Recommended Day Trips from Barcelona
While you could easily spend a week in Barcelona and still miss out on some of the city’s amazing places and sights, you can get a good taste of the city and hit the highlights in just a few days (Read our itinerary ideas for three days in Barcelona). If you have extra time on top of that, it’s easy and worthwhile to get out of the city enjoy some of the surrounding Catalunya area of Spain. Here are a few ideas for easy day trips from Barcelona.
Wine and bubbly drinkers should make a beeline for the Alt Penedès , about 30 minutes by train south of Barcelona. Vilafranca del Penedès and Sant Sadurní d’Anoia are two areas that produce most of the country’s cava (the local sparkling wine). Most wineries in the area are open by appointment for tours and tastings and many even serve a lunch with wine.
Trains run regularly to St. Sadurní where you can visit the wineries at Codornui, Freixenet or Bodega Torres.
Figueres and Girona
Fans of the artist Salvador Dali, will want to head to Figueres to see the town he was born in and check out the museum dedicated to his works. The Dalí Theatre and Museum was built from the town’s original theatre, which was the first place to display Dali’s work. Dali, one of Spain’s greatest artists, created the museum in 1960 (and is buried beneath it)and filled it with the most extensive collection of his art anywhere in the world. The Museum also holds pieces that Dali had collected from other artists and is itself a work of surreal art.
Trains from Barcelona to Figueres take about two hours and pass through the small town of Girona, where you can get off for an few hours to wander around the fortified walls, visit the town’s two Gothic cathedrals or check out the old Jewish quarter.
Sitges sits about 30 minute down the coast from Barcelona and offers a whopping 17 beaches. Called the “St. Tropez of Spain, it’s a great place to take a day trip, or even spend a night away from the city during the summer months – just avoid popular times when festival crowds take over, like during Carnivale (leading up to Ash Wednesday) or the Sitges International Film Festival in October.
The Montserrat Monastery, set 4000 feet above ground on top of a rock formation, is a holy site for both Catalans and Catholics from around the world. The Monastery houses a Black Madonna statue that many believe was carved by St. Luke in 50AD.
Catholic mass services are held daily and are often accompanied by performances from the Montserrat Boys’ Choir, one of Europe’s oldest boys’ choirs. There are also lots of hiking trails nearby and the mountain top monastery provides beautiful views of the surrounding area.
Trains run hourly from Barcelona to Montserrat and take about one hour. From the base of the mountain, you can reach the car by cable car (which takes five minutes to reach the top) or by train (which is a 15-minute ride).
Photos by: *Jerry*, coda