Although Barcelona has become more synonymous with modern consumer culture, the tourism based around Gaudi's unique architecture, and the bright, tree-lined boulevards typical of cosmopolitan Europe, it actually is quite an adventure destination for a great range of activities as well. Considered one of the premiere beach cities in the world and within a stone's throw (if you've got a really good arm on you) of the epic Pyrenees Mountains, you'll find that Barcelona could very well be the epicenter of your next Earth-shattering adventure.
In the city of Barcelona there are a number of public parks, some of which are quite unique. Parc Güell, in the city's northwest, is the most famous and is notable for quirky design concepts courtesy of Gaudi; those looking for a quiet stroll probably won't find it here, since it's one of the biggest tourist areas in Barcelona. For a bit more solitude and a superlative view of the city, Montjuic Hill near the port is a great choice. The castle and gardens here contribute to a good few hours of an itinerary. Other parks worth a look are Parc del Laberint d'Horta to Barcelona's forested north and Ciutadella Park (with its lovely fountain) in the Ribera District.
Then again, you could easily fall under the spell that the warm weather from March to November brings to this part of the world and stake your beach umbrella in the miles of sand between Sant Sebastià and Llevant. The most famous stretch is Barceloneta Beach, a clean, busy area that is also quite popular for club-goers once the sun goes down. You could spend a day just strolling the boardwalks that span the area. For more water-based fun, head two hours north to Cap de Creus, where some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Spain can be had. Accessed primarily through the town of Cadaqués, these coves teeming with sea life are great for isolated beach days or for breaking out the scuba equipment, particularly near the Medes Islands. There are also some excellent beaches southwest along the coast toward Tarragona, including the secluded white sands of both Altafulla Beach and Waikiki Beach on the Costa Daurada. Calella de Palafrugell is the best beach to the northeast, although it does get quite packed between its picturesque cliffs.
Hikers and climbers have plenty to enjoy as far as day trip destinations go. There are two mountain locations worth trekking to: Sant Miquel del Fai and Santa Maria de Montserrat. Sant Miquel del Fai lies in the sandstone peaks north of Barcelona, near the Montseny Natural Park. Built on a cliff-face and best traveled to through the waterfall-strewn Tenes Valley, this monastery also incorporates the nearby caves. Santa Maria de Montserrat, located in the Monserrat mountain range, is another monastery in an incredible natural setting that includes massifs quite popular with rock climbers. If you don't want to go it alone, a number of tours set out for both of these locations often.
For the more extreme adventurer, there are skydiving locations nearby, although the most attractive may be near the Pyrenees Mountains, which straddle the border between France and Spain. Encompassing a number of parks both in the mountains themselves and in the Cadi and Moixero ranges in the foothills, there are some exceptional peaks for climbing and hiking, as well as a good dozen ski resorts, some of which are among the best in Spain (Baqueira/Beret, Coll de Pal, many more). If you're one for snow-capped peaks, glacial lakes, and spectacular vistas , the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park may be the best encapsulation. Monte Perdido itself, at over 3300 meters high, can be scaled in a day's time.
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