This is a collaborative post
Catalonia has a really special place in my heart – I lived in Barcelona when I was 21 years old for a year and it took days for me to fall in love with the city. From the architecture, to the food, atmosphere, beaches at your doorstep and just being able to walk everywhere – this was my kind of city. After those initial few months of enjoying everything Barcelona has to offer, I ventured further afield and fell in love with Catalonia altogether. I’ve teamed up with Clickstay to have a think about my favourite places to visit in Catalonia.
Starting with the amazing city of Barcelona itself – you only have to take a walk along Las Ramblas and walk through the Gothic Quarter, towards the seafront. There is no shortage of beautiful cafes to try out and gorgeous food to sample. The people of Barcelona are what makes it though: everyone is so friendly and happy to chat, which really helped me learn to speak Castillian Spanish and Catalan in no time at all!
Once you’ve explored Barcelona’s beaches, it’s time to see what is slightly further afield. One of my favourite places to visit was Sitges, a quieter beach that was less than half an hour away by train. It felt like going on a mini holiday and I always had a fantastic time exploring the beautiful old town and enjoying the beaches.
Tarragona is a bit of a hidden gem and when we return to visit, we always make sure we go for one reason – my stepson adores the Portadventura theme park! It’s a fantastic day out and the surrounding area is just beautiful. It’s an easy one to forget but a must-see in my book.
Girona was the first place I visited when I ventured out of Barcelona and it is simply breathtaking. Its beautiful architecture is so different to Barcelona itself and I love visiting the Jewish Quarter when we visit, traced back to the 12th Century.
La Garrotxa and beyond
La Garrotxa’s region dates back to the medieval age and has some of the most interesting towns and villages I’ve ever seen. The most photographed has to be the Romanesque bridge in Besalú that is breathtaking to walk across and sees visitors travelling from afar to see it for themselves. It is without doubt one of the best preserved villages in Catalonia and I loved going back to visit time and time again.
Pla d’Estany in Banyoles
Banyoles is a town close to Besalú and home to the largest lake in Catalonia, which was used for the 1992 Olympic Games. I used to love coming here to relax and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet away from the busy city life. But be careful what lurks underneath the waters, so they say!
Another beautiful town that is well worth the visit, nestled in the mountains of the Pyrenees. Steeped in Romaneque architecture, almost every view you see is a breathtaking capture. It is also home to the famous monastery of Santa Maria, a beautiful place to visit.
The Pyrenees Mountains
It goes without saying that you have to visit the Pyrenees Mountains when you are visiting Catalonia and Vall d’Aran is the place to visit. It is the only National Park in Catalonia; a big valley with indescribable views at the top. This was one of the best views in Catalonia, but do remember to bring sturdy footwear as the walk is quite rocky but guaranteed to be worth the extra effort!
There’s nothing better than visiting idyllic beaches when you’re away from home, and Cadaques is at the top of my list. Although it is over an hour drive from Barcelona, it doesn’t disappoint with its higgeldy piggeldy houses right by the water’s edge. It also has several restaurants by the seafront so you can enjoy the view with a glass of your favourite drink. Visiting Cadaques always made me feel like I was truly on holiday…
Last on my list is by no means least – one of the most stunning beaches along the Costa Brava. A popular place to visit by tourists, Calella Palafrugell is a beautiful open beach with lots of restaurants and things to do in the town. It was always the perfect place to visit when the sun was shining brightly in the summer. It’s well worth having a look at the villas Clickstay has to offer – gorgeous villas to soak up the sunshine.
So there you have it, my guide to Catalonia all rounded up and I hope you enjoyed it – lots of inspiration for places to visit in the area so you don’t miss a thing!