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Catalonia

Spain

Barcelona Girona Lleida Tarragona


Introduction

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A walk round the capital cities Barcelona Tarragona Lleida Girona

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Trips round the autonomous comunity Girona Costa Brava The Eastern Pyrenees and valleys Barcelona Costa de Garraf and Costa del Maresme The province’s inland area Tarragona Costa Daurada Lleida The Western Pyrenees and Val d´Aran Leisure and shows Useful information

Dublin

United Kingdom London

Ireland

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Paris

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France

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Cantabrian Sea

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Catalonia

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Lleida

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Barcelona

Tarragona

Portugal

Madrid

Lisbon

Spain

Atlantic Ocean Ceuta Rabat

Morocco

Canary Islands

Girona

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Introduction

characteristics come to the fore in their traditional dance, the sardana, a true reflection of fraternity, performed to the beat of music charged with melodiousness.

Getting to know Catalonia According to a legend widely accepted by the Catalonian people, in the ninth century, just before Wifredo I (El Velloso) died, blood from his battle wounds was smeared onto his shield, forming four vertical lines: the four red

With a population of over six million, Catalonia covers a surface area of 31,930 km2 in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is flanked to the north by France and Andorra,

Coast of Girona

stripes featured on the senyera, or flag of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia. Thus was born the symbol of identity of Catalonia, an outward-looking, Mediterranean region with its own culture and language (Catalan), through which its personality has gradually taken shape. Of a friendly nature, Catalonians are extroverted yet discreet and these

to the south by the Autonomous Community of Valencia, to the west by Arag贸n and to the east by the Mediterranean Sea, whose waters bathe its more than 500 km of coastline. A land of contrasts, the Catalonian community is of a varied relief which endows it with clearly differentiated landscapes: deep valleys, 1


The inland area is essentially a land of farmers and cattlebreeders. Here, the countryside is made up of arable land speckled with villages and the typical Catalonian rural houses known as masĂ­es. The region's climate is conditioned by its varied relief. Of the Mediterranean continental type, it is mild and warm on the coast but more extreme in the areas of higher altitude, where snow is frequent. It is humid on the coast and dryer inland. Catalonia, which is divided administratively into four provinces (Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona) and territorially into 41 regions, is one of the Mediterranean's major tourism centres and is specifically equipped for the purpose with a first-class infrastructure which makes it a popular choice among congress and convention organisers. With facilities ranging from hotels, hotels and boarding houses to camp sites and rural tourism hotels, the Catalonian community has an accommodation capacity of approximately 500,000 places.

River Monastero. Lleida

remote mountain villages, large capital cities, seafaring towns, snow-capped peaks, spacious beaches and even tiny coves that may be reached only from the sea. As a result, the visitor finds himself in the enviable position of being able to enjoy highly different scenes within easy distance of one another. The Pyrenean mountain range runs from west to east along Catalonia's northern territory until it reaches the Mediterranean Sea. Between the Pyrenees and the littoral and pre-littoral chains lies the community's flattest area, formed by the central depression.

In addition to tourism, Catalonia has always been an important centre of industrial activity, based originally on the textile sector, though it has 2


coupled with the charm of each town and city, there is a wide range of tourism activities, all within Catalonia's boundaries.

spread towards other areas such as the car industry, food, chemicals and electronics. A modern community, wellpositioned in the area of new technologies, its inhabitants remain loyal to custom and tradition.

When visiting this autonomous community, the traveller will realise that Catalonia is much more than this brochure could ever describe. With the chance to breathe in the fresh mountain air, go bathing in the region's waters, admire the monuments, enjoy refined cuisine, in Catalonia, pleasant surprises await round every corner. The best thing for the visitor to do is to study the maps and establish areas of priority interest, confident in the knowledge that whichever spot he chooses, Catalonia will not let him down.

Catalonia's seaports (including two of the leading Mediterranean ports, Barcelona and Tarragona), fishing ports and pleasure harbours total 43, while 61 percent of its surface area is covered by forest, with about 6,500 km2 of protected natural spaces making up a huge enclave of biodiversity. From coastal tourism (Costa Daurada, Costa de Garraf, Costa del Maresme and Costa Brava), winter and mountain holiday resorts (the Catalonian Pyrenees) to rural tourism (inland) and sightseeing,

www.cataloniaweb.com

Port of Tarragona

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History

main one being Barcelona. In the eleventh century, the Catalonian counties joined together under the domination of Ram贸n Berenguer I. Having formed a dynastic union with Arag贸n in the twelfth century, Catalonia undertook its great territorial expansion process in the following century, during the reign of Jaime I El Conquistador, who added the territories of Valencia and Majorca to his realm. Next came the Trastamara period and then the era of the Austrias, with Carlos I, who would forge dynastic union between the Kingdoms of Castile and Arag贸n in the sixteenth century. As a result of the

Catalonia's history has evolved alongside a people's tenacious efforts to conserve their signs of identity; a people that have lent their territory to a number of civilisations, drawing from their cultures and accumulating a vast historicalartistic heritage. In ancient times, this territory received an initial influx of Indo-European peoples who came from Central Europe. Later, the Celts would arrive and, between the eighth and first centuries B.C., first the Phoenicians and then the Greeks appeared, to be followed by the Iberians, who occupied the Mediterranean strip of the peninsula, with some tribes deciding to settle in Catalonia. The Romans arrived in these lands in the second century B.C., starting a Romanisation process which would reach its culminating point 200 years later. The Moslem era would come afterwards.

Paseo arqueol贸gico. Tarragona

Towards the year 800 A.D., the troops of Charlemagne won part of what is now Catalonian territory from the Moslems. The ninth century marked the period of Catalonia's political construction. The area was organised into counties, the 4


However, after the Civil War, Franco's government remained aloof of such aspirations until, in 1979, a more open-minded political approach led to the approval of the Autonomy Statute and the restoration of what is now the Generalitat de Cataluña.

defeats suffered by Catalonia in the War of Succession in the early eighteenth century, Felipe V assumed the throne. In nineteenth century Catalonia, a widespread desire for self-rule took root, starting off with a struggle to recover the region's own law and to maintain its own language and customs. Thus was born the Mancomunitat de Cataluña (the commonwealth of Catalonia), the embryo of the autonomous government, at the beginning of the twentieth century. The complex business of establishing the Generalitat de Cataluña (Catalonian government) was completed during the Second Republic.

Artistic heritage The many peoples who settled in the territory of Catalonia left their mark in the form of an artistic legacy, with countless constructions of great architectural interest. Catalonia's most ancient artistic possessions are the cave paintings found in El Cogul, El Perelló and Ulldecona and the megalithic monuments which may still be seen in the region's northern area. The short-lived Greek colonisation left behind it the archaeological remains of the ancient city of Rhode (Roses) and of Empúries, where there is still valuable evidence of the Roman era also. However, the greatest exponent of Romanisation in Catalonia is, beyond any doubt, the city of Tarragona, which stands proud of its walls, amphitheatre and circus, amongst other important monuments. 5


Similarly, Arab domination left signs of its brief occupation, such as the castle, Castillo de la Suda, in Tortosa. Little by little, all these ancient civilisations endowed Catalonia with a historical-artistic heritage which was further enhanced in the Middle Ages when Romanesque art and later, Gothic, chose this territory to erect their architectural gems.

Pyrenees. In the thirteenth century, what is known as the second Romanesque style flourished, moving towards a fine sculptural decoration such as that seen in the Cathedral of La Seu d'Urgell, the cloister in the Cathedral of Girona, the frontispiece and the cloister of the Cathedral of Tarragona and the old monastery at Ripoll.

The range of Catalonian Romanesque covers over 2,000 constructions, from early rural churches to huge cathedrals. Remarkable instances of the first Catalonian Romanesque style are to be found in the series of churches standing in Valle de Boi in the Western

The complex construction of the great Cistercian monasteries at Poblet, Santes Creus and Vallbona de les Monges was also started in accordance with the Romanesque model, although ultimately, Gothic prevailed. When, after the conquest of the Balearic Islands and the Kingdom of Valencia, Catalonia was enjoying one of its greatest moments of splendour and all the towns and cities were seized by a passion for new buildings, Gothic art became the dominant feature. Barcelona boasts a first-class Gothic heritage, with its magnificent cathedral, the superb Church of Santa MarĂ­a del Mar and the monastery at Pedralbes. In Girona, the cathedral has the widest Gothic nave in Europe, while in Lleida, there is the Seu Vella Cathedral and in Tarragona, the cathedral and

La Sagrada Familia. Barcelona

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the walled monumental ensemble of Montblanc.

arrival of such major figures as Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí, two artists who were destined to reach worldwide fame.

Renaissance and baroque were of less significance in Catalonia than the above aesthetic tendencies. Even so, there remain fine examples of that period, such as the Basílica de la Mercè, in Barcelona; the instances of Renaissance art in Tarragona Cathedral; the Seu Nova de Lleida and the interesting baroque altarpieces in the churches at Cadaqués, on the Costa Brava, and at Arenys de Mar, in Maresme.

Natural heritage Catalonia possesses a boundless wealth of landscapes of extraordinary diversity and beauty, treasured

During the closing decades of the nineteenth century, Catalonia witnessed an outburst of modernism. In Barcelona, Antonio Gaudí, the movement's greatest exponent, erected buildings admired the world over, like Pedrera, Park Güell and the as yet unfinished Sagrada Familia. From the exceptional ensemble in the city itself, modernist art spread all over Catalonia, creating works of special interest such as some of the buildings in the city of Reus, built by the architect, Domènech i Montaner.

Mountain of Montserrat

in the form of a national park and a good number of nature parks: an ideal setting in which to switch off from daily routine and go and watch the spectacle of life.

Later, in the early years of the twentieth century, avant-garde art would begin to make its presence felt. The first quarter of the century welcomed the

The province of Barcelona is home to the nature park, Parque Natural de la 7


Cadí-Moixeró, Catalonia's largest nature park, where nature lovers have the chance to observe a wide variety of fauna and to admire the Alpine-like landscapes, including the chain formed by the Cadí and Moixeró ranges, Macizo de Pedraforca and part of the Puigllançada and Tosa d'Alp. Amongst the park's attractions are the all-terrain circuits and trips by sledges drawn by Nordic dogs (tourist information 93 824 41 51).

Muntanya de Montserrat, one of the most popular places in Catalonia, not only because of the overwhelming beauty of the Mountain of Montserrat but also because it is here that the shrine of Mare de Déu de Montserrat stands. The shrine, with its image of the patron saint of Catalonia, La Moreneta, is frequently visited by Marian devotees. Close at hand are two other nature parks: Montseny, declared as a Reserve of the Biosphere owing to its ecological diversity, and Parque Natural de Santa Llorenç del Munt i L'Obac, of particular interest on account of the vegetable and animal habitat found in its caves, home to several species of bats and insects, some of which are exclusive to the area.

In the province of Girona, there are three nature parks: Parque Natural d'Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, formed by a group of lakelets which provide a privileged habitat for aquatic birds (over 323 bird species and a reserve for mammals like the otter and the polecat); Parque Natural Zona Volcánica de la Garrotxa,

Approaching the Barcelona Pyrenees lies Parque Natural

National park of Aigüestortes y Lago de Sant Maurici

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situated round the town of Olot, with as many as 30 volcanic cones, craters and lava outflows, making it into one of Europe's major nature parks (information 972 26 60 12); and Parque Natural de Cap de Creus, a combination of land and sea set in the superb, wild countryside on the peninsula of the same name.

canals and pools. The shoreline's main features are the huge sandbanks and impressive dunes formed by the action of the sea. Particularly noteworthy are Illa de Buda, El Fangar and Port dels Alfacs. In this natural area, measuring 7,736 hectares, there are flora and fauna that are unique to Catalonia: over 300 different bird species and fish in great abundance. In the town of Deltebre, the visitor is recommended to look round the Ecomuseo, where he will find lots of information about the Delta (Ecomuseo 977 48 96 79).

Lleida has one of Spain's prettiest national parks, Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes y Lago de Sant Maurici, a majestic landscape noted for its lofty peaks looking down onto countless pools and ponds. Water is in abundance here, with 24 mountain lakes, the bestknown of which is Sant Maurici. Of equal interest are the Estany Gran, with its splendid cascades, and the Estany Negre. A good starting point for a trip round the park is Camí dels Enamorats and Roca de la Cremada. The route crossing the park from Boi to Espot is one of the most fascinating in the entire Pyrenees.

There are more protected natural areas in Catalonia, like Sierra de Albera, famous for its valuable population of Mediterranean tortoises, and Los Medes; not forgetting partially protected areas, such as Riera Arbúcies-Hostalric, Timoneda d'Alfès, Mas de Melons and Alt Àneu, among others; and certain sections of some rivers, like La Llosa, Segre-Isòvol and Noguera Pallaresa.

Lastly, to the south of the province of Tarragona, lies Parque Natural Delta de l'Ebre, a seaside area of great ecological importance consisting of a vast plain generously endowed with

www.gencat.es/darp/medi/ pein/cparcs02.htm

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A walk round the capital cities

Built in the period from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries, it is a temple with three Gothic-style naves and a nineteenth century facade. The building houses an outstanding artistic heritage in the form of the spacious cloister, the Romanesque Chapel of Santa Llucía and the crypt of Santa Eulàlia.

Barcelona Founded by the Romans in the area between the Rivers Llobregat and Besòs, the primitive enclosure of Barcino was situated on the Mons Taber. A universal, cosmopolitan city, Barcelona is a city of contrasts where the ancestral past lives on side-byside with the most contemporary of architectures in a state of perfect harmony.

Coming out of the cathedral through the main door, one sees Casa de l'Ardiaca (2), rebuilt from the fifteenth century onwards on the city's Roman wall (3), of which a number of notable fragments still remain. Nearby is the mediaeval building of Pia Almoina (4).

The nucleus of the capital of Catalonia is the Gothic Quarter, where some of the city's most symbolic buildings are to be found, such as the cathedral (1), where features from different styles are combined.

Going along Calle de El Bisbé and then under the neo-Gothic bridge of Casa dels Canonges (5), the visitor reaches Plaça de Sant Jaume (6), where the buildings housing the city hall and the autonomous government, Generalitat de Catalunya, stand face to face. From here, Calle Ferran will lead us to the heart of the Ramblas (7), which start at Plaça de Catalunya (8) and end at the monument to Christopher Columbus (9). The upper section of this world-famous promenade is known as the Rambla de Canaletes, after the spring of the same name.

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Tourist information

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Tradition has it that any traveller who drinks from its waters will return to the city.

buildings. Not far away, the great Gothic Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi (14) can be seen.

The Ramblas are the liveliest part of the city. Here, one may pause to watch the pavement artists or pass the time browsing at the well-stocked newspaper stands. Failing that, one may observe the street sellers, with their arrays of flowers and even small animals. Moving along the Ramblas, the visitor will find the popular market, La Boquería (10), the palace, Palau de la Virreina (11), an austere rococo building from the eighteenth century, and the Gran Teatre del Liceu (12), opened in 1847 and rebuilt after it was burnt down in a tragic fire in 1994. On the other side of the promenade stands Plaça Reial (13), an architectural ensemble of nineteenth century porticoed

The next stop on our walk will be the Drassanes (15), the city's old shipyards, and then Port Vell (16), linked by the floating footbridge of Rambla del Mar to the Maremàgnum, a huge amusement and shopping centre. Close by is one of the Mediterranean's busiest ports, Puerto de Barcelona (17). Not far from Paseo de Colón is the Basílica de la Mercè (18), an eighteenth century baroque building named after the city's patron saint. This route will take us to the Barceloneta (19), the old fishermen's district which is now full of seafood restaurants. From here, Rompeolas may be reached. The year of 1992 is a key date in the city's history because it was then that Barcelona hosted the XXV Olympic Games. In preparation for this event, the city of Barcelona, also known as the Ciudad Condal, was completely transformed: with the Vila Olímpica (20), now a leisure centre, the seafront was recovered and some areas which had, until then, been abandoned, were made into inviting beaches. Such is the case of Mar Bella and El Bogatell.

Monument to Christopher Columbus

14


Also resulting from this renovation process is the Anella Olímpica (21), situated on the mountain of Montjuïc. Of special note are the Estadi Olímpic, the Palau Sant Jordi, covered by an enormous metallic structure designed by the Japanese Arata Isozaki, and the Torre de Telecomunicaciones, by the architect Calatrava. At the foot of the mountain are the Montjuïc castle and national palace (Castillo/Palau Nacional de Montjuïc) (22), joined to Plaza de Españya by the María Cristina Promenade, famous for the illuminated fountains which add further appeal to the walk as far as Font Màgica.

Casa Milà “La Pedrera”

Ciutadella (28), providing access to the zoo; Collserola (29), from where the best views of the city are to be had; and the two major works in Catalan Gothic, the Monastery of Pedralbes (30) and the Church of Santa Maria del Mar (31).

The visitor should bear in mind that the overriding symbol of Barcelona's identity is modernist architecture, best represented by the figures of Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalc and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Accordingly, it is an absolute must to visit buildings like the Sagrada Familia (23), Park Güell (24), Casa Batlló (25), Casa Milà "La Pedrera" (26) and the Palau de la Música Catalana (27). The last two of these works, along with Park Güell, have been declared world heritage sites.

Anybody visiting this great city, considered to be one of the best-equipped in the world in terms of infrastructure, will realise that the capital of Catalonia has so much to see and enjoy that it would take sheets and sheets of paper to describe it all. May the above description suffice to give the reader albeit a rough idea of the many things he can expect to find when he arrives in Barcelona.

Other places of interest are the city's largest park, Parc de la

www.barcelonaturisme.com 15


Tarragona

enjoy the impressive panoramic views of the capital, then the best thing to do is to go to Paseo Arqueológico (3), built around the Roman walls, which date back to the early years of the Roman occupation. From here, one can see as far as "Pont del Diable" (Aqüeducte de les Ferreres), a Roman aqueduct which is a masterpiece of engineering, situated about four km from the capital.

Present-day Tarragona (Tarraco) became the chief city in Roman Catalonia and one of the leading towns on the Iberian Peninsula. It has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. The capital of Costa Daurada possesses a considerable artistic and architectural heritage which, together with the beaches, makes it into a tourism centre of tremendous interest.

The high part of the city is made up of the old quarter, a sightseer's delight set inside the old Roman wall (4) from the second century B.C.. Dominating the scene is the Cathedral of Santa Maria (5), the capital's main mediaeval building, together with the mediaeval arcades in Calle Mercería (6).

Situated on the mouth of the River Francolí, Tarragona is an ideal place from which to survey the Mediterranean Sea. For this purpose, at the end of Rambla Nova (1), on Paseo de Les Palmeres (2), there is a magnificent vantage point or mirador. If the intention is to

Proof of the Roman occupation of the city is furnished by the circus (7), which goes back to times prior to the first century A.D.. Its remains are situated round the present Plaça de la Font, near Rambla Vella (8). Although it has deteriorated in the course of time, it is one of the best-preserved constructions of its kind in Europe. At the end of this rambla stands the amphitheatre (9), built in the

Aqüeducte de les Ferreres

16


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in mediaeval Tarragona. This Catalan capital also possesses a superb port (13), one of the most important in the Mediterranean. The area round the port is the setting for El Serrallo (14), the fishermen's quarter, where the visitor is recommended to try the city's best selection of fish and seafood. Cathedral cloister

Tarragona is, beyond any doubt, a city to suit all tastes. Combining a modern outlook with a pride in its precious reminders of former times, it is an ideal place to delve into history.

second century A.D.. A good part of its structure may still be seen today, overlooking the pretty beach known as El Miracle (10). Other places of interest in the city include the palaeo-Christian burial site (11), considered to be one of the most outstanding gardens of rest of this type in the western world, and Calle de Çavallers (12), the main street

www.costadaurada.org

Beach of El Miracle

18


Lleida

find Casino Principal (3), built in the style of the Novecento. Carrying on down Avenida Blondel (4), sights of different styles are to be seen. Near Seu Nova is the Church of Sant Llorenç (5) which, though commenced in a late Romanesque style (thirteenth century), possesses a good number of Gothic features.

Spreading over the banks of the River Segre, in the middle of fertile, fruit-growing country, Lleida boasts a variety of monuments which bear witness to the highly diverse cultures that left their mark on the capital. It is an extraordinarily attractive city, standing erect amid nature in its purest state as it looks to the future with the best of the past behind it.

Other places to be visited include the palace, Palau de la Paeria (6), which has been altered considerably since it was built in the thirteenth century and is now used as the city hall; and Hospital Santa MarĂ­a (7), of interest on account of its late Gothic inner patio suffused with light.

The old town is situated on the right bank of the river. Here, of particular interest is the old cathedral, Seu Vella (1), a combination of Romanesque and Gothic built on the site of an age-old Moslem mosque. In the interior, the streaming light greatly enhances the beauty of the sculptural decoration. After dark, bathed in the shadows cast by the exterior lights, it seems to step out from its surroundings, creating a splendid sight as it holds sway over the entire city. Also worthy of note is the new cathedral, or Seu Nova (2), an interesting neoclassical work built in the eighteenth century. It is approached from Carrer Major.

The left bank of the river is the site of the modern part of the city, born of expansion in the

Palau de la Paeria

In the same street, packed with shops and amusements, we 19


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twentieth century. Arts and crafts fairs and traditional, folkloric events are held in the prepossessing gardens known as Camps Elisis (8). When leaving Lleida, the traveller is recommended to take the N-II road, passing through Tarrega to stop at Cervera. This partly-walled town has a curious old quarter whose main attraction is the university building. Opened in 1720, it was the only university in Catalonia for 100 years. Not far away is the mediaeval Church of Sant Antoni and the old Church of San Bernat, where the marriage of the Catholic Sovereigns took place. This town, still within the province of Lleida, is also

Cervera University

famous for its popular carrer贸 de les bruixes, or witches' alleyway, and for the Church of Santa Maria, a fine example of Catalan Gothic. www.paeria.es/turisme

Santa Mar铆a Hospital

21


Girona

Creación (tapestry of the creation) is kept. Made during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it is the major work in Catalan Romanesque tapestry-making.

Situated in the Ter valley, at the confluence of the Rivers Güell, Galligants and Onyar, Girona is known as the city of the four rivers. The River Onyar runs right through it, with the old part of the city on the right bank and the modern town on the left.

Near the cathedral stand the interesting diocesan art museum, Museu d'Art de Girona, and the handsome Gothic building, Pia Almoina (5). Walking on along Calle Força, the visitor will reach the Call, or the Jewish Quarter (6), inhabited by a large Hebrew community during the Middle Ages.

In the old part, there are still remains of the ancient city wall (1), which winds its way along from Paseo Arqueológico (2) to Jardines de la Muralla (3). The prominent feature in this area is the cathedral (4), a majestic building characterised by a mixture of styles, the Gothic nave, the widest in mediaeval European architecture, being of particular interest. Inside is the Tresor de la Catedral, where the famous Tapiz de la

Leaving this quarter on the left-hand side, we will find the twelfth century Arab baths, or Baños Árabes (7), and further on, the Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants (8), declared a historical-artistic monument. Opposite is the Romanesque Church of Sant Nicolau (9).

View of the city

There are lots more sights to see in the old quarter, a constant reflection of the wealth of its historic past. The visitor might wish to go and admire, for instance, any of the several convents, such as Sant Domènec (10), El Carme or Sant Josep. In the modern part of Girona, points of interest include 22


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Hospital de Santa Caterina (11), a seventeenth century baroque building with a neoclassical facade and a number of modernist constructions. Before leaving the city, it is worthwhile going to Parc de la Devesa (12), where the local people like to go in their leisure time. With a surface area of over 40 hectares, it is the largest banana plantation in Catalonia.

Jewish Quarter

Having bid farewell to Girona, the visitor is recommended to take the C-150 road to the town of Banyoles. Here, the main attraction for the tourist is the lake, or estany, of great geological interest. Set in a fine landscape, the lake is the subject of many a legend. It is possible to walk right round the lake by following the pretty paths and strolling through the delightful parks. Boat trips are also available for those wishing to see the area from a different angle.

Arab baths

www.cbrava.es

Church of Sant Pere Galligants

24


Trips round the autonomous community

Girona Costa Brava From Portbou to Blanes, the Costa Brava is Catalonia's northernmost section of shoreline. It is characterised by quaint seafaring towns, charming coves lapped by crystal-clear waters and a string of striking rocky cliffs battered at will by the Mediterranean Sea. It earned its name of brava (wild) on account of its rugged relief, formed by a number of mountain chains falling abruptly down to the sea.

Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes

between sea and mountain so frequent in this area, surveyed by the old Benedictine monastery of San Pere de Rodes, one of the chief monuments in Catalan Romanesque art. Close at hand is the peninsula of Cap de Creus, recently declared a nature park. Reaching into the sea over a distance of about 10 km, the peninsula is typical of the scenery on this shoreline.

When setting off on his trip along the northern coast, the first town the visitor will find is Portbou. Travelling southwards along the N-260 road, the town of Colera, of great seafaring tradition, is reached. Two of the most tempting beaches are the ones at Colera and Garbes, separated by Punta dels Canons.

Continuing our coastal trip southwards, we arrive in one of the Costa Brava's most symbolic villages: Cadaqués. Not for nothing did its indescribable beauty attract countless intellectuals and artists, such as Pablo Picasso,

Next comes the town of Llançà, with its popular pleasure harbour, and the seafaring village of El Port de la Selva, a fine instance of the rapport 25


Cadaqués

who produced exceptional Cubist paintings at the start of the century, and Salvador Dalí who, years later, from his home in Portlligat just one km away, would turn the village into an international enclave for artists.

road, looms the castle, Castelló d'Empúries, with its rich artistic heritage. Proof of this is the exquisite fourteenth century Basílica de Santa Maria. Returning to the shoreline, we shall see the Empuriabrava Marina.

We then move on to the gulf, Golfo de Roses which, forming a 15 km curve, makes for a farstretching beach, rounded off with the towns of Roses and Empúries. Roses is noted for its old fortress and sixteenth century citadel, where curious remains of the Greek colony of Rhode may still be seen. From here, we take the C-260 road inland to the town of Figueres where, amongst other things, we can visit the Dalí TheatreMuseum, containing the artist's tomb.

Approaching the end of the Golfo de Roses stands L'Escala, which will lead us to the ruins of the Greek colony of Empúries, Catalonia's most frequently visited archaeological site. Taking the road to Torroella de Montgrí, with its thirteenth century castle, L'Estartit, a picturesque fishing port, complete with pleasure harbour, awaits us. There are boat trips from the port to the islets known as Islas Medes, a

Just four kilometres inland, as we carry on along the C-260 26


built on the rocks. With pleasing instances of popular architecture and houses built by the indianos (Spanish emigrants who returned to Spain after having made a fortune in Latin America), the town and its surrounding area have received official classification as a beauty spot.

small archipelago which was once a hideout for pirates. Situated less than one mile from the coast, the seven Medes islets form a protected area considered as a nature reserve because of the biological value of the surrounding waters, where over a thousand marine species dwell.

Little more than seven km further along the inland road is Palafrugell, with its archipelago known as Islas Formigues, ideal for scuba divers. On the sea front at Palafrugell, there are attractive tourist and residential areas situated in the old fishermen's districts like Tamariu and

Now in the southern part of the Costa Brava, we might stop off at the village of Pals, proud of its sightseeing area, which has been declared a historicalartistic ensemble. Moving towards the coast, we reach Begur, overlooked by the remains of an austere castle 27


Llafranc, not forgetting Calella de Palafrugell, renowned for its sessions of habaneras (AfroCuban songs), at which the popular cremat (flamb茅ed rum with coffee) is drunk. Travelling south along the C-255 road, we reach Palam贸s, with its famous fishing port and excellent facilities for lovers of nautical sports. Moving along the shoreline on the same road, we enter Platja d'Aro, one of the area's most popular places as it so wellequipped in terms of shops and leisure activities. A few kilometres to the south is the luxury S'Agar贸 residential estate, an example of selective tourism at its best. Not far away lies our next destination: Sant Feliu de Gu铆xols, with a modern tourist area and some of the most comprehensive sports facilities to be found on this coastline. The southernmost part of the Costa Brava is formed by La Selva (the forest), with a landscape of exuberant vegetation which more than justifies its name. Tossa de Mar, the first coastal town in this area, has a walled enclosure, Vila Vella, together with its Vila Nova, spreading along the beach. Following the coastal road, Lloret de Mar is

Hermitage of Santa Cristina. Lloret de Mar 28


The Eastern Pyrenees and valleys

reached, now the main tourist resort on the Costa Brava due to its accommodation capacity. Apart from being of great artistic interest, Lloret de Mar has interesting buildings like the early sixteenth century Church of Sant Romá, the Santa Cristina Hermitage and the Monument to the Seafaring Woman.

The Pyrenees, Catalonia's northern mountain range, afford views of spots nestling amid an astonishingly beautiful landscape. Snow-clad mountains, green valleys and crystalline rivers go to make up an idyllic setting in which the tourist may enjoy the pleasure of travelling to the full.

The last town in the southern part of the Costa Brava is Blanes, where it is worth going to see the remains of the castle, Castillo de San Joan, and the sightseeing area with its Gothic buildings dating back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The visitor might also take a stroll round the two botanical gardens: Mar i Murtra and Pinya Rosa.

The traveller is advised to start his tour of the Eastern Pyrenees at the municipal district of Puigcerdà, the area's commercial centre and hub of communications. Here stands the fifteenth century Convent of Sant Domènec, complete with its Gothic murals.

And so our trip along the Costa Brava draws to an end. Fishing villages, historical ruins, tiny coves and beautiful landscapes invaded by the waters of an often raging sea; in a word, an exceptional geographical area so well-prepared for tourism that it satisfies even the most demanding holidaymaker. www.cbrava.es

Monastery of Santa María de Ripoll

29


The N-152 road, passing through Collada de Toses, will take us to Vall de Ribes, the Pyrenean valley where Ribes de Fresser is situated. It is necessary to go through this town to reach Vall de Núria, a stunning spot surrounded by an imposing ring of mountains through which the river of the same name flows, forming a gorge

flanked by the chasms of Totlomón and Roc del Dui. As if this were not enough, the glacial valleys of Fontalba and Fontcalda give the whole scene an attractive finishing touch. Towards the north, a road leads to Queralbs, a charming mountain village of picturesque stone buildings. This is where the footpath to the Shrine of Virgen de Núria begins. It is also possible to reach the shrine, situated at an altitude of 1,956 m, by the rack railway. On arrival, the views are breathtaking. Returning to Ribes de Fresser, we take the N-152 road to Ripoll, where it is a must to visit the Romanesque monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll. Founded towards the ninth

Vall de Núria 30


Barcelona

century, the monastery features an extraordinary portico showing interesting sculptural relief with scenes from the Bible.

Costa de Garraf and Costa del Maresme Within what is known as the Costa de Ponent lies the Costa del Garraf, the scarped shoreline formed by the Garraf Mountains and Sierra de Coma-Roja as they drop into the sea. On a hill belonging to this mountain mass stands the

From here, the C-151 road takes us to Sant Joan de les Abadesses, situated in a typical Pyrenean valley bathed by the River Ter. Here there is an outstanding Benedictine monastery founded in the ninth century, an excellent example of Catalan Romanesque. The same road continues to Camprodon, where the twelfth century Monastery of Sant Pere may still be admired. The C-153 goes as far as the Coll d'Ares mountain pass on the border between Spain and France.

The beach at Castelldefels

Skiers will be delighted with the winter resorts of the Eastern Pyrenees, La Molina, Masella, NĂşria and Vallter 2000 being of particular note.

tenth century castle, the origin of the town of Castelldefels, now a major summer holiday resort because of the beaches of fine sand so characteristic of the area. After a hair-raising trip along the C-245 as it runs past plunging ravines, the traveller reaches the town of Sitges, one of Catalonia's most popular holiday resorts, with first-class hotels and splendid pleasure harbours. While in the town, the visitor should go to 31


To the other side of the city of Barcelona lies the Costa de Llevant, more commonly known as the Costa del Maresme, stretching from Montgat to the mouth of the River Tordera. The coast is lined by a chain of seafaring towns and villages which have become residential areas as communications with Barcelona are so good. Coarsesanded beaches alternate with smaller ones along a shoreline which is dotted with pleasant nooks attracting the tourist with culinary delights and all the services he could wish for.

Church of Santa María. Mataró

the old quarter to admire the Churches of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla. Other buildings of interest include the town hall, of nineteenth century neo-Gothic construction, and the palace known as Palau Maricel, with touches of mediaeval, Renaissance and baroque art. Moreover, Sitges is known internationally for its fiestas and festivals (the International Film Festival and the Sitges International Theatre Festival).

Starting our trip round this area in the south (the N-II road, A-19 motorway), we find first Montgat and then Alella, renowned for its wines. Then comes El Masnou, a residential town endowed with a fine pleasure harbour and beach. The N-II and the A-19 also lead to the town of Vilassar de Mar, with its lovely promenade. The next stop will be Mataró, a major industrial and commercial centre where one of the Costa del Maresme pleasure harbours is situated. Its most symbolic buildings include the sixteenth century Basílica de Santa María de Mataró, with a mediaeval/neoRomanesque style facade which was added in the

The C-246 road goes to the third of our recommended destinations: Vilanova i la Geltrú, the capital of the district of Garraf. This seawardlooking town boasts a major fishing port and beaches that are a haven for lovers of nautical sports. 32


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nineteenth century. The town is also home to the Torre Llauder archaeological site, where there are still traces of a Roman villa from the first to the third centuries A.D..

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Mar, whose monuments and beaches attract large numbers of holidaymakers in the summer months. In the wake of Arenis de Mar come the towns of Canet, with superb modernist buildings, and San Pol de Mar, where the main feature is the Hermitage of Sant Pau.

More towards the north is the town of Caldes d'Estrac, where there is a noted thermal spring. Keeping to the N-II or A-19, one arrives in Arenys de

A few kilometres further on, we find Calella, the true touristic capital of the Maresme area, overflowing with pavement cafĂŠs, restaurants and a lively nightlife which, together with the beaches, are an irresistible temptation for the traveller. We end our trip along this coast at Palafolls, where it is worth visiting the ruins of the castle built during the period from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries.

Church of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla. Sitges

33

EO N


eighteenth century, is in the neoclassical style and one of its main points of interest is the interior murals by Josep M. Sert. The bishop's palace stands just next to the cathedral. The A-18 road will take the traveller to Manresa, with its monumental approach formed by the cathedral or Basílica de Santa María and the architectural ensemble of Santa Cova. Once the home of San Ignacio de Loyola, Santa Cova is an important place of worship for Catholics.

Sau Reservoir

From Manresa, taking the C-1410 road, we reach Cardona, where the castle's walled fortress, now a parador or state hotel, stands on a hill. The fortified enclosure contains, among other interesting features, the Church of Sant Vicenç de Cardona, an arresting eleventh century Romanesque temple. However, the town's chief sight was not created by man but by the mysterious action of nature and its evolution: the famous Montaña de Sal (mountain of salt) still

The province’s inland area The inland area of the province of Barcelona is bedecked with towns and villages of historical interest. The visitor is strongly recommended to go to Vic, taking the N-152 road out of Barcelona. Situated to the west of the grand reservoir, Pantano de Sau, the town possesses a fine cathedral, the seat of an archbishopric. The temple, built towards the end of the 34


Tarragona

stands today as proof of the withdrawal of the sea in the area no less than 65 million years ago.

Costa Daurada Such is the name given to the Catalan shoreline inside the province of Tarragona, lying between the towns of Cunit and Les Cases d'Alcanar. This coastal strip, cleft by the mouths of the Rivers Gaià, Francolí and Ebro, may be described as a sequence of rounded contours lined with innumerable beaches trimmed by calm, shallow waters. True to its name (the golden coast), the landscape is flooded in golden hues of fine sands and the sun as it glows over the horizon.

An essential trip round the interior of the province of Barcelona inevitably covers two towns that are linked by the common denominator of winegrowing: Vilafranca del Penedès and Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, known respectively as the wine capital and the cava capital. (Cava is a Catalan wine similar to champagne). Vilafranca del Penedès is the leading town in the Penedés region for the production and export of wine. In addition, the town is famous for its traditional market, held every Saturday, when tradesmen flock to the centre to set up their stalls under the arcades of the main squares. Sant Sadurniú d'Anoia ranks first in Spain for the production of cava, with nearly 130 million bottles a year. Naturally enough, one of the sights to be seen in this town is the structural ensemble in which cava is made: Caves Codorniu has modernist pavilions designed by Puig i Cadafalc, while the internationally-famous Freixenet, established in 1889, comes from highly attractive premises which date back to the twenties, though they have since been modernised.

Leaving Cunit and the residential estate of Segur de Calafell, the visitor is recommended to take the

Church of San Martín. Altafulla

35


visit the remarkable Renaissance castle and saunter along one of the most popular beaches on the Costa Daurada. Close at hand is the Roman villa of Els Munts, from the first to the sixth centuries, which occupies a privileged position on a hill overlooking the sea.

C-246 to Calafell, the first stop on our trip along the Costa Daurada. A pretty holiday resort, the town is admired for its tiny mediaeval streets, leading to the castle, and its eleventh century Romanesque church, housing remains of frescoes. Nevertheless, the inhabitants claim that the greatest attraction is to be found when the sun goes down majestically over an almost perfectly even landscape.

Our next destination will be Altafulla, with the Renaissance castle of the Marquis of Tamarit. At this point, the gentle contours of the coast undergo a radical change. The same road takes us to Salou,

Nautical sports centre. Cambrils

Having visited the Roman arch known as Arc de BerĂ , we take the N-340 road to Torredembarra, where we can 36


west of the city of Tarragona. This seafaring town, which is like a great avenue stepping out to meet the waves, is the Costa Daurada's leading holiday resort. Here, one may enjoy a walk along the popular Paseo de Les Palmeres, which unobtrusively runs along the edge of the famous Llevant Beach. Not far from Salou is the theme park, Universal's Port Aventura, which, ever since it was opened, has been one of the main tourist attractions on the Costa Daurada.

Tortosa

more, with beaches of coarser sand and patches of vegetation reaching right down to the edge of the sea. It is a must to visit the fishing port. From here, we resume our coastal journey to the beaches of El Perell贸 and L'Ampolla, pausing to admire the stunning beauty of the area near Cap Roig.

The N-340 road carries on to Cambrils, a town with a wellearned reputation for good eating and an impressive port, where there is a strong fishing tradition. The coastline from here to Delta de l'Ebre is an endless sequence of beaches washed by limpid waters. This area is home to major tourist resorts such as Miami Platja and L'Hospitalet de L'Infant, and others like L'Almadrava, in the vicinity of which the Calafat Circuit, scene of top motorcycling competitions, is situated.

Keeping to the N-340 as we leave Delta de l'Ebre behind us, we arrive in Les Cases d'Alcanar, where we can visit the Catalan coastline's southernmost pleasure harbour and fishing port. The southern gateway to Catalonia, the town is of particular interest as it is the location of the Iberian village of Moleta del Remei, officially declared a historical-artistic monument.

Still going southward as we continue our trip along the Costa Daurada on the N-340, it is well worth calling at L'Ametlla de Mar, where the coastal landscape changes once

There is, however, far more to the Costa Daurada than its 37


coastal towns. The visitor must not fail to visit some of the inland towns like Reus, taking the N-340 or the N-420. Here, there is a superb sightseeing area, consisting, for instance, of the buildings in Plaça de Prim and the Casa Navà s, a fine example of modernism.

The visitor is also advised to follow the Ruta del CĂ­ster, or the Route of the Cistercian Order, which was responsible for Catalonia's major monasterial reform. The Cistercian monks created an architectural style characterised by austerity of form, endowing Catalonia with three of their masterpieces: the monasteries at Poblet (a world heritage site), Santes Creus and, in Lleida, Vallbona de les Monges.

Tortosa should also be included on the itinerary. Situated near the mouth of the River Ebro, the town possesses remarkable architectural works in the mediaeval, Renaissance, baroque and modernist styles. It is an official historical-artistic ensemble and some of the buildings, like the castle, Castillo de la Suda, now a state hotel or parador, are national monuments.

May these examples suffice to show that the Costa Daurada has far more to offer than its shores and beaches. The tourist can just as easily have a beach holiday as he can visit the area's fascinating artistic monuments. The exquisite beauty of the coastal landscape is enhanced by a backcloth of historical gems which are a sightseer's delight.

Monastery of Poblet

www.coastadaurada.org

38


Lleida The Western Pyrenees and Val d’Aran The westernmost part of the Pyrenean mountain range is one of the most attractive places in the province of Lleida. In this area, deep valleys lie below towering peaks, forming an astonishing landscape spattered with tiny villages where it is bitterly cold in winter. For those wishing to find out more, two itineraries are recommended: one runs to the north of the Aigüestortes National Park and Sant Maurici Lake, accessible from Espot, while the other runs to the south of the park and is accessible from Boi. Both routes start at the town of La Seu d'Urgell, with its twelfth century Romanesque Cathedral of Santa Maria. On reaching Sort along the N-260, we begin the northern itinerary by taking the C-147 as far as Esterri d'Àneu, a lovely rural spot. Behind us lie the valleys, Vall de Cardos and Vall Ferrera, watched from on high by the famous Pica d'Estats, with an altitude of 3,145 m.. With Vall d'Àneu and the town of Espot to the south, we take the C-142 to cross Port de la Bonaigua, stopping to admire

Sant Maurici Lake 39


the breathtaking views of the area. Passing the tourist resort of Baqueira, the visitor finds himself in Val d'Aran, where he may stop off at towns like SalardĂş, Arties and the valley's main town, Vielha. All these towns, of a prettiness which has to be seen to be believed, heighten the valley's intense greenness even further with their houses of granite and slate. As the winter holiday resorts of Baqueira Beret and Super Espot are not far away, skiers are a common sight in these places.

bears close similarities to Gascon. The area's autochthonous cuisine is influenced by the valley's climatology, with wholesome dishes such as the olla aranesa (a form of stew) and others made from the valley's own produce.

Vielha

Val d'Aran, locked inside mountains nearly 3,000 m high, covers a surface area of just over 600 km2. The only Pyrenean valley with an Atlantic climate, its distinguishing feature is its language, Aranese, which 40


of Catalan Romanesque: the Churches of Sant Climent and Santa Maria de Taüll, among others.

The second recommended itinerary starts at Sort, on the N-260, passing by the Noguera Pallaresa River valley, an excellent place for canoeing and rafting. We then arrive in La Pobla de Segur, known as "the gateway to the Pyrenees". Further south is Tremp, the municipal district to which the Sant Antoni Reservoir, scene of many nautical sports, belongs. The N-260 carries on from La Pobla de Segur to El Pont de Suert, the meeting point of various Pyrenean valleys. From here, the N-230 continues up the Pyrenees to take us into Val d'Aran. It is better, however, to turn off at El Pont de Suert, taking the L-500 to visit Val de Boi. This exceptionally attractive enclave conceals one of the most precious legacies

The two routes come to an end in the town of Bossòst, where Val d'Aran's most outstanding Romanesque church, built in the twelfth century, stands proud. The Romanesque churches of Vall de Boi have been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. As the visitor will see, the Western Pyrenees provide an opportunity to see a superb display of nature and its wonders, further embellished, if this be possible, by an artistic heritage of great value. www.lleidatur.es

Bossòst

41


Leisure and shows

As for the Lleida part of the Pyrenees, the skier may choose from among the Super Espot resort, situated on one of the access routes to Parque Nacional de Aigüestores y Lago de Sant Maurici; Boi-Taüll, surrounded by a number of interesting Romanesque churches; Port Ainé, with a large services infrastructure; Baqueira Beret, a favourite spot with long-distance skiers; and Port del Comte, which has become a highly popular, busy resort as it is within easy distance of Barcelona.

Sports The extraordinary geographical diversity of Catalonia, with a coastal strip bordering an inland of high mountains, makes for a wide range of possibilities for sports lovers of all kinds.

During the springtime, the Pyrenees and Catalonia's littoral and pre-littoral mountainous regions blossom into a myriad of unspeakably beautiful nooks and crannies where the visitor may come into contact with nature in its purest state. Furthermore, Catalonia is an ideal place for hikers, with a network of walks measuring over 3,000 km.

Ski resort. La Molina

In winter, Catalonia means snow and skiing. In the Pyrenean area, the visitor will find a good number of resorts where he can practice alpinestyle skiing, with first-rate slopes and infrastructures. In Girona, the Pyrenean resorts are: La Masella, one of the most tempting because of its variety of slopes; La Molina, Spain's pioneer skiing resort; Vall de Núria, situated in an unexampled landscape; and Vallter 2000, Catalonia's easternmost skiing resort.

There are about 30 golf courses in Catalonia, noted for the quality of the turf and the wide variety of rounds (Federación Catalana de Golf 93 414 52 62). When the summer comes, the Catalan shoreline overflows with possibilities for nautical sports at the many pleasure 42


Theme parks: *Universal's Port Aventura A-7, run-off 35, N-340, km. 2, Vila-Seca (Tarragona) 902 40 44 40 www.portaventura.es Golf course

harbours situated all along the coast. Sailing, water-skiing, scuba diving, aquatic motor sports... , the visitor takes his choice and Catalonia provides the right setting.

*Catalunya en Miniatura Torrelles de Llobregat (Barcelona). Officially declared as being of national touristic interest, the park features 170 miniature monuments representing the whole of Catalonia. 93 689 09 60

Marinas and theme parks

Museums and art galleries

Marinas: *Acuatic Paradís Sitges (Barcelona) *Isla Fantasía Vilassar de Dalt (Barcelona) *Aqua Brava. Cadaqués road. Roses (Girona) *Aquadiver Platja d'Aro (Girona) *Water World. Lloret-Vidreres road. Lloret de Mar (Girona) *Marineland. Malgrat-Palafolls road (Barcelona) *Aquapark. Salou (Tarragona)

Barcelona: • Thyssen-Bornenisza Collection Monasterio de Pedralbes 93 280 14 34 • Barcelona Contemporary Art Gallery (MACBA) Plaça dels Àngels, 1 93 412 08 10 • Catalonia National Art Gallery (MNAC) Palacio Nacional. Parque de Montjuïc. 93 423 71 99 • Antoni Tàpies Foundation Aragón, 55. 93 487 03 15 • Joan Miró Foundation Montjuïc. 93 329 19 08

Port Aventura. Tarragona

Girona: • Catalonia-Empúries Archaeological Museum L'Escala. 972 77 02 08

43


Night life When the sun goes down, Catalonia is oblivious of all care and woe. The main capital cities are packed with discotheques, cinemas, theatres, pavement cafés and so on, not forgetting the coastal towns, where drinking, dancing and other night-time amusements go on till dawn. Moreover, Catalonia has the added attraction of three casinos, one at Castell de Peralada, another in Lloret and the Gran Casino de Barcelona. All in all, there is a wide range of entertainments which will test the visitor's endurance if he wants to combine daytime tourism with a wild night life.

Dalí Theatre-Museum. Figueres

• Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation: Dali Theatre-Museum Figueres. 972 67 75 00 • Gala-Dalí House Museum/Castle Púbol (La Pera) 972 48 82 11 • Salvador Dalí House/Museum Portlligat (Cadaqués) 972 25 80 63 Lleida: • Archaeological Museum of the Institute of Lleida Studies Plaza Catedral 973 27 15 00 • Cathedral Museum Almodí Vell 973 26 94 70

Popular fiestas One of the key dates on Catalonia's festive calendar is April 23, Día de Sant Jordi (St. George's Day), the community's patron saint. On this day, in keeping with a touching tradition which has now spread to other countries, couples exchange books and roses. The other big event takes place on September 11 when Catalonia's national fiesta, La Diada, is held, consisting of the community's own symbolic activities: castellers (human towers are built in defiance of the law of gravity) and the sardana, the traditional Catalan dance.

Tarragona: • History Museum Casa Castellarnau 977 24 22 20 • National Archaeological Museum 977 23 62 06

44


In almost every town, there is a weekly market where the visitor may buy typical local products such as sweetmeats, home-made sausages and popular Catalan handicrafts. Apart from first-class wines and cavas, Catalonia produces superb olive oil, with appellations d'origine such as Les Garrigues and Siurana. Other typical products include anchovies (L'Escala and Ratafías) and liqueurs generously flavoured with herbs and fruits. It could almost be said that, in Catalonia, there are as many varieties of these liqueurs as there are villages.

Castellers. Barcelona

Other events which should not be missed include La Patum de Berga, on the day of Corpus Christi; the dance, Dansa de la Mort de Verges (Easter Thursday); the Sitges carnival; the St. John's Day bonfires; and the fiestas de La Mercè, the patron saint of Barcelona, held in September. In addition to these festivities, each town, village and city district holds its own Festa Major (main festive day) in honour of its patron saint.

Food and drink If there is one thing that all visitors to Catalonia agree about, it is that here, good eating is a priority matter. Using only prime-quality produce, Catalonian cuisine, which has been subject to so many influences, is sophisticated, flavoursome and varied. With specialities to satisfy diners of all tastes, gastronomy is based on the natural resources deriving from the region's twofold nature: its coast and its mountains. As a result, fish and seafood are always fresh and sausages and meats are of the best quality. This entirely Mediterranean cuisine features delectable cold dishes like esqueixada (desalted cod salad), escalivada (roast aubergines, onions and red peppers) and xató (curly endive, cod and anchovies);

Shopping and handicrafts Catalonia has a longstanding pottery tradition, especially in the Ebro Basin, with the ceramics of Miravet and Verdú, including, amongst other articles, a wide variety of botijos (earthenware pitchers with spout and handle). Also of great renown are household goods from El Vendrell and ceramics from La Bisbal. 45


mongetes (typical Catalan sausage with beans) and pa amb tomàquet (bread and tomatoes), which may be served with the finest of sausages (raw or cured), typical of the area of Vic. Sausages include: bull, butifarra (white or black), longaniza (local spiced sausage) and fuet. The country ham should also be savoured. Another well-known dish is calçotada, made from calçots (a variety of spring onion), which are roasted and dipped in salvitxada (a variation on romesco sauce). When it comes to desserts and sweetmeats, one is spoilt for choice by delights such as crema catalana (a form of custard covered in caramelised sugar); mel i mató (cottage cheese with lashings of honey); panellets (a typical Easter sweetmeat); pa de pessic (an exceptionally spongy cake); carquinyolis (where almonds are the main ingredient); and mona de Pascua (a cake creatively decorated with chocolate figures).

and wholesome dishes such as the appetising escudella (a hen, veal and ham stock), served with carn d'olla (meat used in making the stock); broad beans Catalan-style; and cargols a la llauna (a snail pottage). There is also a wide choice of meats and fish: the succulent rabbit with snails or with samfaina (lightly fried peppers, tomatoes, onions and aubergine); chicken with lobster; barbecued fish and seafood; and the typical suquet de peix (a fish dish prepared with spicy sauce); not to mention the endless list of rice dishes, such as rossejat and black rice (with squid's ink). Catalonian dishes are often accompanied by one of the many sauces peculiar to the region's cuisine: fish in romesco sauce (made from dried red peppers and chopped almonds), typical of Tarragona; and barbecued meat with all i oli (made with garlic and oil).

In addition, Catalonia is one of Spain's great winegrowing regions, with nine appellations d'origine: Alella, Empordà-Costa Brava, Conca de Barberà, Costers del Segre, Penedès, Priorat, Tarragona, Terra Alta and Pla de Bages. While he is in

There can be no doubt that the most popular dishes in Catalan gastronomy are butifarra amb 46


this land of good wines, the visitor should try, among others, the young whites; the crianza whites (those that have undergone the statutory period of maturation in oak barrels); rosés, traditional red wines, rancios, or heavily oxidised wines, not to mention the sweet garnacha wine. The range, which is so vast that it suits all tastes, includes wines made from foreign grapes like cabernet, chardonnay and merlot.

By road The main access roads to Catalonia are the A7, the Mediterranean motorway, and the A-2, the north-east motorway. Access is also possible by the N-II (Madrid-La Jonquera); from Andorra, by the N-145; from Aragón by the N-260 or the N-420; and from the Autonomous Community of Valencia, by the N-340 or the N-232: a perfect road network linking up the towns of Cataluña.

A description of Catalan wines would not be complete without the superb, world-famous cavas, top-quality sparkling wines produced in accordance with the traditional champagne method. When in Catalonia, the traveller should make the most of his stay by visiting some of the cellars where this wine is made, not only for their unquestionable architectural interest but also because he will have the chance to watch the cava production process step by step. Anyone visiting the area is strongly recommended to go to the modernist cellars of the Costa Daurada, where he will find unusual constructions by César Martinell, blending art with a sense of practicality suited to their use. The best examples of Martinell's work are to be found in El Pinell de Brai, Falset, Gandesa, L'Espluga de Francolí and Sarral.

Spas The benefits of Catalonia’s plentiful medicinal mineral waters may be enjoyed at any of the spas, almost idyllic places not only for the treatment of ailments but also for the pure and simple pleasure of feeling better within oneself in a setting of peace and quet. Situated in nature’s realms, in gentle countryside by the sea or amid the valleys of the Pyrenees, thermal springs are yet another good reason for visiting Catalonia Spa Association 93 218 36 99 www.balneario.org

USEFUL INFORMATION 47


TOURIST INFORMATION

ACCOMMODATION Booking offices 902 10 37 72 (Lleida) 972 22 43 44 (Girona) www.hoteles.com (Barcelona)

International code: 34 Tourist Information TURESPAÑA: 901 300 600 www.tourspain.es

State Hotels/Paradores Booking office: Requena, 3. Madrid 28013 91 516 66 66, fax 91 516 66 57 www.parador.es

Turisme de Barcelona 93 423 18 00 Patronato de Turismo de la Diputación de Tarragona 977 23 03 12

Parador de Cardona (Barcelona) 93 869 12 75, fax 93 869 16 36 Parador de Vic (Barcelona) Paraje de Bac de Sau 93 812 23 23, fax 93 812 23 68 Parador de La Seu d’Urgell (Lleida) Sant Domenec, 6 973 35 20 00, fax 973 35 23 09 Parador de Artíes (Lleida) Carretera de Baqueira Beret 973 64 08 01, fax 973 64 10 01 Parador de Viella (Lleida) Carretera de Túnel 973 64 01 00, fax 973 64 11 00 Parador de Aiguablava (Girona) Platja d’Aiguablava. Begur 972 62 21 62, fax 972 62 21 66 Parador de Tortosa (Tarragona) Castillo de la Suda 977 44 44 50, fax 977 44 44 58

Patronato Provincial de Turismo de Lleida 973 24 54 08 Patronato de Turismo de Girona 972 20 84 01 TOURIST OFFICES Barcelona: Centro de Información Turística de Cataluña. Passeig de Gràcia, 107 93 238 40 00 Barcelona Airport Terminal A 93 478 47 04 Terminal B 93 478 05 65 Plaça Catalunya, 17, subway 906 30 12 82 Estación de Sants. Plaça Països Catalans 906 30 12 82 Girona: Rambla Libertat, 1 972 41 94 19 RENFE (railway station) 972 21 62 96 A-7 motorway. La Jonquera toolbooth. 972 55 43 54, 972 55 46 42

Camp sites Information: Federación Catalana de Camping Caravaning 972 20 86 67

Lleida: Avenida Madrid, 36 973 27 09 97 Turismo Lleida 902 101 110

Agri-tourism www.agronet.org/agroturisme

Tarragona: Fortuny, 4 977 23 34 15 Rambla, 46 977 23 22 08 Reus Airport 977 77 22 04 Vila-Seca. Parc de Port Aventura 977 38 46 56 The main towns in Catalonia have their own tourist offices.

GENERAL INFORMATION Emergencies 112 Emergency medical service 061 National Police 091 Autonomous Community Police Mossos d’Esquadra 93 300 91 91 Civil Guard 062

48


Airports: El Prat (Barcelona) 93 298 38 38 Girona-Costa Brava (Girona) 972 18 66 00 Reus (Tarragona) 977 77 98 00 By train: RENFE Information and booking office 902 24 02 02 www.renfe.es By boat: Compañía Trasmediterránea 93 317 63 11 / 902 45 46 45 Maritime Station 93 306 88 00 SPANISH TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICES ABROAD CANADA. Toronto TOURIST OFFICE OF SPAIN 2 Bloor Street West Suite 3402 Toronto, Ontario M4W 3E2 1416/961 31 31 fax 1416/961 19 92 e-mail: toronto@tourspain.es GREAT BRITAIN. London SPANISH TOURIST OFFICE 22-23 Manchester Square LONDON W1M 5AP 44207/ 486 80 77 fax 44207/ 486 80 34 e-mail: londres@tourspain.es JAPAN. Tokyo TOURIST OFFICE OF SPAIN Daini Toranomon Denki Bldg.4F 3-1-10 Toranomon. Minato-Ku TOKYO-105 813/34 32 61 41 fax 813/34 32 61 44 e-mail: tokio@tourspain.es RUSSIA. Moscow SPANISH TOURIST OFFICE Tverskaya - 16/2 Business Center “Galeria Aktor” 6th floor Moscov 103009 7095/ 935 83 99 fax 7095/ 935 83 96 e-mail: moscu@tourspain.es SINGAPORE. Singapore TOURIST OFFICE OF SPAIN 541 Orchard Road. Liat Tower # 09-04 238881 Singapore 657/ 37 30 08 fax 657/ 37 31 73 e-mail: singapore@tourspain.es UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Los Angeles TOURIST OFFICE OF SPAIN 8383 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 960 Beverly Hills, California 90211 1(323) 658 71 88-658 71 92 fax 1(323) 658 10 61 e-mail: losangeles@tourspain.es

CHICAGO TOURIST OFFICE OF SPAIN Water Tower Place, suite 915 East. 845 North Michigan Avenuer. Chicago, Ilinois 60-611 1(312) 642 19 92 fax 1(312) 642 98 17 e-mail: chicago@tourspain.es MIAMI TOURIST OFFICE OF SPAIN 1221 Brickell Avenue. Miami, Florida 33131 1(305) 358 19 92 fax 1(305) 358 82 23 e-mail: miami@tourspain.es NEW YORK TOURIST OFFICE OF SPAIN 666 Fifth Avenue 35 th floor New York, New York 10103 1(212) 265 88 22 fax 1(212) 265 88 64 e-mail: nyork@tourspain.es EMBASSIES IN MADRID Canada: Nuñez de Barlboa, 35 91 431 43 00, fax 91 431 23 67 Great Britain: Fernando El Santo, 6 91 319 02 00, fax 91 308 10 33 Japan: Serrano, 109 91 590 76 00, fax 91 590 13 21 United States of America: Serrano, 75 91 587 22 00, fax 91 587 23 03 Russia: Velazquez, 155 91 562 22 64, fax 91 562 97 12 Text: Sebastiá Barrufet Rial Translation: Hillary Dyke Photographs: Turespaña Picture Library Graphic design: PH Color, S.A. Published by © Turespaña Secretaría de Estado de Comercio y Turismo Ministerio de Economia Printed by: GAEZ, S.A. D. L.: M.41751-2001 NIPO: 380-01-026-0 Printed in Spain First edition


Catalonia

Spain MINISTERIO DE ECONOMÍA

SECRETARÍA DE ESTADO DE COMERCIO Y TURISMO SECRETARÍA GENERAL DE TURISMO TURESPAÑA

I

Catalunya Spain  

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