10 January 2024

Winter in Catalonia: 5 city escapes near Barcelona

As winter paints the Catalan landscape with a subtle palette of cool hues, there’s an undeniable allure to exploring the quieter side of Catalonia. Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling streets of Barcelona lie enchanting winter excursions that promise a magical escape.

Winter in Catalonia: 5 city escapes near Barcelona
Montserrat with a snowy coat in 2018, photo by Eder Pozo Pérez

1. Montserrat

Nestled within serrated mountain peaks, Montserrat takes on a new charm in winter. A short train ride from Barcelona leads to this sacred enclave, where the iconic Benedictine monastery is embraced by a blanket of snow. The ethereal beauty of Montserrat’s rocky formations and the crisp mountain air make it an ideal winter retreat for those seeking both spiritual and natural solace.

Sitges in the winter, photo via La Vanguardia

2. Sitges

While Sitges is renowned for its vibrant summer scene, winter unveils a different side of this coastal gem. A mere half-hour train journey from Barcelona reveals a tranquil Sitges, where the Mediterranean whispers against deserted beaches. Winter walks along the promenade, framed by pastel-colored buildings, offer a serene escape, and cozy seafood restaurants invite you to savor the region’s maritime delights.

Besalú, photo via eltiempo.com

3. Besalú

Transport yourself back in time as you wander through the medieval streets of Besalú, located just over an hour from Barcelona. In winter, the town’s ancient stone bridges and narrow alleys take on a fairytale quality when adorned with a light dusting of snow. Besalú’s well-preserved medieval architecture and charming squares create a whimsical atmosphere, perfect for a winter day trip.

Vic's winter market, photo via El Periodico

4. Vic

Vic, a city known for its historical charm, comes alive during its annual winter market, “El Mercat del Ram.” Approximately 70 kilometers from Barcelona, Vic’s streets transform into a festive marketplace, offering a delightful array of artisanal products, local delicacies, and traditional crafts

Cava bodega in the Penedès region, photo via rimontgowineries.com

5. Penedès region

For those who appreciate the finer things in life, a winter excursion to the Penedès region, Catalonia’s renowned wine country, is a must. Just an hour from Barcelona, the vineyards of Penedès are draped in winter serenity. Discover the art of crafting Spain’s famed sparkling wine, Cava, through guided tours and tastings in boutique wineries surrounded by vine-covered landscapes.

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