You can spend weeks in Barcelona and never run out of things to do and eat.

For a change of pace, you can choose between mountains, beaches and small towns, all just a short ride away. This beautiful pocket of Spain is always a great place to escape the cold weather in the north of Europe. There are a lot of day trips from Barcelona.

Montserrat Abbey as seen from the Funicular de Sant Joan
Montserrat Abbey as seen from the Funicular de Sant Joan © Maximilian Müller / Getty Images

1. Enjoy divinely beautiful views in Montserrat

The Monastery of the same name is located on the mountain of Montserrat. It is possible to catch a choir performance inside the basilica during the season. You can either ride the funiculars or take a walk down to the Santa Cova, where La Moreneta was found, or up to the Sant Jeroni peak, where you can see the valley below.

How to get to Montserrat

The R5 line trains run half-hourly to and from Plaa d'Espanya station. The cable car will take you to the monastery. You can take the R5 to the next stop, which is where the cremallera trains run up to the monastery. Various train/cremallera combo tickets can be purchased.

Be a true Bara fan.

Guy enjoying sunrise over Barcelona city from the tree swing in Collserola
Collserola park is a great place to escape the hustle of Barcelona with excellent walking and cycling trails © Arthur Debat / Getty Images

2. Escape the city clamor in Collserola

The Barcelonins look for an escape from city life in the mountains. The park has a number of walking and cycling trails. The Baixador de Vallvidrera FGC train station is close to the Carretera de l'Església 92 information center. If you have a bit of energy, you can take the train from here to Sant Cugat.

How to get to Collserola

You can get the FGC suburban train from Plaa de Catalunya.

The biggest festival in Barcelona is called La Merc.

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Colorful houses and the Eiffel Bridge in Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Colorful Girona is just over an hour's train ride from Barcelona © KavalenkavaVolha / Getty Images / iStockphoto

3. Walk through a rainbow in Girona

The grand cathedral looms over the old town, which is filled with arcaded houses, grand churches and sloped cobbled streets. The story of the Jewish community in Girona is told by the Museu d' Histria dels Jueus. The Banys rabs, which was used as a filming location in Game of Throne, is also worth a visit. To get to the newer part of town, you can take a stroll along the River Onyar and see the colorful houses that flank it. One of the best restaurants in the world is located in Girona.

How to get to Girona

You can take the train from Barcelona for 9.

Parks and gardens in Barcelona are some of the best in the world.

Dali Museum exterior
Most day-trippers head to Figueres for its star attraction: the Dalí museum © John W Banagan / Getty Images

4. Get surreal in Figueres

The Teatre-Museu Dal is the best known of the many attractions in Figueres. It was a former theatre that was turned into a palace of surrealism by Dal. The Museu de l'Empord has a collection of jewelry designed by Dal.

How to get to Figures 

The train station is 800m southeast of the center and can be reached by half-hourly trains.

There are many things to do in Barcelona.

Beach in Sitges, Spain
Sitges is a welcoming and buzzy beach town © Getty Images / EyeEm

5. Sunbathe and party in Sitges

In warmer weather, the most crowded central beaches are in Sitges, a pretty whitewashed town that is perfect for seafront promenading and sun worshiping. Pick your spot for a morning of sunbathing (or skinny dipping off the nudist beach) before selecting a seafood restaurant nearby. The classy old center has an array of elegant buildings, many housing museums, and is worth a visit if you are interested in contemporary art. The Sitges International Film Festival is held in October and is one of the best in Spain.

How to get to Sitges

There are regular trains from Barcelona Passeig de Grcia and Sants.

There are 11 beaches in Barcelona.

Vilanova i la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú is a  pleasantly unpretentious air © Cezary Zarebski / Getty Images

6. Relax in friendly and welcoming Vilanova i la Geltrú

Vilanova i la Geltr is a larger, more down- home version that has long dedicated its efforts more to fishing and industry than the leisure business This is a great place to go for a day on the beach. The Museu del ferrocarril is an interesting railway museum and there are some decent wide beaches.

How to get to Vilanova i la Geltrú

Regular trains leave from Barcelona at 5am and 10pm.

Shopping by neighborhood is the best in Barcelona.

Two women smile for a selfie near the Cathedral in Tarragona city
There are lots of lovely restaurants in the square surrounding the cathedral in Tarragona © frantic00 / Getty Images / iStockphoto

7. Revel in Roman ruins in Tarragona

Tarragona is also known for its Roman remains. The best time to visit the Museu d' Histria de Tarragona is from mid-morning onwards. You can eat lunch in one of the many restaurants in the fishing neighborhood of El Serrallo or at the grand cathedral.

How to get to Tarragona

The train station is a 10-minute walk south of the old town near the beach.

It was a perfect weekend in Barcelona.

Aerial view of Montblanc city
Follow in the footsteps of Cistercian monks with a day trip to Montblanc © Getty Images / iStockphoto

8. Step back in time in medieval Montblanc

Montblanc has a good selection of places to eat and sleep. It is worth a visit on its own merits, but if you want to fully explore what is known as the 'Cistercian Route', you should go with a car. If you want to see all three, you need to leave early.

How to get to Montblanc

The first train leaves Barcelona Passeig de Grcia at 7 am.

It's the best time to visit Barcelona.

9. Find a buried treasure in Colònia Güell

The last big project of Gaud was the creation of a utopian textile workers' complex for his patron Eusebi Gell. The colony's church, Colnia Gell, was built by Gaud, but he only finished the crypt. It's mostly brick-clad columns that support the ribbed vaults in the ceiling are inclined at all angles in the same way as trees in a forest.

How to get to Colònia Güell 

Go to Colnia Gell by taking FGC lines.

Neighborhoods in Barcelona.

Exterior shot of Vic's medieval cathedral
Vic is a great medieval town to explore © HDR Image / Getty Images / iStockphoto

10. Shop the local markets in Vic

It's easy to take a train from Barcelona to the south of the Pyrenees because of the attractive historic center and fine restaurants. Plaa Major is the largest of Catalonia's central squares and is lined with medieval, Baroque and Modernista mansions. Plaa del Mercadal is the name of the regular market.

How to get to Vic

The train station is 500 meters west of Plaa Major.

There are many things to do in Barcelona.

The article was first published in June of 2019.