If you’re lucky enough to be living abroad in Spain for a while, you’ll likely want to take advantage of your situation and travel around a little! It’s tempting to dream of weekend escapes to Paris, Lisbon and Rome, and cross country adventures to the País Vasco and Andalusia. But, don’t forget about the beautiful region of Catalonia (Catalunya, in Catalan) while you’re here! There are tons of beautiful cities, towns and villages to visit during your time in Spain – whether you’re looking for a simple day trip or a weekend holiday! So, we’ve written down our top 7 picks that we think you should check out!
This little town nestled in the mountains, in the region of Girona, is full of historical importance in Catalonia. The town can be dated all the way back to the Roman Empire and also played a huge part in the Catalonian unification movement of the middle ages! When you get to Besalú, you will immediately notice the small town charm that Spain’s little pueblo’s are famous for! You can stroll the medieval streets, marvel at the ancient bridge, enjoy the famous food and so much more! It takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to reach Besalú depending on how you choose to travel there.
Close your eyes and picture a city made of stone, tucked away in the middle of the mountainous, wooded area of Osona. Somewhere a fairy tale might take place. Imagine a medieval, stone church tower at the highest point of the village, and a small stone community built around it, where a small steady stream runs past the city walls. This is Rupit. It takes about 3 hours to get to this hidden forest paradise by train & bus, but once you get there you can spend the day living the small life. There are plenty of things to do, like going for a hike, wandering the streets and hopping from terrace t0 terrace for a coffee or a caña.
The name Montserrat literally means “Jagged Mountains” in English. This is a perfect description of the mountains in which the village Montserrat was built within. The village was originally a community built around the large Abbey dedicated to the region Patron Saint, Montserrat. It is a known pilgrimage site, where people hike up the mountain to visit the church and marvel at the views below. It’s very close to Barcelona, taking roughly 1 hour on the train. When you arrive, you can each take the challenge and hike to the top, or take the quick and easy cable car to the top! Once at the top, there are several things that you can do to pass the day, or weekend should you decide to stay overnight!
Girona is the capital of the Catalan region of Girona. Its possibly the most famous Catalan city aside from Barcelona. The cities colourful buildings, the its ancient cathedral and its rich history all come together to make a charming, fascinating, Catalan town. You might even recognize the converted mosque known as the Girona Cathedral from a little show called Game of Thrones! The city also has a reputation for its food scene, from classic tapas and pastry, to seafood and wine! It only takes about 40 minutes to get to Girona from Barcelona on the AVE and 1.5 on a bus!
This port-side down sits along the Costa Daurada (gold coast) just a 2 hour Renfe ride from Barcelona’s Estación de Francia. There is a lot to see here, like the copious ancient Roman ruins and the main Cathedral. The city is big enough for a weekend visit and visitors can find some outstanding seafood restaurants in the barrio El Serrallo and there are plenty of options for late night activities!
This one is for all the nature lovers out there. Garrotxa is a county in Girona which is famous for its wide green spaces, rolling hills, and volcanic rock formations. The Volcanic Zone Natural Park is one of the top destinations in this region as we definitely recommend checking it out. Visitors can do several activites at the park, like hiking, biking, horse rides, train tours and even adventure sports! Garrotxa is a perfect location for escaping the city and embracing the Catalan countryside. It takes roughly 3 hours to travel by bus from Barcelona.
Conca de Barberá
The city of Barberà de la Conca can be dated as far back as the 10th century when it was just a tiny medieval village that grew up around the old stone cathedral. It’s still a small village today, perched on top of a large hill. The city and the region around is is quite famous for its wines and there are several lovely wineries that visitors can check out! You can get to Barberà de la Conca by train or bus from Barcelona between 2.5 hours and 3.5 hours!
Your friendly neighbourhood travel guide,