Apologies again for this INCREDIBLY pic-heavy post, but trust me, it’s worth it. During our stay in Barcelona, we took two day trips a couple hours outside of Barcelona, all within the Catalonia region of Spain.
Catalonia is a region in Northern Spain, sort of like a state but from what I understand the regions of Spain are different than the states of the United States and our tour guide didn’t want us thinking they were the same. There is a lot of political turmoil right now because many Catalonians want to secede from Spain and I’m not good at explaining it but here is an article that explains it quite eloquently.
This was one of many political displays we say throughout the region.
We went on two separate day trips in the Catalonia region with two AWESOME tour companies:
- Costa Brava, Girona, and Pals with In Out Barcelona Tours – This was a very small tour in a van with a personal tour guide. It was us 5 girls, a retired Australian couple, and our tour guide Paul. BEST dynamic ever.
- Montserrat Monastery and Oller Del Mas Winery with Castle Experience Wine Tours – This was a big bus tour but once we got to the places, we split out among four separate tour guides, so it made it a lot more manageable.
These two day-long tours were amazing and allowed us to see so much more of Spain than we ever could on our own., with the added benefit of having an incredibly knowledgeable guide. I would highly recommend both of these tours.
So, without further ado, here are the five places to visit within 2 hours of Barcelona!
Proximity to Barcelona: 1-2 hour drive depending on where you stop
- Go cliff jumping (if/where it’s SAFE and you maybe get help from some Spanish teenagers)
- Eat seafood at a restaurant overlooking the water
This is quite possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. It’s one of the places I’ve always seen in magazines and on instagram like Positano or Greece, and I never thought I myself would actually get to visit. I’m still pinching myself!
We went to lunch at a restaurant on the water, and it was AMAZING. I wish I remembered the name of it 🙁
The ceviche, tuna tartare with caviar, burrata, fried clams, and LOTS of Spanish white wine was the most divine combination. And, it made for the best state of mind to go cliff jumping afterwards! I’ve been trying really hard to be more adventurous as of late (I think it started when I…you know…moved across the country to NYC), so this was such a fun thing to do.
This is the view from the cliffs we jumped from. Not too shabby!
Proximity to Barcelona: 102 km (1 hour 14 minute drive)
- Either go on a guided tour or print a really good self guided tour. There is SO much history here that you’d never know about, and its easy to get lost 🙂
This is one of the locations that Game of Thrones was filmed at, and although I’ve never seen Game of Thrones before, I recognize the significance of this for sure! Recognize this?
Also, you know, it was built by the Roman Empire in 300 AD so also I’d say that’s pretty significant. At least significant enough to put on the 10 euro bill!
This city has so much history and is honestly breathtaking. It was founded in 79 BC! So many different people, from the Romans to the Moors to the Visigoths have inhabited this small little town, and seeing all their influences from thousands of years combined is very cool.
THREE | PALS
Proximity to Barcelona: 131 km (1 hour 34 minute drive)
Pals was a nearly abandoned medieval village until the late 19th century when a local wealthy doctor invested millions of dollars in restoring the village to its former glory.
Now, it’s absolutely stunning, so much so that I used my precious international data to immediately look up real estate there. You can get a 1000 year old house in the middle of the village for $400,000…not bad! The church in the middle of the village at the top of a hill is simple yet beautiful, and I love how all the architecture ties together in the whole town, including the church.
This town is literally on the coast, so if you’re headed to the beach, stop by Pals to see a bit of history before hitting the water, it’ll be worth it!
Proximity to Barcelona: 61 km (58 minute drive)
- Watch the Montserrat Boys Choir perform daily in the church at 1 p.m. It’s a short performance and they sound heavenly! Make sure to get there at least 15 minutes early if you want a seat
- Then, do the liquor tasting for 2 euros at La Botiga
- Suck it up and make the 20 minute uphill walk to the Cross of Saint Michael. Allegedly the best views of the Monastery (see picture above for yourself below!)
Montserrat is a mountain right outside Barcelona, and it is arguably one of the most beautiful natural land features I’ve ever laid eyes on.
It literally translates to ‘serrated mountain’ in latin and that is the most accurate way to describe it. After doing lots of research, I really think the monastery is the best landmark to hit on the mountain. If you do a tour to the monastery, you can easily do a bit of hiking around it, and see so many gorgeous views. Plus, the monastery is so beautiful, and rich in history.
FIVE | VINEYARDS
Proximity to Barcelona: 65 km (55 minute drive)
As I’m sure you’re familiar, Spain is known around the world for their wines. They’re actually the third largest exporter of wines in the world, behind Italy and France. Tempranillo, grenach, and syrah are arguably the most well known Spanish grape varieties, but even some cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay are grown in this region.
The vineyard we went to was an organic vineyard and it was very interesting to see a lot of the science behind their agricultural practices.
We toured the vineyard, and the caves, and then did a tasting. The bottles we tested ranged from $10-$40 and you honestly couldn’t tell! My favorite was the cab sauv, I think it was $15-$20.
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And those are the five places to go outside Barcelona! I had such an amazing time on my first trip to Spain and I have a funny feeling I’ll be back 🙂
I watched Eat Pray Love on the airplane headed here and while I’m honestly not the biggest fan of the premise of that movie (aka how she divorces her husband), one thing that movie reminds me is how important it is to just marvel at something. I feel like these places throughout Spain allowed me to just be in awe and marvel over and over and over again.
I’m not sure how many times in one week a person should be able to think to themselves *This is the most beautiful place I have ever ever seen*, but I am so lucky that this trip to Spain was filled to the max with marveling at God’s beautiful creations that he made for us.
Thanks for reading!