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15 authentic day trips from Barcelona: Explore the beauty of Catalonia like a local

Looking for day trips from Barcelona that aren’t the most touristy and overhyped ones?

We’ve put together a list of authentic day trips from Barcelona, so you get a taste of what Catalan life looks like beyond the capital.

Ready to discover what awaits you outside Barcelona? Let’s go!

👀 Looking for day trips only to Costa Brava?

You’ll find some on this post but we’ve also written a full guide dedicated only to Costa Brava day trips from Barcelona. Check it out here.

Day trips from Barcelona by train

A square in Tarragona's city centre

Tarragona: Revel in Roman ruins

📍 Location: Tarragona
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 32 min to 1 hour and 10 min (public transport) / 1 hour and 25 min (car)

If Roman ruins are your thing, you’ll love a day trip to Tarragona. We recommend checking the Roman walls and porticoes surrounding the Old Town, and the amphitheatre, which still stands from nearly two millennia ago. The Romans indeed had great taste because they built the amphitheatre overlooking the Mediterranean sea!

But it’s not just relics from Caesar’s time, though! We love the colourful houses and hidden corners in the Old Town. This medium-sized city is a beautiful place to stroll through narrow streets, sit on a terrace to enjoy a drink, and admire its wonderful Gothic cathedral.

When your belly starts rumbling, it’s time to head to a restaurant for lunch. Great options are the Restaurant SadollEl Cup VellEl Racó de l’Abat, and Filosofia. They all serve high-quality Catalan food and are run by locals. If you’re craving seafood, you can head to the fishing neighbourhood of El Serrallo. Great restaurants there are La XarxaTaberna RomeroEl Crank, and El Taller.

The only downside of Tarragona is that the city was planned a bit catastrophically, and Tarragona’s rail tracks cut off the city beach. You must hot-foot it around the station if you want to get some sand.

🚊 How to get there

Tarragona’s train station is a 10-min walk south of the old town near the beach, with services to and from Barcelona every 30 minutes. Check the timetable and prices here (make sure to select Tarragona as a destination, not Camp de Tarragona).

A person diving in the Dragonera wreck in Tarragona

Dragonera: Discover marine life wreck diving in Tarragona

📍 Location: Tarragona
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 32 min to 1 hour and 10 min (public transport) / 1 hour and 25 min (car)

If diving is already spectacular, diving in a wreck is even better! Hidden in a place you’d never imagine lies the Dragonera, a 65-metre-long cargo ship that sunk in 1994. It lies just in front of Tarragona’s port, at a depth of between 14 and 24 m.

When we started the dive, our expectations were low because of its proximity to the port (not famous for being clean places…). But once underwater, the reality was completely different! Nowadays, this location is a protected aquatic park where marine life thrives.

We saw starfish, lots of schools of fish, and also nudibranchs. And besides the marine life, the wreck itself is super cool!

The dive costs 34 € and you need at least the Open Water Diver certification. Renting the equipment costs an additional 27 € and the insurance 7.5 €. You can contact the diving centre here to book a spot.

You can combine this activity with visiting the city of Tarragona and dining at one of its many delicious restaurants (mentioned above).

🚊 How to get there

Same as before. Tarragona’s train station is a 10-min walk south of the old town near the beach, with services to and from Barcelona every 30 minutes. Check the timetable and prices here (make sure to select Tarragona as a destination, not Camp de Tarragona). Once in Tarragona station, the diving centre is only 10 min walking from there.

Colourful houses next to Girona's river

Girona: Walk through Roman and Jewish times

📍 Location: Girona
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 40 min (public transport) / 1 hour and 25 min (car)

This slow-paced medieval city became famous years ago when it became one of the Game of Thrones filming locations. If you’re a fan, you’ll surely recognise several spots as you walk across the city. And if you’re not a GoT nerd, we assure you you’ll enjoy the town anyway!

Girona has everything a city can offer but in a relaxing environment. You’ll find picturesque narrow streets, colourful houses along the river, and one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in the world.

For more info on what to see and where to eat, read our “Exploring Girona in one day guide.

👉🏼 Looking to explore the city with a local?

Whenever we go to a new city, we always like to join a guided tour to learn more about its history, curiosities, and how life is there.

We recommend this guided walking tour if you’d like to discover Girona with a local. It lasts 3 hours, and you’ll visit Girona’s most important monuments, learn about its history and legends, and learn more about Girona’s Jewish heritage.

Are you a GoT nerd? Then, go for this Game of Thrones tour, which you’ll enjoy no matter if you’re a Lannister or Stark fan! The walk lasts 2 hours and takes you to the sites where the 6th season of the show was filmed.

🚊 How to get there

Take the train from Barcelona (from Sants station), which runs more or less every hour. This is the fastest train. Other trains are going to Girona from other stations, but those take 1h and 30 min. You can check all the trains’ timetables and prices here.

Montserrat mountains at sunset

Montserrat: Admire the beautifully quirky shapes of this mountain

📍 Location: Montserrat
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour and 30 min (public transport) / 1 hour (car)

We’re sure you’ve heard about Montserrat, but in case you’re not, Montserrat is a peculiar mountain range with an ancient history related to religion.

Montserrat literally translates as sawed mountain, and it’s well-famous for its rounded peaks, which resemble the figures kids tend to do at the beach when they drop wet sand to make sand figures.

When locals refer to Montserrat, we’re usually referring to the mountain. However, many people refers to the monastery when they say Montserrat. The famous monastery, which lies halfway up the mountain is home to one of Catalonia’s most admired icons: La Moreneta (‘Black Virgin’).

Depending on your interests, a day in Montserrat can mean a day of hiking along the mountain’s ravines, lookouts, and peaks, or a combination of walking and visiting the monastery. Our favourite hikes starting from the monastery are the Sant Jeroni peak and the Itinerari de les Hermites.

👉🏼 Looking to explore Montserrat with a local?

We suggest you two options depending on your hiking preferences:

  • Full-day trip: This guided tour lasts 9 h and 30 min and includes a 4-hour guided hike, a visit to the monastery, transportation to/from Barcelona in a minivan, a ticket to the funicular railway, and picnic lunch.
  • Half-day trip: This guided tour lasts 6 hours and includes a 1-hour guided hike, a visit to the monastery, transportation to/from Barcelona in a minivan, and Catalan snacks.

🚊 How to get there

The R5 line trains operated by FGC run to and from Barcelona’s Plaça d’Espanya station every 30 min or 1 h. For going to Montserrat, get out of the train at the Montserrat Aeri stop. From there, get the Aeri cable car to the monastery. Alternatively, take the R5 to the next stop, which is Monistrol de Montserrat, from where rack railway (cremallera in Catalan) run up to the monastery every 20 to 40 min.

Skydiving: Feel the adrenaline as you jump from a plane

📍 Location: Sant Fruitós de Bages
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 1h and 30 min (public transport) / 1 hour (car)

Up for an adrenaline rush? We’ve got you covered! Catch the train and head to Manresa, the closest place to Barcelona where you can go skydiving. 

Its location, right in the centre of Catalonia, assures incredible views. You can spot Montserrat, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean sea, and on the day we jumped, we could even see the island of Mallorca!

The price for a tandem jump (with an instructor) starts at 274 €, with photos and video not included.

To know more about skydiving in Barcelona province and our thoughts about this adventure, read our “A guide to skydiving in Barcelona” post.

🚊 How to get there

You need to take the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya) R5 train from Plaça Espanya (Barcelona) to Manresa Alta. You can search for the train schedule here. The train trip takes 1 h and 30 min, and it costs around 8.5 €. Once in Manresa Alta station, Saltamos offers a free pick-up service from this train station to the skydiving centre.

Views of the snowed Pyrenees mountains from the Matagalls

Matagalls: Hike an emblematic Catalan mountain

📍 Location: Montseny
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 2 h (public transport) / 1h 45 min (car)

Fancy a hike to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Matagalls, located in the splendid natural park of El Montseny, is a classic and popular hike amongst local mountaineers

From the peak, the views are breathtaking. You can also spot Montserrat, the Pyrenees, Barcelona, and, if the day is clear enough, you can even see the Balearic Islands!

Overall, it’s the perfect morning activity to enjoy nature and get some fresh air. The excursion lasts around 3 hours, and it’s suitable for everyone with energy and motivation.

If you’ve gone there by car, we recommend stopping for lunch at Mas Estabanell, which is around 15 min from Matagalls. It’s a typical Catalan rural house, and the food they serve is just mouthwatering! If you’ve taken public transport, enjoy a delicious lunch while you recover from the hike at Can Berri or the beautiful Hotel Masia del Montseny.

For more details on the hike, read our “Hiking the emblematic Matagalls” guide.

🚆 How to get there

There are different walking routes up to the Matagalls peak, and the one we did starts at the parking of the restaurant Collformic. Getting to the trailhead by car is the easiest option. The Matagalls is located 1 h 45 min by car from Barcelona

If you want to get there by public transport, the best option is to go to Viladrau. You can catch the R3 train from Barcelona Sants and stop in Els Hostalets de Balanyà. Once there, catch the 441 bus towards Viladrau. However, keep in mind that from Viladrau the hike is longer (see the Wikiloc track here).

Hiking with IntotheWildCat: Join a guided hike with the friendliest local guide

📍 Location: Around Catalonia
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: Depending on the destination

To enjoy this experience, you just need three things: to love hiking, be in Barcelona, and be willing to meet incredible people! Delph, from Intothewildcat, will take care of the rest. 

Each Sunday, she organises a hike for 8-10 people to discover a wild place in Catalonia. She designs the routes, leads the walks, and takes care of all the logistics. All you have to do is show up at the meeting point (always in Barcelona). There, you’ll meet the group and hop on public transport to the chosen destination for the hike.

The price for the hike is 15 € plus the cost of the train ticket.

Oh, and we almost forgot. You also need to be quick in signing up! Delph advertises her hikes on Instagram, and they work on a first-come, first-serve basis.

🚊 How to get there

The meeting point is in central Barcelona, usually the Plaça Catalunya train station. However, if you sign up for a hike, you will receive all the info from Delph (via Whatsapp) some days in advance.

Day trips from Barcelona by bus

A person crossing a suspension bridge in the via ferrata Cala del Molí

Via ferrata Cala del Molí: Enjoy an adventurous day at the Costa Brava

📍 Location: Sant Feliu de Guíxols
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 1 h and 30 min (public transport) / 1 h and 20 min (car)

A perfect day trip from Barcelona if you want to enjoy the beach more adventurously is the via ferrata Cala del Molí. This is the only via ferrata on Europe’s coast, and we assure you that astonishing views over the Mediterranean Sea are guaranteed!

If you love going to the beach but can’t stand laying on a towel for hours, this is a great plan to move your body while enjoying the beach vibes!

This activity is 100% suitable for beginners. However, we highly recommend going with a guide if you’ve never done a via ferrata before. The price for the guided tour is 40 €, including material, insurance, and photos.

To know more about this adventure, check out our “Via ferrata Cala del Molí” guide.

Hungry afterwards? You can head to El Pícaro to enjoy delicious Catalan tapas, or grab something at the Supreme Artesanas de la Cocina takeaway (typical Moroccan food) or Orgànic (healthy food like poke bowls, quiche, and smoothies) and enjoy a picnic at the beach. You deserve it!

🚎 How to get there

You can take a bus from Estació del Nord in Barcelona, and you’ll be in Sant Feliu de Guíxols in 1 h 30 min (see bus schedules here). The buses run approximately every two hours, costing around 15 € one way. Once you arrive at the bus station, it’s a 30 min walk to the via ferrata’s start (Mirador de las Triadores).

Cardona: Admire a medieval castle and a salt mountain deposit

📍 Location: Cardona
💺Travel time from Barcelona: 1 h and 46 min (public transport) / 1 hour and 25 min (car)

Home to one of the world’s most important salt deposits and Catalonia’s most important medieval castle, Cardona is a town worth visiting and a day trip from Barcelona we can’t recommend enough. 

The highlight of this city is the Salt Mountain, a geological wonder made almost entirely of this edible mineral. The only way to visit the mountain is with a guided tour that lasts one hour and costs 11 € per person (the regular guided visit). 

Another gem is the impressive medieval castle, with centuries and centuries of history lying behind its walls. You can walk freely around the castle, but if you’re into history, we recommend you book a guided tour. This will allow you to visit areas of the castle otherwise closed to the public. The tour duration is 1.5 h, and it costs 8 € per person.

For a more in-depth read on those activities and where to eat, check out our “Visiting the Salt Mountain and the Castle in Cardona guide.

🚎 How to get there

Several buses depart from Sants station and Estació del Nord in Barcelona daily. The journey takes 1 hour and 46 minutes, costing around 13€ one way. You can see the schedules and book the tickets online on this website.

Aire baths Vallromanes

Vallromanes: Relax in ancient baths

📍 Location: Vallromanes
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour and 20 min (public transport) / 40 min (car)

Imagine yourself in an old country house from 1497, surrounded by authentic stone walls and candlelight and floating in a hot salt water bath with nothing to worry about.

Well, this is precisely how you’ll feel in Aire! This experience is inspired by the Roman baths of ancient civilizations, and it’s one of the most relaxing places we’ve ever been.

It has nothing to do with those big spas where people go to do all kinds of things except relax. Everything in Aire Baths is intimate, and the experience is adult-only.

Once all your stress has melted away, it’s time for an exquisite lunch! In the same eco-resort where the baths are located, there are three restaurants where you can eat. The GastroWine Bar specialises in ecological wines and tapas, the Cibus restaurant specialises in rice and grilled dishes, and the 1497 restaurant is a fancier one, specialising in Mediterranean cuisine.

🚎 How to get there

Take the e19 bus from Barcelona (stops at 3 different places) to the Av. Can Galvany stop in Vallromanes. From there, it’s only a 20-min walk to get to the Aire baths. You can check the bus schedule here.

Tossa de Mar Old Town

Tossa de Mar: Get a taste of the Costa Brava life

📍 Location: Tossa de Mar
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 1 h 20 min (bus) / 1 h 20 min (car)

For those of you wanting to get a taste of the Costa Brava, Tossa de mar is the perfect getaway. Besides being the most convenient location to reach by public transport, it’s also one of the closest to Barcelona.

The town offers panoramic views across the Mediterranean Sea and is famous for its sandy beaches, lighthouse and, of course, historic fortified medieval village.

Also, within walking distance, you’ll encounter beautiful coves with endless snorkelling possibilities and hiking trails that wander through green pine forests overlooking the sea. 

Intrigued by this destination? Check out our “Discovering Tossa de Mar” guide, where we share our favourite places to eat, a list of things you can do, and the best time to visit this beautiful city.

👉🏼 Looking for a guided tour?

If you fancy joining a guided tour that takes cares of the transportation, lunch, and activities in Tossa de Mar, we recommend this full-day tour. It includes kayaking, snorkelling, a traditional lunch, and a tour of Tossa de Mar’s Old Town.

🚎 How to get there

Several buses a day run from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar. There is a direct bus from Estació del Nord (Barcelona), which takes 1 h 20 min to reach Tossa. In summer, this bus departs more or less each hour and costs between 8 and 15 € one way. In winter, the frequency drops to 2 or 3 buses per day. Click here to check the schedule.

Herbocaiac: Forage and snorkel in the Costa Brava

📍 Location: Costa Brava
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 2 hours (public transport) / 1 hour and 30 min (car)

Are you curious about edible plants and algae? Do you want to discover the Costa Brava in a unique way? Then, we can’t recommend enough to sign up for an Herbocaiac adventure. It involves kayaking along the coast of Palamós, in the Costa Brava, with an expert botanist who explains which algae and plants are suitable for foraging and how they can be eaten and cooked.

Actually, you won’t be doing this activity with any botanist; you’ll be doing it with the gastro botanist of the Celler de Can Roca, a famous 3-star Michelin restaurant in Catalonia!

Herbocaiac is a wonderful way to explore the Mediterranean coast and learn new things. Oh, and also to do some exercise! The experience includes kayaking, snorkelling, and hiking.

Check out our “Herbocaiac, a foraging and kayaking adventure in the Costa Brava” guide to know more about how this activity works and our experience.

🚎 How to get there

Several buses a day depart from Estació del Nord (in Barcelona) to Palamós. You can find bus tickets, which cost around 20 €, and the schedule on this website.

Day trips from Barcelona by bike

Bouquet d’Alella: E-bike and wine tasting near the sea

📍 Location: Alella de Mar
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: The experience starts in the centre of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

If you’re looking to combine a wine tour with a bit of adventure, we can’t recommend the Alella Wine Tour experience enough. It lasts 7 hours, and, for 87 €, you get to cycle with an e-bike along the Mediterranean coast, enjoy a picnic outdoors, and visit a local family-run winery.

A great thing about this tour is that it starts right in the centre of Barcelona, in the Gothic Quarter. No need to rent a car or check the train schedules; your e-bike will be waiting for you right there! After getting to the beach, the ride from Barcelona to Alella, following the Mediterranean coastline, starts.

Once you reach Alella, a little village not far from the sea, it’s time to visit Bouquet d’Alella, a beautiful organic winery. A wine expert shows you around the vineyards and the cellar, and then comes the reward for all the effort made when cycling: the wine tasting and a picnic with local products!

The way back is done by train, and the train ticket is already included in the price.

Day trips from Barcelona by car

Terrace of the Vermut Padró winery

Vermut Padró: Discover the art of vermouth making

📍 Location: Bràfim
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour

Although Casa Padró started as a winery, their main focus now is vermouths (vermut in Catalan), an aromatised fortified wine flavoured with botanicals and plants and sometimes coloured.

We can’t recommend the visit to this family-run winery enough! The guide was knowledgeable and friendly, and the whole winery was carefully and beautifully decorated to immerse you in the world of vermut making. 

Also, their vermouths were from another planet! We’ve been drinking vermouth for a long time now, and we can assure you that the flavour of Can Padró’s ones was so unique.

The visit lasts 2 hours and costs 19 € per person. Visits run every day at 10:30 and 12:30.

The tour includes an explanation where you learn about the family business, the ingredients used to make the vermut, and the various types of vermut they produce. And then comes the best part: the tasting! It’s time to sit on the beautiful terrace and enjoy 8 vermouths with salted crisps and green olives.

Rest assured that you’ll end up a bit tipsy after tasting the 8 vermouths included in the visit! It won’t be the best time to drive very far, so here’s a better option: get lunch at Gastro Botànic & Co. This restaurant is also run by the Padró family and serves delicious Catalan dishes in a beautiful setting. The best thing? It’s just a 5 min walk from the winery!

🚗 How to get there

This winery is located in a little village that can only be reached by car.

⚠️ Important!

If you have the opportunity to visit this winery on a weekday, we highly recommend so. Weekends tend to be busier, and you have to book days in advance. Remember always to book before going!

Wine tasting in Les Acàcies

Les Acàcies: Visit the smallest winery in the world

📍 Location: Avinyó
💺 Travel time from Barcelona: 1 hour and 20 min

Les Acàcies is the smallest winery in the world, but don’t be fooled! Their wines are top quality (we ended up buying more than 5 bottles!), the winery’s decor is outstanding, and the visit is super interesting.

The winery is located in the heart of Catalonia, in the DO Pla del Bages, one of the most important DO in the region a long time ago. 

The pairing tour starts with a visit of the vineyards, the winery, and the cellar. It’s curious to see how a small cellar works, their methods, and their plans for expanding the production (even though they are already producing 10.000 bottles of wine annually!).

Finally, the visit ends in the stunning tasting room, where you try various wines paired with curated meats, pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato spread), and cheese. Is there a better combination?

The tour lasts 1 hour and 30 min and costs 25 € per person.

If you’re hungry after the visit, we recommend eating at La Fabrik, located just 6 min by car from the winery. You’ll find delicious tapas, burgers, salads, and meat in this restaurant.

And if you want to add another stop on your way back to Barcelona, we suggest Món Sant Benet. Take a look at the medieval monastery and choose one of their 4 lovely itineraries to discover the area by foot.

🚗 How to get there

You need a car to reach Les Acàcies winery because it’s located in the outskirts of a small village with no bus or train connection with Barcelona.

We hope this post makes you want to squeeze a day outside Barcelona in your trip! We’ll assure you won’t regret venturing outside Barcelona and discovering what our country has to offer. If you think about any other authentic and interesting day trip from Barcelona, let us know! 🙂

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