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The Placa de Catalunya is a very popular tourist attraction because of the amazing and unique architecture.  This is a large town square and is considered as the center of Barcelona.

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Barcelona / Best Day Trips from Barcelona

Barcelona is the perfect base from which to explore the rest of Catalonia, although the city has plenty to keep you busy for several months you may want to take a break and explore the surrounding areas of the city. Here are a few suggestions of day trips from Barcelona which can be taken with guided tours, private guides or independently in your own rental car.

1. Figueres

Many of the travelers to Barcelona come for the art and this day trip will appeal to fans of surreal art and Salvador Dali in particular. Figueres is a town about 100km north of Barcelona (a 2 hour drive or a train ride away) and is best known as Dali's birthplace. Here you can find the Dali Museum (Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dali) which was created by the artist himself. The distinct building which houses the artist's works has egg shapes along the edge of the roof and inside you'll find paintings, sculptures, instillations and devices created by Dali. While in the town visit the Sant Ferran Castle fortress, the town's Gothic church and Monturiol Street where Dali was born. If you're an avid Dali fan there is also the artist's home in Lligat where he did most of his work.

2. Montserrat

Reach this site with an hour long train ride or drive to the fascinating site. The Montserrat Mountain is famed for the Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery which clings to the cliffs and is surrounded by strange shaped naturally formed rocks.  The monastery was built in 1025 after a vision was seen on this spot. The original building was destroyed by Napoleon's troops and what we see today dates back to 1811. In the monastery you can see a Byzantine-style statue of Catalonia's patron saint the Black Madonna. There is an audiovisual presentation about the mountain's myths and legends. You can take a funicular up the side of the mountain to the Santa Cova, a cave where the Madonna was discovered by shepherds in 880. While here see the railings which were designed by Gaudi and you may catch a performance by the L'Escolonia boys choir which performs daily.

3. Wine Tour

Visit the Penedes wine region where there are a number of vineyards and wineries to visit. See the family owned winery of Codorniu which has been producing cava for the last 150 years. The Codorniu winery which pioneered the cava, or Spanish sparkling wine, is one of the most popular wineries to visit. Other wineries in the region are organic and others use the traditional methods without the help of much technology or machinery.  

4. Costa Brava (Girona Coast)

Take a drive along the coastal road which follows the rugged shoreline of the Costa Brava. Along the way you'll pass pine forests, hidden coves and you can stop to swim in the crystal waters of the many fine beaches.  The coast encompasses the Cap de Creus, Emporda Marshes and the Marine Reserve Medes Islands. But the real highlights of this area are the quaint fishing villages (for example Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc) which you'll encounter along the way. There are traditional houses with white washed walls, narrow cobbled streets and fishing boats bobbing in the small natural bays. Hike along the cliff top footpath, the Cami de Ronda; visit the ancient ruins of Empuries or take a boat excursion from I'Estartit. Girona is one of the most popular stops on this route, despite being inland, here 4 rivers meet giving it the nickname the "Spanish Venice". Here you can see Gothic architecture, learn about some of the Jewish heritage and see Roman ruins.

5. Pyrenees

About 2 hours away, on your way to the mountains stop in the quaint market town of Vic. In the foothills you can see small communities with traditionally Spanish country cottages. One of these villages is Ripoll where there is a monastery constructed in 879 which holds many artistic treasures. You can take the rack railway from Queralbs (population 200) to the Nuria Valley (the railway is the only way to access the bucolic valley) along the way you'll see waterfalls, green pastures, and spectacular natural beauty. In the valley see the sanctuary and statue of the Nuria Virgin, a pilgrimage site for those seeking fertility. In the valley there are a number of outdoor activities like horse riding, hiking and canoeing on the lake. You can also take the cable car up to one of the mountain peaks which surround the valley. If traveling in winter you can visit the ski resort here. 

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