As a city, Barcelona has it all; we don’t know many other places that have a metropolis core, a stunning coastline, and a beautiful mountain range, all within the same place. It’s the ultimate holiday destination for every kind of traveller, but we’re not the only ones in love with the city. The truth is, the number of tourists in Barcelona has steadily increased in the past few years, and now, summer in the city is a lot busier than it was a few years ago.
One way to avoid the summer crowds is to enjoy a day trip away from Barcelona, but still in the region of Catalonia. Catalonia is one of the most beautiful regions in Spain, yet many only know about its capital. However, there are plenty of other spectacular places to explore outside Barcelona: captivating coastlines with beautiful beaches, tiny towns with roman ruins, and marvellous mountains with picturesque panoramics…
A forty minute train ride from the centre of Barcelona and just 100km north of the Catalan capital, Girona is the perfect place to spend a day, or even a weekend, away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. Despite its smaller size, Girona’s charm is guaranteed to take your breath away. Discover the history of the city from the Jewish Quarter to the old town, and walk along the river counting all 11 bridges that connect the colourful houses across the stream.
The small coastal town of Sitges is known for its beautiful beaches, amazing nightlife, and gay-friendly community; the atmosphere of the annual Sitges carnival in March wouldn’t feel out of place in Brazil. The beaches close to the centre of Sitges are often busy, so if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter, the tranquil Garraf beach offers 350 metres of golden sand and crystal clear waters.
Home to the Santa Maria de Montserrat, one of the most important monasteries in Spain, Montserrat is a breath-taking mountain town about an hour from Barcelona. The monastery attracts pilgrims from all over the world and is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat. The Montserrat boys’ choir, L’Escolania, also performs each day at 1pm before mass, the choir made up of young boys who attend the infamous choir school and dedicate themselves solely to their art.
Take a step back in time to the Roman era and get lost in medieval buildings, ancient aqueducts, and historic architecture in Tarragona. Much of this ancient roman city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is also home to many religious buildings, like the Tarragona Cathedral. For another cultural experience, you can take a look around the Tarragona Museum of History, as well.
Just like Sitges, Badalona offers guests an alternative beach getaway to those frustrated with Barceloneta’s crowded sands. The beaches in Badalona are cleaner and quieter than in Barcelona, great for those that want to enjoy a peaceful day on the sand. Badalona also has its own pier, the Pont de Petroli, which you can walk along and experience sensational views of the sea, the beach, and the town itself.
Sandra Roig is Marketing Director at AB Apartment Barcelona. AB Apartment Barcelona is an apartment rental agency offering over one thousand short and long term apartments across Barcelona.