With these 20+ amazing places to visit in Catalonia, you’ll be spoilt for choices and tempted to plan an epic road trip across the region. The Autonomous Community of Catalonia is full of unique landmarks that you will never forget!

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Top Things to do in Catalonia

Traveling to Catalonia

Visiting Catalonia

While Catalonia is one of the closest Spanish regions to explore for me, I should admit that I visit it way less than I probably should.

Partially, after my stressful trip to Cambrils, I was honestly avoiding traveling across the autonomous community of Catalonia for some time. Nevertheless, ever since my epic weekend in the Catalan Pyrenees and my magical day trip to Tortosa, my passion for exploring Catalonia has returned. I have been lately falling in love with Catalonia all over again.

Plus, one of the popular Spanish TV Shows, Catedral del Mar, and one of the top Contemporary Spanish novels, The Shadow of the Wind, are both giving me some additional wanderlust to explore Catalonia.

Let´s briefly discuss one by one all the great places to visit in Catalonia. You can keep track of my blog posts about the region in this blog section. If it´s your first time in Catalonia, checking out some local landmarks via Spain virtual tours and Spain Coffee Table Books, might be a great idea.

Catalonia Itinerary

To enjoy all the best places to visit in Catalonia, you can follow my itineraries: Costa Brava Road Trip, Barcelona Weekend with the kids, Tarragona Road Trip, Weekend in Lleida, Weekend in Reus, and 7-day Pyrenees Itinerary from Barcelona.

Unique travel experiences to book in Catalonia

Those of you who love wine tasting might enjoy:: Wine&Cheese Tasting Tour, The Blind Wine Tasting, Codorníu Discovery Tour, and Iconic tour & Menu Ars Collecta.

Top Places to Visit in Catalonia

1. Barcelona

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Ciutadella Park in Barcelona

About Barcelona

The urban hub of the Catalonia region is definitely the city of Barcelona. It ranks globally for the iconic Gaudi architecture, created by one of the most famous Spaniards in history. While the international visiting card of Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia Basilica, one of the most beautiful Spanish cathedrals, the city is full of unique Spanish landmarks.

There´s no shortage of tourist activities and landmarks in Barcelona: from its La Rambla thoroughfare and Gothic Quarter to countless temporally expositions and events.

Planning a Barcelona weekend is often a bucket list activity for those who search for winter sun destinations in Spain.

Unique Experiences to book in Barcelona:

2. Tarragona

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Tarragona – one of the top places to visit in Catalonia for history lovers

About Tarragona

History geeks can’t miss Tarragona with some of its most epic Roman Ruins in Spain. The city will literally take you back to the times of the Great Roman Empire dominating Hispania (i.e. modern Spain). Also, near Tarragona, you will find one of the top places to visit in Spain with kidsPort Aventura. You can read more details about the city in my Tarragona post.

Also, one of Tarragona´s greatest advantages is its accessibility. You have numerous travel options to get to Tarragona from Barcelona by car, bus, or train (100km). Moreover, Tarragona can be also reached from Castellon (180 km), or even Valencia (250km). The city has a port and is often an important stop on most Mediterranean Cruises.

Unique Experiences to Book in Tarragona:

3. Montserrat

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The Abbey of Montserrat – one of the most stunning places to visit in Catalonia

About Montserrat

The Abbey of Montserrat is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Spain and one of the most popular places to visit in Catalonia. This unique Catalan landmark is all-in-one – beautiful, magical, and peaceful. Your visit is especially worth it if you take into consideration the otherworldly beautiful Spanish landscapes surrounding Montserrat. 

The monastery was founded by Oliba, the Abbot of Ripoll and Bishop of Vic, back in 1025. Through centuries it kept growing and receiving more and more pilgrims searching for the miracle performance of the Virgin Mary ( or “La Moreneta” in Spanish). Many believe that if you touch the statue of the Virgin and ask for a wish – it will be granted to you.

Montserrat is a popular day trip from Barcelona. Check these tips to plan your trip to Montserrat and make the most out of it.

Best Montserrat Tours:

4. Girona

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Girona – one of the must-see towns in Catalonia

About Girona

Girona is one of the most well-known places to visit in Catalonia, especially since it became one of the Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Spain. This medieval walled city represents a unique blend of different cultures in Spain: the Romans, the Moors, and the Jews. The Cathedral of Girona has elements of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architectural styles.

Girona´s most popular area is its Old Town, especially Rambla de la Libertad – a pedestrian street full of shops and cafes.

Also, Girona is a great starting point for any Costa Brava Road Trip.

Unique Experiences to book in Girona:

5. Besalu

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Besalu – one of the top places to visit in Catalonia

About Besalu

Besalu is officially known as one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Spain, full of cobblestone streets and historic buildings. The most impressive sight of Besalu is its Viejo Bridge, built in the 11th century.

In terms of its unique architecture and storybook appeal, it can only compete with the New Bridge of Ronda, one of Andalusia´s top sights.

Best Besalu Tours:

6. Figueres

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Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum – one of the most popular places to visit in Catalonia

About Figueres

The small town of Figueres is known worldwide for its unique Salvador Dali Theatre Museum, full of surrealistic art pieces and decorations. This museum is definitely one of the coolest and most unique museums in the whole of Spain.

You can find some unique Dali Coffee Table Books in this post.

Unique Figueres Tours:

7. Cadaques

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Cadaques – one of the most iconic small towns to visit in Catalonia

About Cadaques

Cadaques is one of the most iconic small towns in Spain, globally famous as Salvador Dali’s beloved hometown. Full of white-washed houses hidden in one of the trendiest Costa Brava bays, it is one of a few beautiful places in Spain (together with Mojacar perhaps) slightly reminding the Greek islands like Mykonos or Santorini.

While the whole region of Catalonia always leads on my list of Spanish road trips during the winter months, Cadaques felt really empty back when I visited in February. However, in the summer months, Cadaques on the contrary is extremely popular among both local and international visitors. It is a real challenge to find parking spots during the peak season.

Unique Cadaques Tours:

8. Sitges

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Palau de Maricel in Sitges – one of the lesser-known places to visit in Catalonia

About Sitges

The small town of Sitges was one of my biggest discoveries during one of my recent Spanish road trips. This small coastal town, located only 42 km from Barcelona, is famous for its Spanish movie festival – Festival de Cine de Sitges.

Sitges on the weekends is bustling with life even in the off-season. It is full of secret Spanish museums, like Cau Ferrat and Palau de Maricel.

Cau Ferrat was a home workshop of the artist Santiago Rusiñol. The museum offers one of the coolest virtual tours in Spain.

Palau de Maricel was a custom-made mansion of the American millionaire and art collector Charles Deering (1852-1927). Even though Deering left his Sitges residence in 1921, taking most of his lavish art collection back to the U.S., this place is still such an eye candy for art lovers.

Unique Sitges Tours:

9. Empuriabrava

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Empuriabrava or “The Venice of Spain” – one of the most unique places to visit in Catalonia and the whole of Spain

Empuriabrava is often called “the Venice of Spain”, as it is the largest residential marina in Europe. This small town is full of canals, boats, and luxury villas.

The most popular thing to do in the area is to rent a boat and explore the canals. You have eco-friendly electric boat rental options when no boat license is needed.

10. Port Aventura

Port Aventura is one of the most popular Amusement Parks in Europe, well known among those who visit Spain with kids

Despite our last stressful trip to Cambrils, Port Aventura was an absolute highlight for my two toddler girls.

Even though there were only a few attractions they could enjoy due to the minimum height requirement. I suggest you check it for your kids before traveling on the Port Aventura Web. I wish they would have more places for smaller children inside the park.

You can get Port Aventura tickets in advance here. Also, Port Aventura can be visited on a day trip from Barcelona.

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Port Aventura Park

11. La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park

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Bosc de les Estunes / La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park – one of my favorite places to visit in Catalonia

About La Garrotxa

La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park is one of the most unique places in Spain for nature lovers. The area is known as one of the top volcanic landscapes in Europe and contains 40 inactive volcanoes.

Also, La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park is an epic hiking destination full of Spanish magical forests, like Fageda d´en Jorda and Bosc de les Estunes.

Unique Tours in La Garroxa:

12. Cap de Creus

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Cap de Creus

About Cap de Creus

Cap De Creus is one of the top places to visit in Catalonia and one of the most epic cliffs in Spain. Located near Cadaques, Cap de Creus nature reserve was the first natural park in Catalonia to cover both sea and land since 1998. 

Also read: The Prettiest Flower Fields in Spain

The total area of Cap de Creus is 13 886 hectares. Within the nature reserve, you can find lots of hiking trails and unique natural settings, like Cova de S´Infern, Cala CulipCala Cullero, Pla de Tudela.

The rocky coastline of Cap de Creus can´t compete with Galicia in terms of heights, even though its highest peak San Salvador reaches 670 m. Nevertheless, these landscapes served as an inspiration for Salvador Dali, who lived in the area and you can visit his house in Cap de Creus – Casa-Museo de Salvador Dali.

Unique tours in Cap de Creus:

13. Baqueira Beret

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Spanish Winter Wonderland of Baqueira Beret

Baqueira Beret is one of my favorite places for skiing in Spain and one of the top places to visit in the Pyrenees.

The resort is located in the Catalan Pyrenees, in Lleida’s Val d’Aran. It includes 4,700 acres of ski area, with slopes for all tastes and preferences. It´s usually open from mid-December till mid-April.

Baqueira Beret has three valleys – Baqueira, Beret, and Bonaigua – all interconnected with each other by 167 km of slopes and 29 lifts.

The local gastronomy of Baqueira Beret has a distinctive French influence, and there’s a good range of fine mountain restaurants and lively tapas bars to try all the delicious regional specialties. You can read more about my family trip to Baqueira Beret in this post.

Baqueira Beret is a cool destination to explore adventurous activities in Spain.

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14. Jardin Botanico Marimurtra / Blanes

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Jardín Botánico Marimurtra (Photo by Anna Rozwadowska)

Jardín Botánico Marimurtra is one of the most unique Spanish gardens located in the Catalan town of Blanes.

One of the most unique features of Jardín Botánico Marimurtra is its gorgeous panoramic setting with peaceful Mediterranean views. This place reminds me of one of my most romantic travel experiences around the world – the French Riviera Road trip

The plant collection of Jardín Botánico Marimurtra reaches 4,000 plant species. It was created by a German businessman, Carl Faust in 1924.

You can book the entry ticket here.

15. Peratallada

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Peratallada – one of the lesser-known places to visit in Catalonia

The medieval town of Peratallada is popular for its ancient stone houses and narrow streets among the fans of undiscovered Spain.

While Spain has a far-reaching history of royals and a vast number of dreamy castles, the castle of Peratallada is one of the most picture-perfect ones. It was built between the 11th and the 14th century and currently houses a luxury hotel and a restaurant.

If I knew of Peratallada before – I’d include it on my list of secret villages in Spain most of you have never heard of.

16. Deltebre (or Delta del Ebro Natural Park)

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Deltebre – one of the most unique landscapes in Catalonia
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Birdwatching at Delta del Ebro / Photo by Jordi Rubies via Unsplash

About Deltebre

On the way back from our 5-day Costa Brava Road Trip, we made stops at Deltebre and Peñiscola (with its stunning Pope Luna Castle, one of the dreamiest castles in Spain). 

Deltebre (or Delta del Ebro Natural Park) is one of the most unique wetlands in Spain, located close to the city of Tortosa. The area is known as one of the top birdwatching destinations in Spain.

Unique experiences in Deltebre:

17. Santa Pau

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Santa Pau – one of the secret places to visit in Catalonia

Santa Pau is one of the lesser-known medieval towns in Spain, but it’s quite well-preserved. The 13th-century square Plaza Mayor houses a local Romanesque Church of Santa Maria.

Near Santa Pau, I discovered a delicious local restaurant (you can check it out via my Blog Series Traditional Food in Spanish Villages).

18. Parador de Cardona

No list of local landmarks could be full without a few mysterious and haunted places in Spain.

Parador de Cardona Hotel is currently a four-star hotel in the Province of Catalonia. Although centuries ago it used to be a castle with a tragic legend behind it. Nowadays, many guests say they have experienced strange things during their stay. Especially those, who spent a night in room 712. Some even claim to see a ghost of a girl in a white dress. You can read the full story in this post.

You can book your stay at Parador de Cardona here.

19. Jardines de Santa Clotilde

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Jardines de Santa Clotilde – one of the most unique places to visit in Catalonia

Jardines de Santa Clotilde is a beautiful Spanish garden in Lloret de Mar. It used to be a vineyard area, before its owner, Marquis of Roviralta, hired a landscape gardener and architect to create 27 sq m of beautiful gardens with stunning sea views.

While the elevations were the main obstacle in the process, they’ve managed to implement a few beautiful optical effects: when you see the staircase from the bottom it reminds a waterfall made of plants.

20. Park Sama

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Park Sama – a secret gem in Catalonia

 Park Sama with its 14 hectares of greenery and 1500 plant species definitely belongs on the list of the most beautiful gardens in Spain.

This beautiful botanic garden was created in 1881 and served as a residence for the Sama family, marquises of Marianao. This place has some authentic old charm and will definitely surprise you with its Romantic Spanish vibes.

21. Aiguestortes National Park

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Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici – one of my favorite places to visit in Catalonia

Exploring the Pyrenees of Catalonia always involves a visit to the regional natural gem – Aiguestortes National Park (the full name in Catalan is  Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici). Its hiking trail,  Ruta del Planell de Aiguestortes y Estany Llong is one of the most unique hikes in Spain. You can read more about my trip to Aiguestortes National Park in this post.

22. Romanesque Churches of Vall de Boi

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Romanesque Churches in Taull – a UNESCO landmark to visit in Catalonia

In the area of Vall de Boi, you will find 9 unique churches from the XIth century, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Some of them are not open all year round, but all have something absolutely unique worth seeing. You can read more about my visit to the Romanesque Churches of Vall de Boi in this post.

23. Tortosa

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Visiting Royal Colleges – one of my favorite things to do in Tortosa

The beautiful town of Tortosa has been my biggest discovery of 2023 in Spain. While constantly traveling across the region of Catalonia, this city has occasionally popped up in my itineraries, but it would just never grab my attention.

Tortosa is still relatively undiscovered by international visitors, but it is definitely one of the most amazing places to visit in Catalonia. You can check more details about my visit to Tortosa in this post.

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For more Catalonia tips, ideas, and itineraries check my Pinterest boards – Travel to Spain and Barcelona+Catalonia.

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