Catalonia, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, is already well-known as home to the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona, the mighty mountain ranges of the Pyrenees as well as where the sea gently splashes into shore along the Costa Brava. Catalonia, or Catalunya in the region’s language of Catalan, is an area of Spain with its own unique identifiers across history, cuisine and culture. And alongside its iconic destinations such as Barcelona, the Pyrenees and Costa Brava, there’s an abundance to explore across the region. In addition to the multitude of guidebooks you’ll find on traveling in Catalonia, there’s another great resource you can easily (and freely) access with the Catalunya Experience, an online portal of information managed by the Catalan Tourist Board. So whether you’re a fan of Facebook, you’re in with Instagram or you’ve been taken by Twitter, you’ll be sure to keep busy planning your next Catalonia experience thanks to the tourist board’s expansive online presence. Some of the great things to do and places to go are featured here but be sure to check out the full Catalunya Experience for more on what to do and where to go in Catalonia.
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What to do?
Catalonia holds its own in the production of a range of high-quality and delectable wine. And the experience of heading out into Catalonia’s wine region can include much more than wine-tasting, particularly if you’re interested in pairing your visit with a cultural and gastronomic experience. Enjoy the outdoors by taking a walk or going on a bicycle ride through the Catalonian vineyards while admiring the varied landscape of the region and appreciating its cultural origins. There are some amazing routes already mapped out for the willing explorer, including one known as the Cathedrals of Wine, where you can make your way around wineries with spectacular architectural designs as well as superb examples of industrial engineering. You can also learn about the makings of olive oil, another product famous in the region, by winding along a fabulous trail past millenary olive trees.
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Where to go?
An easy day trip outside of Barcelona is the Medieval town of Montblanc. A town steeped in history, Montblanc was founded in 1163 during the 12th century by King Alfons I as part of a plan to strengthen the expansion of Catalonia towards the south and create a fortified city from Tarragona to Lleida. A visit to Montblanc is a history lovers delight, where you’ll get to see its medieval walls as well as a large number of medieval buildings well-preserved from the 13th and 14th centuries. It’s also home to the Portal de Sant Jordi, the origin of the Catalonian legend saint named Jordi who was said to have once killed a dragon to save a beautiful princess. The legend is celebrated each year across Catalonia with Sant Jordi’s Day on 23 April.
Want more ideas?
Wine tours and visits to magical towns like Montblanc are just a handful of the great experiences you’ll come across in Catalonia. There’s plenty more info right at your fingers with the Catalan Tourist Board’s resources. Be sure to check out the full Catalunyna Experience or access its many other channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr.
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