4 Spring Getaways an Hour’s Drive From Barcelona

Easter kicked off the beginning of high season in Barcelona, bringing with it over 60,000 visitors to the city. Like many others wanting to disconnect during the long weekend, I decided to get far from the madding crowds while still basking in the Mediterranean sun, but didn’t want to break the bank. Armed with a van, Google and an open mind, I took this city break to explore around Barcelona, discovering that it really is molt més.

Here are three places you can escape to when you next need to beat big city stress.

1. Belianes

Time from Barcelona: 1 hour & 30 minutes

In case you’ve heard of this tiny 600-person town, you’re probably thinking “there’s nothing there.” You’d be right, but that’s exactly what we were looking for: digital detox through simple country living. We stayed at the coolest Airbnb I’ve had the luck to stumble upon, a refurbished almond-toasting masia on the edge of town. You know what beats a beeping alarm clock? Being gently woken by the golden rays of the sun streaming through your bedroom window as it rises over the surrounding vinyards.

 

We spent our time walking to the neighboring towns of Malda and Guimaras, stopping to examine ruins of mills and churches along the way. Belianes is one of those typical tiny pueblos where everyone says hello, with scenery so idyllic I couldn’t stop myself singing the opening song from Beauty and the Beast, much to my boyfriend’s dismay.

 

Visit Cal Menut for a hearty meal and local wines to wash it down before an afternoon siesta.

 

2. Altafulla

Time from Barcelona: 1 hour & 8 minutes

This gem of a city along the Costa Duarada has somehow managed to escape the masses who flock to Salou and Tarragona, probably the result of a spell cast by the good witches who, legend has it, have lived in Altafulla for centuries. You could spend a whole day walking along the beach or people-watching on the promenade by the Botigues del Mar.

 

After stumbling upon a flea market and getting some vitamin sea we headed to the Vila Closa, the charming medieval part of town where turrets peeked out from behind creeping ivy.

 

We didn’t get enough time to visit the Roman Villa of Els Munts or Tamarit Castle, leaving us two great excuses to come back.

 

3.   Cantonigros

Time from Barcelona: 1 hour & 30 minutes

We decided to take a detour on our return to Barcelona and followed Guiri Girl’s instructions to La Cascada de la Foradada de Cantonigros. Halfway there our stomachs started growling, so we made an unplanned stop at Vic, having no idea how picturesque and historical this city is. We had lunch in the sun-soaked central plaza, which was almost completely empty, then continued to Cantonigros to chase some waterfalls.

 

It was quite late on Easter Sunday when we got to the falls so there were families and couples dipping their toes in the water. Go for a walk along the stream and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale forest. Sitting by a bubbling brooke surrounded by lush trees and feeling like we were in the middle of nowhere was the perfect end to our little holiday.

 

So, where will the next long weekend take you?

 

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