Get a jump start on summer when you rent a roadsurfer camper van and explore the Balearic Sea coastline from Barcelona to Valencia. This 7 day road trip takes you along the Mediterranean coast, then into the Catalonian mountains. Long summer days, warm Mediterranean seas, magical mountain landscapes, and even the possibility of the occasional surf make Spain an ideal European road trip destination.
To start your Catalonia adventure, we recommend exploring Barcelona’s main inner-city attractions designed by the famous Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí, the Sagrada Família Church, and Park Güell. Apart from the awe-inspiring architecture, you also have one of the best party scenes in Europe, excellent Tapas, and the long golden sand beach that stretches for more than 2 miles directly in front of Barcelona’s city center. Our roadsurfer station is located near the Barcelona airport, so you can either pick up your camper van first or go to town to explore, or you arrive an evening early, explore the nightlife and sights, then pick up your camper the following day.
Tarragona, an ancient Roman town dating back to the 5th century BC, is a spectacular seaside port village with ancient Roman amphitheaters, a UNESCO Monastery named El Poblet, the National Archaeological Museum, and Les Ferreres Aqueduct. After your time exploring the region’s historical importance, you also have warm Mediterranean beaches and gentle road biking loops to make the most of the early summer season.
Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city behind Madrid and Barcelona, is another Roman-era port town with a colorful past. It was also settled by Romans first, then Moors around 700 AD, then by the Castilians around 1000 AD, after which point, it was fought over by various Spanish and Catalonian royalty. Today Valencia is still renowned for its harbor, the fifth-largest in Europe, and its amalgamation of ancient and modern culture. In the city’s heart, you will discover the ultra-modern architecture of the City of the Arts and Sciences, and this modern architecture is juxtaposed with 800-year-old Churches such as the Valencia Cathedral. There is also a Bull Ring and a Museum of Fine Arts. Once you are all cultured out, you can spend the remainder of the day relaxing at Malvarrosa Beach or stocking up on food at the large central market in preparation for the coming days. The majority of Catalonia is renowned for Tapas. Valencia, however, is known for its Paella. Some of the best Paella is in the Malvarrosa region of town, near the beach, but if you want to take the hassle out of the experience, you can also take a Wine and Food Tour.
Day 4: Take your Camper through Catalonia’s National Parks
The journey now makes its way inland to the Muntanyes de Benifassà. A mountainous region located about 40 minutes away from the coast. You have great hiking paths, road biking loops, and mountain bike trails throughout this region. Some of the best tracks can be found around Mirador del Barranc del Salt, a river network that runs through the middle of the park, and Portell de l’infern. The landscape combines rugged stone outcrops, rivers, lakes, and mountainous peaks, some reaching over 4500 feet.
Day 5: Briefly leave Catalonia and enter the old town of Zaragoza.
Zaragoza, another 2000-year-old city on the Ebro River, is steeped in history and culture. The town is nestled amongst a lush mountainous landscape. Zaragoza will also be your first foray outside the Catalonia border into the autonomous communities of Aragon. The city is full of historical sites that include a Moorish Castle, Aljafería, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, a Botanical Garden called Parque Grande José Antonio Labordeta, and finally, the Roman Caesaraugusta. Apart from the history-rich inner city, you’re also rewarded with stunning landscapes in whichever direction you choose to look. You can undertake water activities on the river or head to the hills for more hiking or biking. There is also a geological anomaly nearby called the Aguarales de Valpalmas. This otherworldly location is the result of thousands of years of rain eating away at soft material in the rock, leaving behind what can only be described as thousands of giant anthills made of stone.
The road takes you back into Catalonia and uphill towards Montserrat, a mountain range just backing onto the outskirts of Barcelona. Montserrat is a series of mountain peaks, with the name literally translating to “serrated,” which is precisely what the mountain range looks like. The highest peak, Sant Jeroni, is over 3000 feet high and has a fantastic hiking trail that begins from the mountaintop Montserrat Monastery. The area is also one of the best rock climbing destinations in Spain. In addition to the various types of climbing on offer, you will also find incredible mountain bike trails and tour operators offering everything from white water rafting to horseback tours. There are, of course, also options for those looking for a slightly more relaxing vacation; these include a cable car to Montserrat Monastery or a scenic railway.
The trip from the mountains around Montserrat back to the station in Barcelona is around an hour, meaning you have plenty of time to either undertake more activities in the highlands or enjoy the beaches in and around Barcelona. Apart from relaxing at the beach in Barcelona, you could also catch an FC Barcelona game at the 99 000 seat Camp Nou, take a walk down Las Ramblas, or explore some of the best Tapas bars in the country.
Let your colorful roadsurfer VW Camper van make exploring the northeastern corner of Spain flexible, relaxing and adventurous. Explore the Mediterranean coastline with crystal clear water and golden sand beaches, lush and dramatic mountain ranges, and cities that have defined the Europe we know today.