The Absolute 6 Best Road Trips from Barcelona
Most travelers visiting Barcelona enjoy its marvelous architecture, beaches, culinary walks, and the beautiful countryside and nearby cities by car. Whether you are in the city center or at the airport, car rent in Barcelona is pretty easy and affordable, the rental cost for a one week hire can be as cheap as 85 euros for a compact vehicle, and go up to 500 euros for a luxury one.
On this article, we wanted to highlight 6 classic road trips travelers take from Barcelona to uncover the wonders of the Catalan region in Spain in case you are planning a trip.
COSTA BRAVA ~ to enjoy the seaside wilderness
North of Barcelona, and around 1-hour drive, Spain wildest coastline, the Costa Brava, offer drivers and passengers breathtaking views of the mediterranean sea and small fishermen towns. From Barcelona, you’ll need to drive to Blanes, the first town of Costa Brava, and then you have plenty of places to stop. We recommend visiting Tossa de Mar and Calella de Palafrugell because of their charm, Begur for its historic importance, Cadaques which was home to Salvador Dali, and finish up at the peninsula Cap de Creus to admire the natural beauties of this area. As well we recommend making stops for taking some time for hiking along hidden paths.
ANDORRA ~ the heart of the Pyrenees mountains
If your mood is more on the mountain views, then head to the tiny principality of Andorra. The driving route is beautiful as it offers vistas over the national park Cadi-Moixero and the foots of the Pyrenees’ mountains plus a wide array of small towns worth visiting such as Sant Llorenç de Morunys, La Seu d’ Urgell and Baga which offers fantastic Catalan cuisine and the chance to hike in the mountains. In case you are a nature lover, then this is your road trip to take from Barcelona. Andorra is a tax-free zone, quite good for shopping lovers, as well as the epicenter for skiing in the Pyrenees.
Driving itinerary from Barcelona towards Andorra
MEDIEVAL TOWNS ~ for a romantic escape
For those in love with food and wine, and the feeling of travelling back in time, a leisure drive through the rolling landscape of the foothills of the Pyrenees will make it. There are plenty of small towns with cobblestone streets, medieval houses and quaint hostels (locally known as “casas rurales”) for accommodation where you’ll enjoy the truly Catalan experience. We recommend planning a trip that includes stops at Montserrat to enjoy breathtaking views from the Monastery inserted on the rocks; Tavertet because its views are even more breathtaking (this is a town built on the top of a rock); Rupit i Pruit where the genuine medieval air and life remains intact; and Vic, a slighted bigger town, with a Roman past and a delicious culinary offer. As well, you can bring a book for your road trip, the experience gets even more inspiring.
PENEDES WINE REGION ~ for wine lovers
The famous Penedes region is just a drive away from Barcelona. Here is where the famous Cava (Spanish Sparkling Wine) is produced as well as some of the best wines of Spain. Penedes is an area tucked away between coastal hills, and from most vineyards travelers can oversee the Mediterranean sea. Is a land rich with diversity, quality, and culture. When planning a visit to the Penedes wine region make sure you stop at The Museu de les Cultures del Vi de Catalunya (Museum of Wine Cultures of Catalonia), where you will uncover the existence of wine-growing before the 4th century BC, A wine cellar to enjoy a real wine and gastronomic experience, and the town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia where the firsts bottles of Cava were produced in the late XVIII century following the champenoise method, but using the traditional Penedès grape varieties: macabeo, xarel·lo and parellada.
In case you want to take a road trip from Barcelona to uncover the real wine scene as well as to taste the delicious cuisine, the Penedes wine region is your choice.
TARRAGONA ~ for those wanting to explore the Roman heritage along the coast
Tarragona is one of the oldest cities in Spain and Catalonia as it has been inhabited since the time of the Romans and nowadays is a UNESCO World Heritage city with plenty of historic open spaces open to the curious traveler. The city has a Gothic Style Cathedral that dates back to the 12th century, and the most visited sites are the Roman amphitheater and Les Ferres aqueduct, which is actually outside the city. Driving to Tarragona is easy and along the drive, it is totally worth stopping at Sitges and Vilanova i La Geltrú. We recommend taking the coast road, the trip is slightly longer but the views over the sea are to die for.
LA GARROTXA ~ the perfect road trip escape with kids
La Garrotxa is a county in the province of Girona, locally famous for its goat’s milk cheese, Santa Pau’s charm medieval town built around a castle, and the volcanic area that hosts a beautiful national park with extinct volcanic cones where hikers pilgrimage to enjoy nature and where families take kids through the enchanted Beech forest with 20 meters-tall trees.
Driving through La Garrotxa doesn’t disappoint, there are plenty of traditional restaurant and guesthouses along roads across towns. This is a recommended road trip from Barcelona with kids.
Needless to say, these 6 fantastic drives from Barcelona are only a glimpse of many other things you can enjoy in this beautiful Catalan land. There are plenty of towns to visit on a road trip, and whether you are planning a day trip or an extended tour of Spain that starts in Barcelona, joining one of our food tours before hitting the road is a great way to get the key insights into local gastronomy to make your trip in Spain more delicious and leave the country with a deep understanding of its culture and flavors.
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