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Nestled in the heart of Catalonia, the enchanting city of Girona beckons travelers with its historic charm, picturesque streets, and vibrant culture.
But beyond its captivating cityscape lies a treasure trove of breathtaking destinations waiting to be explored on day trips.
In this blog post, we’ve enlisted the insights of travel experts who have traversed the region extensively, unveiling their top picks for unforgettable day trips from Girona, Spain.
So, prepare to embark on a journey through Catalonia’s hidden gems and discover the remarkable destinations that await just a stone’s throw away from Girona’s historic center.
Let’s dive into the incredible day trips that will make your visit to this corner of Spain truly unforgettable!
Barcelona is a city bursting with things to see and do. However, if you only have one day to explore, there are a few must-see attractions that you shouldn’t miss.
First on your list should be a visit to Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. This awe-inspiring church is one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks, and it’s easy to see why. With its soaring spires and intricate facade, the Sagrada Familia is truly a sight to behold. Get your tickets online to skip the waiting line!
Next, take a stroll down Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s famous pedestrian boulevard. This lively street is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it the perfect place to people-watch or do some shopping.
And finally, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to Park Guell. This beautiful park was also designed by Gaudi, and it’s home to a stunning mosaic dragon and views of the cityscape. It’s worth buying tickets online to skip the waiting line here as well.
By ticking these three attractions off your list, you’ll be sure to make the most of your time in Barcelona.
Girona to Barcelona car ride time: 1 hr 30 min.
Cap de Creus
Recommended by Vicki from Vickiviaja
Girona is simply a great city in Catalonia. However, one of the best things about visiting Girona is its beautiful surroundings. If you have some time, you should definitely plan a visit to Cap de Creus. Because here you can perfectly combine wonderful nature and hiking opportunities with one of the most beautiful beaches of Costa Brava as well as a picturesque coastal town in just one day trip.
The landmark of Cap de Creus is the Far de Cap de Creus. The lighthouse is located on a hill on the coast and offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding nature and coast. In addition, there are a few small calas (bays) where you can refresh yourself in the crystal clear waters of Costa Brava.
Whether you prefer to spend your time by the water, snorkeling, taking pictures, or exploring the wonderful nature is entirely up to you.
In any case, you should afterward also visit the nearby coastal town of Cadaqués. It is considered one of the most beautiful towns in the region and enchants its visitors with its picturesque white buildings, narrow paths, and idyllic seaside atmosphere.
The headland is located on the very north of the Catalan coast, only about 25 km from the French border. The easiest way to reach Cap de Creus is by car from Girona, about a 1 ½ hour drive.
Salvador Dalí was a Spanish surrealist artist who was born in Figueres, Catalonia. His full name was Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. Salvador Dalí was a skilled painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. He is perhaps best known for his painting of the Persistence of Memory, which features soft melting clocks. Salvador Dalí died in 1989, and he is buried in the museum that bears his name in Figueres, Catalonia.
The Dalí Museum is dedicated to the life and work of Salvador Dalí. It houses the world’s largest collection of his art, as well as an extensive archive of photographs, manuscripts, and personal objects. The museum is located in the former municipal theater. The building was renovated to incorporate many of Salvador Dalí’s design elements, and it now features surrealist architecture. The Dalí Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Salvador Dalí’s life and work.
If you’re planning a trip to Figueres, then you are probably wondering what else is there to see in this charming Spanish town beside the Dali Museum. Here are a few of our favorite things:
The Castle of Sant Ferran: This 18th-century fortress is one of the largest castles in Europe, and it’s definitely worth a visit. You can explore the massive ramparts, walk through the ancient prison cells, and even enjoy a picnic in the lovely gardens.
The Empordà Museum: This museum is dedicated to the art and culture of Catalonia, and it has an excellent collection of both traditional and contemporary works. If you’re interested in learning more about Catalan history and culture, this is the place to go.
Whether you’re a fan of Dalí or not, Figueres is definitely worth a visit. So don’t miss out on these other great attractions!
Girona to Figueres car ride time: 45 min.
Cadaques is a beautiful seaside town in Spain that is definitely worth a visit. The best way to explore the town is on foot, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Start your visit by strolling through the winding streets of the old town, taking in the architecture and stopping for a coffee at one of the many cafes.
Then, make your way down to the waterfront where you can admire the views of the Mediterranean Sea. If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a boat for a swim or go for a hike in one of the nearby natural parks.
In the afternoon, enjoy some traditional Spanish cuisine for lunch before heading back to Girona.
Figueres to Cadaques car ride time: 55 min.
If you prefer going on a guided tour instead of going on your own, check out this day tour to Figueres and Cadaques!
Montserrat Monastery and mountains
If you’re looking for a day trip from Girona that is both beautiful and historic, look no further than the Montserrat monastery. Situated atop a mountain about an hour outside of the city, the monastery offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Visitors can take a tour of the church, check out the information center, explore the grounds on their own, and take in the stunning views for free. There is an option also to visit the museum and monastery.
Montserrat Monetary is built on a small mountain range. The mountains are a popular hiking destination for both locals and tourists, and there are several routes to choose from depending on your fitness level.
You can go up to the mountains by a cable car, and then even further up by a funicular. The hikes around the top of the funicular take you through a variety of landscapes, from forests to rocky cliffs, and offer stunning views of the surrounding area. An easy option is to go up by the funicular and then hike back down to the monastery on your own.
Whichever route you choose, make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as comfortable shoes.
With its beautiful scenery and varied trails, Montserrat is an ideal destination for a day hike.
Girona to Montserrat car ride time: 1 hr 45 min.
Tossa de Mar and Lloret de Mar
Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar is a beautiful town located on the Costa Brava in Spain. Although it is a popular tourist destination, there are still plenty of activities to do in Tossa de Mar that are not that crowded but are worth the visit. Here are some of the best things to do in Tossa de Mar:
- Visit the Tossa de Mar Castle: The castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tossa de Mar. It dates back to the 12th century and provides stunning views over the town and coast.
- Go for a swim at Cala Llevado: Cala Llevado is a stunning cove located just outside of Tossa de Mar. It is perfect for a refreshing swim and there are also plenty of sun loungers if you just want to relax in the sun.
- Explore the caves of Costa Brava on a paddle surfing board.
- Enjoy a meal at Tapas Portal – it is a tapas restaurant located in the heart of Tossa de Mar. It offers traditional Spanish cuisine with a twist, and the service is excellent. Outdoor seating is available as well.
Girona to Tossa de Mar car ride time: 45 min.
Lloret de Mar
Resort town Lloret de Mar is bursting with things to do, both on land and at sea. Inland, you can explore the picturesque streets of the old town, visit the stunning Lloret de Mar castle, or take a hike in the nearby mountains. And that’s just the beginning – there are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you busy, plus a lively nightlife scene if you’re looking to party.
But Lloret de Mar comes alive when you hit the beach. The sparkling Mediterranean Sea beckons, and there’s plenty of opportunity for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports. And when you’re ready for a break from the sand, there are plenty of cafes and bars along the waterfront to enjoy a refreshing drink or bite to eat.
It’s possible to hike from Tossa de Mar to Lloret de Mar, as these towns are connected by the Cami de Ronda hiking trail. The markings are easy to find. There is also frequent public transportation between the towns, so you can leave the car in one of them, take a hike, and then return to your car.
Tossa de Mar to lloret de Mar car ride time: 20 min.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Canyet de Mar
Sant Feliu de Guíxols is a beautiful town in Catalonia, Spain. It’s situated on the Costa Brava, and it has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. There are plenty of things to see and do in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, so you’ll never be bored. If you’re looking for things to do in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, here are some suggestions:
- Go for a swim at Cala Maset. This is one of the most popular beaches in town, and it’s perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot day.
- Sample some traditional Catalan cuisine. There are plenty of great restaurants in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, so try some local specialties such as paella and calçots (a type of onion).
- Explore the Old Town. Sant Feliu de Guíxols has a beautiful Old Town, with narrow streets and medieval buildings. It’s definitely worth taking some time to explore this area of town.
Girona to Sant Feliu de Guíxols car ride time: 45 min.
The road from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Canyet de Mar goes along the Costa Brava and offers stunning sea views. There are multiple hairpin turns on the road and dramatic cliffs coming straight out of the water. When driving between the two towns count in some time to stop at the viewpoints to soak in the amazing views.
Sant Canyet de Mar is a charming fishing village located on the Costa Brava in Spain. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as plenty of good food and wine. There are also numerous activities to keep people of all ages entertained. For those who enjoy the outdoors, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails in the area.
This town has especially beautiful paths built for exploring the seaside. There are dramatic cliffs and rocks, surrounded by trees and other fauna. What’s interesting is how the paths incorporate the trees and other natural objects – they are built around nature, and not through it (see the picture at the top).
There are also several beaches nearby where people can sunbathe, swim, and snorkel. And for those who prefer to stay on dry land, there are plenty of shops and cafes to explore.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Canyet de Mar car ride time: 20 min.
Besalú, Banyoles and Volcano Area La Garrotxa
There’s no shortage of things to do in Besalú. This charming town, located in the province of Girona, is home to a wide variety of attractions. For history buffs, there’s the 11th-century Romanesque bridge and the 12th-century Jewish quarter. Curious people will appreciate the Museum of Miniatures and Micro-Miniatures and the Museum. And for those who just want to enjoy some time outdoors, there are the walking trails along the River Fluvià.
Girona to Besalú car ride time: 40 min.
Banyoles is a small town in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. With a population of just over 20,000 people, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. And there’s plenty to do in Banyoles, from exploring the picturesque Old Town to visiting the iconic Lake Banyoles. If you’re looking for things to do in Banyoles, here are a few ideas to get you started.
One of the most popular things to do in Banyoles is to visit Lake Banyoles. The lake is huge (it covers an area of over 107 hectares!) and is surrounded by lush greenery. It’s a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, and canoeing, and there are also plenty of walking and cycling trails nearby.
Another popular activity in Banyoles is exploring the Old Town. There’s plenty to see and do here, from admiring the architecture to sampling the local cuisine. Make sure to visit the Plaça Major, the main square where you’ll find several cafes and restaurants for people-watching.
Besalú to Banyoles car ride time: 20 min.
La Garrotxa is a picturesque region of Catalonia located to the north of Girona. The area is home to a large number of volcanoes, all of which are now dormant. However, the volcanic landscape is still very evident, and there are numerous hiking trails that wind their way through the lava fields.
La Garrotxa is also known for its traditional Catalan cuisine, and there are several excellent restaurants in the area.
Banyoles to La Garrotxa car ride time: 40 min.
If you prefer going on a guided tour instead of going on your own, check out this day tour to Besalú, Banyoles, and Volcano Area La Garrotxa!
Port Aventura is a world-famous theme park located in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. The park features six themed areas based on different cultures and regions, as well as a water park, hotel, and Ferrari Land. With so much to see and do, visitors can easily spend a day or two at Port Aventura.
Here are just a few of the many activities that guests can enjoy:
- Ride the Dragon Khan, one of the tallest roller coasters in Europe. It has eight inversions.
- Take a spin on the Shambhala, the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the park.
- Get wet on wild water rides like the Grand Canyon Rapids.
- Visit SesameAdventure, Port Aventura’s section for younger guests.
- Explore Mediterranean, Polynesian, Mexican, and Chinese-themed areas.
- Shop for souvenirs or try your hand at winning one of the game stalls.
Whatever your interests, there’s sure to be something for you at Port Aventura!
Girona to Port Aventura car ride time: 2 hr 10 min.
El Vendrell and Tarragona
El Vendrell is a small town in Catalonia, Spain It’s a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, thanks to its beautiful beaches, Mediterranean climate, and friendly people.
There are plenty of things to do in El Vendrell, from swimming and sunbathing to exploring the town’s Roman ruins. The beach is the perfect place to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy after a long day in the sun. For those who prefer to explore, the town’s Roman ruins are a must-see.
Girona to El Vendrell car ride time: 1 hr 50 min.
Tarragona is a city in Spain with a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire. If you’re only visiting for one day, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
Start by exploring the well-preserved Roman ruins of the Roman Wall of Tarragona and Amphitheater de Tarragona, then head to the Old Town to see the Catedral Basílica Metropolitana y Primada de Santa Tecla de Tarragona.
No trip to Tarragona would be complete without trying the local specialty, Tarragona clams.
And when going back to Girona, be sure to visit The Ferreres Aqueduct just outside of Tarragona. You can climb up to cross it as a bridge for more impressive views and photos.
El Vendrell to Tarragona car ride time: 30 min.
Calella de Palafrugell
Calella de Palafrugell is a small town on the Costa Brava in Spain. It’s the perfect place to spend a day if you’re looking for sun, sand, and sea.
The best way to start your day is by indulging in a delicious breakfast of churros and chocolate at one of the town’s cafes. After breakfast, head to the beach for a swim or sunbathe. For lunch, try the seafood paella at one of the restaurants overlooking the water. In the afternoon, explore the town’s labyrinthine streets and visit some of the shops selling local arts and crafts. Finish your day with a sunset walk along the promenade.
As you watch the sun dip below the horizon, you’ll be glad you chose to spend your day in Calella de Palafrugell.
Girona to Calella de Palafrugell car ride time: 55 min.
Imagine floating above the stunning Costa Brava coastline in a hot air balloon. The waves sparkle in the sunlight as you glide silently over the Mediterranean Sea.
Below you, the picturesque towns and villages nestled amongst the hills come into view.
As you rise higher, the landscape unfolds before you, offering a bird’s-eye view of this beautiful corner of Spain.
A hot air balloon flight is a truly magical experience and one that should not be missed. So if you’re looking for a unique way to see the Costa Brava, book a flight today. You’ll be glad you did!
Looking for a fun and informative way to spend a day in Girona? Then be sure to check out the Local Wineries Tour with Breakfast and Wine Tasting!
This tour takes you to three different local wineries, where you’ll learn all about the wine-making process and have the chance to taste some of the region’s best wines. And what could be better than starting the day with a delicious breakfast and a glass of wine?
Whether you’re a wine lover or just looking for a unique way to spend a day in Girona, this tour is sure to please you. So book now and get ready for a day of fun, food, and wine!
Travel tips and tricks:
- Save big on flights with Skyscanner.com – This incredible tool lets you find the most affordable airfare to your dream destination. You’ll love their “Whole Month” feature, which displays the best prices for the entire month. If you’re flexible with travel dates, this is a game-changer for scoring the cheapest tickets.
- Stay in the heart of the action – I always find the perfect accommodation on Booking.com. Their map view lets me filter hotels by my budget and select ones that are right in the center of it all. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this easy way to book your ideal stay!
- Go beyond the resort – I’m all about making the most of my trips, and GetYourGuide.com has been a lifesaver for booking unforgettable tours and day trips. It’s the most hassle-free way to dive into the local culture and explore the hidden gems in every new place.
- Hit the road with DiscoverCars.com – There’s no better way to explore your destination than by car! Renting a vehicle has never been easier, and with their competitive prices, you’ll have the freedom to create your own adventures.
I highly recommend trying these tools for yourself – not only will you save money, but you’ll also create memories that last a lifetime. Happy travels!