We know that getting around Barcelona by public transport is no secret, and that it is practical, fast and budget-friendly. However, you may want to get behind the wheel of your car during your next getaway with your partner, family or friends. Is that the case? If so, we would like to tell you that this is a wise choice, as it will allow you to discover the incredible tourist attractions of Catalonia.
We would need dozens – if not hundreds – of posts to tell you just how much this land has to offer. This is why we have selected seven day trips for you that you will find just 100 km away from Barcelona city (or less). Without doubt, it will be very easy for you to get to these corners if you stay in our luxury apartments by the beach.
We assure you that none of these destinations will let you down: try it out!
TOSSA DE MAR (86.8 KM)
Although we have already referred to this beautiful town when we wrote about what to see on the Costa Brava, its beauty forces us to pay attention to it again. Located in the region of La Selva, this coastal town of 5,500 inhabitants stands out for its beautiful beaches and pine forests, but also for its extensive monumental heritage, which includes the Roman villa of Els Ametllers, the hermitage of Sant Benet and, of course, the Old Town (La Vila Vella). The latter corresponds to the old town of Tossa de Mar, and surprises the visitor with its medieval atmosphere and its walls, eternally watched over by the slender Torre de les Hores tower.
Due to its unbeatable beauty, it is not surprising that this Girona town has been the setting for various films, such as Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, starring Ava Gardner and James Mason. And that’s not all: just 45 km away is the Montseny Natural Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. At Lugaris, we encourage you to get to know Tossa, which Marc Chagall himself referred to as “the blue paradise”.
On the other hand, if you are a water sports enthusiast, this is one of the favourite places for scuba diving and diving baptisms in Catalonia.
If you are looking for the shortest route from Barcelona city to reach Tossa, you should take the C-32. However, if you prefer to follow the AP7 motorway, you will cover 103 km.
PUIG-REIG (89 KM)
This small town of 4,100 inhabitants, belonging to the Berguedà region, is an exceptional opportunity to discover what the day-to-day life of the working class was like in the Catalonia of the Industrial Revolution. To do this, there is nothing better than a visit to the Colònia Vidal, an authentic town built around a textile factory and where the workers and their families lived. This development, deliberately distanced from Barcelona to keep its inhabitants away from the first anarchist and communist movements, had rental housing -one of which is open to the public-, shops, a church, a theatre, a bank branch, public showers… We are convinced that a tour of the colony, which has been converted into a real open-air museum, will surprise you.
CARDONA (90 KM)
The town of Cardona, located in the Bages region of Barcelona, is home to one of the most important medieval sites in Catalonia: the Cardona Castle. Here you can admire the Romanesque collegiate church of Sant Vicenç de Cardona, built between 1029 and 1040 and one of the few large Romanesque churches still standing, and the 11th century Minyona tower.
Also not to be missed is the Salt Mountain Cultural Park, a former salt mine that has been in operation since Roman times and was active until the early 1990s. Nowadays, they are open to the public, so it is possible to admire their magnificent geological formations.
You also have the option of visiting the Cardona Medieval Centre, where you can see a permanent exhibition on the history of the town; the old town, where you can see the church of San Miquel (1397); the Graells portal, the Josep Arnau Salt Museum, the Executioner’s tower and the unfinished Devil’s Bridge, from the 14th century.
The C16 road is the shortest route from Barcelona to Cardona. However, you can also take the C55, although the distance will increase to 99 km.
REAL MONASTERI DE SANTA MARÍA DE SANTES CREUS (96 KM)
On the banks of the Gaià River is the monastery of Santes Creus, one of the largest and most influential monastic complexes in the Crown of Aragon. Founded in 1160 and belonging to the Cistercian order, it lived its peak between the 13th and 14th centuries. In 2010, the restoration of the royal pantheons led to the discovery of the tomb of Peter the Great y Blanca of Anjou, the only kings of the Crown of Aragon whose remains have been preserved.
The layout of the monastery distributes the spaces according to the needs of the religious community. The church, which was opened for worship in 1225, is a good example of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. Its austerity contrasts with the ornamental richness of its Gothic cloister, dating from the 14th century, the first in the Gothic style of the Crown of Aragon.
Together with the monasteries of Vallbona de les Monges and Poblet -the latter declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991-, the monastery of Santes Creus is part of the so-called Cistercian Route.
TARRAGONA (100 KM)
The city of Tarragona is one of those places you must see on the Costa Dorada. In fact, ancient Roman Tarraco exhibits numerous remains of this period that have earned it the title of World Heritage Site in 2000. These include the Circus Maximus, the city walls, the Scipions Tower, the Ferreres Aqueduct, the city walls, the Pretori Tower and the only Roman amphitheatre in the world located in front of the sea, inside of which the remains of a church are still visible.
Other important spots are the imposing cathedral of Santa Tecla, in early Gothic style and inaugurated in 1170, or the old bullring, where one of the most popular castells contests (traditional Catalan human towers) takes place.
If you like dishes based on fresh fish and seafood, visit the fishermen’s quarter of El Serrallo (and if you are a vegan, book a table at the cosy restaurant El Vergel). Finally, to enjoy unique views, come to the Mediterranean Balcony, decorated with a beautiful forged railing, or simply spread your towel on the sand of el Miracle beach.
By the way: you can also get to Tarragona by train.
BERGA (102 KM)
This old industrial city, located at the foot of the Pre-Pyrenees, will help you to become familiar with the industrial reality of 19th century Catalonia. It is very pleasant to stroll around its historical centre, which dates back to the 1360s, or to contemplate such interesting sights as the Santa Magdalena gateway, the Plaça de Sant Pere, which is of medieval origin, or the church of Sant Joan, which dates back to the 13th century and was declared a Historical-Artistic Monument in 1983.
Nearby, you will find places such as the sanctuary of Queralt, from the 18th century and home to an image of the Virgin from the 11th century; the castle of Sant Ferran, from the 10th century; an 18th century salt mill or the church of Sant Quirze de Pedret, from the 9th century and one of the best examples of pre-Romanesque art in Catalonia. You will find it in the municipality of Cercs.
However, Berga’s main sign of identity is the Patum, a festival declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2005 and held every year during the week of Corpus Christi. Its parades of mythological figures and its musical and pyrotechnic shows will leave you in awe.
GIRONA (102 KM)
We close our suggestions for day trips near Barcelona in the stately city of Girona. One of its most evocative places is the Barri Vell, with streets full of charm. Among the places you must visit, we must mention the Call, one of the best preserved Jewish quarters in the Iberian Peninsula; the cathedral, which has the largest Gothic nave in the world; the Romanesque-style monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants; the Arab baths, the multi-coloured houses that mark the banks of the Onyar River and the Peixeteres Velles bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel’s company in 1877.
A good time of year to visit Girona is the second half of May, when the city is covered in floral decorations during the Girona Temps de Flors (‘Flower Time’) festival.
What do you think of this tour? Would you add other proposals to the list? If so, don’t hesitate to send us your comments.
Title: Day trips from Barcelona (less than 100 km away)
Description: Want to take a day trip from Barcelona to visit some of the best spots in Catalonia? Take a look at this list of places just 100km away.