Barcelona is fucking awesome. Period. But there is more to it. There are countless day trips from Barcelona, and many of them also accessible by public transport.
This article is not just about “the best” day trips. It is about “the best painless” day trips. Well, as painless as bus & train can be. After all, if you are a princess, then you better rent a car.
Beach, mountains, or wine – what sounds better? Our selection covers some of the most distincs features of Barcelona and Catalonia. Pick one (or two) and go – you won’t regret it.
Best Day Trips From Barcelona – Using Public Transport
Picturesque old town and beach promenade. Epic carnival celebration. Gay-friendly vibe.
This is what most people would say about Sitges, a town with a very particular personality: a blend of traditional Catalan culture infused with international hedonistic party scene.
During the 70s, Sitges emerged as an international party hub thanks to Pacha. With its iconic red-cherries logo, Pacha transformed Sitges forever. Floods of Swedish, British, and French tourists discovered the Catalan coastline. Many stayed forever.
Nowadays Sitges is extremely vibrant during summer, placidly dormant during winter – save for northern sun-hunters. With a privileged location, just 35 minutes south from Barcelona, it remains highly popular and a great daytrip.
Getting there and away:
By Train: About 4 trains an hour from 6-22h depart from Barcelona Sants or Passeig de Gracia train station, last one at around 24h from.
By Bus: Monbus runs two buses an hour from Ronda Universitat (nearby Pl Catalunya).
Unforgettable old town. Gothic Cathedral. Local life. Jewish heritage.
Some Catalans still believe that Girona remains the true home of the Catalan culture. Close to the Pyrenees, the natural border with France, Girona certainly feels more Catalan and authentic than Touristlona.
Girona is rich in historical sights. It boasts a memorable medieval old town with a spectacular Gothic Cathedral, old jewish quarter, and even city wall.
Explore it slowly, without interfering with the local daily life, lethargically. The food is good, the air is clean, and well, it is colder than in Barcelona, so take a jacket.
By Train: The best option is train. About 2-3 regular trains depart from Barcelona Sants every hour (8.4EUR, 1h). Hourly fast trains come handy but pricey, also from Sants (16-32EUR, 38 minutes). You can easily book your train tickets here..
Figueres and Dali Museum
Provincial quiet town. Fine arts museum. Fresh air.
Are you into fine arts? Do you like Dali? Don’t miss the iconic Dali Museum in Figueres.
Figueres is the birthplace of one of Catalonia’s most well-known artists: Salvador Dali, the crazy surrealist genius.
The city itself has a nice old town, but its real attraction is the museum, which exhibits a great collection of Dali’s works.
Combine Girona + Figueres in 2-3 days and visit a fantastic medieval town and a surreal world-class museum.
The Dali Theater-Musem opens Tuesday to Sunday, so don’t mess up coming on a Monday.
By Train: You can get here by regular train from Sants (2h, 12EUR), or fast train (recommended, 20 daily, 55 minutes, 21EUR). You can easily book your train tickets here..
Montserrat Monastery (1h from Barcelona)
Weird mountain landscape. Benedictine monastery. Trekking options.
If you ask locals about their favorite sights in Catalonia, probably they’ll suggest one “beach” destination and one “mountain” destination. And Monastery of Montserrat is the favorite mountain destination.
Indeed, the Monastery is set in a picturesque location, on the side of a 1236m weird-looking mountain just 50 west of Barcelona. It was founded in 1025AD by Benedictine monks and is currently the most famous pilgrimage place in Catalonia.
Pilgrims and visitors from all around the country come to visit a black representation of the Virgin Mary called “La Moreneta”. It was recently discovered that the smoke of the candles tanned the Virgin Mary progressively turning it into an odd icon of Catalan culture. You’ll find a miniature of the “Moreneta” in most Catalan homes – it’s part of the culture.
In fact, Montserrat offers a mix of cultural sights and trekking options. On top of the beautiful monastery, there are museums and choirs. Also the monastery is blessed with great views and excellent trails for those who want to explore the weird peaks.
From Barcelona, you’ll need to approach the mountain by train (1h) to Montserrat Aeri station. From there you can get to the Monastery by cable car (5 minutes, 10EUR return) or zip-train (13 minutes, 10.30EUR return, or 13.40 with train ticket). Trains depart from Barcelona’s Pl Espanya station (L1 red, and L3 green hourly from 8AM.
In fact, it is possible to stay overnight nearby the monastery in the pilgrim apartments “Cel.les Abat Marcet” (s/d 23/46EUR) or a the fully fledged 3-star Hotel Cisneros (s/d 40/ 60EUR/night). These options include free zip-train.
Miguel Torres Winery in Penedes Wine Country
Wine. Vineyards. Winery tour.
Spain is one of the indisputable global leaders in wine production, and Miguel Torres is one of its most memorable wineries. A truly international brand, it combines high-end wines such as the famous Perpetua or Mas la Plana with popular brands such as Vinyasol or Sangre de Toro.
With a production of about 17 million bottles per year, Penedes is the largest wine producing area in Catalonia. Penendes is famous for its Cava sparkling wines (similar to prosecco or champagne) and brands such as Freixenet, Codorniu, and Miguel Torres among others.
Nowadays it is possible to visit the Miguel Torres winery by public transportation. Renfe, the local train company, has a special ticket named “El Tren De Les Vinyes” that includes train + transfer + visit for 15EUR.
Get there from Barcelona Sants to Vilafranca del Penedes station (R4 line). The shuttle runs from the same Vilafranca train station at 11:55h every Tu, Th, Sa, and Su. Confirm your visit at +34-938-177-330 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Barcelona has a lot to offer, but after a few days of sightseeing it’s good to get out.
It is entirely possible to do day trips from Barcelona using public transport.
Whether you prefer mountains or beach, you won’t be disappointed.