Planning a trip to Barcelona and are thinking about side trips? Keep scrolling for my list of the best day trips from Barcelona by train worth adding to your Spain itinerary!
This list of day trips from Barcelona by train was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Visiting the capital of Catalonia and want to escape the crowds by planning day trips from Barcelona by train?
It’s a great idea! Many visitors stay in Barcelona for their whole trip but there are so many beautiful places near Barcelona to explore too. Not only in the Catalan region, but also in other parts of Spain and even beyond the French border.
While day trips from Barcelona to Mallorca or other Spanish islands aren’t doable (unless you’ve got the cash to splash on a private jet!), hopping on train trips from Barcelona couldn’t be simpler.
No stressing over navigating foreign roads, rental insurance, or city traffic!
This guide lists all the best day trips from Barcelona by train, whether you’re in the mood to sip on cava in a local wine region or dive into the historic center of another bustling city.
It includes all the logistical info you need too!
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Barcelona blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Barcelona with kids.
Popular Barcelona Tours/Activities
- Sagrada Familia (this is a short tour with skip-the-line tickets)
- Park Guell (this is a short tour with skip-the-line tickets)
- Montjuïc Cable Cars (unique way to see the city)
- Barcelona Aquarium (this is a skip-the-line ticket)
- PortAventura Theme Park (this is Spain’s largest theme park)
- Flytographer photo shoot (they are easy to book are really affordable)
Kid-Friendly Barcelona Hotels
Barcelona to Zaragoza Day Trip
Zaragoza is the capital city of Spain’s Aragorn region resting along the Ebro River. The jewel of Zaragoza is the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Basilica, a baroque church with many domes dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
There are lots of Moorish and Gothic buildings in Zaragoza which all make up the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s one of the top day trips from Barcelona by train because it’s easy and not too far away. Zaragoza also looks nothing like Barcelona so despite it being a big city, you’ll definitely feel like you’re seeing another side of Spain.
How To Get From Barcelona to Zaragoza by Train
From Barcelona-Sants station, take a direct Renfe AVE service to Zaragoza-Delicias station which is approximately a 90-minute journey. Renfe is the name of Spain’s national rail service. There are around 13 trains per day that travel on this route and tickets start from €7.
Renfe’s AVANT, AVE, and EUROMED services all cater to this route which are different versions of high-speed trains but AVE trains are slightly faster.
On high-speed services, the carriage classes are Básica (2nd class) and Prémium (1st class). Sometimes, they have ‘Elige’ tickets which allow you to choose some of the perks of 1st class, but not all.
Day Trips from Barcelona to Figueres
Figueres is a small town north of Barcelona, not too far from the French border. Many travelers like to take a day trip to Figueres from Barcelona because it is the birthplace of world-renowned surrealist Salvador Dalí.
The Dalí Theatre-Museum was curated and built by the man himself and you can even visit his former home. Aside from the Dalí-related attractions, Figueres is a charming, walkable city with few crowds.
How To Get From Barcelona to Figueres by Train
From Barcelona-Sants take a direct Renfe MD train to Figueras station which takes less than two hours and departs every 30 minutes. MD (Media Distancia) high-speed trains are standard for Renfe’s regional services.
Ticket prices for this journey start from €11.10 which makes a day trip from Barcelona to Figueres perfect on a budget!
Barcelona to Cerbère, France Day Trip
Is it possible to take day trips to France from Barcelona? Absolutely! While some might suggest hopping on a train to cities like Perpignan or even Montpellier, these journeys will take over four hours.
But if you want to take day trips from Barcelona to France where you’re not spending half of the day sitting on a train, stopping by the seaside town of Cerbère is perfect. It’s just beyond the French border and has several rugged, pebbled beaches like Plage d’El Canu and Plage De Cerbère.
There’s a small harbor and a hilltop lighthouse you can hike to called Phare du Cap Cerbère. It’s not too strenuous and you’ll see beautiful views across the coastlines of both Spain and France.
How To Get From Barcelona to Cerbère by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, hop on a direct Renfe regional train service to Cervera de la Marenda which is the name of Cerbère’s local station. This train journey takes around three hours and there are approximately nine services every day. Tickets are around €48.40, so it’s better to book in advance to save money.
Day Trips from Barcelona to Girona
For travelers who are completely unsure where to go from Barcelona on a day trip, Girona is an easy recommendation. It’s one of the closest places to visit near Barcelona and it’s also absolutely gorgeous.
Girona’s Ciutat Antiga (Old Town) has patchwork-colored houses lined against the River Onyar which wouldn’t look out of place on the Italian Riviera. It has one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe too.
How To Get From Barcelona to Girona by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, get a direct Renfe AVE, AVANT, MD, or EUROMED service to Girona station which can take 40 minutes to one hour. There are around 21 services a day for this train and tickets for this journey start from €7.
Barcelona to Ribes de Freser Day Trip
The Pyrenees mountains form a natural, mountainous border between France and Spain. This range stretches all the way from the Bay of Biscay on the west to the Mediterranean on the east coast.
Because they’re mountainous, it’s difficult to travel from Barcelona to Pyrenees by train as buses can weave between the peaks more easily. But it’s definitely doable! You can travel to the mountain town of Ribes de Freser, or get off earlier at the town of Vic if you prefer.
Ribes de Freser is a pretty town situated on the banks of three rivers with lots of hotels, restaurants, and tourist centers for hikers. There are lots of shorter walks you can do on a day trip, and the Mirador de Ribes de Freser observation deck offers an incredible panoramic view of the region.
How To Get From Barcelona to Ribes de Freser by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, take a direct Renfe Cercanías R3 service to Ribes de Freser station. These journeys take just over two hours and there’s only one service every four hours, so don’t miss it!
Cercanías services are commuter trains which means you cannot book in advance or reserve seats. You just buy them at the station before you travel! This does mean the tickets are cheaper than normal, with most costing between €2.40 – €6.95.
Day Trips from Barcelona to Valencia
One of the best day trips from Barcelona that you can take is to Valencia. Sure, this large port city deserves a couple of days to explore it fully but one day in Valencia is far better than no days in Valencia! Plus, there are plenty of things to do in Valencia with kids!
It’s known as a city of Arts and Sciences and is the birthplace of Spain’s famous seafood dish, paella. Stroll around Valencia’s Old Town, check out the Cathedral, and don’t forget to wander through the city’s Central Market too.
How To Get From Barcelona to Valencia by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, hop on a direct Renfe Intercity service to Valencia Station North. These trains take around three hours and 30 minutes. Even better, catch a Renfe EUROMED service to Valencia Joaquín Sorolla which takes less than three hours.
Whichever train you take, book in advance to reserve a seat on an early service to make the most of your time in Valencia! There are around 11 trains that travel this route every day and tickets usually cost around €24 – €30.
Barcelona to Sitges Day Trip
If you’re looking for fun, beach day trips around Barcelona then you couldn’t choose anywhere better than Sitges. It’s a town just a little further south of the Catalan capital and offers a long stretch of beach with hotels and restaurants along the promenade.
Sitges is also famous for its fun festivals and nightlife. It’s a great place to go for Carnival if you’re traveling in February or March or Pride Festival in June!
How To Get From Barcelona to Sitges by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, take a direct Renfe Cercanías R2S service to Sitges station which only takes 40 minutes. Because these trains are Cercanías services, you cannot book them in advance but there are some regular regional services between the same stations too.
Trains travel on this route roughly every 20 minutes and tickets for regional trains start from €7.75.
Day Trips from Barcelona to Lleida
Staying in the Catalan region, Lleida is a medieval city with lots of centuries-old like La Seu Vella which is a ruined fortress on a hilltop overlooking the city.
It’s quite a small city so it’s the perfect size to explore on a one-day trip from Barcelona.
How To Get From Barcelona to Lleida by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, hop on a direct high-speed Renfe AVE or ALVIA service to Lleida station. These trains take just over an hour and there are roughly 15 services per day. Tickets start from €7.
Barcelona to Tarragona Day Trip
Tarragona is popular for travelers looking for one-day trips from Barcelona because it has so much to offer, no matter your interests.
As a former Roman colony, there are so many Ancient ruins, tombs, and walls dotted all around the city with the Roman amphitheater taking center stage.
It also has an impressive gastronomic scene and a couple of beaches too!
How To Get From Barcelona to Tarragona by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, get a direct Renfe regional service to Tarragona station which takes just over one hour with around 34 services per day. Ticket prices for this journey start from €6.80. One of the easiest day trips near Barcelona to take!
Day Trips from Barcelona to Montserrat
You won’t regret spending one day of your trip to Barcelona in Montserrat. Known by the Romans as Mons Serratus (Saw-Toothed Mountain) and by the Catalans as Montsagrat (Sacred Mountain), there’s no denying it’s a special place.
This mountain peak is where you’ll find the Benedictine monastery of Santa María de Montserrat which houses a wooden statue of the Virgin Mother and Child said to have been carved by Saint Luke.
There are countless panoramic viewpoints, churches, and hiking trails within the landscape of this mountain too.
How To Get From Barcelona to Montserrat by Train
Getting to Montserrat is a little trickier than taking some of the other Barcelona day trips, but worth it! From Barcelona-Sants, hop on a Renfe Cercanías R4 service to Martorell Central station. This journey should take about 40 minutes.
At this station, change trains to a Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya R5 service to Monistrol de Montserrat which is a 20-minute journey.
From there, you can take the funicular up to Montserrat. Despite the changes, this journey should only take about two hours in total. You can buy single tickets that will cover your entire journey from Barcelona to Montserrat for only €13.25.
Barcelona to Vilafranca del Penedès Day Trip
France has champagne, Italy has prosecco, and Spain has cava!
Not only that but it’s mostly grown in the Catalan region. It’s the most underrated and underappreciated of all the sparkling wines and you can help spread the word by spending a day in the wine region.
Vilafranca del Penedès is one of the easiest Barcelona day trips by train into the cava wine region. There are lots of wineries, like Cava Torreblanca and Família Torres, that are a quick five-minute taxi journey from the center.
Plus the city itself is beautiful and compact with so many great wine bars, you don’t even need to see the vines.
How To Get From Barcelona to Vilafranca del Penedès by Train
From Barcelona-Sants, take a direct Renfe Cercanías R4 service to Vilafranca del Penedès station. These services operate every 30 minutes and are just over one hour long. Tickets, which you can only buy at the station before you board, cost around €5 – €9.
Barcelona Day Trips by Train FAQs
The best day trips from Barcelona by train include destinations such as Montserrat, Girona, and Figueres.
The cost of train tickets can vary depending on the destination and the type of train, but it generally ranges from 5 to 20 euros for a one-way ticket.
Yes and that can be a great way to learn more about the history and culture of an area. Plus, you’ll get to chat with a local.
The amount of time to spend at each destination can vary, but most people recommend allowing at least half a day to fully explore each destination.
There may be discounts available for train tickets and attractions, such as group discounts or student discounts.
No, it is not necessary to speak Spanish to travel to these destinations, but it can be helpful to know a few basic phrases in Spanish to communicate with locals.
Day Trips from Barcelona by Train Wrap-Up
These day trips from Barcelona, Spain by train will allow you to visit vineyards, mountain towns, other lively cities, and so much more!
Side trips from Barcelona are so easy to plan and you will have a richer, more memorable trip by exploring more of the gems that the Iberian peninsula has to offer.