Barcelona is much more than one of the most admired cities in the world. In fact, its province is also a real gift for the senses thanks to the many villages and beautiful scenery it offers. From the imposing mountains of the Pre-Pyrenees to picturesque fishing villages, as well as medieval villages or natural areas that are perfect for hiking. All this awaits just a few steps from the Catalan capital. Does the idea tempt you? In that case, we encourage you to discover these places to visit that are just 30 miles away from Barcelona.
If the urban center of Barcelona is simply indescribable, its surroundings are not far behind. From our beach apartments in Barcelona, and with the ideas that we give you below, you can prepare day trips and weekend getaways that will make you fall in love. Will you accept these suggestions?
The name of this town is almost, almost a spoiler: as it could not be otherwise, water is one of the elements that give it a unique magnetism. Located in the Vallès Oriental region and the Congost river valley, and just 31 miles away from Barcelona city, Aiguafreda is an ideal option for trekking, since much of the municipality is under the protection of the Montseny Natural Park, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Its municipal term is covered with forest in 80% of its area, so this population invites you to wear walking shoes. One of its most popular walking routes – which is circular, and barely 12 miles long and easy to reach- is the one that runs through the area of Aiguafreda de Dalt. It begins in the Font dels Enamorats and offers such idyllic corners as the bucolic Gorg de la Sort – a small fairytale pond fed by a small waterfall – or the church of Sant Martí de Congost, consecrated in the year 898.
Although you can get there by car, you can also take the Renfe train line R3 to the Sant Marí de Centelles stop.
Gaudí’s inspration does not end in Barcelona: just 12 miles from its urban center, you can reach a place that also keeps part of his architectural heritage: the Colònia Güell, an industrial colony dedicated to the manufacture of cloth and velvet, located in the municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló.
Construction began in 1890 on the initiative of the businessman Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, owner of the land, who moved e the factory that had previously been in the Vapor Vell de Sants, in Barcelona. Güell entrusted Gaudí with the project of the colony, which included a hospital, an inn, a school, shops, a theater, a cooperative and a chapel, as well as the factory (closed in 1973) and the homes of the workers, in a total area of about 160 hectares. As for the church, the genius of Reus only got to build the crypt, since, on the death of his patron, in 1918, his children decided to abandon the project. Since 2005, this construction is part of the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Located 28 miles away from Barcelona and accessible by road or on the R3 commuter train Renfe (it has its own station), Figaró still retains the atmosphere of the old summer villas of the early twentieth century. Strolling through its streets, dotted with modernist buildings, it is the closest thing to traveling through time.
However, its main attraction is its proximity to the Tagamanent, a 3,464-feet-high (1,056 m) mountain that has become into a kind of mecca for trekking enthusiasts. Hence, this village is the starting point for many routes. At the top, there are no remains of the old castle belonging to the Counts of Barcelona that used to stand there, although the church of Santa Maria, an interesting Romanesque building of the twelfth century, is still preserved. Would you like to visit it?
33 miles is the distance that separates Barcelona from one of the places with the greatest scenic and cultural interest in the province: the mountain of Montserrat, belonging to the Bages region, whose capricious geological formations will leave you speechless.
Its other great attraction is the Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery located at 2,362 feet (720 m) high. As it has become a symbol of Catalonia due to its important role in the preservation of the Catalan language and culture during the Franco regime, this place has become a pilgrimage point for believers and a must for tourists. In addition, it is here where the Catalan Track starts through San Juan de la Peña, one of the branches of the Camino de Santiago.
Inside the basilica, be sure to see La Moreneta, a carving of the patron saint of Catalonia, well known for representing a black-skinned Virgin. And of course, make sure you buy some delicious coques de Montserrat at the bakery you will find at the top.
You can get to the mountain by car, or by combining the train ride with the rack railway to Montserrat. For a much more complete information, take a look at our article about what you need to know to visit the monastery of Montserrat.
SANT LLORENÇ DE MUNT
27 miles away from Barcelona by road, Sant Llorenç del Munt awaits, a massif located between the regions of Vallès Occidental and Bages that belongs to the Catalan Pre-coastal Mountain Range. In its surroundings, the seductive Montcau Valley, famous for its medieval villages, and the top of La Mola (3,622 feet or 1,104 m), where the monastery of Sant Llorenç del Munt and Castellassa (2,808 feet or 856 m) are located. Together with the Serra de l’Obac, it forms the Natural Park of Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac.
The monastery of Sant Llorenç del Munt, flagship of the area, is a Romanesque construction of the eleventh century. Its origins date back to around 958, when the first documented mention of an ecclesiastical house with altars dedicated to Santa Maria, Sant Miquel and Sant Llorenç, located on the top of the mountain appears. Have your mobile or camera ready!
SANT MIQUEL DEL FAI
It is worth traveling the 30 miles that separate Barcelona from Sant Miquel del Fai, a natural 70.5-hectare area, located in the municipalities of Bigues i Riells, Sant Feliu de Codines and Sant Quirze Safaja, between the counties of the Vallès Oriental and the Moianès.
Its limits hide many surprises, such as a Gothic abbey, the largest building in the complex; the largest and best-preserved troglodytic church in Catalonia (twelfth century), waterfalls, lakes and grottos, as well as a Romanesque hermitage of the XII century which has recently been conditioned.
Although it was previously owned by private company, Sant Miquel del Fai was acquired in 2017 by the Diputació de Barcelona and, after remaining closed for a few months for improvement works, its reopening is expected for 2020.
Another reason to visit Sant Miquel de Fai is the presence of the hills known as Cingles de Bertí, which are part of the Spaces of Natural Interest of Catalonia plan since 2002. The municipality, therefore, is surrounded by spaces of natural interest, which gives it a privileged situation.
In this list, Sitges could not be absent. This charming seaside town, located just 24 miles away from Barcelona, owes its international fame to its famous festival of fantasy and horror films, its carnival and its status as a gay-friendly destination, but also for its beaches and whitewashed buildings, which give it a hypnotic look.
Once there, we invite you to contemplate the church of San Bartomeu, the most popular landmark of the city, as well as the Cau Ferrat Museum, founded in 1893 by the artist Santiago Rusiñol and famous for being the location for the best modernist parties.
Nearby, in the Garraf Natural Park, the only Buddhist monastery in Catalonia, the Sakya Tashi Ling cloister, founded in 1996 at Palau Novella, opens its doors. The place is impressive and can be accessed on foot or on a cycling route from the center of the town.
What do you think? If you know other interesting places to visit that are just 30 miles away from Barcelona, do not hesitate to share them with us. We look forward to your contributions!