We are doing a Rick Steves tour next Feb and want to add a few days before starting. Would like to go outside of B but by train or maybe by car. Any ideas? Maybe not to museums as we will be seeing plenty for 8 days! Thank you. Pippa
Rick's Tour page has these suggestions: Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Barcelona that we do not do as a group: City History Museum, Catalan Concert Hall, Fundació Joan Miró, Maritime Museum, and Parc Güell. If you are interested in attending zarzuela, the Spanish light opera, during or after your tour, you may want to check the schedule and buy tickets before leaving home. More information can be found in Rick Steves Spain guidebook; schedules and booking information are at http://teatrodelazarzuela.mcu.es.
For a smaller town side trip, the best candidate described in the Spain book is Sitges, with both old town and beach, train only 40 minutes each way from Barcelona Sants or Passeig de Gracia stations. The mountaintop monastery at Monserrat is another popular daytrip. Until your books arrive, see also this article.
At one end of your trip, you should run in to some Carnival celebrations. Fat Tuesday will be Feb. 17.
The Palau de la Musica Catalana is a fabulous extravaganza of Modernista architecture. There are tours in English. I consider it a must-see. The city history museum is also excellent.
Do your research on Montserrat, an easy day trip reachable by publlc transport. Avoid renting a car to save money and hassle.