Here are interesting day trips out of the Catalan capital city.
The Beaches of Sitges
Just an hour’s distance south of Barcelona via train sits the sleepy beach town of Sitges, making it one of the most convenient day trips. Each year, Sitges serves as the main attraction for the thousands celebrating Carnaval. When traveling down from Barcelona on Fat Tuesday to indulge in such festivities, expect to fight for standing room on the train. Any other time of the year however, Sitges serves as a home to some of the most beautiful, sparsely populated beaches on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
This monumental monastery sits atop the cliffs of a local mountain range a short journey inland on the light-rail from Barcelona. At the base of the mountain, visitors can elect to take a gondola or funicular train up and over the cliffs to the peak. Leave early to ensure a full day on top of the mountain. Trails initially blazed by the missionaries who colonized the sublime location weave throughout the mountaintops, providing astounding views of the surrounding valley. On a clear day, Barcelona appears on the horizon, providing a picturesque façade to the Mediterranean.
Surrealism in Figueres
The home of world-renowned surrealist master artist Salvador Dali is Figueres, just a two-hour train ride north of Barcelona. His hometown serves as home to a museum in his honor, decorated with a plethora of his work. His surrealist artwork may, upon first glance, seem like a random collection of perfectly rendered items and objects. But the beauty of the artwork goes far beyond the surface images. Dali was indeed a sick, perverted man who followed the teachings of Sigmund Freud in order to depict his dreams in his paintings. Dali praised the Oedipus Complex – a concept thought of by Freud, indicating that every human has a sexual attraction to his or her parent of the opposite sex and a violent urge towards their same sex parent. Regardless, the majority of his paintings remain solely focused on sexual intercourse and the process of completing such an act. Do some research before visiting the museum and track the symbolism through his different paintings for a more rewarding experience.