HomeRoad TripsGrand Tour: exciting journey through Catalonia

Grand Tour: exciting journey through Catalonia

Breathtaking natural landscapes, rustic villages, Mediterranean coast, architecture, regional culture and cuisine: in the Grand Tour of Catalonia, which only starts in summer 2021 Catalonia tourism has been brought to life, you will be served the highlights of the region.

The 2,000 kilometer road trip takes you through the diverse area of ​​northeastern Spain. On the iconic route, as the entire route is called, you start and end in Barcelona. If you don’t want to travel the entire route, you can also choose one of the five sections into which the route is divided.

Activities are also suggested for each section. 400 in total. Next to one Route planner Catalonia Tourism also offers a playlist per section to create the right atmosphere during your trip. Let’s go on an adventure in Catalonia!

1st section: From Barcelona to Tarragona

The first part of the trip starts in Barcelona and takes you to Tarragona in six stages. The route that leads from Barcelona to the Montserrat mountain is 462 kilometers long. Those who go up to the monastery with the rack railway will feel embraced by the mountain range and will be able to enjoy a breathtaking view of the region and an unforgettable sunset. There are overnight accommodation options right next to the monastery.

Other highlights of the section include the drive through the vineyards of the Penedès region and a detour to the elegant coastal town of Sitges. The jewel of the medieval monastery of Santes Creus, one of the most important buildings in Catalonia, offers a cultural attraction.

The end of the first section ends at the seaside, in the World Heritage city of Tarragona, which is home to, among other things, a 2nd-century amphitheater located directly on the sea. Also worth seeing is the Devil’s Bridge, Pont del Diable, a fragment of a historic aqueduct made up of two orders of arches.

2nd section: From Tarragona to Lleida

In the second section you will experience 418 kilometers of road adventures. After starting in Tarragona, we will head to Gaudí’s hometown of Reus. The place is known for its Art Nouveau buildings and for the production of vermouth; in the 18th century it was one of the most important centers for the production of grappa. And so, in addition to the liberty route, you can also take the absinthe route.

In the Terres de l’Ebre region, the route combines scenic beauty with culinary delights. Rice fields, dunes and fishing villages welcome visitors. Adventures await you such as swimming with tuna, a hike along the coast from the village of L’Ametlla de Mar or enjoying freshly caught oysters and mussels. Nature lovers will also be able to spot flamingos while birdwatching in the Ebro Delta (also: Ebro Delta).

Whether it’s the beautiful town of Tortosa on the Ebro River with its Moorish castle, the rock paintings of Ulldecona or the natural beaches: this section has everything to offer. And before arriving in Lleida, you will pass, among other things, the wine cathedrals (Art Nouveau style cellars) and the Priorat wine region, which produces some of the best wines in Catalonia.

3rd section: From Lleida to La Seu d’Urgell

At the starting point in Lleida, the 60-meter-high bell tower of the Seu Vella Cathedral offers a splendid panoramic view of the region of the same name. What a start! Churches and castles are commonplace in this section, as is the picturesque Pantà de Camarasa reservoir and the impressive Congost de Mont-rebei gorge, which can be explored on foot or by water.

Those who love hiking and the stars will find a dream destination in Àger, because here, in the Serra del Montsec mountains, one of the most beautiful starry skies in the world shines. We continue towards the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in the Hautes Pyrenees. Glacial lakes and 3000 meter peaks are part of the repertoire of this area.

Another highlight of the route is the Romanesque art in the Vall de Boí and the Pyrenean Val d’Aran at 2000 meters above sea level, where their own language is spoken and the architecture of the villages is centered on churches. Numerous excursions and adventurous water sports such as canyoning are possible in this section.

After 357 kilometres, the destination of the third section is La Seu d’Urgell, a few kilometers south of Andorra. The city sits between two rivers and is home to Santa María, the last remaining Romanesque cathedral in Catalonia. La Seu d’Urgell is also considered the capital of cheese and celebrates a cheese fair every October. This would also mean that dinner is ready.

4th section: From La Seu d’Urgell to Figueres

The fourth section takes you along beautiful scenic roads and along the Parc Natural Cadí-Moixeró nature reserve. Picturesque villages are also visited. One of these is the mountain village of Gósol, where Pablo Picasso found inspiration. From here it is also possible to hike to the most evocative mountain in Catalonia, the Pedraforca.

This part of the route is also ideal for combining culture and gastronomy. In small mountain villages like Bellver de Cerdanya you can combine rustic architecture with regional specialties of sausages and fresh country bread, and in Camprodon with its picturesque bridge you can enjoy tasty biscuits.

The Garrotxa volcanic area is one of the scenic highlights of this section. The area can be explored in more detail not only by bike or on foot. Hot air balloon flights offer particularly spectacular views of the Santa Margarida and El Crosca volcanoes.

Pine forests accompany the route to medieval Besalú, where you can explore the region’s Jewish heritage. In the Jewish quarter of El Call, a synagogue and mikveh (immersion bath) from the 13th century are well preserved. The fitting conclusion of the impressive 357 kilometer stage is Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí.

5th section: From Figueres to Barcelona

Eggs also play an important role in the fifth section of the journey, which is 525 kilometers long. They are found in oversized XXL format on the roof of the Teatre-Museo Dalí museum in Figueres and the surrealist also placed a large egg-shaped sculpture on the roof of his house in Port Lligat. Together with the Castell du Púbol, the three buildings form the Dalinian Triangle.

This section is also a dream from a landscape point of view. The route passes through, among other things, the Parc Natural del Cap de Creus nature reserve and leads along the Bay of Roses, which has already been named one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

The route leads inland through the fertile Empordanet region. Medieval villages such as cobbled Peratallada or La Bisbal d’Empordà, known for its ceramics, are interesting stops along the route. In the province of Girona, the producers of apple sparkling wine such as those of Palau Sator and the cellars are also worth a visit.

Nestled in a surrounding territory of gorges and waterfalls, in this section you will also discover medieval villages such as Rupit in the mountainous region of Collsacabra and, in Vic, as historic as it is picturesque, you will discover not only architectural pearls, but also a centuries-old sausage drying house, where they are tastings are also possible.

From the mountains we continue towards the coast. In the port village of Areny de Mar you’ll find an Art Nouveau cemetery by the sea, see the day’s catch at the afternoon fish auction, and admire the coast from the water on a boat trip.

While the playlist evokes the right atmosphere with the flamenco pop song “En un Mercedes Blanco” (“In a white Mercedes”), we continue to Barcelona, ​​​​​​to the Art Nouveau architecture, with which architects such as Gaudí and Domènech i Montaner shaped the urban landscape of the metropolis.

Source: Reisereporter

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