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Barcelona is a city full of tourist attractions, first of all its beaches, not to mention the neoclassical architecture of Gaudì or sport and musical events. But there is also room for us who love the outdoors, nature and breathtaking places to photograph.
I have been living here for a year now and have discovered that the region around Barcelona reveals natural beauties that go beyond the world-famous Montserrat, all easily to reach with trekking trails scattered all over Catalonia.
Beyond Barcelona – Itineraries on foot that you can’t miss!
To reach most of these places it is easier to rent a car because they are not well connected with the public transport service, and are located 1 or 2 hours from Barcelona. This means that they are perfect destinations for those who want to escape from the mass tourism of the center or for those who already know the city and want to better explore this part of Spain.
But let’s start from those that are easily accessible from Barcelona with a simple train or metro.
The first is a path that I discovered almost by accident and not planned. It is a coastal trek that goes from the town of Villanova i la Geltru to Sitges, less than an hour by train from Barcelona and full of precious and breathtaking coves.
I would also like to talk to you about an itinerary between the Garraf park, a natural oasis located between Barcelona and Sitges and enclosing different landscapes ranging from the woods to the vineyards and ending up in exotic buildings that you could never imagine seeing in Spain.
I also included in the list an excursion to Blanes, the first city of the Costa Brava which can be reached by an hour by train. The town is very characteristic and in addition to the waterfront part a coastal path that will leave you speechless.
Coastal route of Vilanova i la Geltru in Sitges
This path was a real happy discovery that cost me a burn on my shoulders but that paid me back with visions of beautiful coves and a beautifully blue sea.
We started towards a medieval castle, a fortress founded against the Arab expansion that was advancing from the south. A castle that is now surrounded by an artificial water basin that has enriched it with charm. A breathtaking place, yet, having arrived in Vilanova i la Geltru we were stuck because although Google is almost always right the coincidence that marked me with the bus was not scheduled on Sunday.
Looking for an alternative on the web, I discovered that there was a path along the coast that led to Sitges. A trek along coves with breathtaking beaches, cliffs that lash out against the sea. We didn’t think about it for more than two minutes and we started towards Sitges.
The journey starts from the Plaja del Far de Cristofol, enriched precisely by the museum of the sea used inside the Lighthouse. Immediately we begin to climb along the white rocks characterized by bushes of Mediterranean scrub.
The road continues next to the railway to the first promontory of Punta Llarga, where the path curves to the right and take a path that descends into the woods to reach the first vantage point.
Continuing next to the railway you reach the first coves, these are a bit difficult to reach because the descent is really steep.
Beyond the Punta Grossa opens one of the most beautiful, the Cala dels Gegants which encloses a gay nudist beach. This beach is easy to access and also thanks to its circumference it seems the perfect place for a bit of relaxation out of the noise of the city and why not? Even from his conventions!
The next beach has a somewhat special name, one of those that fights with the beauty of the place. It is the playa del Muerto, also officially gay and nudist, it is another beautiful beach where you can relax and enjoy the sea without the crowd of tourists that crowd the Barceloneta.
From here the path proceeds at sea level, along the beach to Sitges where you can resume city life with a nice cocktail or cerveza.
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Itinerary inside the Garraf Park – Sitges
Here is another enchanting place, it is a park that surrounds the town of Sitges and protects what remains of a forest that was to envelop the whole area. The Garraf park develops on reliefs that, starting from the beach, reach no more than 600 m in height.
The landscape is characterized by the typical Mediterranean maquis and by limestone which thanks to the erosive action of the water has formed caves, wells and grooves. Once past the first coastal reliefs there are small plateaus with vineyards and typical farms that have settled where it was not possible to develop larger villages.
Walking along its paths you meet these small farms that still today keep the tradition alive with their vineyards. The park organizes various activities, including guided tours and excursions, but it is possible to go independently.
I left the Garraf train station (most famous for its beach, which is also worth a visit) and I climbed through a large quarry that slightly disfigured the environment.
Then the forest opens up with its paths and farms up to a Buddhist temple. Yes, that’s right, at the top is a Buddhist temple that could seem like a mirage. And yet it is true, it is working and it is one of the most special things one can expect in a natural park in Spain.
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Blanes – Itinerary along the first city of the Costa Brava
Blanes is a town about 70 km north of Barcelona. Here begins the famous Costa Brava, with its charming coves and typical villages. This area of Catalunia is a little more difficult to reach by public transport because there is no direct connection to Barcelona.
That’s why Blanes is a great place to escape from the city and discover something new. Because this is the last city connected directly with a train to Barcelona which takes about an hour.
It is a town that has developed into a basin near the sea. The ancient part is very characteristic with narrow streets that all start from the central Ramblas where every day a very rich and colorful local market is laid.
Turning among its narrow streets you can see some beautifully decorated buildings that immediately catch the attention. These are palaces built by those who made their fortune in the Americas during the golden period of Spanish colonialism.
The waterfront is a delight for the eyes and above all for beach lovers. You will find a large well-maintained pedestrian area that leads to the golden sand. In addition to the Botanical garden of Mar i Murtra, it reaches the beginning of a camino de ronda.
A path carved into the rock along the Costa Brava cliffs by smugglers during the period of world wars and the Spanish civil war. It is a path that runs along the various coves where once smuggled goods arrived at night and where today you can enjoy a bit of relaxation in a breathtaking place.
Catalonia is full of forests, lakes, mountains and coasts that can leave even the most cynical supporter that the holiday is like a “sand and umbrella” with its mouth open. Stopping only at the beauty of the city of Barcelona is like seeing only what is in the spotlight and not discovering what is authentic beyond that blunder.
So if you don’t want to stop and see what everyone already knows, still worth a visit like the works of Gaudì and the Rambla, take the backpack and go to discover these places.