One of my favorite things about living in Catalonia is that you have stunning landscapes and nature so close to the big city. You really don’t have to travel longer than just a few hours to arrive at the bordering South of France, or a neighboring country, Andorra (yes, it is a country!). I have explored many neighboring towns and villages, and there are some amazing places to visit nearby. There is so much on offer with the sweet Mediterranean lifestyle!
By now you may ask, what might be some of the most charming road trips when starting in Catalonia and hoping to arrive at some unknown, wondrous destination?
Let’s get to it!
Road Trip Catalonia: Andorra
A tiny co-principality, nestled in the middle of the Pyrenees mountains, the country of Andorra is less than three hours away from Barcelona or Tarragona by car. The drive through the landscapes of Catalonia where the Spanish Pyrenees begin is breathtaking, especially the higher an altitude you reach.
Andorra is definitely a place to visit if you love outdoorsy-type high adrenaline sports activities, such as skiing, rock climbing, and hiking.
It’s very popular to do “via ferratas,” which are specially designated rock climbing paths where ladder-like bars have been installed on the side of the mountains.
Ski resorts are just 15 minutes outside of the city center, and it’s quite affordable to ski with the full ski rental costing around €20 and the full day pass around €45. And there are endless hiking paths; at some, you can even cross the border into France on foot!
It’s also a tax-free country, so shopping is cheap and you have access to all the French grocery markets. That means you can snag ridiculously cheap Spanish and French wine with a luxurious French cheese accompaniment for prices that would be unheard of in the U.S. Definitely worth the road trip for everything you can experience!
Road Trip Catalonia: South of France
If you prefer to go directly to France to enjoy some pate, Camembert and wine from the Languedoc, you can also do that quite easily. You can reach the city of Collioure in just 2.5 hours from Barcelona, which is a dreamy quaint fishing village on the Mediterranean coast just across the French-Spanish border.
If you prefer more city vibes, Toulouse is about a 4 hour drive from Barcelona and there you can try the famous cassoulet dish, a hearty duck confit and pork sausage mouthwatering stew that is perfect during the cold winter months. It is also near the French Pyrenees with spectacular nature nearby, as well as the lovely Garonne River that runs through the city center where you can take a stroll alongside the river bank and enjoy lovely views of the city. Since it’s France, it’s markedly more expensive than Spain, but the quality of the food and wine will surely leave you satisfied.
Road Trip Catalonia: Costa Brava
Last but most definitely not least, a road trip to the Costa Brava is the most easily accessible and mind-blowing.
There, you have city after city of coastal towns and villages on the northern Mediterranean coast of Spain and the views are unforgettable!
The most northern part, which is also said to be the most breathtaking, is Cadaques in the Girona region of Catalonia. From Barcelona to Cadaques, you have many coastal seaside towns to choose from – Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar, Blanes and Begur, to name a few.
All are unique with truly incredible nature, hiking paths along the sea, medieval architecture, fresh seafood, and even via ferratas along the cliffs hanging over the Mediterranean.
For anyone who loves seaside views and nature, you will be amazed when visiting any of these places.
And for anyone who’s a Dalí fan, you can even stop at the city of Figueres along the way, which was the famous painter’s hometown and now has a fabulous commemorative art museum.
So tell me, what was the best road trip experience for you? Looking forward to hearing about your travels and tips in the comments below!
by: Marjorie Vera