The region of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital, is a rich region with the Pyrenees in the north and the Costa Blanca coast to the south-east. Most of the region is reachable in a day trip from Barcelona.
Day Trips by High-Speed Train from Barcelona
The new high-speed AVE train from Barcelona to Girona and Figueres has made some of these day trips a lot easier than they used to be. Particularly the Dali Museum in Figueres, which used to require a two-hour slog each way but can now be reached in under an hour.
It has also been possible in recent years to do a day trip from Barcelona to Madrid. With the journey taking just two-and-a-half hours each way, a lot for a day trip, but with the train dropping you off across the road from the Reina Sofia Museum (home to Spain's most famous modern art, including Picasso's masterpiece, the Guernica) and minutes from the Prado Museum, Spain's most famous art gallery, and the center of Madrid, you can get a surprising amount done in a day in Madrid. Book your train tickets, grab a map and get exploring.
- Tours of Spain from Barcelona Multi-day trips from the Catalan capital to the rest of Spain.
Wine Tours from Barcelona
There are several wine-producing regions in Catalonia. You can take tours of the Penedes wine region and sample both reds and cava (Spanish sparking white wine) or take a longer trip to visit Priorat or, even further afield, La Rioja.
More Towns and Cities (and Countries!) Near Barcelona
If Madrid is too much for one day (I hardly blame you), there are other cities in and around Catalonia.
Take a trip from Barcelona to Tarragona. The city of Tarragona has some of the best Roman ruins in Spain, regular street markets and the Balcon del Mediterraneo for views out to sea. It is easy to take this trip by yourself or go on a guided tour.
Another popular trip is to Girona, known for its old Jewish quarter and attractive riverside buildings.
- Girona, Figueras and Dali Museum from Barcelona
- Spain, France and Andorra Guided Tour Three countries in one day!
- Tarragona and Sitges Guided Tour
Breathtaking Scenery and Outdoor Activities
If cities are cities to you and you're more interested in the Catalan countryside, you have some excellent options right on your doorstep.
There is no excuse not to visit the Montserrat mountain, close enough to the city to get to on an extension of the Barcelona Metro or take a half-day tour (see below). .
Or visit the excellent hiking territory of Montseny with ancient walls and wells to break up the walks. While a little further afield are the Pyrenees. See also: .
Art and Architecture Outside Barcelona
After visiting Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, the unfinished basilica in central Barcelona, and his other works in the city, complete your Gaudi experience with a visit to the Colonia Guell, the (again unfinished) Gaudi church in a suburb of Barcelona.
Catalonia's other gift to the world of art and architecture is Salvador Dali, whose Museum in Figueres is one of the most enjoyable museums in the world - perfect for taking kids and art philistines to. The new High-Speed AVE Train between Barcelona and Figueres, this trip just became a lot easier.