After you’ve explored all the sights in Barcelona, there’s still so much more to see outside the city. From magical mountains to sublime seaside villages, check out these fun and easy day trips from Barcelona.
Just 30 minutes away from bustling Barcelona is the tranquil Montserrat, a mountain range that attract hikers, spiritual seekers, and vacationers. It’s unique for its peculiarly shaped peaks and small chapels and hermitages hidden within. It’s also home to Montserrat Monastery, which has the famous Moreneta statue, or the “Black Virgin”. Queues are long to visit her, as she’s known to have performed numerous miracles since the 12th century. Views around Montserrat are breathtaking, and several routes can be easily done by even novice hikers. Restaurants in Montserrat are mediocre, so we suggest packing some sandwiches, Manchego cheese, and cava for a picnic lunch with a divine backdrop.
Costa Brava, or the “rugged coast”, runs from the province of Barcelona all the way up to the French border. Perhaps the most famous town is Cadaqués, where artist Salvador Dalí often retreated for inspiration during his holidays. It maintains its small-town charm with bumpy streets, secret coves, and colorful doors. For Costa Brava beaches, relax at the intimate Platja Fonda, or walk the charming coastal path at S’Agaró Beach. If you want world-class cuisine, head to Girona, and dine at the famous Celler de Can Roca.
History stands still when you visit Girona’s hefty Gothic and Romanesque cathedral, ancient bathhouses, and tall medieval walls. It’s no wonder why “Game of Thrones” used the city as one of its filming locations. For more history, explore El Call, a well-preserved Jewish quarter, where you’ll also find the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta, a Jewish museum built on a former synagogue. For a picture-perfect scene, walk across Pont de les Peixateries Velles, a red bridge on the River Onyar, lined with brightly-colored homes. For a sweet treat, try the local xuixo, a deep-fried pastry filled with cream — and sprinkled with sugar, of course.
A seaside village just 30 minutes away from Barcelona, Sitges evokes everything captivating about the Mediterranean lifestyle. Its quiet coves, whitewashed streets, and seafood restaurants make it the ideal getaway from Barcelona’s concrete jungle. Stroll down the peaceful promenade, and climb the steps to the picturesque San Bartolomé y Santa Tecla Church, overlooking the azure sea. For a fitting meal, we recommend Mare Nostrum Restaurant for a slow-simmered seafood paella.
Tarragona manages to maintain a chilled-out vibe despite being a medium-sized city. Once a powerful Roman epicenter, Tarragona today exalts beauty through its ancient ruins and seafront amphitheater. Catch a refreshing view of the waves from the Balcó del Mediterrani, or check out the Pont del Diable (Devil’s Bridge), a well-preserved aqueduct constructed in the first century. Eat at De Vins for a Michelin-starred restaurant serving steak tartar and anchovies from Santoña.
Have you been to any of these places outside Barcelona? Are you looking for another type of getaway? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll try to make a suggestion!
August 5, 2019 | Words by Justine Ancheta for Eye On Food Tours