Catalonia, the province in the Northeast of Spain has a unique and colorful history creating a great backdrop to learn about and experience the dynamic art, music, and gastronomical traditions (not to mention the beautiful coastal and interior landscapes) the region has to offer.
Basking in Barcelona’s Never Ending Energy
Barcelona is the political and cultural hub of Catalonia and one of the main tourist destinations of Spain. The city is filled with beautiful architecture and plays host to an ongoing and ever changing cycle of art, music and citywide festivals and exhibitions.
The best times to visit the city are during the beginning and end of summer (May and September) when the weather is still beach worthy but the tourists are on the wane.
Delight in a refreshing drink at a chiringuito (beach bar) along the Mediterranean or explore the winding maze of streets in the Gothic Quarter. Night will reveal a whole new level of adventure with restaurant terraces beckoning the hungry to enjoy fresh tapas and delectable Cava(sparkling wine) before, perhaps moving on to bigger parties.
Soaking up the Costa Brava
From Barcelona it is easy to drive northeast up the Costa Brava to enjoy the beautiful rocky coastline and search out the beautifully tucked away beaches. Renting a car from operators like Alamo who have locations dotted across the Costa Brava gives you the chance to explore the roads less traveled. Parts of the region can be overrun with touristy vulgarity but a little (re)searching can go a long way to plan a great and peaceful holiday.
Beaches Beaches Beaches
Although many of the coastal beaches have become tourist havens, it is possible to find some beautiful coves off the beaten track. The rocky cliffs of the coastline have made it difficult to develop some areas offering those with a bit of time and curiosity the chance to find unique secret hideaways. Continuing along the coast north from Sant Pol de Mar can reveal some beautiful views and tiny coves to take a dip and spend an afternoon.
This small, inland town, is home to the museum (http://www.salvador-dali.org/museus/en_index.html) of the region’s most famous artist, Salvador Dali. It is a unique experience and worth the detour if time allows.
Getting Active in the Pyrenees
Continuing further inland into the mountainous region of the Pyrenees, the small towns show off the traditional aspects of Catalan culture, such as their unique language. The area boast beautiful hiking trails and, in the winter, skiing areas (baqueira.es) to satisfy the active traveler.
Catalonia offers a variety of experiences. Whether you are seeking sunny beaches, wintry wonderlands, urban art-filled landscapes or some great food and drink, Catalonia is a fun and welcoming place to visit.