If you’re looking to experience the magic of travel as a couple or even with friends, a trek through Catalonia should be next on your list. Follow Dali’s footsteps from birth to adulthood through the small towns along the Costa Brava, get lost in the magic and warmth of Barcelona, see the unique architecture set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean and dine on the cuisine Spain has to offer. Whether you are searching for a romantic summer holiday or simply a trip amongst friends, we have mapped out 5 must-see cities for a memorable trip.
When to go? Graced with a Mediterranean climate, Catalonia makes for a pleasant holiday at any time of year. The summer months showcase the region at its best with temperatures reaching the mid-80s F.
Where to stay ?
A visit to Catalonia is simply not complete without experiencing the unique culture of the autonomous region. From museum visits to sampling tapas to collecting souvenirs along the way, you may fear for your budget. Seize every opportunity by saving on accommodation with home exchange! With GuestToGuest, we invite you to exchange your home or apartment for free to experience the perfect summer holiday through the eyes of a local. Questions on how it works? There are currently over 4,700 homes available for exchange in Catalonia.
Situated on the northeastern coast of Spain, the Mediterranean climate of the country’s second largest city combined with its unique culture make this city an absolute must when traveling to Catalonia.
How to get there? If you are traveling from within continental Europe, you can find many flights to Barcelona El Prat. From the airport, the city can be reached through shuttle bus or train.
Activities in Barcelona:
Things to do in Barcelona:
- Cultural activities: Start your day by exploring the Sagrada Familia, under construction for the last 100+ years. Whether or not you choose to enter the massive and eclectic cathedral, the views from the exterior are just as magnificent.
- Find your way to Las Ramblas, though a veritable tourist magnet, the small squares within showcase the best of Catalonian architecture. A brief 15 minute walk through the area will take you to the Picasso Museum, hidden beneath quiet streets.
- For incredible views of the sea and the city, head to the top of Montjuic to explore the Olympic Stadium and park. Further up the hill are the Botanical Gardens that display an intimate view of the Mediterranean Sea.
- The Joan Margall Garden, just a few steps down the hill, is a true hidden gem unvisited by most locals. The royal garden contains Greek sculptures and is said to be the most beautiful park in the city.
- Active excursions: If you’ve packed a swimsuit, cool off from the Spanish sun with a trip to Barceloneta, a designated beach area, where you can sunbathe, enjoy paella, or join a game of beach volleyball.
- Enjoy a romantic sunset at Parc Guell situated on top of a hill and with a lovely view over all of Barcelona and the Mediterranean.
Finding accommodation for less:
Isabel describes her home near Park Güell as being within walking distance from many popular attractions, but still located within a quiet area should you wish to escape the summer crowds. Perfect for couples or groups of 5, Isabel welcomes you to her home in Barcelona.With over 4,600 homes in Catalonia our options range from cool city apartments to villas with pools in the countryside.
Famous for being the primary residence of Salvador Dali and where he spent much of his youth, this whitewashed beach town is the perfect addition to a beach holiday.
How to get there? The city can easily be reached by bus from Barcelona or by car in about 2.5 hours.
Activities in Cadaques:
Things to do in Cadaques:
- Active excursions: Explore the Cap de Creus nature reserve’s rocky coastline, deep blue coves, and waves crashing along the Costa Bravan beach. The scuba diving here is made world famous thanks to the diversity of sea life and great underwater visibility. Several kayaking trips are organized throughout the park that will allow you to explore the cobalt blue waters.
- If you are looking for adventures on land, enjoy a horseback ride along trails with gorgeous panoramic views over the sea.
- Cultural activities: A visit to Cadaques is simply not complete without exploring the Salvador Dali Museum. Located on the bay of Port Ligat, the house/museum is full of all manner of treasures and a glimpse into his surreal life.
- Relaxing activities: Many beaches can be found on the way to Cap de Creus where you can spend your day relaxing to the sound of the Mediterranean waves under the Spanish sun. Head to town for a relaxed lunch at Es Baluard. You can’t go wrong with any one of the local seafood dishes that have made this restaurant famous.
Finding accommodation for less:
Karine’s renovated flat on a quaint rural road is perfect for your holiday by the Spanish sea. Day trips to Barcelona and other cities in Catalonia can easily be had by either car or transit.
Declared a Historic Artistic Site, a visit to this medieval town perched atop a hill will reveal a little part of the magic of Spain. The area is also famous for its harvest, therefore should you visit during August be sure to check out the Wine, Cava, and Cheese Tasting Fair of Catalonia held in the town.
How to get there? The city can easily be reached by bus from Barcelona or Girona within 3 hours.
Activities in Pals:
Things to do in Pals:
- Cultural activities: If you are particularly fond of architecture, create your own guided tour throughout the Medieval Town. In this well-preserved village you will find any number of quaint cobblestone streets, pointed arched windows, and stone balconies. The view from Josep Pla Viewpoint, named after the famed Catalan writer, allows spectacular views over the Emporda plains with the Medes Isles in the background.
- Further highlights in the medieval town are the Torre de les Heros, the Visigoth tombs, and the Town Square.
- Active excursions: Visit the Platja Gran de Pals, stretching more than 2400m in length, the gorgeous landscaped is covered in sand dunes. Caution should be exercised when swimming, as the sea floor drops away steeply.
- Watersports such as kitesurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and bodyboarding can also be enjoyed at the beach.
Named after the fig tree and famous for being the birthplace of Salvador Dali, this quaint town has plenty to offer, from food and wine to castles and museums.
How to get there? Trains run directly from Barcelona to Figueres in under 2 hours. If you are coming from out of Spain, the town can also be reached by bus via Girona airport or TGV through France.
Activities in Figueres:
Things to do in Figueres:
- Cultural excursions: A trip to the town is not complete without a visit to the Dali Theater-Museum, the second most visited museum in Spain. Honoring the art of entertainment, you will find toys of famous figures such as Dali himself and a nostalgic view into how the children of his era played.
- From the museum, the Castell de Sant Ferran Figueres is just a 10 minute walk. Built in the 18th century, the castle is very well preserved and allows free visits around the exterior.
- Relaxing activities: For a great taste of Catalan cuisine enjoy an intimate dinner at Restaurant L’Ou d’Or, open since 1981, with a bonus of 5€ wine to add to your experience.
- Shopping is also a favorite in the area due to its lower taxes and blend of newer clothing chains and older boutiques located in Rambla.
Filled with plenty of beaches and lovely coves, this former Greek colony is where the mountains meet the sea.
How to get there? Roses can be easily reached by bus from Figueres. For more information, click here.
Activities in Rosas:
Things to do in Rosas:
- Active excursions: With dozens of beaches suited for all ages, you can enjoy an array of shallow waters and white sand to rocky cliffs and crashing waves.
- The area is also nestled between Aiguamolls de l’Empordà and Cap de Creus natural parks, where you’ll find many coves perfect for snorkeling and discovering marine life.
- Cultural activities: The Citadell Rosas is a megalithic complex that dates back to between 3000 and 2700 BC. Comprised of dolmens, cists, and menhirs it is the perfect architectural and historical lesson.
- To learn about local wine production and even taste it straight from the producers, explore Mas d’En Coll, a fortified farmhouse built in the 12th century.
Finding Accommodation for less :
Christina’s family home located in a rich historical neighborhood is located near the towns of Figueres, Rosas and Cadaques allowing you to treat everyday like a new adventure and explore the most of Catalonia.