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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Traveling to 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.
Unique travel experiences to book in Catalonia
- Girona: Game of Thrones Small Group Tour
- Costa Brava: Hot Air Balloon Flight
- Personalized Salvador Dalí Costa Brava Tour
- Sant Feliu de Guixols: Via ferrata Cala del Molí
- Ebro River Guided Kayaking Tour to Miravet
- Tossa de Mar: PADI Discovery Scuba Diving
- Lloret de Mar: Catamaran Sailing Tour with BBQ and Drinks
Top Places to Visit in Catalonia
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:
- Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine, and History
- Barcelona Public Transport Travel Card
- Flamenco Show at City Hall Theater
- Park Güell Admission Ticket
- Sagrada Familia Entry Ticket with Audio Guide
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 kids – Port 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:
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:
- Montserrat Tour, Monastery & Optional Wine/Lunch
- Montserrat Half-Day Wine and Tapas Trip
- Montserrat: Morning or Afternoon Half-Day Trip with Pickup
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.
Unique Experiences to book in Girona:
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.
Best Besalu Tours:
- Barcelona Day Trip: Besalú & Medieval Towns Tour with Hotel Pickup
- From Barcelona: Private Besalú and Medieval Towns Tour
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:
- From Barcelona: Personalized Salvador Dalí Costa Brava Tour
- From Barcelona: Girona, Figueres and Dalí Museum Day Tour
- Figueres: City Walking Tour & Dali Museum
- Salvador Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres private tour
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:
- From Girona: Cadaqués, St Pere de Rodes Monastery
- From Barcelona: Girona, Figueres, and Cadaqués Day Trip
- From Roses: Catamaran Cruise to Cap de Creus
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:
- Sitges: Food and Natural Wine Tasting
- Vilanova i la Geltrú: Guided Sitges Coast 3-Hour Kayak Tour
- From Sitges: Cycling Tour with Winery Visit and Tasting
- From Barcelona: Tarragona & Sitges Full Day Tour with Pickup
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.
11. La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park
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:
- La Garrotxa Volcanoes Half-Day Hot Air Balloon Flight
- From Barcelona: Medieval Villages and Volcanic Hiking Tour
- From Barcelona: Osona and La Garrotxa Guided Day Trip
12. 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 Culip, Cala 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
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.
14. Jardin Botanico Marimurtra / Blanes
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.
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.
Deltebre (or Ebro Delta National Park) is a unique natural park in Spain, located close to the city of Tortosa. It is known for its unmatched wetland landscapes, especially beautiful at sunrise/sunset (with all the water reflections it is a must-see photo location). Also, the Ebro River is an epic watersports destination: SUP, kayaking, and jet skiing. The last one has been on my Spain bucket list forever, so will visit again soon, for sure.
Unique experiences in Deltebre:
- Ebro Delta National Park: Guided Horseback Riding Tour
- Ebro Delta: Guided Kayak Tour to Gracia Island
- Flamingo-Birdwatching in the Ebro Delta at Sunset
- Ebro Delta Cruise and Jeep Tour with Mussels Tasting
- Ebro Delta National Park: Scenic Drive and Kayaking Tour
- Scenic Drive and Kayaking Tour
17. Santa Pau
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
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
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
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
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.
- Accommodation: For short stays, I usually book via Agoda or Booking
- Tours&excursions: My favorites for guided tours are GetYourGuide and Viator
- City breaks&sightseeing: Go City helps to avoid multiple entry fees and paper tickets
- Flights: To find the best deals I like WayAway
- Train&bus tickets: Currently, I book via RailEurope, Omio, and Busbud
- Car rental: To find the best deals I use Rental Cars
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- Suitcases&Luggage: To eliminate problems of early arrivals/late departures I find helpful Radical Storage
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