beautiful BARCELONA - my 'top 3' half, full or multi day trips
While there is plenty to keep you busy in this wonderful city, I'm a firm believer of making the most of every trip - especially if I have traveled far to get there. If you can build in a little extra time on your holiday, I have 3 trip suggestions from Barcelona city center that are well worth the extended stay! There are other excursions available due to Barcelona's great location, but these are my favorite in each category - half day, full day and multi-day.
half-day trip from Barcelona - Montserrat & Wine Tour
There are a few different ways to visit Montserrat, but any way you go this excursion is definitely worth your time. Only 45 minutes from Barcelona, consider combining the monastery visit with a couple hours at a winery. There are several great tours available through Viator. I would highly suggest adding a cava tour or this combination tour which lasts about 6 hours pick-up to drop-off (you're usually back to the city center by mid-afternoon). This is a great 'mid-week' excursion that breaks up city life, isn't crazy expensive but leaves a life long impression on you - the views are VERY spectacular! Even years later, I still remember it like it was yesterday.
full-day trip from Barcelona - Girona & Costa Brava
Depending on your preference, quaint town or breathtaking coastline, you cannot go wrong with this day excursion. You'll depart Barcelona in the morning and head to Girona for a few hours, followed by afternoon in Costa Brava. The excursion was worth EVERY penny (even just for transportation alone) and we really enjoyed both places for different reasons. It's a long day (a solid 11 hours), but you definitely have plenty of down time - including 1.5 hours in Girona on your own to explore, drink coffee or shop and 2.5 hours in Costa Brava on your own to eat a late lunch seaside and explore the beach. It was a GREAT day. If you decide to go on your own by renting a car and not take a tour, I suggest staying with this itinerary and ending your day with Costa Brava. The roads seemed to be fine for driving, but keep in mind that it takes @ 1.5 hours to Girona, 45 min from Girona to Costa Brava, and then you will have another almost 2 hours back to Barcelona. My personal opinion is 'take the tour' so you can sit back, relax, and not worry about how much wine you have at lunch!
multi-day trip from Barcelona - Majorca
Lastly, if you have a few extra nights to spare definitely add Majorca to your Barcelona itinerary. On my last trip to Spain, we split our two weeks between Barcelona and Majorca. Our time spent on Majorca was so relaxing and some of the most AMAZING blue water I have ever seen. Majorca is known for its beach resorts, sheltered coves, limestone mountains and citrus plantations. It contains two mountain regions, with some of the most breathtaking seaside cliff views you will ever see. Five of us rented a villa for a week which was a nice way to break up the hotel stays. It was fun to cook some local recipes and get a brief feel for Spanish life. If you go to Majorca you will NOT want to leave, it's just beautiful.