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Barcelona: surrounding area and province

When a city like Barcelona shines so brightly, what lies nearby is often unfairly overlooked. However, the benefit is that the capital of Catalonia has an outstanding location and makes the perfect departure point for dozens of destinations that are under two hours away. Escaping from a metropolis with such an overwhelming cultural life to spend some time in nature, either by the sea or the hills, or to search for architectural jewels hidden in the mountains, is a delight that shouldn’t be passed up.

The most popular getaway from Barcelona is to the Costa Brava, where over 200 kilometres (125 miles) of coastline with well-equipped beaches or unspoilt picture-perfect coves await. The Costa Brava stretch of coast belongs to Girona province and highlights include towns such as Cadaqués, Roses, Begur, Calella de Palafrugell, Palamós, Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar and Blanes. They all have a similar appeal: a lively tourist resort, great beaches and excellent restaurants. And if you’d also like to add a dash of unusual culture, don’t forget to visit the Salvador Dalí House-Museum in Portlligat, Cadaqués; the museum was built from a series of fishing huts and is imbued with the spirit of the surrealist genius. If you’d like to see some more works by Dalí, head to Figueres where you’ll find a little-known theatre with truly surprising architecture. Girona, located 85 km (50 miles) from Barcelona, makes another great cultural getaway. Visitors can enjoy its perfectly preserved Jewish quarter and a historic centre that was the backdrop for several scenes in the popular TV series Game of Thrones.

A little closer, still in the province of Barcelona, are towns such as Sitges and Calella, which both have attractive beaches lined with restaurant terraces where you can enjoy the pleasures of Catalan cuisine. Sitges is also famous for its Film Festival and lively LGTB+ scene, but it’s worth exploring its cultural life in a little more depth. And Calella, the capital of the Costa del Maresme, is so lovely that it’s impossible not to be enchanted by its lighthouse, golden beaches and pedestrian streets that invite you to stroll around the town at ease.

If you have to choose just one religious monument to visit outside Barcelona there’s no need to think twice: the Monestir de Montserrat is the place to go. The mountain landscape here is just as astonishing as the construction itself. The complex consists of a basilica and several squares and is dedicated to a figure of the Virgin known as “la Moreneta”, the patron saint of Catalonia. Visitors can also see the nearby Benedictine abbey, an audiovisual space and an open-air museum.

A further cultural highlight is the Colònia Güell, one of the leading industrial tourism attractions in Barcelona province. The working-class colony in the town of Santa Coloma de Cervelló is special because its founder, Eusebi Güell, commissioned Gaudí to build its church. The resulting religious complex was built in the Modernist style and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.

Last but not least, there are plenty of experiences in nature to enjoy such as the Parc Natural del Montseny, just 50 km (30 miles) from Barcelona, which is sheltered by several imposing mountains. It’s the perfect place for hiking and visiting the three regions that make up the park. Secondly, another green destination that is certainly worth a visit is the Parc Natural del Delta de l’Ebre in Tarragona province which boasts an abundance of flora and fauna.

After visiting Barcelona province and its surrounding area you’ll be totally convinced: the city of Barcelona has a fantastic range of nearby attractions to delight travellers.

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