Top 5 Getaways Outside Barcelona

guide to BARCELONA getaways, all within 2 hours of the city

guide to BARCELONA getaways, all within 2 hours of the city

So you want to explore a little further afield?

Barcelona city is too crowded for you during the height of summer or you’ve been here before? Why not use the Catalan Capital as your base for exploring the nearby attractions? Barcelona is the perfect jumping point, with easy access from it’s airport, and a myriad of transport options available to the discerning traveler. Rent a car to head off the beaten track, or travel by bus or train. You can do a day trip or overnight at any of our 5 favorite Barcelona getaways, scroll down to find out more, or download our creative illustrated guide for more secrets to making your trip to Barcelona unforgettable.

Garraf – a sweet little village on the coast, just 20 minutes train ride from Plaza Catalunya. It has a charming row of beach shacks right on the beach and a restaurant (one of the only 2) perched on terraced levels in the cliff face overlooking the strand. It makes a superb day trip or a great little stop on the way to Sitges.

Montserrat – you can spot this curious mountain from Barcelona on a clear day, if you look in the right direction – northwest, its spires protrude from the landscape like fingers. You can take the train to the mountain, and then ascend to the working monastery abbey nestled halfway up which houses the famous Black Madonna. The mountain also has various hiking routes, and breath taking views. If you are a climber, there are plenty of rock climbing scrambles on the mountain.

Tarragona – a small city south of Barcelona, Tarragona boasts some lovely beaches and a fantastic Roman amphitheater over 2000 years old. A wander around Tarragona’s old city unveils fascinating historic buildings, old ruined walls, and is an easy day trip from Barcelona.

Tossa del Mar – a wonderful coastal village north of Barcelona in the Costa Brava, its curving bay and white sand beaches would make a great weekend excursion. Not only that, but Tossa also has a fantastic walled fort positioned overlooking the sea, you can clamber along the walls admiring the views as well as the old village contained within. There are plenty of hikes in the area along the coast, boat trips, snorkeling, fishing and some perfect places to enjoy a good seafood meal.

Cadaques – another great weekend trip, Cadaques is a perfect village with a tiny port. It is extremely picturesque, with white painted walls, red roofs, and shockingly blue waters off pebbly beaches. Truly Mediterranean in aspect. You can understand why the artist Dali chose to live nearby. His house has been turned into a museum, which is a delightful peek into his life. The garden is something to behold with whimsical swimming pool and surreal giant white egg sculptures. The nature reserve over the hill is worth exploring too, with stunning coves where you can go skinny dipping among the sea anemones.



Guide to Barcelona’s Barrios

guide to BARCELONA neighborhoods

guide to BARCELONA neighborhoods

Barcelona is a very old city in which you can feel the weight of history; it is haunted by history. You cannot walk around it without perceiving it -Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Barcelona is a lively, beautiful city, well known for it’s cultural heritage. Graceful Modernista architecture line the vibrant streets, while Barcelonians while away time in leafy plazas. Gaudi mozaics merge with surreal Dali landscapes while strains of music can be heard drifting out of cafes or from buskers in the gothic quarter. Barcelona is a city of art and, as such, offers many interesting museums to the discerning traveller. You can brush up on your history in the Picasso or Miro Museums.

The many parks invite you to relax in the shade, and it’s easy to enjoy a picnic and watch the world wander past. The beaches beckon, and as the sun sets you may find yourself joining in with locals in a singalong, as many bring instruments onto the sands to play while appreciating the perfect Mediterranean view.

At night, the city comes alive, and you can watch a Flamenco show, or listen to classical guitar in the Palau de Musica. From spectacular dining experiences whipped up by the likes of Adria Ferran at his restaurant Tickets, to bustling markets where you can grab tapas on the go; from the vistas at the Tibidabo Fairground to quiet cloisters in a Gothic Cathedral; from an intimate Flamenco concert at 23 Robadors, to a thumping club scene at the beach…

Barcelona has something for everyone. Scroll down for our guide to Barcelona’s different neighborhoods and don’t forget you can download our quirky illustrated guide to the city here.



Barcelona has 10 neighborhoods. All of our available rooms and apartments are located in Gracia.

Ciutat Vella comprises of the “old” city of Barcelona. Within it, you will find the barrios of El Born, the Gotic, Raval and the beach barrio of Barceloneta. The area is very popular with tourists, it contains the famous Las Ramblas walking street, many museums, historical sites including fascinating Roman artifacts, restaurants, bars, hotels and shops. You can also find the famous Boqueria Market, the Gothic Cathedral, The Santa Catarina Market, Citudella park and Plaza Catalunya here. It can get quite crowded and noisy, but the area retains it’s inheritance in the texture of the narrow streets and winding passageways.

Eixample is a large neighborhood with many Modernist Buildings. Here you can find some of Gaudi’s famous architectural gems along Passeig de Gracia, which connects the neighborhood of Gracia and Plaza Catalunya. It is a large shopping street and runs down the center of Barcelona. There are many restaurants, hotels, apartment buildings and shops as well as a few parks in the area, which is quite extensive and well worth some exploration. Check out our downloadable guidebook for more info on where to visit in this neighborhood.

Sants – Montjuic contains the prominent mountain of Montjuic, on which lies the Fort of Barcelona as well as the Olympic Stadium. The park on the hill is expansive and you can find many museums, including the Miro museum and the Catalan Art History museum which holds an impressive collection of medieval art, in the area. The street of Parallel connects this area with Ciutat Vella, and the area has many good restaurants. Read our post on Pintxos in Poble Sec.

Les Corts borders Ave Diagonal which runs across the center of the city. Here you will find the famous Camp Nou football stadium, as well as some large shopping malls, gardens, and the large Maternitat Hospital. The area is mainly residential.

Sarria / Sant Gervasi is a historically upper class residential neighborhood. There are some beautiful old houses in the neighborhood. It is quiet, has many schools, and Turo Park. You can also find a few good restaurants, The British Council, and some Consulates in the area. It is close to Diagonal and the business sector of Ave Diagonal. The natural park of the Collserola make up the top part of this neighborhood with fantastic views of Barcelona.

Horta Guinardo, Nou Barris and Sant Andreu are all residential neighborhoods on the outskirts of Barcelona. Some of Barcelona’s university campuses can be found here. There are also parks, schools, shopping malls etc as well as access to the natural park of the Collserola.

Sant Marti borders the beach of Barcelona and the Besos River. You can find the design Barrio of Poble Nou here. There is the famous Encants Market, as well as some interesting architecture which houses new fashion districts as well as designer cafes and shops in the area. Villa Olympica is also within this neighborhood, and borders the Ciutadella Park. There is a large cinema complex as well as many hotels along the beach.

Gracia is a central neighborhood above the Eixample. It used to be a village until Barcelona grew and encompassed it. It still retains a classic Catalan village feel and you can find many good restaurants, shops, bars, and squares in the area. It is family and student friendly with plenty of small schools. Park Guell designed by Antoni Gaudi lies at the top of the neighborhood.

You can find out more interesting insider tips and guides in our Illustrated Guide, it offers a unique artistic viewpoint to Barcelona, with walks, restaurant guide, and a few secrets…

read more about the barrios of barcelona here.