As Barcelona is, undoubtedly, a city that has everything you could want, sometimes it’s easy to forget there’s so much more to see in the region than just the charms of the Catalan capital.
Although the best way to explore can be just to jump in a car, or on a bus or train, and see where it takes you. If you’re someone who prefers to plan their spontaneity, here are some of the places you really should not miss:
This seaside Roman city is known for having one of the best preserved amphitheaters in the whole of Spain but it also has so much more going for it. Great beaches, a vibrant nightlife and freshly grilled seafood are just some of the attractions that draw tourists to this hotspot year after year. Make sure you drag yourself off the beach long enough to have a roam around the city’s medieval center and check out the stunning Gothic cathedral; you won’t regret it.
If you’re looking to take a dip in some Spain’s most pristine turquoise waters, Begur is the place to go. This chic little seaside resort is perhaps one of Catalonia’s best-kept secrets so has yet to be spoiled by the side effects of overdevelopment that mass tourism brings. Many Barcelonians love it so much, they’ve chosen to buy stylish holiday homes there and a ton of fantastic chefs have also followed suit, meaning you won’t be stuck for choice when it comes to places to eat.
This tiny country is jammed between France and Spain and is a favorite among skiers and nature lovers. In winter you can find some of the best slopes in the Pyrenees but once the snow melts, it becomes a great place to go hiking. While there’s a lot of traveling involved if you only plan on going for a day trip - it’s three hours each way by bus or car - it’s definitely worth popping up there even if you’re short for time.
Famous for being the birthplace of renowned Catalan artist Salvador Dalí, the town of Figueres is still worth a visit even for those who aren’t big fans of his work as it is packed with cute cafes and gorgeous architecture. There’s also a breathtaking museum Dalí built there himself which pays homage to his extravagant, surrealist style and makes the two-hour drive up to this town totally worth it.
Home to both a monastery and natural park, Montserrat mountain makes the perfect day trip for those looking to get out into nature and see something unique. Trains run frequently from Barcelona center to Montserrat and from the station you can choose from either the funicular (small train) or cable car to take you up the side of the sheer cliff to the monastery at the top. From there you can go on to explore the stunning scenery while enjoying some of the best views of the region.
The nightlife in Sitges is fantastic, given how small the town is, and is just a 40-minute train journey from Barcelona. In February, the town really comes into its own for Carnival, famous for the extravagant parades, wacky costumes and dancing on the beach until the early morning. From that point on, the party carries on right through the summer and the pristine sandy beaches soon become packed with locals and tourists alike.
The birthplace of architect Antoni Gaudí, Reus is known for producing some of the region’s best wines and spirits but has also become popular among rock climbers in recent years. The town center has some charming architecture and it is also fairly close to Tarragona, meaning it’s possible to do the two in one long day out.
The largest city in Northern Catalonia, Girona is packed with quaint museums, galleries and churches all intermingled within the center’s medieval walls. Game of Thrones fans may get a sense of déjà vu while walking around as parts of the city were used to shoot the TV show, including the iconic steps at the foot of the cathedral.
Are you about to embark on the trip of a lifetime? Study Abroad Apartments offers some great options for students planning to study abroad. Just get in touch with us if you need any help finding somewhere to stay and we’ll make sure you have one of the best options out there!