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Barcelona: Day trips to Tarragona, La Garriga and Sitges

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Tarragona Spain
With Roman ruins just steps away from Mediterranean shores, Tarragona makes for an enchanting day trip.

If you just have a week in Barcelona, then it’s best to stay put and just see the city, which is large and packed with entertainment, distractions and foodie bliss. However, if you have a bit more time in Catalonia, or just have a yearning to get out of Dodge, then consider these easy day trips from the metropolis. None of them require a rental car!

Tarragona

This is a favorite, but it always takes a lot of convincing on my part to get my visitors to go there. When they return they always thank me, enchanted by the experience in this Roman city. Take the train from Barcelona to Tarragona from l’Estació de França, which will get you there in about an hour. Many trains head to Tarragona throughout the day.

Upon arrival, climb the steps to the city’s “balcony” where the Mediterranean Sea poses before you like a brazen movie star, waiting to have her photo taken. You’ll snap her photo, and then move onto the Roman amphitheater, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the old city quarter. There’s a lot to see here, so go early and plan to have lunch in one of Tarragona’s many breezy plazas.

For more information and for help planning your trip, check out the Tarragona Tourism website.

Mansion in La Garriga

The mansions and gardens of La Garriga make for a relaxing respite from Barcelona’s bustle.

La Garriga

Not many tourists make it to La Garriga, which is part of its charm. A small village in the mountains near the Montseny Natural Park, expect cooler weather and lots of green. The main draw in La Garriga are its thermal springs. You can get a day pass to soak in the springs or spend the night in one of the few hotels in town.

Don’t miss the Saturday morning market, where a rainbow of local veggies are sold. La Garriga also has a large number of Art Nouveau mansions in its city limits, some crumbling and others in exemplary condition.

Read more about the hot springs at the website of the Blancafort Hotel and Spa.

Sitges is a great option for a Spanish beach getaway.

Sitges is a great option for a Spanish beach getaway.

Sitges

As the weather warms, Sitges calls visitors back.  This is one of the top beach escapes within 45 minutes from Barcelona in that it offers swimming, sunbathing, shopping, art, history, nightlife and countless restaurants. It’s also one of Europe’s gay getaway spots (their Carnaval festivals in February are fabulous).

Go for the day and stroll the boardwalk, have lunch and then snooze on a beach lounger (which you will have to rent). Note that in the summer months you might feel a bit like a sardine on Sitges tiny beaches, which are very popular.

For more information about the city, check out the Sitges Tourism website.

Anything to add?

Do you have your own favorite day trips from Barcelona? What about advice on visiting Tarragona, La Garriga or Sitges?  Let us know by posting in the comment section below.

And be sure to check out our Barcelona hotel recommendations for a place to stay, as well as this article in our Barcelona guide for more information on great day trips from the city.

About the author

Regina W Bryan

About the author: Regina W.Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. For more of her thoughts on Spain, check: www.regwb.com and www.thespainscoop.com.

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