With summer long gone and autumn in full swing, we can only reminiscence about hazy days spent in the sun — or get on a plane and soak up the sun elsewhere. At the time of writing, Barcelona is currently still enjoying 24-degree heat, and is only a few short hours away. Naturally, clement weather isn’t the only thing that Barcelona has to offer. Thanks to the likes of Anton Gaudi, Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Angel Planells and Pablo Picasso (and the rest), Barcelona has a long-standing connection with art history. The sun, the sea and the culture all feed into the wonderful Catalonian way of life. It might be one of the most popular (and therefore touristy) cities in Europe, but the little back alleys and hidden architectural wonders make battling through the crowds on Las Ramblas worth it. To celebrate the release of the all-new Hyundai Kona, Sleek have a compiled a Catalonian roadtrip, stopping off at all the best places to visit in and around Barcelona. Take a look at our interactive map, and get the full rundown on the Catalan sights you can’t miss below.
Sitges — Platja de l’Estanyol and Casa Del Mar
Less crowded and more idyllic than Barceloneta beach, Sitges offers some of Catalan’s best spots to catch a tan. Just a 45 minute drive away from Barcelona city centre, Sitges features 15 different beaches to choose from. Take in the breathtaking views at the idyllic Platja de l’Estanyol, or venture further to get risqué at the local nudist beach, Platja de l’Home Mort. If you’re travelling to Spain for a special event consider the very nearby Casa Del Mar as host venue. There are 5 outdoor spaces and 3 indoor to choose from, all with idyllic views out onto the Mediterranean coast. The Kona will get you there quickly and safely, and in addition to its vast array of safety features, the navigation system offers live weather updates, so you can make sure the sun is still shining whilst you’re en route. The Kona also allows you to search for & explore points of interest along the way, all while never taking your hands off the wheel.
Figueres — Fundació Gala Salvador Dalí and the Dali Theater-Museum
Well worth the 2 hour drive from Barcelona, the Salvador Dali Foundation and Theater-Museum will inspire even the most artistically inept among us. The Theater-Museum is located in the beautiful countryside town of Figueres, which held a special place in Dali’s heart. He was born here, he worked here, and he’s buried in a crypt under the stage in the museum. The range of Dali’s work on display at the Theater-Museum is vast. From paintings and drawings to sculptures and a collection of jewellery handmade by the man himself, the gallery offers a fascinating insight into the life and work of one of Catalan’s most beloved artists. The Theater-Museum was described by Dali as “a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealist object. It will be a totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream”. What are you waiting for? Your theatrical dream awaits!
Barcelona — Santa Cova de Monserrat
Built for power, the Kona is the perfect car to tackle the rugged mountainside hugging Barcelona city. With a vast amount of terrain to explore, take the Kona off-road and see the other side of the Catalan region. Two gems in the countryside region are Santa Cova de Monserrat and Escale de L’Enteniment. Santa Cova is a cave discovered in 880 which led to the founding of the Bendictine chapel, Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. Accessible from a steep and semi-hidden path, the chapel is worth the visit for the views alone. Just a short drive away is the “Escala de l’enteniment” (roughly, “Ladder of Being”) by Ramon Llul. This impressive artwork rises out into the landscape, and is a well-deserved treat for anyone who ventures to the top of these stunning mountains.
Barcelona — Park Guell
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without a trip to the UNESCO world heritage sight Park Guell. The urban park, designed by Gaudi, sits snug in the valley of Carmel Hill on the city outskirts. The park is located in the La Salut neighbourhood in the Grazia district of Barcelona, which warrants its own exploration. Once it’s own municipality, La Salut has retained its own culture and artistic nature, which feels very different to the rest of the city. The districts of Carrer Verde and Carrer Tarrijos are worth a visit for their independent boutiques, and you can visit the lesser-known early Gaudi buildings, like Casa Vicens.
Barcelona — Palau de la Musica
The Palau de la Musica has strong Wes Anderson vibes. The beautiful structure, built in 1908 by Lluîs Doménech i Montaner, houses the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated in the daytime solely by sunlight. Home to the best operas and orchestra recitals in Barcelona, this magnificent structure will end your trip on a high note… and you can prolong the moment by listening to the music on the Kona’s superior sound system on the journey back!