In such a large and bustling city, it’s easy to forget how much more Barcelona has to offer than architecture, music, and nightlife. So if you’re craving a healthy break from all that beer and tapas and in search of some fresh air, you’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t have to travel far outside of the city to find some of the best walking routes the region has to offer, with some pretty cool views to go with them.
First things first, some useful advice before heading out for a day of hiking:
- Find all of the information about the route you are going to take before you set off.
- Choose a route that corresponds to your level and is not too much of a challenge.
- Remember to bring a map and make sure that you have the necessary equipment and provisions to complete the chosen route, including water and snacks!
- Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
Satisfy your sightseeing craving while hiking one of the most popular routes in Barcelona. Montjuïc may be the smallest of Barcelona’s surrounding hills but surely does not disappoint. Home to the historic Montjuïc Castle, the 1992 Olympic Stadium and the Joan Miró foundation, there are many ways to enjoy a hike on this beautiful route, with numerous stops to be made along the way. One of the nicest trails begins in the Grec Gardens in Poble-Sec, following the Laribel Stairs up to the Miró Foundation. Carry on along the Carrer Doctor i Font Quer and wind your way up to the castle for a truly stunning view of the city…you will not regret it.
The Montserrat Abbey is a big tourist destination outside of Barcelona, and one unique way to see it is by foot. Around Plaça Catalunya you’ll see many signs offering bus tours to the spiritual site, which will take you up to see the museum, basilica, and monastery. But the real treat is the Sant Jeroni hike, which leaves from behind the monastery. This walk does take some time and definitely requires some physical exertion but it’s all worth the breathtaking peaks that make Montserrat so unique, offering spectacular 360 degree views stretching all the way back to Barcelona and Penedès. If you plan to see both the religious buildings and complete the hike, leave Barcelona early in the morning to give yourself of plenty of time.
The Costa Brava is a stunning coastal region just north of Barcelona and stretches right up to the border of France where the Pyrenees mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its spectacular cliffs and hundreds of coves that line the coast, the Costa Brava is a must visit for hikers, offering the perfect day trip out of Barcelona. One of the most scenic sections of the Camins de Ronda is a path that winds up from Begur to Calella de Palafrugell. You can choose the section you would like to walk and the level of difficulty. Small fishing villages line the coast, and offer a perfect way to start and end your hike, perhaps ending with a feast of the catch of the day!
For the more adventurous walker in you, Tibidabo is one of the most challenging hikes around the city but offers one of, if not the best, view. Famous for the amusement park perched on its peak, Tibidabo is the tallest mountain of the Serra de Collserola range. Perhaps the nicest route to the summit starts in the Sarrià neighbourhood, up through the Avenida de Vallvidrera and the Carrer de Santpedor, at which point the rest of the route will be signposted. Good luck!
The Bunkers del Carmel
These former wartime bunkers were used during the Spanish Civil War but have since been totally abandoned, and today they provide one of the best panoramic views of the city to be found. They have been one of Barcelona’s best keep secrets, visited only by locals and more adventurous travellers. Depending on how much walking you want to do, you can access the bunkers from the centre of town by foot, or take the metro to get a head start if you prefer. Both Guinardó i Hospital de Sant Pau or El Coll/La Teixonera stops will leave you within good walking distance.
The Carretera de las Aigues
Translated literally as ‘Road of waters’, Carretera de las Aigues is a 9-kilometre stretch of paths that wind around the Collserola mountain. If you’re looking for a more active day, this destination offers the perfect place for running, cycling, and walking. Challenge yourself with steeper inclines by accessing more difficult terrains. If you need a little more of a push, running tours are available through 360 Running Barcelona. And if you’re just looking to find spectacular views of the city away from all of the action, access Carretera de las Aigues by car or public transportation and enjoy a relaxing picnic with friends against a rather breathtaking backdrop.
The Besòs River and Seafront
For those who prefer a flatter terrain and want to walk without worrying about uphill, the trail along the Besòs river is just what you need. The Besòs runs from the Colserolla Mountain range to the Mediterranean sea. Tracks have been created for walkers and cyclists along the riverside. The area attracts everyone from families to fitness gurus alike. Once the official trail ends, mountain bikers can continue along the rugged riverside path for another several kilometres.
So, get your walking shoes at the ready, it’s time to move those feet and discover rural Barcelona…