Life in Barcelona is great, but sometimes you just need a little break from the chaos of the city to unwind and slow down a little. Luckily, here in Catalonia, there are tons of wonderful weekend getaway destinations that allow for an escape into nature when you’re craving a little downtime. Within just a couple of hours from the city, you can find quiet beach towns, beautiful vineyards, or peaceful mountain villages. There’s so much more to discover in Catalonia than just Barcelona! So the next time you need a quick weekend getaway near Barcelona or just feel like discovering more of Catalonia, consider visiting the town of Berga and its beautiful surrounding landscapes.
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The town of Berga
Located just over an hour by car and two hours by bus or train from Barcelona, Berga is a charming town situated in the foothills of the Queralt mountain range. Surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, the center of the old town is characterized by its narrow and winding medieval streets. The town goes back to the 12th century when the city’s original surrounding walls, parts of which still exist, were constructed. Today, the town is a wonderful place to spend the weekend outside of Barcelona. Home to an excellent gastronomic culture, an impressive castle, and several beautiful churches both in the city and the surrounding mountains, Berga offers plenty of sights and activities to fill your weekend itinerary.
Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Queralt
High above Berga, the stunning mountain sanctuary of Santa Maria de Queralt stands at an elevation of 1,200 meters. The incredible church was built in the 18th century on a site often referred to as the “Balcony of Catalonia” for its unique location and spectacular views. If you enjoy hiking, you can reach the sanctuary in just an hour on foot from the center of Berga following a beautiful trail. There is also a funicular available for the last and steepest leg of the hike up to the sanctuary if you prefer to take it easy. Once there, you can visit the church, attend a service, or just take in the surrounding mountain views.
Excursions near Berga
For nature lovers, Berga is the perfect base for getting out and exploring some of the best natural landscapes in Catalonia. With many walking trails winding their way through the steep ranges surrounding the city, Berga is a great destination for hikers looking for a mountain escape. If you visit during the summer months, there are several water activities available in the area that the whole family will love. At the nearby reservoir of La Baells, for example, visitors can go swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and even horseback riding around the beautiful reservoir.
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If you visit Berga during the week of Corpus Christi, you will have the privilege of seeing La Patum, the impressive and one-of-a-kind festival held in Berga each year. With street dances, parades, theatrical performances, and people dressed up in costumes, it’s a unique celebration in Catalonia and all of Spain. The festival is so impressive, in fact, that it was named a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
Offering a wide variety of activities to do and sights to see, the town of Berga is the perfect weekend getaway from Barcelona. Whether you’re visiting for their famous annual festival or just want a few days away from the city, Berga is a great option for exploring a little more of what Catalonia has to offer.
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*Main photo by Jordi Payà Canals via Visualhunt