Catalonia is a region in northeastern Spain which has become really popular with tourists thanks to its stunning capital, Barcelona, which is one of the country's flagship destinations.
The success of this region with tourists is not surprising. Catalonia borders the large snowy mountain of the Pyrenees to its north and incredible beaches and isolated coves on the Mediterranean side. Barcelona’s gastronomy, great weather, and rich culture make it an unmissable summer destination that is almost impossible to avoid.
For an amazing campervan road trip in Catalonia through Barcelona, Montserrat, Costa Brava, Girona and the Catalan Pyrenees, follow this guide!
A great place to begin the trip in Spain’s second largest city.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia. A unique cathedral that is the symbol of modern architecture. Its construction began in 1882 and has not yet been completed! The money generated from the entrances remains its main source of funding for its construction.
The Sagrada Familia is so popular among tourists that queues are long regardless of the time of year. We recommend you buy tickets in advance on the Internet to avoid a long wait. It is possible to choose from tickets that give access to the church with tours with or without a guide/audio guide.
Ticket prices for the Sagrada Familia
Under-18s, senior citizens and students: €13
Children under 10 years old, disabled and their companions: Free
Another must-see attraction is the Park Güell, a dream park created by Gaudí, which transports us into a world of fantasies and which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since 2013, the historic entrance to the park (the most popular and the most beautiful part) has started charging an entrance fee. You can buy tickets at the counter or on the internet up to 3 months in advance. We also recommend you to take a tour through the free area which also contains some very beautiful spots.
Tickets for the Park Güell
Over 65: €4,9
Children younger than 6: Free
Children between 7 - 12: €4,9
Accompanying person with a disability: €4,9
In order to fully discover the city, it is essential to walk along the Passeig de Gràcia, one of the main avenues of Barcelona. The avenue is full of shops, but it's the showcase of modern buildings that have become some of the symbols of the city. These buildings are not at all conventional. For example, La Pedrera or Casa Batlló, was built as housing. Today it is possible to visit them to admire their original shapes and their dreamy aesthetics.
Pay attention to pickpockets! Unfortunately Barcelona is also a favorite destination for thieves who enjoy profiting from distracted tourists. Try not to look like a tourist and pay close attention to your belongings. The Ramblas, the metro stops of Barcelona Sants Station and the Park Güell are especially notorious for pickpockets so stay cautious.
In the heart of Passeig de Gràcia is El Nacional, an enormous gastronomic zone. It is an ideal place to relax in downtown Barcelona while enjoying traditional dishes like serrano ham and pieces of Spanish Omelette (Tortilla de patatas).
In order to continue your walking tour of Barcelona, you can take the Passeig de Gràcia until arriving at Catalonia Square. From here you quickly reach the sea through the bustling Ramblas district. If you have a little time, buy some freshly squeezed juice from the Boqueria market and tour the Gothic quarter. It is the oldest part of the city where the narrow streets blend a medieval past with the modern bars, fashion and souvenir shops.
At the end of the Ramblas is the statue of Christopher Columbus. At its feet you can already see the sea and Port Vell (the old port). The last stop of this visit is the Barceloneta, the former fishing district. Currently it’s the most popular area of Barcelona. It has unusual architecture, a lot of character and an open sea view.
The Barceloneta neighbourhood is the perfect place to satisfy your craving for one Spain's most famous dishes. Relaxing on a terrace you can enjoy the sea view at any time of the year. In order to eat a good paella you must know that the real paella does not have chorizo or peas! These types of paella's can often be found on the Ramblas, however avoid these restaurants as they are tourist traps. In the Barceloneta there are several restaurants with specialty rice, we recommend the Suquet de l'Almirall, one of the favorite restaurants of the inhabitants of Barcelona to experience a great paella (prices are around €22). Try your paella accompanied by the typical "pa amb tomàquet i allioli".
If you have visited the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Passeig de Gràcia, Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter and Port Vell, you have already seen all the most important and popular monuments and places of Barcelona. But if you want to get to know the city better you should know that Barcelona captivates its visitors also thanks to its panoramic views.
From Tibidabo, which with its 512m is the highest point of the city, it is possible to contemplate the city and the sea in a privileged way. The Tibidabo is very similar to the Sacred Heart. It is a mountain that dominates the city, surmounted by a large white stone church. You can reach the Tibidabo by funicular, by tram or by public transport.
Another great part to enjoy views of the city is Montjuïc, in addition to soaking in the monuments of the Spanish Steps, you can also enjoy the Font Màgica; the fountains regularly host shows with lights. It draws in tourists and locals alike for magic moments. We recommend that you consult the schedules as they change throughout the year.
We recommend that you park your motorhome outside of Barcelona in a motorhome campsite and travel to the city center by public transport. Barcelona CityStop motorhome area is a good location next to the La Pau metro stop, just 5 stops from the Sagrada Familia. It offers black and gray water drainage services, clean water supply, electricity, showers, laundry, wifi, etc.
The Poble Espanyol campsite in Montjuïc is perfect for sleeping in a more luxurious environment with beautiful views, a quiet ambience and at the same time near the city center. Park & Ride is another campsite in Barcelona which is very well served by public transport. All these areas cost €30 per day for pitching.
After Barcelona and Montserrat we continue our tour of Catalonia by motorhome. Head north with Girona and the Costa Brava.
The city center of Girona is very welcoming. Walking through its narrow streets will take you back in time, thanks to its Jewish quarter, one of the largest and best preserved in Europe.
In this town you can taste the dishes of Celler Can Roca, which has been elected several times the best restaurant in the world. For demanding palates with tight budgets, the Rocambolesc ice cream shop (belonging to the same chefs) allows the general public to access its creations.
Every year, during the festival "Girona, Temps de Flors", the city center becomes an unusual garden for a few days. The streets, squares and monuments are decorated with thousands of flowers; It is the perfect opportunity to discover Girona wrapped in aromas and colors. The next edition will take place from 13 - 21 May 2017.
The old part of Girona is really narrow, many of its streets are pedestrian and the town is quite small. We advise you to park outside the city center. We recommend the campsite Girona La Devesa, located next to a large park. It costs €10 per day includes the night, the draining of water and the use of the facilities.
The Costa Brava is an idyllic destination to break with the everyday life and relax by the sea. Its beaches are known for the intense blue of their waters. For an optimal discovery, we recommend you stay with your camper van in a campsite in the Costa Brava where you enjoy the full nature. The Costa Brava hides small coves completely surrounded by vegetation and cliffs. Often the only means of access to these small criticisms on the sea or in footpath of the coastal footpaths. But the beauty of the market is worth the effort!
Some fishing villages not to be missed are Calella de Palafrugell, Palamós or Cadaqués whose magnificent landscapes open to the Mediterranean have captivated many artists. Among them was the painter and sculptor Salvador Dalí.
There are many campsites on the beach. Most accommodate motorhomes and are very well fitted. The hardest task is choosing one!
To finish our itinerary in Catalonia we go towards the Pyrenees: the highest peaks of Spain and it’s natural border with France. This region of Catalonia is very different from everything we saw on our road trip in motorhome. The Catalan Pyrenees are known for their high mountains, wilderness, rich cultural heritage and exceptional gastronomy.
Hiking, skiing in Baqueira Beret, mountain biking, horse riding or rafting, you are spoiled for choice while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Catalan Pyrenees. You can also visit the National Park of Aigüestortes to admire its flora, its fauna and the beauty of its landscapes. The park has more than 200 high mountain lakes and four peaks that exceed the 3000 meters high. A real treat for lovers of wild nature!
The most singular area of the Catalan Pyrenees is the Val d'Aran. A high mountain territory characterized by its isolated location and its close historical relationship with Occitania. You can easily notice the French influence, even in the language! The characteristic landscapes of the Val d'Aran are composed of impressive lakes of glacial origin and small villages with stone houses and slate roofs. It is the perfect place to enjoy the nature and finish our trip in Catalonia with a motorhome.
To help you organize your road trip through Catalonia, we advise you to use Caramaps which locates the service areas around you. If you decide to take the road to the south of Catalonia in a motorhome or campervan or have already visited the region, we’d love you to share your experience with us. If you don’t have a motorhome or campervan but still want to hit the road you can find your perfect vehicle to hire in Spain on Yescapa.
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