Barcelona is blessed with parks and beaches and the sort of weather that lures you outdoors, but if you need to stretch your wings further than the city allows, heading just out of Barcelona will provide everything you can want from mountain climbing to alpine hiking to beach strolling.
The name translates as Serrated Mountain and this jagged peak is forbidding which makes it even more impressive that there has been a monastery located high up on the mountain since the 11th century. 30 miles (48km) from Barcelona, the monastery itself makes an excellent day’s outing and there are walks further up via a cable car, or down to the sacred grotto. But if it serious climbing you want there are a huge range of routes here. From sporty bolted single pitch routes to classical multi pitch routes of between 200 – 300 metres, there are well over a thousand routes in all. The Gorros area is a good place for first time climbers here. Read more about Exploring Montserrat and Costa Brava.
A little further from the city this is a spectacular place to climb in a gorge with great views of the river below. There are around 200 climbing routes and good cheap hostels to stay in nearby.
The Pyrenees mark the border between Spain (Catalonia) and France. Here you can go for serious hiking or just a gentle nature walk. The Virgen de Nuria valley, which is reached by rackrailway from the small historic village of Queralbs, is a sanctuary of calm with a lake, and lovely walking. There’s a hotel here too. Further into the mountains...