When city life gets a little too much, what better remedy than to escape the hustle and bustle. From Barcelona, you don’t have to venture far to sample some authentic Catalan village life where the pace is slower. A perfect getaway is to head to one of Catalonia’s medieval villages, where you will find not only peace and calm but also distinct charm, history and beauty.
Siurana is an ideal place to disconnect. A tiny village with around 21 inhabitants, Siurana is situated in the Cornudella de Montsant region in the comarca of Priorat, Tarragona. Perched high in the Prades Mountains, it offers stunning views of the Siurana Reservoir and surrounding valley.
The village itself oozes charm, with its quaint stone houses and cobbled streets. But more than its aesthetic appeal, this is also an area steeped in history… and legend. An important strategic outpust throughout history, Siurana was the last Islamic stronghold of Muslim Catalonia. Traces of this history are today still visible, with the remains of a 9th-century Moorish castle situated at the entrance of the village, and the perfectly preserved Romanesque church of Santa Maria, built between the 12th and 13th centuries,.
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If you want to do something a little more active than ponder medieval legends, Siurana is a great starting point from which to discover and try other activities. Surrounded by the Monstant and Prades mountain ranges, there are several possibilities for a picturesque hike. One particularly scenic route starts from village of Cornudella and climbs up by the old road and finally arriving in Siurana village. And the activities don’t stop at hiking. From the vineyards and wineries of El Priotat, to one of the most famous crags in Spain, this region is a paradise for wine and rock-lovers alike. It’s also the perfect haven for those who simply want to do little else than escape it all for a while.
There are many other well preserved medieval villages around Catalonia well worth visiting. Besalú, situated close to Girona, is considered one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval villages in Catalonia. Here you can happily meander through the ancient maze of narrow winding streets while taking in the Romanesque buildings, churches and squares. Not far from here are the equally enchanting and beautifully preserved villages of Castellfollit de la Roca and Santa Pau. In the Costa Brava, Pals and Peratallada offer similar beauty and medieval charm and can both be easily visited in one day. Of course the list doesn’t end there – the Catalan landscape is enriched with many other charming medieval spots. Get out there and discover it for yourself!