 minutes
Barcelona – Montserrat – Sitges
Another popular Barcelona day trip you can take is the Montserrat and Sitges route. This day trip involves a visit to a solemn abbey in the mountains and beaches lined with palm trees.
While the Montserrat mountain range is nothing short of breathtaking, the main reason why people find visiting Montserrat exceedingly intriguing is undoubtedly the mystical Benedictine Abbey housing a statue of the Black Madonna (Black Virgin). The statue, to whom miracles have reportedly been attributed, is said to have been carved in Jerusalem by Saint Luke himself. This renders the abbey a place of religious importance with adherents regularly prioritizing a visit to Montserrat over Barcelona.
As mentioned, apart from the abbey visitors to Montserrat can also do some hiking and take the cable car to the highest point of Montserrat where breathtaking views await.
Getting to Montserrat
- You can reach Montserrat from Barcelona via train which takes about an hour. Tickets start from EUR 5
- Driving or taking a taxi is another option. A taxi ride to Montserrat usually takes 30 minutes and will cost you roughly EUR 85
After your monastery visit, the resort town of Sitges would serve as the perfect end for your Barcelona day trip. Originally a quaint fishing village, Sitges is now famed for being a holiday destination for groups of friends, couples and also families looking to have some fun through its fun summer carnival and lively nightlife.
For those looking for a slower pace, Sitges also has a charming old town, a mouthwatering gastronomic experience and, of course, wonderful beaches lined with palm trees.
If you’re visiting in October, you can attend the film festival featuring mostly fantasy and horror films.
Getting to Sitges
- from Montserrat station, you can take the train followed by bus. The journey takes about two hours to complete and will cost you somewhere around EUR 10
- we recommend driving or taking a cab ride if time is of the essence. Taking a cab costs approximately EUR 90 but will only take you about 45 minutes