Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see in Barcelona… there’s more. More than a city, Barcelona is a province – and a very large one at that. Outside of the city that names it, there are plenty of municipalities and natural landscapes that are well worth your visit. So, if you’re staying in the capital of Catalonia, don’t miss the chance to explore the region further – take a look at our suggestions, get on the road and have fun exploring the city’s surroundings.
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Created in 1987 in order to guarantee the preservation of the mountain range of the same name, Collserola is the largest metropolitan park in the world, with an area of 84,650 km2. How big is that? Well, let’s just that say you could replicate New York’s famous Central Park no less than 22 times inside it.
Home to many species of flora and fauna, it is the ideal hiking spot for lovers of nature, offering 6 circuits of varying lengths (where you can also opt to ride a bicycle). If you’re not afraid of heights, don’t miss the chance to stand on top of the Collserola telecommunications tower, where you can enjoy an unbelievable panoramic view of the region.
Tibidabo is the highest peak of the Collserola mountain range. Standing tall at 512 meters, it can be seen from the distance in Barcelona, dominating the scenery. A popular tourist destination, it features an amusement park and the famous Sacred Heart Temple, which is topped by an impressive statue of Jesus.
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Located about 60 km from the city, Montserrat is one of the most famous mountains in the province of Barcelona. Home to the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, it is a popular destination amongst catholic believers.
In addition to breath-taking views, the mountain offers its visitors plenty of activities, with many hiking trails, climbing routes and caves to explore.
Sitges is a seaside town located about 40 minutes (38km) from Barcelona. A very crowded place during the warmer months, in great part due to its beautiful beaches, it hosts several festivals and traditional celebrations. If you decide to check it out, make sure you visit two of its most symbolic buildings – the Maricel Palace and the La Punta church.
Church of Colònia Güell
If you’re a fan of Gaudí’s work, you certainly won’t mind travelling only 23 km outside of Barcelona to admire one of his most beautiful designs. Built between 1908 and 1914, yet never fully finished, Gaudí’s Crypt, as it is also known, is located in the industrial area of Santa Coloma de Cervelló, a small Barcelona municipality with a population of only 7081. Commissioned with the goal of providing the local working class with a place of worship, this church is considered as somewhat of a predecessor of the more famous Sagrada Familia, with which it shares several architectural features.
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The Dalí Museum
The highly-recommended Teatro Museo Dalí is located in the town of Figueres, which is actually not a part of Barcelona – it belongs to Girona, another Catalan province. Still, it’s just around one hour away, and due to its cultural relevance, should definitely be part of your list of places to visit outside the city. Rebuilt after being burnt down during the Spanish Civil War, it’s home to the bulk of the artist’s work – actually, the building itself is something to behold, with its facade serving as an example of the imaginative surrealism that the painter is known for all over the world.
Which one of these places in the province of Barcelona (and beyond) will you visit first? Let us know using the comment box below. Have fun exploring the beautiful region of Catalonia!
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