13 Incredible Day Trips from Barcelona by Train in 2024 (By a Local)

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One of my favorite parts about moving to Barcelona is not needing a car. Sure, cars may be necessary if you are living or visiting the outskirts of the city. But, if you’re in the city of Barcelona, cars aren’t only not needed, they can also be an inconvenience.  

As an American, I’ve been driving since I received my driver’s license at 16. As an expat who’s lived in Barcelona for several years, I don’t miss expensive parking garages or the hassle of finding a parking spot.

Barcelona and Catalonia region have an extensive public transportation network. Buses, metros, and rideshare bicycles make it quick and easy to get from point A to point B. Regional trains connect Barcelona to other cities in Catalonia, while long-distance trains open up access to wider Spain. 

Exploring Barcelona by train is one of the best ways to get around. After years of exploring, here is a travel guide to  favorite day trips from Barcelona by train. 

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13 Best Day Trips from Barcelona by Train

Let’s dive into my favorite train trips from Barcelona!

1. Tarragona 

Tarragona Ruins
Tarragona ruins overlooking the sea

Tarragona is a charming coastal city only 80 kilometers from Barcelona. A great option for history enthusiasts, Tarragona has an impressive collection of Roman ruins, earning a designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The view of some of the ruins overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is one of my favorite spots in town. Visitors flock to see the ancient Roman amphitheater that once hosted gladiator contests. 

The city is sprinkled with medieval buildings and cathedrals. Tarragona’s quaint old town is filled with narrow streets, shops, and buzzing cafes.

An afternoon can easily be spent exploring this picturesque maze. We always leave a little time to hang out on a patio and sip sangria.

For beach lovers, Playa del Miracle and Playa de l’Arrabassada are popular spots to relax, swim, and enjoy the beautiful coast. The Balcony of the Mediterranean is a stunning overlook providing incredible views of the sea, port, beach, and the Roman amphitheater. 

Tarragona is a great beach trip in August but I’ve also visited in October and had no complaints!

If you have time, you can also plan a trip to Port Aventura World, the most visited amusement park in Spain. The park is located in Tarragon and is a popular destination for families.

How to get from Barcelona to Tarragona

Take the Renfe train from Barcelona Sants to Tarragona. The journey will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Search for train tickets on Omio

Best Tarragona Day Tour

🤩 Sightsee through Tarragona’s hidden gems with a private guide

2. Figueres

Figueres historic buidlings from a rooftop

Figueres is a town located in the northeastern part of Catalonia and is the birthplace of renowned surrealist artist Salvador Dali. You’ll find plenty of statues and street art throughout the city paying homage to the mastermind artist.

Figueres is now home to the world famous Dali Museum. This is more than just a museum recognizing Dali, the compound is a surreal masterpiece itself. Enjoy a walking tour of the city, museum, and Dali’s works.

Take a break from Gaudi and enjoy the expansive collection of Dali’s works. The museum is great at providing visitors with an immersive experience into the artist’s creative mind. 

Outside of Dali, the city has plenty of historical architecture to enjoy. The Sant Ferran Castle is a former military fortress is one of my favorites.

Meanwhile, the city center is perfect local shopping and delicious restaurants offering traditional Catalan dishes. Figueres was one of the first day trips I took from Barcelona and happened to be where I tried a lot of famous Catalan dishes for the first time.

How to get from Barcelona to Figueres

Figueres can be reached by train, bus, or rental car. A direct high-speed train will take about 55 minutes from Barcelona Sants to Figueres-Vilafrant. Search for train tickets on Omio

Buses tend to take longer, so expect 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

Best Figueres Day Tour

Plan a full day of Girona + Figueres on this sightseeing tour ►

3. Girona

For medieval architectural enthusiasts or simply Game of Thrones fans, Girona is a must do day trip from Barcelona.

Known for its picturesque river and vibrant cultural scene, Girona has plenty of events throughout the year. Festival of the roses is popular in the spring and transforms the city into a beautiful flower medley.

The historical old town is filled with cobblestone walkways and medieval buildings to explore. Girona Cathedral is particularly impressive and includes a climbable tower for panoramic views of the city. 

Walk or bike along the city walls for spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The Jewish Quarter in Girona is one of the most well preserved in Europe.

While here, pay a visit to the Jewish History Museum, a thorough collection of works highlighting Jewish heritage in Girona.

 The Art Museum of Girona and The Cinema Museum both offer exceptional exhibits.

No trip to Girona is complete without a leisurely stroll on the Onyar River. Take in the scenery by admiring the colorful houses that decorate the riverbank and marvel at the Eiffel Bridge.

A visit to the Gardens of the Francesc Macia Monument offers additional tranquility. 

How to get from Barcelona to Girona

Take the high speed train from Barcelona Sants and be to Girona in 40 minutes! 

Best Girona Day Tour

Game of Thrones fans: book an out of this world tour here

4. Sitges 

Sitges coastal town in Spain

This might be my pick for the best day trip from Barcelona. It’s simple and I tend to do it frequently – I’ve gone solo and with friends. 

Sitges is a bright coastal town just 40 mins from Barcelona and is one of the easiest and most popular day trips on the train. Sitges is not only beautiful, it also has plenty to offer in the arts and cultural front. 

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    You’ll find art studios and exhibits, plus incredible restaurant offerings. Home to some of the best nightlife in Spain, you’ll never be looking too hard to find a party.

    A day is well spent in Sitges by exploring the shops, cafes, and galleries in Old Town. Placa de la Vila is the perfect lively square to soak in historical surroundings. Lovely and quaint are two words I might use to describe this little town. 

    Stop by Museu Cau Ferrat, the former home of artist Santiago Rusinol, which is now a museum housing a wide array of art and artifacts. You can also make a stop at Maricel Palace, another impressive collection of art across multiple periods.

    Lastly, make use of the coastline and enjoy an afternoon on the beach. The beaches are often less crowded than those in Barcelona and offer a nice reprieve. Enjoy a hot September day by cooling off in Sitges!

    I’ve spent days in Sitges hiking, hanging out at the beach, and just strolling around town. You can make this a half day trip from Barcelona for a full day trip. There are some great cooking classes here!

    How to get from Barcelona to Sitges

    Take the R2 Sud line from Sants of Passeig de Gracia. Trains run often and take about 40 minutes.       

    Best Sitges Day Tour

    Plan a sightseeing tour with a local from Barcelona to Sitges for the day

    5. Valencia

    Valencia arts and sciences museum

    Valencia is probably better suited as a weekend trip from Barcelona but it is still one of the best trips from Barcelona by train. A visit to the 3rd largest city in Spain will be full of history, nightlife, and delicious food. Take a break from tapas here! The birthplace of Paella, Valencia blends the best of Catalan and Spanish cuisine.

    A full day can easily be spent at the City of Arts and Sciences, perhaps one of the most well known modern symbols of Valencia. 

    It's shockingly enormous. The museum houses a planetarium and IMAX cinema, Science Museum, Opera House, the Agora, and the Oceanographic, the largest aquarium in Europe. In addition to exploration around Valencia, the beaches provide a scenic and relaxing day for visitors. 

    How to get from Barcelona to Valencia by Train

    Valencia is connected to Barcelona by direct train from Sants and takes about 3 hours. Search for train tickets on Omio

    Best Valencia Day Tour

    View pricing and availability on the best Old Town Tour, Wine & Tapas tour

    6. Montserrat 

    view of monsterrat on a hill from a drone day trip from barcelona by train

    Montserrat is a gorgeous mountain range close to Barcelona and easily accessible by train. Known for its unique rock formation, Montserrat is quite different from other mountains in Spain. 

    This is the perfect day trip for nature enthusiasts as it has loads of trails ranging in difficulty. Sant Joan Funicular leads you to the top of the mountain while providing breathtaking views of the encompassing valleys. It’s one of the most peaceful escapes i’ve had outside of the city. 

    Montserrat is home to the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, a historical monastery on the mountainside. 

    Inside the basilica you’ll find Black Madonna, a famous statue of the Virgin Mary that draws thousands of pilgrims each year. Several restaurant offerings are available in Montserrat to refuel on your adventures. 

    Pro tip: stop by a local shop for regional offerings of cheese and honey.  

    How to get from Barcelona to Montserrat

    Barcelona to Montserrat train is two stops: the R5 line to Aeri de Montserrat, then the cable car up the mountian. It’s totally possible to do this on your own, but there are plenty of local tour operators who will guide you there as well. 

    A cool option is taking the cogwheel train up to the cable car rather than the R5 line.   

    Best Montserrat Day Tour

    View pricing and availability to take the cogwheel train up to Montserrat

    7. Cadaques

    Cadaques cove and white home on the water

    Now onto one of my favorites: a Costa Brava day trip from Barcelona - perfect for hot summer days when you want to be closer to the coastline! 

    Cadaques is a stunning beachside town located in the Costa Brava region of Catalonia. Costa Brava makes up the northeastern part of the region. It also holds some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain so be sure to pack your beach gear.

    The moment you step foot into Cadaques you’ll immediately be enamored by its beauty...and feel like you've transported yourself to Greece!

    The town is full of whitewashed buildings adorned with colorful flowers. You'll want to make the trek up to the Church of Santa Maria, an elevated landmark with a panoramic view of Cadaques.

    From there, it’s an easy walk to the Dali House Museum, the former residence of surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The museum provides insight into his life and showcases a collection of his works. I spent about an hour in the museum and that seemed to be enough. 

    Platja de Portlligat is a small beach situated near the house that provided inspiration that led to many of Dali’s paintings. Cadaques is still a haven to plenty of artists today and you’ll find art galleries and unique works of art in the local shops.

    Cap de Creus National Park is situated near Cadaques and holds plenty of welcoming trails to visitors.

    Far de Cala Nans Lighthouse is a short drive from the city offering incredible views on the rugged and dramatic coastline. The views were truly spectacular and I wish I could have stayed longer.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the restaurant at the lighthouse due to strong winds, but I still hit plenty of the top things to do in Cadaques.

    But, if you manage to visit on a calm day, it’s an experience you’ll never forget! Book a table on their website if you want to eat here; it can get crowded. Whether you want to dine or not, it’s worth making the trek for the views (and a photo op of course).

    How to get from Barcelona to Cadaques by Train

    There are no trains directly into Cadaques. There are direct buses from Barcelona to Cadaques. I went with locals, so driving wasn’t difficult. Renting a car is a great option, but if I hadn’t been with my local friends, I definitely would have taken a tour. 

    Alternatively, take a train from Barcelona to Figueres and then a 45 minute cab or 1 hour bus.

    While this is a great day trip, I personally did a weekend trip from Barcelona to Cadaques and it was the perfect amount of time!  

    Best Cadaques Day Tour

    Hit all of Dali's hot spots and the national park with this awesome Cadaques tour

    8. Penedes Wine Region 

    Cava winery in Barcelona

    Calling all wine lovers! A trip to the Penedes Wine Region is a must do for wine enthusiasts looking for some epic wine tasting. Located only 50 minutes from Barcelona, Penedes is renowned for its production of cava and wine. You’ll find no shortage of wineries and cava producers open for wine tours and tastings.

    A trip here makes for the perfect day trip with friends. Some of my favorite memories while living here involve taking the train up and having a cava crawl as most are within walking distance. For ones that are not, taxis are also available. 

    How to get from Barcelona to Penedes by Train

    Take the R4 line from Barcelona to Sant Sadurni d’Anola. Tours are also a great way to get to the Penedes region. 

    Best Penedes Day Tour

    View the best day tour to Penedes for wine-hopping and fun!

    9. Besalú

    bridge with reflection in the water in besalu catalonia

    If you’re looking for an epic day trip from Barcelona, head to Besalu. Located in the Garrotxa region of Catalonia, Besalu is filled with well-preserved medieval architecture.

    Perhaps one the most prominent landmarks is the Pont de Besalu, a Romanesque Bridge dating back to the 12th century. You don't want to miss a stroll up the hill to Besalu Castle for panoramic views of the landscape.

    While mostly in ruins, the castle provides a glimpse into a rich past.

    A trip to the Miqvé of Besalu, a ritual bathhouse and part of the Jewish community in town, sheds light on the deep Jewish roots. This was the highlight of my trip to Besalu.

    How to get from Barcelona to Besalu by Train

    Traveling to Besalu will require a train and bus, but don’t worry, it’s a breeze! Head to Barcelona Sants and take the 40 minute high speed train to Girona. Search for train tickets on Omio

    From Girona, grab a local bus to Besalu. The bus journey will take 35-40 minutes. 

    Best Besalu Day Tour

    Plan a day trip to Besalu and Girona's nearby medieval towns

    10. Collioure, France

    Collioure, France shoreline  with old stone buidlings

    For those looking to take advantage of Barcelona’s geographical proximity to France and check off another country, start planning your trip to Collioure!

    Collioure is a perfect beach town and fishing village nestled on the Mediterranean Sea in the Occitanie Region.

    Collioure is a popular choice for visitors looking to see its charming harbor, bright colors, and celebrate a rich artistic heritage. Artists have been drawn to the town for decades and you'll find inspiration around every corner.  

    Plage Boramer and Plage de la Balette are pristine beaches that are perfect for sun, rest, and water activities. Fort Saint-Elme, a 16th century historical fort overlooking the city, offers epic views of the sea. As of today, it's closed for visitors, but keep an eye out for it's reopening!

    The Church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges is another landmark of the town with a distinctive tower and brilliant maritime backdrop.

    How to get from Barcelona to Collioure by Train

    Take the R11 train from Sants and head north towards Portbou. This leg will take 2.5-3 hours. Once in Portbou, walk across the border or take a short taxi ride to Cerbere. From Cerbere, take a 10-15 minute train ride to Collioure.  Search for train tickets on Omio

    11. Vall de Núria

    When it comes to nature day trips from Barcelona, adventure lovers should plan for a day hike to Vall De Nuria. Vall De Nuria offers an escape into the heart of the Pyrenees.

    Accessible only by train, cable car, and steps, this trek will reward visitors with views that are straight out of a fairytale. Adventurers will enjoy a near perfect valley nestled within the towering peaks of the Pyrenees set next to a crystal blue lake.

    Within the valley, there is a small church and several dining options. Take the cable car to Pic de l’Aliga for epic views of the Pyrenees. Explore the area and nearby trails and finish with some local cuisine surrounded by nature. 

    How to get from Barcelona to Vall de Nuria by Train

    Catch a train from Barcelona to Ribes de Freser. From Ribes de Freser, transfer to the Rack Railway – Cremallera de Nuria to arrive in the Vall de Nuria valley. Search for train tickets on Omio

    12. Garraf

    Garaff rocks on the beach in Spain best day trips from barcelona by train

    Garraf is a small coastal town just 30 minutes from Barcelona that offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. A trip to Garraf will provide beaches and mountains at your fingertips. 

     Spend the afternoon on the calm beaches and basking in the tranquility. Or perhaps take a leisurely stroll to Garraf Massif Natural Park, a limestone mountain range that runs along the coast. There are plenty of hikes along this route.

    One of my favorites starts at the Garraf coast, runs through the mountains, and ends in Sitges. This trail takes about 4-5 hours to complete and traverses across the mountain capturing sea views and rolling hills along the way. 

    How to get from Barcelona to Garraf by Train

    Take the R2 Train from Barcelona. The journey is approximately 35 minutes. Search for train tickets on Omio

    Best Garraf Day Tour 

    Take a trip through my favorite - the coast of Garraf from Sitges

    13. Vic

    old roman bridge in Vic with a cathedral in the background

    Vic is only 70 kms from Barcelona yet will feel like a world away. Vic offers the chance for visitors to thoroughly immerse themselves in Catalan culture while exploring deeply historical sites in a medieval setting.

    Start the journey with a visit to Placa Major, the main square that is in the heart of historic buildings. From here, visit the Vic Cathedral, a Romanesque and Gothic Style Cathedral, dating back to the 11th century.

    Museu Episcopal de Vic is home to a fantastic collection of medieval art, history, and artifacts. From here, venture into Old Town, full of hidden squares and local shops just waiting to be explored. Enjoy a scenic view through Parc de la Sequia, a beautiful park along the Meder River. 

    You'll mostly be walking around Vic, so I'd suggest saving this trip for a February or March trip before the weather gets too hot.

    How to get from Barcelona to Vic by Train

    Take the R3 Train from Barcelona to Vic. The Journey takes roughly 1.5 hours. Search for train tickets on Omio

    FAQ Barcelona Day Trips by Train

    What cities can you take a train from Barcelona? 

    There are plenty of cities that are accessible by train from Barcelona. Sitges, Garraf, and Castelldefels are gorgeous beach towns that are less than 1 hour by train from Barcelona. 

    Medieval cities like Girona and Vic, as well as large cities like Valencia and Madrid are connected to Barcelona by train. 

    Taking the train from Barcelona to Madrid will take the longest at 3 hours. 

    Where is close to Barcelona by train?

    Barcelona is close to nearby coastal cities like Sitges and Tarragona by train. For more artistic and historical excursions, Girona and Figueres are easily accessible by train from Barcelona. 

    Is the train ride from Barcelona to San Sebastian scenic?

    The Alvia Train connects Barcelona to San Sebastian in 5.5 hours and offers a scenic view through the forests and mountains of northern Spain

    How far is Barcelona from the French border?

    Barcelona is only 150 km (93 miles) from the French border. French cities like Marseille, Toulouse, and Paris are easily accessible from Barcelona.

    Is the train ride from Barcelona to Paris Scenic?

    Yes - the train from Barcelona to Paris offers a scenic journey through the Spanish and French countryside. This route travels through the Rhone Valley, one of the most famous wine regions in the world. 

    Is there a high-speed train from Barcelona to France?

    Yes, there are high speed trains for day trips from Barcelona to France. Barcelona has high speed train routes to Paris, Montpellier, and Lyon. 

    Tips for Day Trips from Barcelona by Public Transport

    Where to Buy Barcelona Train Tickets

    Regional train tickets (any of the R lines) can be purchased directly at the train station and usually do not fluctuate in prices. 

    For high speed train tickets to Girona or Madrid, I recommend purchasing ahead of time through Omio or Trainline in order to get the best rate. 

    How To: Barcelona Train System

    Barcelona Sants Station (Estacio de Sants) is the primary station for long distance and high-speed trains. This will be the beginning train station for trips to Madrid or other major Spanish cities. 

    Passeig de Gracia is located in the center of Barcelona and is convenient for regional and suburban train routes. 

    Final Thoughts: Best Day Trips from Barcelona by Train

    Now that you have a great list of some of the best places to visit from Barcelona by train, all you have to do is make a decision! 

    Barcelona is a convenient entry point and gateway to plenty of incredible day trips, whether you have one day or ten. The city’s coastal location makes way for plenty of beautiful commutes during your journey. 

    Whether your vibe is relaxing beach days, fast-paced hikes, wine sipping in the rolling hills, or exploring history in medieval settings, we’ve got you covered! 

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