Got a spare day during your trip to Barcelona? Well, you could spend it on one of the city’s beaches, or you could take a trip out. Here are some of the most popular places to head to.


Tibidabo, Spain (Image: Wikimedia)

Barcelona’s “fun mountain” – not only can you reach it by a funicular railway (the first in Spain, built in 1901) but it also has an amusement park on the top. Hop on the big wheel with exceptional views of the city below. If the park is looking familiar, you’ve probably seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona – it was one of the locations that Javier Bardem wooed his American beauties.


Sitges, Spain (Image: Wikimedia)

The closest beach resort to Barcelona (it’s 35km southwest), Sitges has earned the nickname “the St Tropez of Spain”. There’s a nice mixture of old and modern architecture – think paved, palm tree-filled promenades and medieval churches. There’s also a strong artistic community, as well as a thriving gay one – and with 17 beaches to choose from, there’s something for everyone.


Figueres, Spain (Image: Wikimedia)

Figueres is Dali central – he was born here, and the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dali was designed by the artist himself and housed in the ruins of what used to be the town theater when he was a child (it was bombed in the Spanish Civil War). Now a museum, it houses the largest single collection of Dali’s works in the world, as well as a small collection of works by other artists that were bought by Dali himself.


Tarragona, Spain (Image: Wikimedia)

One for the history buffs – not only is Tarragona twinned with Pompeii, but the Roman ruins here have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and throughout the town you’ll see inscriptions in Latin and even, supposedly, Phoenician, on some of the building blocks. The cathedral is slightly younger but equally impressive – a mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Arabic


Girona, Spain (Image: Wikimedia)

Ninety minutes away by train, Girona may be mostly known as the town where budget airlines fly into as an alternative to Barcelona, but it’s actually the perfect antidote to the big city: a gorgeous little medieval town that’s still relatively “untouristy”, with plenty of cobbles and alleyways to lose yourself in. Take your walking shoes, though: the town is split between the main square below, and the cathedral perched on top a hill. The rest of the town is spread out along the hillside.

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