Who doesn’t love a romantic vibe and walking around in old villages? If you do, you should visit the medieval towns in Catalonia.
Of course, Barcelona is beautiful and there are so many things to do in our wonderful city. But, if you are looking for more than just walking around and seeing the sights, you could also choose to visit one of the medieval towns near Barcelona. Actually, this is a must because you can do each of these towns in one day if you like! Plus: now you also see more of Catalonia! It is rich in beautiful nature and landscapes. From the Costa Brava coast to small medieval towns!
We will discuss the eight best medieval towns that you must visit below:
For many, the historic village of Besalú is Catalonia’s most beautiful medieval village. And that’s for a good reason because Besalú is considered to be Catalonia’s best-preserved village, which really lets you taste the atmosphere. In particular, over the weekend, its monumental and historic heart attracts the attention of many people.
The historic bridge from the 12th century crosses the river Fluvia. It gives you the ultimate romantic feeling.
The Besalú bridge has become a reference in the collective imagination over time. It has become a landmark that transmits the meaning of the origin of the heritage of Catalonia. After you have crossed the bridge, the old and narrow structure of the village gives a unique air to the itinerary. It makes it much easier for tourists to relive the meaning of Catalonia in an already distant yet transcendental period.
The village also has nice squares, streets, terraces and has and has a museum.
98 km from Barcelona, you’ll find Rupit, a village in the county of Osona. It’s framed by the spectacular landscape of Collsacabra. Rupit is best known as a tourist town, because of its medieval appearance, stone houses and streets made of natural rock. There are also interesting walks and sightseeing around the village nearby cliffs where you find remains of old hills. It has a historic castle and a river. The «Riera de Rupit» is a small river running through Rupit and forms the Sallent waterfall when it meets the cliffs. There is a hanging bridge that provides access to the centre of the village. Altogether a very cute town!
The Puente Colgante de Rupit suspension bridge is one of the highlights of the Catalan village. It links two separate parts of the village and leads you to the narrow Riera de Rupit River. Next to the village, you will find The Santa Magdalena church. Where you can enjoy an amazing view of the village and the region. Like several other buildings in Rupit, the church itself was built in the 17th century and was dedicated to the Holy Magdalene.
Santa Pau is situated in the Girona region of Catalonia, next to the Volcanic Nature Reserve of Baixa Garrotxa. It preserves its medieval beauty within this protected area and is surrounded by a spectacular array of volcanoes.
In the late Middle Ages, on one of the hills of the Serra de Finestres, within what is now the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, one of the most powerful baronial families of the Girona region settled. Little by little, the population began to expand and it became the village of Santa Pau. Today, the village still preserves the essence of the economic and commercial power it was in the Middle Ages.
Established mainly in the first half of the 14th century, the appearance of the old city is traditionally medieval, surrounded by walls and narrow and irregular streets. In this unique village, filled with charm and wonder, you can see the ‘Vila Vella’ (Old Town), Plaça de la Arqueria, Santa María Church and the Castle of Santa Pau.
Conservation efforts ensure that 81% of the municipal territory belonging to the Nature Reserve of the Garrotxa Volcanic Area is well protected.
Pals is a medieval town in the heart of Emporda Bay on the Costa Brava, only a few kilometres from the sea.
The medieval village was once neglected, but its Gothic Quarter was restored thanks to a local doctor. It is now very attractive. As you approach Pals, a medieval wall that embraces the town will welcome you.
Pals has a historical centre with a medieval Romanesque tower constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries, known as the Torre de Les Hores (Tower of the Hours). The clock tower is fifteen meters high. Next to the castle tower, you find a modern medieval house that is home to the Pi I Figueres family that led the renovation for the village. Below the Castle Tower lies the Placa Major, the picturesque square is home to the town hall of Pals. Besides the town hall, the square houses typical Catalan stores which sell pottery produced in the area.
Castellfollit de la Roca
Castellfollit de la Roca is one of the smallest towns in Catalonia, with approximately 1,000 residents. The historic centre dates back to the Middle Ages, standing on top of a cliff ledge between two rivers. The cliff was formed thousands of years ago by the erosive action of the Rivers Fluvia and Cornell with the ash of volcanic eruptions in the region.
Inside the town, we find the old town, a must-see in its narrow streets of medieval origin built by volcanic rocks. It is also recommended to visit Plaza Josep Pla, a fantastic viewpoint from where you can see the valley of the two rivers. On the Plaza, you will also find The Sant Salvador church, which dates back to the 13th century and stands at the far end of the cliff at Plaza Josep Pla. During the civil war, the church was demolished, and it was later restored in Renaissance style.
The area around Montblanc has been inhabited for thousands of years. Evidence of cave dwellings has been found dating back to Palaeolithic times. So that’s why Montblanc is also a very interesting place in the Catalan province of Tarragona. This town, same as the ones discussed above, still has walls of the medieval fortress and wonderful Gothic churches.
And of course, the old houses, walk through narrow streets, breathe the air of the city with almost a thousand years of history!
Even if you’re not a fan of visiting churches, it’s worth climbing the bell tower of Santa Maria la Mayor for some of the best views of Montblanc and the surrounding area. But you can also see the door where, according to the legend, the battle between St. George and the dragon took place ;).
Fun fact: Maties Palau Ferré (1921-2000), painter and sculptor, a disciple of Pablo Picasso, was born and died in Montblanc.
If you visit Miravet, you will first cross the river Ebro and then the Castle of Miravet will welcome you. A highlight of the village is its mill that seems to emerge from the Ebro.
There are different things you can do here. One of the funny traditional things is to become a ‘Miravet potter’ for one day via a workshop. Further, you can walk a route along with all three castles, or if you are even more adventurous you can also do various activities in the surrounding mountains.
But also, in this town, you can just walk around and just feel the medieval environment that will amaze you!
Last but not least: Peratallada. It is one of the best-preserved medieval villages in all of Spain. The village originated in the tenth century after a castle was built here. The village is built entirely on rocks. And because this town is built around the Castle it has a lot of bridges, narrow streets, gates and a typical medieval centrum.
The town is a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Barcelona and therefore worth the visit! You will find yourself in a beautiful, sprawling countryside where it is almost as if you step back in time. But now all the streets are covered with beautiful flowers and there are even restaurants everywhere where you can enjoy typical Catalan food.
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