Barcelona is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world and for all the right reasons! With its relaxed pace and cosmopolitan feel, it has something for everyone. You will especially enjoy its breathtaking architecture, lip-smacking food, and lots more. Don’t forget to check out Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s surreal basilica, and one of the most beloved soccer teams in the world: Barcelona FC. If you are visiting this Spanish city in the summer, then you should know that you can explore the city from within and also take some amazing road trips from Barcelona that will add an element of excitement to your travel. So, if you are headed to Barcelona for a vacation anytime soon, then check out these best road trips from Barcelona, Spain.
1. Bordeaux, France
Located by the Garonne River in Southern France, Bordeaux is undoubtedly the best place for all the wine lovers out there. Its Gothic cathedrals and 18th-century mansions are a sight to behold! Don’t forget to check out its thriving art scene at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, or spend some time taking a leisurely stroll in one of its many public gardens. Give your romantic getaway a whole new meaning! Bordeaux is only about 640 km (398 mi) from Barcelona. Hit the highway and enjoy the rolling Spanish - and then French - countryside.
Córdoba is located in the Southern Spanish region of Andalusia. Did you know that it was once an important Roman city with major Islamic influences back in the Middle Ages? Needless to say, even after all these years, one can still see remnants of their culture in the Byzantine mosaics and Renaissance-style architecture dotting the landscape. If you are done with the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, then a road trip to this city is another way to see into the heart of Spanish culture.
What is the first thing that springs to mind when Seville is mentioned? This famed capital city of the Andalusia region is famous for its flamenco dancing. But that’s not all - you can check out its sprawling Alcázar complex that is built in Moorish style. You can also visit the 18th century Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring. There are many such interesting sights in Seville that will make a 995-km (618-mi) journey a worthy one.
Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city and only 350 km (217 mi) away from Barcelona. With its thriving culture and vibrant nightlife scene, there is no dearth of fun things to do here. From the futuristic buildings to the public parks scattered around the city, you will be amazed by all the sights that will keep you suitably busy throughout your visit. Don’t forget to sit down at a restaurant to try the famous paella, which is made with fresh seafood. Plus, there are plenty of other local cuisines that will leave your tastebuds asking for more!
Oviedo in Spain is a fun and culturally rich city with some very intriguing sights and scenes. Don’t be fooled by its historic appearance because this destination is dotted with elegant parks and modern shopping streets that break that impression! Thanks to its student population, the vibe of the city is largely laidback and often full of entertainment. Located at a distance of 897 km (557 mi) from Barcelona, this road trip cuts through the Spanish countryside, showing a completely different side of the country.
6. Aveiro, Portugal
Aveiro in Portugal is a picturesque city located on the edge of an expansive coastal lagoon system. This prosperous place is not only good-looking but is also a fun destination to visit. If you want to see a new city in a different country on your trip, then consider taking this option from Barcelona, which is located at a distance of 1,151 km (715 mi). The beautiful canals and the colourful facades will certainly transport you to a different world altogether!
The coastal town of Santander is the capital of Cantabria in Spain. Did you know that most of this town was reduced to ashes in a 1941 fire? Despite this tragic accident, the city continues to attract millions of visitors each year due to its fascinating sights. Its beaches are a breathtaking mass of blue, and Palacio de Magdalena is a wonder to behold. While you are exploring the architecture, don’t forget to check out the amazing Catedral de la Asunción, a 13th-century structure located in the heart of the city. A little over six hours away from Barcelona, Santander will make a perfect short trip if you want to explore more cultural sights.
8. Vejer de la Frontera
What sets Vejer de la Frontera apart from many other cities in Spain is its jaw-dropping location atop a rocky hill. This serene town about 1,155 km (717 mi) away is known for its old, winding streets and stunning vistas. Travel to this place for an excellent culinary experience, ruined castles, and dreamy hotels - overall, the perfect, romantic weekend getaway.
Toledo is one of the most intriguing cities in Spain. Overlooking Río Tajo, it was once known for being the ‘city of three cultures’ during the Middle Ages. Even after all these years, one can still see the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish influences on Toledo’s architecture. With a dense history and some of Spain’s finest Gothic churches, this will be one of the best road trips you will ever take from Barcelona. Don’t forget to check out Museo del Greco during the day and, if possible, stay until sunset for an amazing view.
Salamanca is a magical town filled with Renaissance-style structures that give it picturesque views. Also known as the liveliest city in the Castilla region, this place is home to the country’s largest student population, and its streets come alive at night, bringing a burst of energy to the environment. The distance of 845 km (525 mi) between Barcelona and Salamanca cuts through Spain’s finest landscapes, making this an amazing road trip from start to finish.
Fisterra, a fishing port some 1,186 km (736 mi) away, has a breathtaking harbour with jaw-dropping views of Ría de Corcubión. Take a leisurely stroll along its beautiful beaches or plan a short trip to Cabo Fisterra. Located on the western edge of Spain, this offbeat destination is the perfect break from Barcelona’s manic crowds. This part of the country gets busy during the summer, with plenty of tourists eager to relax in the string of beautiful beaches and dramatic capes. The villages along the way make for perfect stops and provide an intimate look into life in the Spanish countryside.
Cádiz is one of the oldest inhabited settlements in Europe, and it was founded back in 1100 BC by the Phoenicians. Today, it is a well-known destination surrounded by water. Labyrinthine streets and the sound of crashing waves makes it a perfect setting for couples looking for a cultural getaway. The cheerful taverns and salt-laden breeze will make it an interesting addition to your holiday in Spain. If you are someone who enjoys seeing a dramatic sunset after a day of exploring, then this place is perfect for you. With a veritable mix of ancient monuments and modern architecture, you will be amazed by what it has to offer.
Granada is located at the foothills of Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain in Spain, at a distance of 888 km (550 mi) from Barcelona. You must add this city to your itinerary if you want to explore its rich cuisine and graffiti art. Indulge in some sightseeing and check out the Islamic influences interspersed with Spain’s Mediterranean vibes. You will especially enjoy Granada’s close proximity to historical places, nature sights, and other such places of interest. But most importantly, its laidback vibe will win you over in no time. Don’t forget to visit the famous Alhambra fortress, one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.
After exploring the Catalonian splendour of Barcelona, you can head to Bilbao to experience one of the biggest treasures in the Basque region of Spain. Its staggering architectural marvels and incredible landscapes has been of the biggest draws for tourists who come from all over the world. From the futuristic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to the rolling hills, this destination is packed with a little bit of everything.
Loaded with history and brimming with energy, Málaga is a multi-layered city that is known for Picasso and Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, which is close to many beaches on Costa del Sol. But there is so much more to this historic place that calls one’s attention. Enjoying over 300 days of sunshine, this port city is the perfect stopover on your road trip from Barcelona. Rich in history and art, you can explore dozens of art galleries and the up-and-coming art district, Soho, to experience its creative scene. Coupled with a thriving bar scene, delicious seafood, and friendly locals, and you have yourself the perfect holiday destination. You can also go bar-hopping and give your taste buds a Michelin-starred culinary experience or simply indulge in some tasty local street food.
Gijón is Asturia’s largest city, and it has come a long way from its industrial roots. Thanks to its recent improvements, Gijón now offers many cultural attractions, seafront walks, parks, and lively bars that will make your 873-km (542-mi) road trip from Barcelona worth your while. It is an engaging city with a thriving party vibe that offers endless entertainment options to its visitors, especially during the summer. Even though it is considered to be an industrial town, it has a fair amount of green countryside that makes it an enjoyable place to visit. If you are planning to take the journey from Barcelona to Gijón, don’t forget to attend the arts festival, Semana Negra, that not only displays local arts and offers cultural activities but is also an excuse for the locals and tourists to party.
Tornavacas is a sleepy municipality situated in the Cáceres province of Spain. It sits in between the towering massifs of Gredos and the region of Sierra de Béjar, with Jerte River on both sides. This offbeat destination is 838 km (520 mi) away from Barcelona. You can consider adding it to your list of places to visit if you want to explore the ancient Baroque architecture and enjoy a road trip away from one of the busiest cities in the country.
18. Municipality of Mérida
Municipality of Mérida is located in Spain’s Extremadura region, to the country’s west. It goes back to the 1st century BC when it was founded by the Romans. Its ancient remains still dot the landscape, especially the 792-m (2,598-ft) bridge spanning the Río Guadiana that reaches the 9th-century Islamic fortress constructed over Roman walls. But, mainly, you should plan to visit this stunning city if you want to explore the ancient Roman ruins that make up the landscape. This is the perfect place for a retreat if you want to bask in the rich history and traditional culture of Spain.
Plasencia is a pleasant city located in the Northern Extremadura region, at a distance of 868 km (540 mi) from Barcelona. Once you arrive at this destination, you will be blown away by its stunning Roman churches and the stately plazas dominating the cityscape. You will also find many tapas bars that sell some of the best and freshest finger foods in Spain!
Explore Barcelona and beyond
Barcelona is a fine mix of old and new. In fact, you can get the best of both worlds: turquoise seas and rolling hills. Admire the interesting architecture and indulge in some authentic Spanish tapas while you are at it. And when you are done exploring this Catalonian beauty, you can consider taking a number of road trips to other parts of Spain and beyond. Just check out this list of all the options you have and make sure you experience at least one road trip, if not more, while you are here.
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