Barcelona and Beyond: Fun beyond the city borders

Montserrat mountain and monasterio are a must see and only one hour by train from Barcelona, very easily accessible. Perfect hiking spot in Catalunia, Spain

Barcelona is a diverse city, brimming with cultural experiences and offering its residents and tourists a wonderful variety of beaches, mountains and city buzz. However, just neighbouring this excitement awaits a whole other realm of adventures. If you have the chance, you must explore these outer regions of Barcelona, and mature your tastes of Catalonia’s culture.

 

SITGES

This town is the epitome of an idyllic Spanish village. Meander through the narrow streets and admire the old buildings with their rustic balconies. During the day there is an area dedicated to shopping, whether it be for a new outfit, or. There is an abundance of ice cream shops dotted around the town; a cooling treat to savour as you stroll downhill towards the picturesque coastline, with its golden beaches.

If you are pushed for time, then there is a similar experience available in Barcelona itself; the replica of a Spanish town, POBLE ESPANYOL. This unique imitation is located on Montjuic hill close to Placa Espanya, and is the fast-track way to experience the lifestyle and culture found in a typical Spanish town. There are workshops, activities, shows, plenty of small shops and of course bars (it is Spain after all!) to ensure that your experience is an entertaining one.

 

LA ROCA VILLAGE SHOPPING EXPRESS

For the shopaholics amongst you, La Roca Village is a must-do! It is the place to go for chic outlet shopping, and all just a short bus trip from the Barcelona’s city centre! You will find a range of outlet shops, all from a variety of designer brands. You´ll be spoilt for choice! At barcelonatours.com we offer a two-way bus which stops directly at the shopping area, making it an easy destination. (for details please visit our website)

The shopping complex is all outdoors, ensuring a spacious area in which you can browse the numerous boutiques offering the latest fashions, with savings of up to 60 percent!

If your purse or wallet hasn´t been completely emptied in exchange for your designer haul, you can rest your legs after a hard day of shopping and relish a well-earned breather at one of the cafés in the area for a coffee or caña, the Catalonian equivalent of a small beer.

 

MONTSERRAT

Alternatively, the nature lover within you will be captivated by the unique beauty that is Montserrat – translated this means ‘serrated mountain’. Monserrat is Spain’s first National Park. It´s impossible to miss the jagged peaks of this 4,055 ft mountain. Hidden within this iconic setting is the town of Montserrat is. Keen hikers will love the challenge of reaching the highest point, Sant Jeromi (Saint Jerome)

Most notably, the mountain is home to the Jerome monastery, a spectacularly beautiful Benedictine monk mountain retreat about one hour North West from Barcelona by train.

The Monastery is of great religious importance, and a spectacle in itself. However, the addition of breathtaking scenery which encompasses this historic monument makes Montserrat and the treasures within it a special destination.

As well as the monastery, you will be able to visit the basilica, a museum hosting a wonderful collection of paintings and Stations of the Cross. To take a break from all of these attractions, the area includes bars and restaurants, and you can buy souvenirs of this marvellous experience from one of the available shops, and take home some local treats from the home products market.

To get to the foot of the mountain you will travelling along the Llobregat River and get a close-up view of Montserrat´s stunning surroundings.

It is well worth having a guide around Montserrat, as they will offer you insightful information pertaining to the mountain´s history and various legends created around it. A guide will also entertain you with tales, history and legends of the monastery and the shrine. The return journey will be an alternative route accompanied by recordings of a variety of traditional Catalan music.

 

FIGUERES

If you have gotten to know a bit about Barcelona, you will have most likely heard the name ‘Gaudi’ frequently brought up in conversations, or cited in many recommendations for touristic visits. There are numerous examples of this artist´s works of architectural artwork scattered throughout the city of Barcelona.

Outside of Barcelona however is the smaller town of Figueres, famous for being the birth place of Salvador Dali. As such it is home to numerous works by this renowned artist. A visit to the Dalí museum is highly recommended in order to gain a thorough understanding of this unusual man´s inspiration for his creations, and to appreciate first-hand the evolution of his pieces throughout his lifetime. It is a fascinating trip for everyone, artist enthusiasts and otherwise.

 

GIRONA

Girona is a quaint town close to Barcelona, comprising of many charming medieval and Jewish quarters brimming with interesting history. The town is painted in multicolour by the colourful houses which stand next to the Onyar River running through the middle.

Girona is 2000 years old! It´s antiquity is the reason for the abundant history and the fusion of cultural influences town left behind by Iberians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews, Christians. The result? A charismatic old quarter.

 

PYRYNEES

The Pyrenees are a must-see for any nature lover. The awe-inspiring views from this mountain range along with the surrounding nature make this visit unforgettable. For anyone looking for an outdoor day-trip outside of the busy city centre, the Pyrenees are the perfect option! During the summer months you can take advantage of the hiking trails scattered throughout the mountain range. Of course the winter months are when the slopes become crowded with hundreds of avid skiers, amongst other snow sports.

 

COSTA BRAVA

The Costa Brava (Wild Coast) is appropriately named! This jagged coastline is a treasure trove of small coves surrounded by pine forests and lapped by crystal waters.

Along the Costa Brava the most popular village for tourists is Lloret de Mar. From here you will get fantastic views of the beaches, and be able to profit from the beautiful surroundings while relaxing in the town.

 

PORT AVENTURA

Perfect for families, and sure to entertain the kids (that includes the big kids amongst you!). There are rides for all ages, from rides for the youngsters, to high-speed loop-the-loops for the thrill seekers.

Take an around-the world-trip in one day, from the mine train in Mexico to the Himilayas where you can experience the adrenalin of Europe’s highest roller coaster!

The park also includes a variety of fun shows such as flamenco dancing, which are entertaining for all ages. There are copious themed restaurants as well as stalls offering meals snacks throughout the day.

 

ILLA FANTASIA WATERPARK

Another perfect choice for families, or groups of Friends! At the Illa Fantasia Waterpark there are numerous water themed rides to enjoy. Take the plunge on the fast, vertical drops. Challenge yourself to the tormenting twists and turns. Take a dip in the fun-for-all wave pool. This day out is a treat for all ages, and everyone will leave the park with a big grin plastered on their face after a day of splashing. Check out our website for more information, and to book your tickets.

 

So there you have it! Barcelona is a gem in itself; however the city’s surroundings are also abundant in entertaining activities, enchanting natural locations and cultural delights. If you feel like venturing further afield then any of these options would provide you and your friends or family with a memorable day away from the hustle and bustle of city life.