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Barcelona countryside - ideas for a day trip

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Hola,

Friends and me will be in Barcelona next months for a week (Sep 14-21).
For one day, we are looking for a trip into the countryside.

Our domicile in BCN will be in walking distance to a rental car pick up location, and access to Ronda Litoral. The draft plan is to pick up a car in the early morning, get out of BCN before 9am, explore some places somewhere. And drop off the car at Sants (as that drop off location is available 24hrs).

The aim is not so much to enjoy super-important sights but rather to get out of the big city and enjoy some natural scenery, smaller towns or villages, the odd castle here and there, a nice mirador, roadside eateries, a stroll here and there, not hiking.. nothing fancy or spectacular.

As we have already seen several of the usual suspects, and do not want to visit a larger town, we have ruled out so far the following options (for either reason):
Montserrat, Sitges, Penedes, Girona, Tarragona.
With regard to distance/ time of travel to get there, we have ruled out:
The Pyrenees, Southern Catalunya/ Terres del Ebre.
In addition, no one of us is extremely interested in anything concerning Dali.

Not relevant are: motorway tolls (I know they are quite steep around BCN), and driving in BCN which I have done many times so far.

So far, I found interesting bits and pieces along a trail from BCN via Manresa to Cardona (castle/Parador, salt mine), further North on by-ways through the Natural Park around the reservoir near Sant Llorenc de Morunys and East to Berga and eventually South to BCN again.

Or would you suggest a completely different route, e.g. along the Coast towards the French border?
Or other inland sights? Maybe Vic + xyz?

Any suggestions are highly appreciated.

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