13 Villages on the Costa Barcelona and in surrounding areas not to be missed
Published on July 10, 2019 by Catalan Holidays
Barcelona is a great city that attracts millions of visitors every year seeking its delights. Even so, those tourist attractions are just the tip of the iceberg of the treasures that Catalonia is hiding. And there are villages near Barcelona that are worth a trip to uncover all that they have to offer.
You have at your disposal, just a few kilometres from the capital city, the possibility of visiting some very beautiful villages. Beach towns with a special aura, mountains that are right out of a fairy tale, villages with so much history in their ancient stones, etc.
We invite you, below, to travel in your mind to the 13 most beautiful villages around Barcelona. Let the adventure begin!
- Malgrat de Mar
- Arenys de Mar
- Sant Pere de Ribes
- Canet de Mar
- Sant Pol de Mar
- Santa Susana
- Segur de Calafell
- Sant Vicenç de Montalt
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This community is perhaps the most charming beach village in Barcelona. With slightly less than 30,000 inhabitants, it is a jewel on the Catalan coast. It is around 40 km away from Barcelona.
Sitges is a charming village because of its beaches and the culture that you can discover. It charmed Modernists like Santiago Rusiñol and they left behind many unique structures. Therefore, one of the first trips you must take when you arrive here is to visit the Modernist buildings in the historic centre. You also must not miss the white houses in the fishermen’s quarter next to the sea, the Maricel Museum, Cau Ferrat Museum and Saint Bartholomew’s Church, which faces the sea.
Montserrat is such a special natural spot in Catalonia. Its mountains have such a beautiful and unique shape that it seems like they were taken straight out of a cartoon. One of the most important symbols of the Catalan nation lives in this space:
La Moreneta or the Black Madonna. This is the patron saint of Catalonia who casts her light over all Catalonians, from what it says in her hymn, El Virolai. Every day you can hear some verses from this hymn at the Monastery, embedded in the mountain, thanks to the children from the “Escolania de Montserrat” choir school.
It is an ideal place for religious tourism and to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Grotto “Santa Cova”, a place where, so tradition goes, a priest found the image of the Virgin Mary. There are also different trails around Montserrat for those into rambling, and Via Ferratas for those more interested in climbing.
This is a beautiful village near to Barcelona, with just over 65,000 inhabitants. It is 24 kilometres away from the Catalan capital. It has excellent beaches (4.8 km of fine sand) to relax, recharge your batteries and discover its various tourist attractions.
It is ideal for beach and mountain lovers. Just a few metres from this delightful village is Garraf Natural Park, a luxurious natural location for bike rides and hiking trails.
On the cultural side of things, Castelldefels Castle is a real highlight, from the 16th century, with a Romanesque church from the 10th century inside it. Saint Mary’s Church, from the beginning of the 20th century in the town centre; the Novella Palace, a Buddhist monastery in Garraf, the first Buddhist monastery in Catalonia since 1996. And the watchtowers, from the 16th century, which were originally used to protect against pirate invasion.
Vic is one of the most enchanting villages in inner Catalonia, around 70 km from Barcelona and 65 km from Girona. With almost 50,000 residents, it has a lot of tourist attractions to uncover.
You must walk around the historic centre in this town to visit “Mercadal Square” with its distinctive modernist buildings. Also, the “Episcopal Museum of Vic”, with the best collections of Catalan medieval art; the Cathedral, that has a mixture of styles from Romanesque to Neoclassical, and the “Roman Temple” that was built in the 2nd century A.D. and is located inside the ruins of the old castle of Montcada.
Malgrat de Mar
This is a lovely village near Barcelona (69 km) with almost 20,000 inhabitants. It is one of the most beautiful villages that there is on the Barcelona Coast.
Malgrat de Mar’s main tourist attractions are the Francesc Macià Park and Castell Park, the two lungs of the town which together span 60,000 square metres. Also, the beach, with more than 4.5 km of sand, and the town centre, for wandering around and going shopping and peacefully exploring this precious town.
By Albert Torelló: Kitesurf a Malgrat from Flickr
Arenys de Mar
This pretty village in the Maresme region is 45 km away from Barcelona and has just over 15,000 residents. It stands out for its beach and for having different and interesting buildings from a cultural perspective. Famous people with unique personalities, like the poet Salvador Espriu.
The main tourist attractions from a cultural standpoint are the “Xifré Building” and its surrounding gardens in a neoclassical style; the Calisay Cultural Centre, an old, neogothic-style windmill used to make the Calisay herbal liquor; the Cemetery, with mausoleums that have high sculptural value; the Town Market; Saint Mary’s Church, from between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century that has an altarpiece by Pau Costa, one of the most renowned Catalan Baroque artists; distinctive defence towers spread around the town, from the 16th century, and the port, with unique buildings.
Sant Pere de Ribes
A charming village in the Garraf region, 41 km from Barcelona and with a population of 30,000 inhabitants. It is a particular highlight due to its proximity to the natural setting of the Garraf Natural Park.
In the cultural sphere, the different buildings that were constructed by the Indianos in the village after they had made their fortune in the Americas must be pointed out. It is worth visiting the cloisters, the chapel, the tower and patio of the “Redós de Sant Josep i Sant Pere” building. The Town Hall itself is interesting for its clock, benevolently built by the Indianos.
The medieval part of Sant Pere de Ribes is also an interesting place to explore. The most outstanding part is the ancient Ribes o de Bell-lloc Castle, from the 10th century; the old 12th century church with the extremely charming “Gateway of Souls”. To finish off the medieval trip around Sant Pere de Ribes is the Terme House, the town’s first town hall and schoo.
By Daniel García: Castell de Ribes from Flickr
Canet de Mar
This village on the Costa del Maresme is located less than 50 km from Barcelona. It has 14,000 inhabitants. It has different tourist attractions for fans of the beach and culture.
The most outstanding points of interest to visit in Canet de Mar are the Lluís domènech i Montaner House-Museum, a famous, modernist Catalan architect; the Sanctuary of Mercy, a neogothic style of building that has a façade with a gothic archway and a large rose window. Near this spot is a modernist building by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. The parish church is in the late Gothic style, with the belfry added on a hundred years later, locally known as “the Heiress of the Coast”.
By TijsB: Canet de Mar from Flickr
Sant Pol de Mar
Sant Pol de Mar is a delightful village situated 50 km from Barcelona city, with 5,000 inhabitants. It is outstanding because of its beach, for the treks and day trips that can be done and for its historic buildings.
A trip worth making is the coastal path from Calella to Sant Pol. An excellent way of beholding some of the spectacular views of the Catalan coastline. The top of the walk has a great viewpoint of the sea and the whole region. It is also a stop on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim’s trail.
On a cultural level, the Sant Pau hermitage is a must-see, a genuine lookout point over the city. The chapel was part of the ancient Sant Pol del Maresme Monastery, which gave its name to the town. It is also worth visiting Saint James’ Church, in a late-Gothic style with modernist facades, erected by the architect, Ignasi Mas Morell.
By Olivier Bruchez: Sant Pol de Mar from Flickr
This is a lovely village with little more than 3,000 residents around 63 km from Barcelona. It is worth taking a look at this community to discover its beaches and cultural delights.
You must travel to this incredibly enchanting village in the Maresme region to visit Santa Susanna’s ancient chapel, the Holy Christ chapel, with watchtowers to protect its people from pirates. Also, the Jorda Flour Mill from the 17th century.
By Isidro Jabato: Playa de las Dunas en Santa Susanna from Wikimeddia Commons
Tordera is a charming town with a few more than 16,000 inhabitants, which is located some 67 kilometres away. It stands out for its connection to nature, and for the cultural attractions that it delivers.
The interesting places that are worth visiting are; the Saint Esteban parish church, which mixes Romanesque, Gothic and Classical styles together, rebuilt between the 16th and 18th centuries, and different hermitages that are sprinkled across the natural landscape. Out of all the natural spaces, special mention must be made of Prudenci Bertrana Park, with its artificial lake and many different types of animals. You should also go to this pretty village for its iron bridge, rebuilt in 2006, and for Tirda Square in the fibra neighbourhood.
By Albert Torello: Mas a Tordera from Flickr
Segur de Calafell
A pretty, residential area in the town of Calafell, located 62 kilometres from Barcelona City. The main delights are the fine sandy beach which is more than 1 km long, the trails and outings that can be taken into nature.
It is worth visiting this little corner of the planet to discover the different prehistoric caves that you can go to in this area, and the different buildings in Iberian, Romanesque, Medieval and Modern styles that you will find there and very close to this town.
By Jordi Cucurull: Niños en Segur de Calafell from Flickr
Sant Vicenç de Montalt
It is a beautiful village of more than 6,000 inhabitants just 62 km from Barcelona, with different charms and tourist attractions, like the metres of beach that it can offer visitors and different places of cultural interest.
It is worth visiting this village near to Barcelona for the Sant Vicenç Church from the end of the 16th century, in the historic centre; the 1.3 km long coastal walk to different houses built by the bourgeoisie in the 11th and 12th centuries; the golf course and the Germans Gabrielistes Park. The town also has different trails to explore the area’s natural surroundings.
By Enfo: Sant Vicenç de Montalt from Wikimeddia Commons
Where to sleep in Barcelona
Our recommendations are coastal accommodation near to the city of Barcelona. There are areas on the Catalan coast that allow you to be between the sea and the mountains at the same time as being near to the city of Barcelona.
On the other hand, have you thought of holiday rentals of houses with private pools y holiday rentals of houses that accept dogs or other pets. Through this link you have all our holiday homes in Catalonia.