Barcelona is Spain's most visited city and that's not surprising considering its well-located position along the Mediterranean Sea, its distinctive Catalan culture, the architectural gems left by famed architects like Gaudi, its modern metropolis feel mixed with historic riches, and how well connected it is with the rest of mainland Europe. For these reasons and more, it is must see city. Another one of Barcelona's charms is the opportunity to leave the city for exciting day trips. Here area few of my favorite ways to spend the day outside of Barcelona.
A coastal town just forty minutes south of Barcelona, Sitges is a beautiful beach destination and features classic white painted buildings and blue shutters framing the windows. On its coastline sprawl 17 beaches, some quite crowded in high season and others always with plenty of room. The town is well known for being a popular gay-friendly destination, and its restaurant scene and nightlife reflect that fact. It offers the perfect beach town vibe for everyone and is easily tacked on to a Barcelona itinerary.
Located in the other direction of Barcelona, Girona is another great day trip option, though a bit more of a time commitment. It's about 100 kilometers northeast, and by train takes about an hour and half to reach. Girona is one of the more prominent cities in Catalonia with several popular sites like the Girona Cathedral, the city wall, the Church of Sant Feliu, Placa de la Independencia, and remnants of Jewish history from before their expulsion from Spain.
Figueres is in the same direction from Barcelona as Girona, but another 40 kilometers farther. It's a two-hour train ride from the city and is perhaps most known for being the birthplace of painter Salvador Dali. The museum he designed, Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dali, is also located in Figueres and contains the largest collection of Dali's diverse works including paintings, sculptures, devices, and various oddities. Another site that makes this destination worthwhile is the Sant Ferran Castle dating back to 1753 and whose name is in honor of King Ferdinand VI of Spain. It is a military fortress as well as Catalonia's largest monument.
What is your ideal day trip from Barcelona?