Catalonia has many treasures to be explored outside of Barcelona. If you’re staying for longer than a few days, there are plenty of day trips you can easily take advantage of by train or car. The lure of the Costa Brava offers sanctuary from the bustle of the city with sleepy fishing towns and small rocky coves suited for dipping in the cool Mediterranean sea. The nearby Montserrat mountain range is an arena for hikers and climbers, whilst the Priorat region is a wine connoisseur’s paradise.
Less than an hour’s travel from Barcelona, the shore boasts a beautiful strip of sandy beach lined with picturesque holiday huts. The beach is easily reachable by train, which drops you directly opposite the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the beach, or else head to the beachfront restaurant, La Cúpula Garraf. Soho House members can also enjoy the privilege of the private ‘Little Beach House’ club, otherwise the newly opened La Caseta is also open to the public.
The vibrant coastal town of Sitges has become a household name in its own right. Just an hour-long train journey south of the city drops you moments away from the charming old town and beaches beyond. Spend the morning roaming the quaint streets before settling in for lunch along the beachfront promenade. It’s also worth checking the calendar for events, as there is no shortage of goings-on, with a busy festival line-up that includes the international Sitges Film Festival and Pride celebrations.
A 90 minute drive from Barcelona, Begur is an attractive escape along the Costa Brava that will nourish the soul with its blue skies and clear waters. The town’s population swells during the summer months, so don’t expect remote bliss during this season. To experience the coast at its best, hire a captain to take you out on the water for the day, we found ours on Airbnb. By boat, you can easily visit the many beaches and coves that encompass the town and enjoy on your own frequency. If you’re planning on staying the night, we would recommend the colourful boutique Hotel Aiguaclara for a riotous night with the locals.
Best suited for spring or autumn, arrive around 9am to take a look around the monastery before setting off on one of the multiple hiking trails that lead up into the mountains. The highest summit, Sant Jeroni, is a three hour round-trip and offers the most impressive views. For an added sense of adventure you can also experience the dramatic landscape via horseback.
5. Terra Dominicata
Terra Dominicata occupies an old farmhouse that was part of the olive groves and vineyards of the Carthusian monks of the Escaladei monastery. It has now been beautifully restored to a five-star retreat. The terracotta out buildings are particularly beautiful in the glow of the evening sun, lined with lofty cypress trees, and as the night falls, aglow with lanterns. Enjoy a complimentary tasting before settling into your chosen bottle and a cheese board on the terrace gazing over the valley of vineyards below. We recommend also paying a visit to the nearby ruins of the Carthusian monastery, Cartoixa d’Escaladei, before leaving.
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