Located about forty minutes by train up the coast from Barcelona, the seaside town of Mataró makes for a great day trip outside the city. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or just want to spend a relaxing day on the beach, Mataró is a great option nearby Barcelona to consider. Here’s a little background on the town and the top things to do in Mataró.
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The history of Mataró
The rich history of Mataró goes all the way back to Roman times. In fact, Roman remains can still be seen today at the archaeological site Llauder Tower. Excavations began in the area in 1961 and uncovered the remains of a Roman villa, complete with several rooms, mosaics, and thermal baths dating back to the period between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD.
Over the years, Mataró became a thriving center for industry, commerce, and tourism. The town also played a significant role in 1848 when it became an important site of construction for the first railway in Spain which connected Mataró on one end to Barcelona on the other.
Today, Mataró is a popular destination for Barcelona locals and visitors alike. Its beautiful seaside setting and fascinating history make it the perfect place to escape from busy city life for a while, explore a charming town, and relax on the shores of the Mediterranean without hordes of people nearby.
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What to see and do in Mataró
One of the main attractions in Mataró is the beach. Unlike the busy Barcelona beaches, there’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sparkling blue water without all the crowds. The town boasts 2.2 kilometers of beautiful, sandy beaches with a wide promenade. It’s the perfect spot for families or those wanting a calmer seaside experience than you’ll find at Barcelona’s urban beaches.
The bustling marina is another popular place to visit Mataró. Considered to be one of the most important marinas in the area, its a vibrant center of activity where you will find plenty of shops and restaurants.
In the city center, the Basilica of Santa María is one of the most impressive sights to see in Mataró. It dates back to the 15th century, although parts of its gorgeous facade were added later. If you want to have a look at the beautiful interior, the basilica is open for guided tours.
If you’re an architecture lover, you can visit Casa Coll i Regàs, an impressive Modernist building designed in 1898 by Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. As one of the only houses of its kind in Mataró, it has become an important symbol of the city.
How to get there from Barcelona
To get to Mataró from Barcelona by car, simply follow the coast northward via the C-32 for about 35 kilometers. If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to travel is by train. You can take the R1 train from many of Barcelona’s central train stations including Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, and Clot-Aragó. The easy journey takes about forty minutes depending on which station you leave from. If you prefer to travel by bus, you can take the E11.1 bus from Ronda Universitat towards Pl. de Les Tereses and get off at the Mataró – Camí Ral station.
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*Main photo by Alberto-g-rovi via Visualhunt