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Travel for Bliss

The Best Weekend trips from Barcelona

The best weekend trips from Barcelona are varied and offer unforgettable local experiences. Barcelona is a unique and interesting city, but it also has some great weekend trips to continue your explorations. Many of the small towns are within a few hours of Barcelona and have a strong Catalan culture (check out my guide on local experiences in Barcelona for more on this). All have wonderful things to see and do, perfect for a longer stay or just an easy day trip from Barcelona.

The Best Weekend trips from Barcelona

Besalú

A village that is one of the best weekend trips from Barcelona is Besalú. Besalú is a medieval town 1.5 hrs from Barcelona by car. The town is small but is steeped in history. It still retains old walls and a huge bridge that dates back to the Romans. As it is close to the border with France it has been the stage for several border battles and has belonged to the French at certain times. It is now most definitely Catalan. Besalú is tiny and very picturesque. The streets are perfect for wandering, the small plazas are picture perfect and the souvenir shops have beautiful pottery and photos.

Besalu is a great place for a weekend trip from Barcelona.

How To Get To Besalú

By Car

How to get to Besalú is pretty simple, especially if you can drive. It’s around 1.5 to 2 hrs drive from Barcelona and there’s a really large car park on the edge of the town. It’s definitely the easiest option for a weekend trip from Barcelona to Besalú.

By Public Transport

If you want to get to Besalú for an easy weekend trip from Barcelona, but don’t have a car you can use public transport. There are no direct trains or buses so it is a little bit more complicated. The easiest option is to take the Renfe train from Barcelona to Girona. Once in Girona you can take the Teisa bus from Girona to Besalú. This is more likely to take you 2 to 3 hrs.

By Tour

If all you can fit in is a quick day trip from Barcelona to Besalú then a tour might be a better option for you. This way you can get to your destination quickly, see all the important sites, and get fed some delicious Catalan food.

Where To Stay In Besalú

Casa Marcial

Adults only hotel centrally located in Besalú. It has an exceptional Tripadvisor rating and breakfast is usually included. There’s a pool, light airy rooms and you can easily check out the medieval town from the hotel.

Els Jardins de la Martana

Els Jardins is a colourful hotel located on the opposite side of the river to Besalú and right at the beginning of the Roman bridge. Their garden reaches down to the river with views over the beautiful town.

Besalu is a medieval town perfect for a day trip from Barcelona

Where To Eat In Besalú

Pont Val

Pont Val is rated one of the best restaurants in Besalú, and has even been added to the Michelin Guide. The cuisine is Mediterranean and Spanish. It is on the pricy side, but if you’re looking for a memorable or romantic experience then this will tick all your boxes.

Taverna Restaurant

This restaurant is located in the main square of Besalú. The restaurant can get busy, but the food is tasty.

Cal Tronc

Cal Tronc serves up Catalan and Spanish food in the heart of Besalú. The food is well made and very tasty.

Besalu is perfect for a road trip from Barcelona

Add Ons To Extend Your Weekend Trip From Barcelona

If you’re heading to Besalú it can be really simple to extend your weekend trip from Barcelona and head to a few other beautiful towns in the area. A car would be recommended to achieve this.

Girona

The ancient capital of the Girona province and Catalan heartland. A beautiful old town full of Game of Thrones filming locations and cyclists.

Castellfollit de la Roca

Ancient settlement clinging to a cliff face. If you want to see the most European town imaginable then go here.

Olot

Olot is the home of hiking, cycling and volcanos. A great place to get back to nature and have the craziest BEST Catalan restaurant experience (Restaurant La Bota).

Medieval towns near Barcelona.

Sitges

Sitges is a beautiful seaside village just south of Barcelona. It’s one of the easiest places to get to for a weekend getaway from Barcelona, and probably one of the most fun. Sitges is great for boutique shopping, excellent restaurants, beautiful beaches, and fun nightlife. It’s also known as one of the best Gay-friendly towns in Catalonia. Stay in one of the boutique hotels and take a stroll on the Mediterranean esplanade. Make sure to take your bathers in summer; you can relax on the beach, cool down in the water, and have a drink at one of the fashionable beach bars on the sand.

Sitges is a beautiful beach town close to Barcelona.

How To Get To Sitges

By Car

You can easily drive to Sitges from Barcelona. It takes roughly forty minutes. There’s multiple parking garages and parking on the esplanade if you’re lucky. Most of it is paid, so it can get quite expensive. If you’ve booked somewhere to stay you can check if they have any discounts or free parking.

By Public Transport

Sitges a day trip that you can do from Barcelona by train. It is super easy to get to by train, it’s usually faster than driving and the train station is very central. Some of the journey is really scenic as it will eventually follow the ocean from Castelldefels to Sitges. Trains depart regularly from Passige De Gracia main train station. Once you reach Sitges the beach is an easy walk from the station.

By Tour

If you want a more in-depth experience then check out these tours of Sitges.

Where To Stay In Sitges

Hotel Casa Vilella

Hotel Casa Vilella is an extremely popular hotel on the esplanade in Sitges. Luxurious without being over the top it has a pool, bar, and 24hr reception.

Antonio’s House

This super stylish casa is five minutes walk from the centre of town and almost as close to the beach. It’s set up like a Bed and Breakfast with breakfast served on the terrace.

Sitges is great for a weekend trip from Barcelona

Where To Eat In Sitges

Merci Sitges

This place is local and cheap. Great for tasting the local cuisine and a good time in Sitges.

Guria Taberna

This restaurant is your quintessential tapas bar. It’s tiny and usually busy. The tapas are cheap and tasty with some larger plates for sharing. Watch out for the line.

Restaurante Queenz

Restaurante Queenz is where you’ll find the perfect Sitges dinner experience. The food is fine dining and Mediterranean. The best part is they put on live drag shows.

Sitges has some of the best beaches in Europe

Add Ons To Extend Your Weekend Trip From Barcelona

Sitges is definitely a place where you can fill the time quite easily. However, if you want to add on more experiences to your weekend trip from Barcelona then Tarragona would be a good idea.

Tarragona

Another major town in Catalonia, Tarragona is known for its beautiful old buildings and Roman ruins. It also hosts the biggest Castellers competition every two years in September (and if you don’t know what that is, check out my local experiences in Barcelona guide).

Sitges is a beautiful beach town close to Barcelona

Cadaques

Cadaques is one of my favourite towns on the Costa Brava and is at the top of my list for best weekend trips from Barcelona. Cadaques is in a cove on the Costa Brava surrounded by hills terraced by olive groves. The whitewashed town is reminiscent of dreamy Greek villages with golden afternoon light and colourful shutters. There are tiny pebble beaches for sunbathing and boutiques full of beach summer fashion.

Cadaques is where the artist Salvador Dali had a home, and the town has retained his artistic influences. There are amazing art galleries and you can visit his house. If you’ve had enough relaxation you can also take scenic walks or boat rides along the spectacular coastline. This weekend getaway from Barcelona will feel more like a romantic international holiday than an easy trip down the road.

Cadaques is one of the best weekend trips from Barcelona

How To Get To Cadaques

By Car

Getting to Cadaques for your best weekend trip from Barcelona is most easily achieved by car. The journey takes just over two hours and the perfect idea is to add on some other beautiful stops along the way. Once you reach Cadaques parking is slightly tricky due to the narrow streets. Your best option is to use the large parking centre at the beginning of the town or speak to your accommodation for their suggestions.

By Public Transport

You can quite easily do a weekend trip to Cadaques by train from Barcelona. At certain times of the day, there is a direct train from Barcelona Sants to Figueres. From Figueres, you will need to take a bus, which will take you directly to Cadaques. This trip will take approximately three hours from Barcelona to Cadaques. It’s quite a long journey, but the destination is one thousand times worth it.

By Tour

Cadaques has many great things to experience. If you’re pressed for time then a tour would be an option to get you there and give you a great day trip experience from Barcelona.

Where To Stay In Cadaques

Boutique Hotel Villa Gala

This place has the beautiful whitewashed walls and views over the Cadaques harbour. There’s a pool for lazy afternoons if a quick walk to the beach is too far as well as breakfast included. The hotel is modern with a nautical vibe and would be perfect for a romantic weekend trip from Barcelona.

Hostel Marina

This place is cheap and cheerful, but also super clean and has lovely private rooms. The private rooms have their own bathroom and balcony and are modern with a nautical theme. Great value for money and excellent location.

Hotel Boutique Horta d'en Rahola

If you’re after luxury in a Spanish style villa then this is the place. Rated as the best hotel in Cadaques it has decor that matches the town and many great facilities.

Cadaques is a beautiful beach side town in the north of Spain
Cadaques is perfect for a weekend trip from Barcelona

Where To Eat In Cadaques

Restaurant El Barroco

This place is a dream. The building is three hundred years old and the décor would make any antique collector proud. The best part, however, is the secret garden vibe they’ve created with a vine and plant festooned front patio for dining. With the dim lights and brightly painted colours all around you, it’s a feast of all the senses. Luckily the food matches the décor and is magnificent. It’s Lebanese and Mediterranean and is tasty, fresh and decadent.

Xiringuito de la Mei

Pronounced Chiringuito, this is a typical Catalan bar on the beach. It serves up tapas and drinks and goes best paired with an amazing sunset.

Talla

Talla creates Catalan and Spanish cuisine with a fine dining twist. If you’re after views of the water and seafood then this place will hit the spot.

Cadaques is perfect for a weekend trip from Barcelona

Add Ons To Extend Your Weekend Trip From Barcelona

There are so many places you could stop in the Costa Brava on your way to Cadaques. Each place will be beautiful and unique and come with different experiences. Here are some of my recommendations to extend your weekend trip from Barcelona.

Pals

A tiny village on the Costa Brava full of history and charming pedestrian streets.

Figueres

Home to the craziest looking gallery and museum that is dedicated to the larger than life artist, Salvador Dali.

Cadaques is perfect for a weekend trip from Barcelona

Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar is quite close to Barcelona, so can be an easy day or weekend trip from Barcelona. It’s a super pretty town on the Costa Brava with a beach perfect for relaxing, swimming and sunbathing.

The most notable part of Tossa de Mar are the large castle walls and castle on the headland. The Costa Brava is called the Brave Coast because of the number of pirate attacks it had to withstand. Many towns have castles for old defences but Tossa de Mar’s is the biggest and the walls are really well preserved.

beaches at Tossa de Mar. Travel For Bliss

How To Get To Tossa de Mar

By Car

It’s a quick car ride from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar, which makes it an easy weekend trip from Barcelona. The journey takes 1.5 hours on the major motorway, or a little bit longer along the scenic coast road. Parking is easiest in the paid-for parking garages. It’s very hard to find any free street parking.

By Public Transport

Several buses depart from Barcelona’s main bus station to Tossa de Mar. The tickets can sell out on the weekends, so it is a good idea to book them in advance. An alternative is to catch the train from Barcelona to Blanes and then take the bus from Blanes to Tossa de Mar.

By Tour

Tossa de Mar is a popular day trip from Barcelona. There are several tours that you can take if you don’t have the time for a weekend getaway.

Where To Stay In Tossa de Mar

Boutique Hotel Casa Grandos

This place is lovely with a pool, terrace and is in an old brick building. This is for your romantic couples getaway, or treat yo self moment.

Capri Hotel

This hotel has beachfront views but doesn’t come with the usual price tag. It’s a cheap and cheerful two-star hotel, but the rooms are clean and the location is amazing.

Hotel Windsor

This hotel is sleek and modern with a pool and a great looking breakfast included. The rooms are clean, modern and basic. It’s in the centre of Tossa de mar and 150 meters from the beach.

The castle and walls of Tossa de Mar are amazing to visit.

Where To Eat In Tossa de Mar

Tapas Portal

This little place cooks up tasty tapas in Tossa de Mar. During the weekdays they do a menu del dia

Can Sophia

This place is a bar, but they also serve up great burgers and pintxos. The price is also amazing for food and drink so your wallet won’t feel the strain here.

Bar Savoy

Talla creates Catalan and Spanish cuisine with a fine dining twist. If you’re after views of the water and seafood then this place will hit the spot.

Where to eat in Tossa de Mar

Add Ons To Extend Your Weekend Trip From Barcelona

There are so many places you could stop in the Costa Brava on your way to Cadaques. Each place will be beautiful and unique and come with different experiences. Here are some of my recommendations to extend your weekend trip from Barcelona.

Blanes

super-local seaside town at the end of the train line from Barcelona. Lots of beach and mostly frequented by locals not visitors.

Lloret de Mar

Another beautiful Costa Brava beach town with another iconic castle on the headland.

Tossa de Mar is a great weekend trip from Barcelona

Pals

Pals is on the Costa Brava but is located inland from the coast. Pals is one of the best weekend trips from Barcelona due to its history and beauty. The town is tiny and located on a hill that overlooks the surrounding countryside. There are old walls, an old castle, tower, and a church that has worshipped Roman gods as well as the Christian God. Pals is the perfect weekend getaway from Barcelona. It’s one of the prettiest towns in the region and has a fascinating history.

Pals is perfect for a weekend trip from Barcelona

How To Get To Pals

By Car

Getting to Pals from Barcelona is easy by car. The journey can be 1.5 hours or 2 hrs depending on if you take the longer, but the more scenic coastal road. Once you get to Pals you will most likely need to park in one of the large car parks outside and then walk into the town. Most of the streets inside the actual village are not car friendly.

By Public Transport

Getting to Pals by public transport is doable, but it’s definitely not as easy as a car. The best option is to take the bus from the major bus station in Barcelona (Estacio del Nord). This will then take you to Pals without a change, but it will take almost 3 hrs.

By Tour

Pals is always a popular option for people wanting to explore more of the Costa Brava and not just hang out at the beach. There is lots of history and places to explore and photograph. Pals would be the perfect day trip from Barcelona.

Where To Stay In Pals

Arkhe Hotel Boutique

This place is classed as a BnB and looks so sweet. The old stone building is in the centre of Pals. It’s whitewashed and airy inside

Pals is perfect for a weekend trip from Barcelona

Where To Eat In Pals

Restaurante El Pedró

This place is located centrally towards the top of the Pals hilltop. The building is historic, like everything in Pals, and the food is Spanish and Catalan. The food is rated really well.

Rotisseria Can Padres (only open in summer)

If you’re looking for cheap, cheerful, and tasty, then this is your place. This is traditional Spanish/Catalan fast food. The menu is basically chicken and chips cooked well.

Vicus Restaurante

This place is your fine-dining restaurant option in Pals.  It’s even been added to the Michelin guide for 2020. Every dish is contemporary Catalan or Spanish and created with elegance and taste in mind.

Pals is perfect for a weekend trip from Barcelona

Add Ons To Extend Your Weekend Trip From Barcelona

There are so many places you could stop in the Costa Brava on your way to Cadaques. Each place will be beautiful and unique and come with different experiences. Here are some of my recommendations to extend your weekend trip from Barcelona.

Palamos

Pretty beach town with a lovely walk around a headland to a photogenic cove.

Aigua Blava

One of the most popular beaches on the Costa Brava. Beautiful blue water in a little cove. The beach gets busy as do the restaurants.

Aigua Blava is one of the best beaches on the Costa Brava in Spain

Girona

If you’re after one of the easiest and best weekend trips from Barcelona, then Girona needs to be top of your list. Girona is considered the capital city of the region and is the Catalan heartland. The city is full of ancient stairs, tiny streets, and a picturesque river. Girona is such a photogenic city that many parts of it were locations for Game of Thrones filming.

Make sure you check out the coloured buildings that line the river and the pretty bridges that span it. From here walk into the central old-time and explore the tiny cobbled streets and hidden alleyways. Further in you will find all the stairs, which have featured in Game of Thrones. The Girona Cathedral is where many famous scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed so make sure you check it out, warning, there are more stairs.

Girona is perfect for a weekend trip from Barcelona

How To Get To Girona

By Car

Getting to Girona from Barcelona is easy for a weekend away. It’s one of the easiest day trips from Barcelona. Getting to Girona from Barcelona by car takes just over an hour and the drive is down the large motorway. Depending on where your hotel is located you may have to pay for parking.

By Public Transport

Doing a day trip from Barcelona to Girona is super easy by train. There are many direct trains from Barcelona Sants to the Girona train station and the journey takes about 1.5 hrs by train.

By Tour

Girona is popular for tours because of the gorgeous city and Game of Thrones filming locations.

Where To Stay In Girona

Hotel Historic

This hotel is historic as the name suggests, located in an old building but subtly modernised. It is in the historic city centre and very close to the cathedral.

Hotel Gran Ultonia

Hotel Gran Ultonia is located centrally in Girona and is walking distance to all the interesting sites. It’s a stylish and modern hotel with a great rooftop area for drinks.

Hotel Nord 1901 Superior

This place is for a special occasion. The hotel has a garden terrace with a pool and modern luxurious rooms.

Girona is a great place to have a weekend trip from Barcelona

Where To Eat In Girona

Federal Café

Girona is surprisingly popular for brunch (which is not a Spanish thing yet). Federal café was started by an Aussie, bringing the Australian tradition of brunch to Spain. All the food is amazing, and the drinks will please everyone, even hipsters.

Vadevins

This is a tiny restaurant serving up good wine and a small selection of tapas and larger meat dishes. Nothing fancy, but the food is tasty and well priced.

El Cellar de Can Roca

Have you ever wanted to dine at a restaurant that was rated the best in the world? Well, now you can (if you can get a reservation).

Girona is a perfect weekend trip from Barcelona
Girona is a perfect weekend trip from Barcelona

Add Ons To Extend Your Weekend Trip From Barcelona

Girona is a base for northern Catalonia, so you can go to any destination that you would like to from here.

Girona is a great weekend trip from Barcelona

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The Best Weekend trips from Barcelona

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The Best Weekend trips from Barcelona

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Comments:

  • June 27, 2020

    Weekend trips are always such a good shout. Thanks for sharing the recommendations – and having the “how to get there” is so very helpful!

    reply...
  • June 27, 2020

    Wow, so many great ideas for weekend trips! I wish I had come across this post when I was here – definitely bookmarking this for when I make my return to Barcelona in the future!

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  • June 27, 2020

    I had no idea there was this much to do in and around Barcelona! I can’t wait to travel again so I have pinned your post for some future trip planning. Let’s hope that things settle down enough so that we can travel again soon. x

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  • June 27, 2020

    Great post, this was so comprehensive! I’d love to go back to Spain one day, especially the Barcelona area, so I’m for sure saving this post.

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  • roshni

    June 27, 2020

    Wow Besalu looks exactly like mostar in bosnia! looks beautiful

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  • Helena

    June 28, 2020

    this is such an informative guide! I’d love to spend longer in the Barcelona area and do weekend trips as there’s so many places in this post that I’ve never even heard of but look amazing! Thank you for sharing

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  • June 28, 2020

    I love all these trip ideas from Barcelona! Spain is such a beautiful country. We’ve been to several countries in Europe but I’ve never been to Spain. This is definitely on our bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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  • June 28, 2020

    Thank you for sharing this post. Our trip in Spain was cancelled due to the lockdown but we will travel there next year. I pinned this post for later as there are so many recommendations where to eat and where to stay :). Among all those cities, what are your top 3?

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  • June 30, 2020

    This is such an incredible guide! Thanks for sharing! I will be using it when I return to Barcelona one day!

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  • July 1, 2020

    These places look lovely!! I absolutely loved Sitges and Cadaques when I went there. Hope to explore the other places soon too!

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  • World of Lina

    July 4, 2020

    Wow seems like there’s a lot to do around Barcelona! Definitely need to see some of these places 🙂

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  • Taylor

    July 6, 2020

    All of these weekend getaways look amazing! I need to get to the Barcelona area when I go back to Spain, so I’m definitely keeping this article handy. 🙂

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  • July 8, 2020

    I will need to add all these places to my list! I love Barcelona, so I am sure that I’ll go back. Also, I want to explore other places like these 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

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  • July 14, 2020

    Costa Brava!!!!!!!!

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