About an hour by car outside of Barcelona, the Catalan city of Igualada is home to a rich history and plenty of fascinating touristic sights for visitors to see. While it sometimes gets overshadowed by more famous cities nearby such as Girona, Igualada is worth seeing on its own and makes a great destination for a day trip outside of Barcelona. Here’s what you need to know about the town of Igualada and how to get there from Barcelona.
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The History of Igualada
Igualada has a town history going all the way back to around the year 1,000 and gets its name from the Latin aqualata meaning “where the river widens” because of its strategic location on the banks of the Anoia River. Throughout history, Igualada has always been well connected to Barcelona, but it wasn’t until the 19th and 20th centuries that the town received its title as a city thanks to industrial and economic expansion and its river which provided hydraulic energy. As in the rest of Catalonia, the textile industry became very important for Igualada‘s economic development at the time and the city’s population doubled between 1800 and 1900, before exceeding 35,000 in 2005. Today, the city has its own festivals, traditions, and tourist sights to see just a short drive or train ride from Barcelona.
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What to See and Do in Igualada
One of the main sights to see in Igualada is the Basilica of Santa María. This seventeenth-century work by Pere Blai and Rafael Plansó was built on the site of a chapel dedicated to Santa María in 1003. The spectacular interior of the basilica was influenced by the Catalan Renaissance style and the building has been declared a cultural site of national interest.
Another popular sight in Igualada is the Home of the Holy Christ. It was completed in 1941 by architect Joan Rubió i Bellver, a follower of the most famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí’s influence stands out in the impressive architecture of the building, and while the outside can be visited free of charge, visitors must seek the permission of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly who run the residence in order to see the inside.
How to Get There
To get to Igualada from Barcelona, visitors have the option of traveling by car, train, or bus. By car, drive northwest out of the city about 70 kilometers via the A-2. By train, take the R4 from Plaza Catalunya towards Martorell and change at Martorell Central for the R6 to Igualada. The entire journey by train takes about two hours. By bus, ALSA operates a service from the Barcelona Nord bus station to the town of Santa Maria Del Camíno, about 10 kilometers from Igualada
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*Main photo by calafellvalo via Visualhunt