The Catalan city by the sea isn’t just about stupendous Gaudí architecture. It also makes a wonderful base to explore the wider region. Rent a car or hop on a local train to head beyond the city limits on these day trips from Barcelona.
Be king of the castle in Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar, just over 50 miles (80 kilometres) up the coast on the Costa Brava makes for a great day trip from Barcelona.
Its shelving beach is beautiful, but what makes Tossa de Mar special is its medieval old town and castle. Surrounded by original stone walls, complete with battlements, turrets, towers, and parapets, you can take yourself back in time as you wander the ramparts.
The town’s castle and lighthouse are the actual and figurative high points, looking out over the blue seas of the Mediterranean.
If you want to stay in town for the night and enjoy the local seafood delicacies washed down with some Spanish wine or sangria, there are plenty of hotels to choose from.
Other resorts along the Costa Brava offer a day of seaside kitsch, but Tossa de Mar is my pick of the bunch for balancing historic authenticity and tourism side by side.
Tossa de Mar is accessible by hire car or bus from Barcelona – check out the options at www.rome2rio.com.
Shop for ceramics in Breda
Breda is famous for ceramics due to the high quality of clay in the area. Known as “olla”, these ceramics fill the village stores and cooperatives, offering everything from tiles to jars to kitchen essentials.
If you’re looking for Spanish souvenirs with more originality than an “I love Barcelona” T-shirt, then Breda’s a good authentic choice.
If you’re driving, Breda can be combined with a trip to Tossa de Mar on a loop to or from Barcelona. There’s also a train station. Train times to and from Barcelona are listed here.
See monasteries and mountains at Montserrat
As you approach the dramatic rock pillars of Montserrat, it’s easy to see why the site’s literal translation is “serrated mountain.”
The Benedictine monastery here, Monestir de Montserrat, dates from the 11th century. Perched hundreds of metres above the valley, today it’s home to around 80 monks.
Visitors can look around the monastery, learn about the daily life of the monks at the Espai Audiovisual, and listen to the choir in the basilica.
Exploring the peaks of this jagged monolith is an activity that shouldn’t be missed. A network of footpaths and funiculars can transport you around the mountainous heights, which are dotted with tiny chapels and have momentous views of the Catalan plain.
Montserrat is located around 50 kilometers north of Barcelona and is accessible by car, or by a train/rack railway or train/cable car combination. You can also take a tour, some of which also feature local wine tasting.
Hotels in Barcelona
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Day trips from Barcelona: summed up
These day trips from Barcelona bring to life a snapshot of the castles, crafts, and culture the rest of Catalonia has to offer. Step out of the city, and enjoy!