13 February 2020

Best Weekend Trips in Spain From Barcelona

From museums to beaches to restaurants, Barcelona offers an endless amount of activities to keep you busy day and night. But sometimes you need a change of scenery, a new place to explore. Take a look at our favourite weekend destinations from Barcelona. It’s a great way to get away from the Catalan capital and get to know some other regions of Spain.

Ibiza old town at sunset
Ibiza is just a short flight away from Barcelona, photo via @djmartymcfly

Andorra

Just under 200km away from Barcelona lies the small mountain Principality of Andorra. Located on the French-Spanish border in the Pyrenees Mountains, this gem makes the perfect weekend getaway. During cold months, you can enjoy some of the best skiing in the mountains by day and soak away sore muscles in any of the thermal spas by night.

As the snow melts, you can hike the gorgeous peaks and valleys. The capital, (Andorra) La Vella, is also a popular shopping destination because of the country’s low taxes – some products are even duty-free.

To get to Andorra from Barcelona takes about 3 hours by bus or rideshare (BlaBlaCar) and about 2.5 hours by car.

Hiking the mountains of Andorra
Hiking the mountains of Andorra

Costa Brava

There is a whole world to discover along the coast north of Barcelona. Starting from Blanes and going up to southern France, the clear blue waters, the spotless beaches and the hidden coves are a delight to stumble upon. If you like picaresque fishing villages, check out Calella de Palafrugell and then start your walk along the camino de ronda – a little footpath that guides you on the coast and through coves and quaint villages.

Don’t miss Tossa de Mar with its 12th-century castle guarding the sea, or the white town of Cadaques where you’ll find the house of Dalí and where countless other artists have spent time.

The best way to discover the Costa Brava is by car with the closest point being about 45 minutes away. The more northern locations are about a 2-hour drive away. There are also buses available if you decide you want to stick to one place.

Turquoise blue waters and charming towns on the Costa Brava
Turquoise blue waters and charming towns on the Costa Brava

Valencia

Valencia is the 3rd-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. With a beautiful green space running through it like a river, there is enough to do to fill a weekend trip. Get lost in the cafés and city streets of the old town. For a truly impressive experience, you can’t miss the futuristic buildings that make up the Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) complex. Valencia is the birthplace of paella, so make sure to get a taste of while you’re here! With plenty of beaches, museums, a great food scene and some great festivals, this city has something for everyone.

From Barcelona, you can take a quick train ride (under 3 hours), a bus (about 5 hours) or drive (about 3.5 hours) to arrive in Valencia.

The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, photo via @insolitotramtravel

Madrid

Madrid is an endless sea of museums, restaurants, and cafés scattered among its diverse and exciting neighbourhoods. In other words, the perfect destination for a weekend trip from Barcelona. The culturally rich capital houses 2 world-famous museums – the Prado and the Reina Sofía. Once you’ve spent your time appreciating the paintings of Goya, Velázques, Rembrandt, Rubens, Miró and Picasso, then you can stroll through the Parque del Retiro and past the Palacio de Cristal. Take in the views from the Círculo de Bellas Artes and delight in some tapas in La Latina neighbourhood. You might be surprised by Madrid’s dedication to nightlife – people take to the streets until well into the night. You’ll find groups of people ambling along even at 6 in the morning.

You can make it to Madrid by high-speed train in about 2.5 hours. Driving takes about 6 hours and a flight of about 1.5 hours.

The stunning Palacio de Cristal in Madrid
The stunning Palacio de Cristal in Madrid, photo via @caldeh

San Sebastián

The little coastal city of San Sebastián is the perfect weekend destination for nature lovers and foodies. The Basque town boasts more Michelin Stars per square metre than anywhere in the world, but you don’t have to throw down lots of cash to enjoy the delicious pintxos (Basque tapas). The lush landscape is very different from Barcelona’s dry one, but you can still enjoy the beach and the city is small enough to get around on foot. If you like surfing, the little town of Zarautz is just a 15-minute drive away.

This town is a bit further away at about 5.5 hours by train or car and an 8-hour bus ride.

A beach and foodie paradise - San Sebastián
A beach and foodie paradise - San Sebastián

Ibiza

Whether you’re into serene beaches or all-night parties with world DJs, Ibiza is an island with two distinct faces. For wild parties, head to the town of Sant Antoni or the large clubs like Amnesia, Pacha and Ushuaïa. The old Ibiza Town is a beautifully lit walled city perched atop a hill and offers great restaurants and boutiques. Go off the beaten path to find your perfect strip of white sand beach. Whatever your heart desires, you’ll find it in a weekend in Ibiza.

By the time you get up in the clouds, you’ll be coming back down. The flight to Ibiza is a speedy 60 minutes. When on the island, it’s easiest to get around by car or scooter.

Ibiza Town at sunset
Ibiza Town at sunset, photo via @djmartymcfly

Mallorca

Another island destination, Mallorca is a quick and affordable plane ride away. If you’re a beach lover, you’ll find some of Spain’s most beautiful ones here. The small villages like Valdemossa and Soler are quaint, charming and unforgettable. Visit Palma’s Moorish royal palace and the Cathedral of Santa María. You’ll love the slower pace of this island.

A flight from Barcelona to Mallorca is about 45 minutes.

Old streets of Valdemossa in Mallorca
Old streets of Valdemossa in Mallorca

What do you think of our weekend destinations? Did we miss any? Where is your favourite place to go to escape the city?