Although you could spend days and days touring Barcelona and visiting its monuments and iconic buildings, you would be missing out on part of what makes Catalonia a place full of beauty. A visit to the Costa Brava will add extraordinary memories to your trip.
1. Excursions near Barcelona
- Costa Brava day trip from Barcelona - From $ 100
- One day excursion to PortAventura amusement park - From $ 85
- One-day excursion to La Roca Village shopping outlet - From $ 65
2. Day trip to the Costa Brava from Barcelona
The villages of the Costa Brava are undoubtedly among the most beautiful places the Iberian Peninsula has to offer. Even Dalí himself said that Cadaqués was the most beautiful village in the world, and although perhaps he was being somewhat impartial the truth is that its beauty is undeniable.
In the same way, the villages that you will visit in this excursion of a day to the Costa Brava are worthy of admiration, both for being the visual representation of the Mediterranean aesthetics as well as for their historical interest. Especially, in the village of Pals, whose medieval legacy can still be visited today.
Delving even deeper into history, you can also visit the Greek ruins and Roman ruins of Ampurias, which are worth a visit both for their size and their good preservation. This excursion includes a boat ride of about an hour and a half, along the beach of Estartit, a relaxing and perfect experience for a summer day.
Duration: 11 hours
Recommended: If you want to visit the coast of Catalonia and discover its villages in one day.
What you will see
- Calella de Palafrugell
- Ronda Road
- Ruins of Ampurias
3. Private one day tour of Girona and Costa Brava from Barcelona
Making the most of your trip to the Costa Brava, maybe you feel like touring Girona on a private tour and discover its historic center and its charming corners. And if you are a fan of Game of Thrones, you will surely recognize some of these streets and before you know it, you will have been magically transported to Braavos.
Specifically, the Arabic Baths and the Pujada de Sant Domenèch, will ring a bell and will also offer you a pleasant stroll and a treat for the eyes.
Of course, you will see the Girona Cathedral and its walls, the church of Sant Feliu, and the Oñar river, before heading to the beaches of Calella, Aiguablava, and Tamariu, where you can enjoy a swim (with towel and umbrella included in the tour) or visit the botanical garden of Cap Roig. On the way back to Barcelona, you will pass through Llafranc and stop at several points along the way to enjoy the sea views.
Duration: 9 hours
Recommended: If you feel like swimming on the beaches of the Costa Brava at the end of an excursion to Girona
What you will see
- Church of Sant Feliu
- Oñar River
- Girona Cathedral
- Promenade of the Muralla
- Calella beach
- Beach of Aiguablava
- Tamariu Beach
4. Day trip to PortAventura amusement park
If spending a whole day at an amusement park is a perfect plan for you, don't think twice: PortAventura is one of the biggest in Europe and its most famous attractions are an adrenaline rush. The park is thematically designed and divided into zones, inspired by the Mediterranean, China, Polynesia, the Far West, or Mexico.
Within each zone, you have attractions such as Furius Baco, a roller coaster that will put you at 83 miles per hour in three seconds, the Shambala, a giant roller coaster in which you will have the sensation that your seat shoots out, the classic Dragon Khan that for a long time was the star of the PortAventura poster, the Hurakan Condor, a shuttle that will throw you into the void from 328 feet high.
In addition to the attractions, a large part of the attraction of PortAventura is its shows inspired by the traditions of each of its areas. If you are traveling to Barcelona with children, this is the excursion I recommend.
Duration: 12 hours
Recommended: If you are traveling to Barcelona with children or you love amusement parks
5. Private day trip to the vineyards of the Penedés region
If there is a product that has earned its fame in Catalonia, it is the one that comes out of its vineyards. Catalan sparkling wines have no borders and since you have such a prized wine region just over half an hour from Barcelona, it is worth taking a private tour of the Penedés with wine tasting.
This is a guided excursion to two wineries in the Penedés with wine tasting included in each one, with an aperitif of tapas and transfer to and from the winery. During the excursion, both your guide and the hosts of each winery will guide you through the tasting process after teaching you about the winemaking process and the treatment of the vineyards, which makes this a very complete experience if you are passionate about wine.
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
Recommended: If you are interested in discovering the wine region of Barcelona and enjoy a day of wine tasting
6. Day trip to La Roca Village shopping outlet
Spending a whole day shopping can be the best way to rest after so much sightseeing in Barcelona, and for that, the best thing to do is visit the city's brand outlet, La Roca Village.
It is an open-air shopping mall in the style of the American outlets, with premium brand stores and a few restaurants and cafes where you can stop for a break. In La Roca Village you can find almost any store you can think of: Bimba y Lola, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Desigual, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Karl Lagerfeld, Loewe, Prada...and also cosmetics and casual wear stores like Vans, UGG or The North Face.
You can choose a simple transfer to the Barcelona outlet or choose a premium experience with discounts and lunch included. In either case, a bus will drop you off at La Roca Village in the morning and pick you up at the end of your shopping day to take you back to Barcelona.
Duration: 7 hours
Recommended: If you are going to be in Barcelona for more than five days or you can't resist a shopping haul
Alex's Traveller Tip
I recommend taking a tour from Barcelona if you are going to be in the city for four days or more, to make sure you see all the sights on your trip.
7. Best time of the year to take an excursion from Barcelona
Not every month of the year is the ideal time to take an excursion to Barcelona, especially when it comes to the Costa Brava. In any case, to help you decide between one excursion and not another, here are the best times for each excursion throughout the year:
Excursion to the Costa Brava
The best time to visit the Costa Brava is from May to October, with temperatures ranging from 68 to 80 ºF, and days of splendid sunshine with few exceptions, which will offer you the most beautiful views of the coastal towns and the Mediterranean Sea.
Excursion to PortAventura
Logically, the best time to visit an amusement park is during the week if possible. The best time of the year to go to PortAventura is between the end of June and the end of July. The park is open until midnight and you can see one of its most famous shows, the one performed in the Mediterranea area.
The trick for PortAventura is to go in the fortnight changes, for example, July 1, 15 or 30, this way you avoid the large crowds of tourists from both inside and outside Spain.
Excursion to the Penedés
Almost any time of the year is a good time to take a wine tasting excursion to the Penedés, but I would say that the ideal time would be at the time of the vendimia, between the end of August and September, as you can explore the process of harvesting and winemaking live.
8. Last tips
As general advice, the more you can get up early to make an excursion from Barcelona, the more you will enjoy a day without crowds and to make visits with tranquility. If you go on a weekday excursion, you will usually find cheaper set menus in restaurants than on weekdays, when they may not even offer this option and only let you order a la carte.
As a rule, you should take a backpack with sun cream, a bottle of water, and something to snack on any excursion. This way you will avoid having to buy some of these things at the last minute and in the tourist area where you will be charged unappetizing prices. Likewise, comfortable shoes are always a good idea.
Also, I recommend paying as much as you can with a credit card but carry some cash with you. Most restaurants and stores will accept credit cards, Barcelona and the surrounding area is very tourist-friendly.
9. Other excursions from Barcelona
If you have run out of things to do from Barcelona, don't worry, there are more! To enjoy Dalí's art live, you can take a trip to the Dalí Museum in Figueras and visit Girona or the villages of the Costa Brava in a day trip experience. See all the details in my guide on Figueres and Salvador Dalí Museum Day Trips from Barcelona.
On the other hand, one of the excursions from Barcelona that I consider among the essential ones is the excursion to Montserrat, where you will climb the mountain, discover its monastery and museum and enjoy spectacular views of Barcelona from the top. You can read my guide about Montserrat Day Trips from Barcelona here.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I go outside of Barcelona?
The most popular places to visit outside of Barcelona are Girona, Montserrat, Figueres and Costa Brava. However there are also many other options, such as Sitges, known for its beaches, restaurants and LGBT friendliness, Tarragona known for its Colosseum and Old Town. There is also the Pyrenees Mountains, which borders Andora, France and Spain.
How far is Sitges from Barcelona and what can I do there?
Situated 34 km (21 mi) southwest of Barcelona, driving to Sitges takes less than an hour, the town is an ideal trip for those looking to spend the day at a nice beach. Some tours to Sitges also stop at Tarragona, giving you the best of both worlds.
How far are the Pyrenees Mountains from Barcelona, and can you visit in one day?
With a bus journey taking more or less 4 hours, prepare to leave early if you're thinking of visiting for the day. That being said, what awaits you are some truly spectacular mountains, beautiful scenery and charming villages which for many makes the journey worth it.