Exploring the outskirts of Barcelona

Vibrant and bustling Barcelona is the ideal holiday venue for those who love an urban backdrop for their leisure time. Few visitors, however, penetrate the local surroundings and therefore are unaware of the host of attractions and beautiful beaches that lie just outside the city.

View of the city of Barcelona from Park Güell (Parc Güell).  Taken on July 2012.


For anyone that is looking to spend their time relaxing on a pristine white beach, then a trip to St Paul’s is essential. Those who enjoy beach volleyball and other strenuous activities may prefer the 20-minute journey from Barcelona city center to Ocata beach; this is the ideal venue for sports enthusiasts. If you want to indulge in some local tapas and sangria then there are numerous huts surrounding the beach that all provide tasty examples of this Spanish delight.

The world’s largest national park, the Collserola Park, lies just outside the city and anyone who takes advantage of the local rental cars  will be able to travel there in about 30 minutes. The park is 22 times larger than New York’s Central Park and is home to many species of wildlife as well as medieval ruins and castles, expect to see many historic water fountains when trekking through the park.

Spain.Monserrat.countrysidetrip.comDSC03997the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary. Taken during our visit last July 2012.


The Montserrat Mountains are just an hour away from Barcelona and are simply stunning. The Royal Basilica is home to the world famous12th century icon of the Black Madonna, and the arduous journey to the top of the mountain to enter the basilica is well worth the climb. Every weekday at 13.00 hrs visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the angelic voices of the Escolania de Montserrat children’s choir.


The surrealist painter Dali, often produces mixed reactions but whether liked or not a visit to the Pubol Castle, a journey of one hour and thirty minutes, will provoke some kind of a reaction. Dali’s wife Gala inhabited this extraordinary gothic building, and he was only permitted to enter by special invitation from her. Another fascinating Dali sight is the Theatre Museum (Teatre-Museo) Gala Dali, in Fiugeres; the extraordinary building is dominated by giant egg sculptures on its roof and gives a foretaste of the work on show in the museum itself.


Sightseeing often promotes a healthy thirst, and Barcelona has many vineyards within easy reach of the city. A visitor who has previously enjoyed a reviving glass of Cava, the Spanish version of Champagne, should make his or her way to the 125-year-old Bodegas Gramona. The huge cellars are filled with giant wooden casks that are an awe-inspiring sight.

Another popular vinery is Freixnet, producer of the world famous Cordon Negro label cava; it is situated high up in the Montserrat Mountains. There are numerous vineyards in this region and many of these combine wine tours with the opportunity to savor some delicious local food.

To the west of Barcelona lies the Priorat region that’s famous for it wonderful wine and its small family run restaurants serving delicious garlic infused local food. Mas Ardevol, which is close to Tarragona, on the top of a mountain, serves wonderful examples of Catalan cuisine using local ingredients. The nearby El Roca del Priorat is also well worth a visit for those who enjoy eating their food in glorious surroundings.


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