5 easy must-do weekend trips from Barcelona

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Best weekend trips from Barcelona

Barcelona may be one of the biggest cities in Spain, but it's more than that too. The biggest city in the semiautonomous region of Catalonia, Barcelona has a history, culture, and even language that sets it apart from any other part of Spain. On the shores of the Mediterranean Sea with arid mountains rising behind it, Barcelona is also blessed with an absolutely stunning setting that makes it an incredible base for weekend trips from Barcelona.

Barcelona is home to some major tourist attractions, and you should definitely spend some time getting to grips with the beautiful architecture, incredible food, and unique culture of the city. Almost from the moment you arrive at Barcelona Sants, you'll feel the lively spirit of this incredible city. But if you have the time, you definitely shouldn't neglect these weekend trips from Barcelona. This region of Spain has so much more to offer than just the city itself.

And before you set out on the best weekend trips from the city, don't forget to drop off your bags at a Barcelona luggage storage. Knowing your belongings are safely looked after will make it much easier to enjoy weekend trips, whether you want to take a day trip or a longer excursion from this unforgettable city.

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Weekend trips from Barcelona to the Costa Brava

Costa Brava

North of Barcelona, the wild coast known as the Costa Brava is one of the ultimate weekend trips from Barcelona. Full of historic villages, charming fishing towns, secluded beaches, and gorgeous scenery, the Costa Brava is close enough to Barcelona to make a great destination for day trips but fascinating enough to make for an excellent weekend trip too. Weekend getaways don't come much better than this.

Distance from Barcelona

The Costa Brava is a large region, stretching roughly from Blanes 60 km north of Barcelona all the way to the French border. You can reach Blanes via public transport in just over an hour, but to get the best out of the Costa Brava and its beautiful beaches, you may be better off renting a car and creating your own Costa Brava tour.

Our activity recommendations

Beaches: The Costa Brava is absolutely packed with incredible beaches, making it a perfect destination for beach lovers. You'll find everything from resort-style beaches packed with holidaying families to isolated rocky coves with incredible water clarity and no amenities at all. This variety of beaches makes the Costa Brava the perfect weekend getaway if you want to spend some time on the beach. And if you don't like one beach, there's always another that's probably completely different just up the road.

Towns: The towns of the Costa Brava can make great weekend trips in their own right. Well-known destinations like Lloret de Mar, Tossa de Mar, and Roses are popular with families, but you'll also find many historic villages that make up for what they lack in amenities with traditional charm. Wherever you choose as your base for exploring the Costa Brava, you can enjoy multiple day trips to explore the rich variety of towns and villages along the coast.

Best season to visit

If you're planning to swim, summer is the time to do it. Of course, you won't be the only one with that idea, so you can expect the towns of the Costa Brava to be much busier at this time. The sky is usually sunny here right through the year, so if you don't mind a little wind and aren't too bothered about swimming, fall is an excellent time to explore the many towns of the area.

weekend trip to Cadaques from Barcelona

Cadaques

One of the towns of the Costa Brava, Cadaques deserves its own entry thanks to its scenic beauty and the presence of a fantastic art museum. The former home of Salvador Dali, Cadaques is a great destination for weekend trips from Barcelona.

Distance from Barcelona

Cadaques lies 170 km north of Barcelona, close to the border with France. You can reach the town with a drive of a little over two hours, or take a train to Llansa, then a taxi to Cadaques, which will take closer to three hours.

Our activity recommendations

Salvador Dali House Museum: Famed Catalonian artist Salvador Dali made his home in Cadaques for most of his long life. Now, this unique building with its characteristic giant eggs on the roof functions as a Salvador Dali museum. You'll see some of his most famous works in the environment that most inspired him, making this one of the best weekend trips in Barcelona for art lovers. And even if you're not a massive Dali fan, you may well find you are after a weekend trip here.

Hiking: The beautiful scenery of the Costa Brava makes Cadaques an excellent place to go for a walk. For example, take the coastal trail to Far de Cala Nans to see some of the best of the coastal beauty of this area. A few hours on this beautiful trail will leave you in no doubt that you're experiencing one of the best weekend trips from Barcelona.

Food: You can't really talk about weekend trips from Barcelona without mentioning food. Catalonia has long been known for having some of the most exciting restaurants in the world, and with fresh ingredients from land and sea so readily available, it's no wonder that the food here is truly exceptional. Restaurants like Compartir offer creative takes on traditional foods from the region that are bound to be a highlight of your weekend trip.

Best season to visit

Summer in Cadaques is the height of tourist season, so you may be better off exploring in spring or fall. The crowds will be fewer, but the weather will still be good, and most of the beach bars and restaurants will be open.

Weekend getaways from Barcelona to Girona

Girona

This historic city may seem eerily familiar to fans of Game of Thrones since many pivotal scenes in the celebrated series were shot here. But you don't need to be a fantasy fan to appreciate this beautiful town. Along with the major tourist attractions it offers, Girona provides a more laid-back alternative to the big city of Barcelona.

Distance from Barcelona

At a distance of around 100 km, driving from Barcelona to Girona will take about an hour. You can also take the train between the two cities in around an hour and a half.

Our activity recommendations

Walk the medieval walls: Girona's ancient fortifications are the perfect place to get a sense of the city on a day trip or weekend trip here. You'll not only learn more about the history of the town but also enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.

Girona Cathedral: The spiritual heart of the city for centuries, Girona Cathedral dominates the center of town from the hill it occupies. Climb the steps up to the church and explore inside to immerse yourself in the medieval history of the city.

Explore the old streets: As is often the case with old towns, one of the best things to do in Girona is to wander through the medieval town and enjoy the shops and cafés you'll find here. There are plenty of bars and restaurants ready to serve you refreshments, making for one of the best weekend trips from Barcelona you can take.

Best season to visit

Girona is a year-round destination. Even in winter, there are plenty of nice days perfect for taking a walk. Plus, it's always nice to avoid the summer crowds during your weekend trip.

Weekend trips to Tarragona from Barcelona

Tarragona

This ancient Roman city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for the incredible well-preserved ruins it contains. Take a day trip or a weekend trip here for a journey back in time not far from Barcelona itself.

Distance from Barcelona

One hundred km south along the coastline from Barcelona, Tarragona can be reached in about an hour and 15 minutes. It's also possible to take a train from Barcelona Sants train station, which will take around the same amount of time as a car, making this one of the best weekend trips from Barcelona for those who don't drive.

Our activity recommendations

Tarragona Amphitheatre: One of the most significant Roman relics left in modern Tarragona, this ancient arena couldn't ask for a more spectacular setting. You can see the Mediterranean through the tumbled arches of the Roman stonework, and it's a truly atmospheric place to visit and imagine the spectacles that once took place here.

Pont del Diable: This evocatively named monument isn't technically a bridge at all but is, in fact, the old Roman aqueduct that used to bring water to the city of Tarraco. Now, you can walk along the top of the aqueduct if you have a head for heights and enjoy views over the river valley and the city.

Tamarit-Punta de la Móra: This wild stretch of coastline just outside Tarragona itself is the perfect place to take a hike and get some fresh air on your weekend trip. Hike the trail through the fragrant pine forest with its views of the ocean, and you'll feel a long way away from the tourist crowds of Barcelona - even though this is a really easy place to reach on a weekend trip.

Best season to visit

Tarragona is a great place to visit at any time of year. If you want to spend a lot of time outdoors, summer is the obvious option for weekend trips from Barcelona, but that will mean dealing with more tourists on day trips from the city.

Weekend getaway from Barcelona to Zaragoza

Zaragoza

The capital of the neighboring region of Aragon, Zaragoza is one of the largest cities in Spain, and yet it flies under the radar of many tourists. Reachable on a day trip from Barcelona, it's also one of the best weekend trips from the city for anyone with a love of history, architecture, or good food.

Distance from Barcelona

Zaragoza is around 300 km from Barcelona, so the 3.5-hour drive makes it only suitable for weekend trips from Barcelona. However, thanks to Spain's network of high-speed trains, you can reach Zaragoza from Barcelona in only an hour and a half if you travel by rail.

Our activity recommendations

Caesaraugusta Forum Museum: Zaragoza is an old Roman town, and you can learn more about the fascinating history of the place at this state-of-the-art museum. Founded in 14 BC during the very early days of the Roman Empire, Zaragoza is full of great Roman sites and artifacts, and this museum is the perfect place to come to understand the history of the city.

Palacio de la Aljafería: Zaragoza's history didn't end with the Romans. After the Roman Empire withdrew, the Moors conquered Spain, and this impressive castle dates back to this period of Islamic rule. One of the best examples of Moorish architecture in the country, the castle now serves as the headquarters of the Parliament of Aragon, but it's also a great place to visit on weekend trips from Barcelona.

IAACC Pablo Serrano: Zaragoza may be well known for its ancient buildings, but this one is ruthlessly modern. This futuristic modern art gallery has an impressive collection of works by Aragonese artists, though it also holds works by some better-known international names like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

Best season to visit

Zaragoza is a year-round destination and offers excellent weekend trips in Barcelona no matter when you visit.

Weekend getaways from Barcelona

Conclusion

Barcelona has more than enough to explore all by itself. If your time in the city is limited — for instance, if you have three days to explore Barcelona — it's probably a good idea to focus your efforts on the major tourist attractions there.

But if you have a little more time at your disposal, consider branching out. Whether you're looking for a memorable day trip or the best weekend trip from Barcelona, the area around the city has so much to offer that it would be a shame not to see it for yourself. Just leave the bags behind and head out on some of these great weekend getaways to enjoy this fascinating area of Spain.

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