Planning a Figueres day trip from Barcelona is one of the best choices you can make when deciding where to visit from Spain’s second-largest city. Though Barcelona day trip destinations like Montserrat and even Girona often outshine this petite Catalonian gem, Figueres is an excellent place to explore for those who want to experience a smaller city or are fans of the famed surrealist Salvador Dalí.
Though small in size, Figueres is a lovely city to visit and has a lot to offer tourists. From a number of interesting historic sites and museums to the countless tributes and allusions to Dalí, Figueres is a great destination for all those who choose to visit.
There are lots of things to do in Figueres, however, it’s recommended that you at least have some interest in Salvador Dalí before planning a trip to this city. As the artist’s hometown, there are lots of sites and things to do that have to do with the surrealist.
If this doesn’t deter you and you’re still keen to plan a day trip to Figueres from Barcelona, then look no further. Here I’ll outline how to get the most out of this small city in just one day.
How to Get from Barcelona to Figueres
Figueres is located about 140 kilometres north of Barcelona and is actually situated quite close to the French border. Because of its proximity to the Catalonian capital, there are lots of ways that potential visitors can get to Figueres for a day trip that will suit almost all travellers needs and styles.
Barcelona to Figueres by Organised Tour
If you want to take the stress of route planning and itinerary mapping out of your Figueres day trip, then going on an organised tour from Barcelona is a great idea for you. There are countless options to choose from that will suit all kinds of travellers.
This full-day tour will pick you up from Barcelona before taking you to Figueres, the coastal town of Cadaqués along with some other highlights of the Costa Brava.
Alternatively, if you aren’t interested in the Costa Brava but want to see more than just Figueres on your day trip, this all-day tour will first take you to the lovely city of Girona before heading onto Figueres.
Though I would honestly recommend spending at least 2 days in Girona, this can be a good option for those who don’t have a lot of time but also want to see as much of Catalonia as possible.
Another great option is this small-group tour which also includes stops in Girona and Figueres and will pick you up from your hotel in Barcelona.
Barcelona to Figueres by Car
If an organised tour isn’t for you, then getting to Figueres by car is one of the best options out there – especially if you’re keen to stop at the Castell de Sant Ferran at the beginning of your Figueres day trip.
You can reach Figueres in about 1.5 hours driving from Barcelona meaning that it is definitely an accessible distance for a day trip. Driving yourself also gives you the flexibility to tailor your own day trip on your own terms rather than having to be at the whim of a tour or bus and train timetables.
For instance, if you don’t care to visit the Castell de Sant Ferran, you can opt to spend the morning in the beautiful town of Besalú before heading onto Figueres and exploring the Dalí museum. Or you can head to the Costa Brava on your way back to Barcelona. The options are really endless.
If you need to rent a car while visiting Catalonia or for your day trip to Figueres, then consider booking through Rentalcars.com to find great deals across many major car rental companies.
Barcelona to Figueres by Train
If you don’t want to rent a car for your Figueres day trip, then going by train is an excellent option and is going to be the quickest way to get there. There are numerous connections between the two cities that leave at all different times throughout the day, so you are sure to find something that fits your schedule.
The journey time will take just under an hour and you can book train tickets online in advance. In fact, this is recommended as it can be a lot more affordable than if you book on the day of or at the train station.
Barcelona to Figueres by Bus
Another option for getting to Figueres from Barcelona is by bus, however, it isn’t the best choice if you want to go independently. This is mostly because it is the longest option and can take over two hours to get from Barcelona to Figueres.
Buses also aren’t as frequent as trains and will end up costing roughly the same amount as a train ticket anyway. So if you want to use public transport while going on your day trip to Figueres, then I would recommend taking the train.
Figueres Day Trip Itinerary
Now that we’ve discussed all of the ways you can get to Figueres from Barcelona, it’s time to go through what to do in Figueres!
If you’re only interested in visiting the Dalí museum and don’t care to head to the first stop on this itinerary (the Castell de Sant Ferran), then consider heading to the town of Besalú and/or Banyoles Lake before visiting Figueres in the afternoon.
This is easier to do if you have your own vehicle, but it can be a great way to visit some sites that many don’t take the time to in Catalonia.
Castell de Sant Ferran
The first stop on this Figueres day trip itinerary is at the Castell de Sant Ferran. This 18th-century castle is located a bit outside of the Figueres centre and is really worth visiting if you want to explore a fascinating castle with very few other visitors. In fact, I believe if this castle were situated closer to Barcelona, it would be packed with tourists far more than it already is.
The castle was used for the military when it was originally constructed in the mid-18th Century. Now, it has been historically restored and operates as a museum.
The castle is open for visitors at varying hours throughout the year, so be sure to check when it is open before you plan to visit. Note that it is closed on Mondays. Entry into the castle is €4 per person and you should plan to spend at least an hour here.
After spending time exploring the castle, it’s time to head into the beautiful city centre of Figueres and wander down the main thoroughfare of the city – La Rambla.
This is not to be confused with La Rambla in Barcelona, in fact, you will likely notice that major streets in the vast majority of Catalonian towns and cities are called La Rambla. It simply means “the boulevard” in English.
We visited Figueres in the winter months just ahead of Christmas and this is where the main Christmas market was set up. There are lots of shops and cafes lining the street where you can pop into and spend some time people-watching.
You can also spot the Dalí portrait on La Rambla which is as unique as the eponymous artist. Basically, it is a spread out portrait of Dalí on the ground that is then reflected in a mirrored pillar that looms over it. It’s quite interesting.
Església de Sant Pere
Moving more into the old town (and make sure you take the time to wander around a bit in the beautiful side streets), you will inevitably find your way to the imposing Església de Sant Pere or Saint Peter’s Church.
This is the main church in Figueres and it is a gorgeous building. It is also the church where, you guessed it, Salvador Dalí was baptised! There are very few stops on this Figueres day trip itinerary that don’t involve Dalí and this Church is not one of them.
Monumento a Salvador Dalí
Just a bit further down from the Church and not far from the Dalí museum is the interesting Monument a Salvador Dalí – or the Salvador Dalí Monument.
This is not to be confused with the portrait of Dalí located on La Rambla, however, as this monument is a sculpture designed by Dalí himself and not a monument of Salvador Dalí. Nevertheless, this is another great testament to this influential surrealist and is very much worth spotting out when in Figueres.
Now that you’ve seen quite a number of incredible sites in Figueres, it’s likely that you’ve worked up quite an appetite. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Spain and there are countless great restaurants in the Figueres where you can get some delicious, local food at reasonable prices.
If you’re visiting on a weekday, have a look for a place offering a menú del día or a daily menu where you can get a starter, main, dessert and drink all at an affordable set price. Even if you happen to be in Figueres on a weekend or public holiday, there are still countless options available for lunch.
We ate at the delicious La Taverna del Barri Vell and had a wonderful meal for a reasonable price – especially considering the atmosphere and the portion sizes!
Museu del Joguet de Catalunya
After you’ve eaten lunch, take the time to head to one of Figueres’ famous museums – the Museu del Joguet de Catalunya or the Toy Museum of Catalonia.
This is an especially good place to visit if you’re travelling with children. Here you will see a number of different displays of toys and games from different eras throughout history.
The museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday (it is closed on Sunday and Monday) and general entry is €7 per person. There are reduced prices available for students, seniors etc.
Make the final stop of your Figueres day trip from Barcelona a visit to the Dalí Theatre-Museum. The reason I list this museum as the final stop and not an earlier one is that, in our experience, the museum is a lot less busy in the afternoon when a lot of organised tour groups have left the city already.
This museum is something that needs to be entered with an open mind, as it was put together by Dalí himself and very much seems like that. Filled with fascinating and interesting artwork (some that involve coins to be inserted so that they move and do bizarre things), you do need to devote a bit of time to exploring this bizarre treasure trove of this influential modern artist. Plan to spend about 1.5-2 hours here.
Entry into the museum is on the pricier end at €14 per person for general entry. There are reduced prices available for those who qualify and you can purchase tickets online in advance if you want to ensure you get to visit when on your day trip to Figueres from Barcelona.
If you would like some guidance when visiting the Dalí museum, then this guided tour of the Teatré-Museu Dalí will help you make the most of your visit to the museum. Alternatively, this small-group tour also includes a walking tour of Figueres as well as a guided visit to the Teatré-Museu Dalí.
Planning a Figueres day trip from Barcelona is one of the best places you can visit from the Catalonian capital. Especially for fans of modern art and the surrealist movement, Figueres makes for an excellent day out from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona.
Are you planning a day trip to Figueres? Have any questions about visiting this city? Let us know in the comments!
Thank you for your post! I had thought about checking out Girona in the morning (although I know it’s worth a few days, we don’t more time to spend this trip) and the Dali Museum in the afternoon. But it’s good to know there is plenty to fill a day in Figueres if we opt for that. It’s certainly the less complicated option, in terms of booking trains.
We will also be visiting in December close to the holidays. Do you find the museum to be fairly busy/crowded that time of year?
Hi Erika – the museum may be a bit crowded close to the holidays but they do limit entry so it’s not too packed inside. You can book your tickets in advance if you’re concerned about this 🙂