Not exactly beaches and islands. But any visit into Barcelona for someone who likes mountains and walking should include nearby locations like the Pyrenees and Montserrat if time permits.
My time was quite limited so I decided on a day-trip and one which would lay on some expertise in knowledge and getting there and back quickly - so instead of doing myself I chose Viator's paid offering.
First stop was Vic, a service town of about 40000 people in the sub-Pyrenees region. It's about 70km from Barcelona and a nice call in for a) people who have not breakfasted because of the early start and b) a chance to check one of the better old-town areas of central Catalunya. Our very good guide (who filled the trip from Barcelona with an excellent commentary on that city and the areas we were passing thru - lots of new info for me plus stuff I knew made more interesting) took us on a walk thru of some of the more interesting sights and then gave us an hour or so of free time.
If you click expand you may see the Catalunya independence flags hanging off the sides of some builidings - there were hundreds around the square; apparently the independence movement is much bigger in the regions than Barcelona.
Leaving Vic we travelled on to Ripoll. This 35km trip on good roads is relatively flat for the first half and then starts a steady climb into the lower Pyrenees proper - Ripoll is over 700m (2300ft) above sea level. The tour itinerary mentioned a stop in Ripoll, but we rolled thru this town of 1200 people and continued another 22km up the alpine river valley to Queralbs - a fair bit higher at 1236m (4050ft),
The town is one of stone walled slate roofed houses and narrow streets, very attractive.
Note, fine, warm non-windy day in the lowlands, decidedly chilly and sometimes VERY blowy up here; even a few spots of rain - I had my warm jacket as advised by Viator. Definitely needed.
In all a good day. We were back in Barcelona by 1830, plenty of time to take a cruise thru the town's old gothic quarter which is close to Explore Catalunya's office..
BACK TO THE INDEX
IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE EXTRA INFO PLEASE POST BELOW. BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE POST THEM IN THE FORUM WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS - I RARELY RETURN TO THESE INDIVIDUAL LOCATION PAGES.