With its sophisticated cuisine, fabulous history that dates back to the Roman times, and unbeatable charm shared between dramatic mountain peaks, gentle rolling hills, and miles of stunning coastline, Catalonia could easily be considered one of the most attractive and varied regions of Spain.
One of the best ways to soak up the essence of this exquisite Spanish corner is to explore the lovely, historic villages scattered along its coast or inside its enchanting, unspoilt countryside.
Ancient, romantic, and crisscrossed by medieval winding lanes, Besalu has everything it takes to be the picture-perfect Catalan getaway: spectacular Romanesque architecture, beautiful old churches, quaint plazas, appealing outdoor cafes, and tons of culture.
Don’t miss the Museum of Miniatures and Microminiatures, the famed 12th century bridge, the picturesque Plaça de la Libertat, the Mikveh – Spain’s only Jewish baths, or the Sant Pere Church, a roman monastery settled here more than a millennium ago. The lovely small town lies in the province of Girona, about 20 km west of Figueres.
Fairytale-like houses carved in stone, chic restaurants, old-fashioned little squares, and stunning medieval remains make Peratallada a gem of a place in Baix Emporada county of Catalonia. Apparently a small, isolated hamlet, Peratallada complements Spain’s list of historic–artistic monuments ever since 1975. Along its narrow streets you’ll find an exquisite selection of boutique hotels, al fresco dining venues, and art galleries, all shrouded in a charming rustic feel.
Main attractions include the ancient Plaça de les Voltes, the 13th century Romanesque church, the town walls, and the lovely buildings and towers that once made up the castle of Peratallada.
Perched on a small rocky hill, 882 m above the sea level, Rupit is one of the prettiest Catalan villages. With its postcard-perfect setting, traffic-free limestone streets, and rustic houses that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, this tucked away gem is a reward for anyone in search of Catalan splendors.
Stroll along the medieval streets, try some local cheeses and sausages in one of the idiosyncratic shops dotted along the way, explore the impressive remains of Rupic Castle and the many beautiful churches in the area, and certainly go to discover the outstanding natural surroundings filled with unusual rock formations, rivers, waterfalls, wildflowers, and majestic eagles vanishing into the boundless blue.
Often regarded as “The Pearl of Costa Brava”, Cadaques is a beautiful fishing village with a ripping artistic legacy. Discovered by Pablo Picasso and made famous by Salvador Dali, who transformed it into his corner of paradise, Cadaques is an enjoyment for culture buffs, with a neat collection of museums, historic sites, and local festivals.
In addition to the memorable Casa-Museo Salvador Dalí, which is undeniably the town’s main draw, Cadaques welcomes travelers with a bohemian maze of narrow streets and picturesque white houses in Barri Vell, with lovely small beaches fringed by crystal clear waters in the Bay of Cadaques, and with a myriad of adventure opportunities in the breathtakingly beautiful Cap De Creus Peninsula nearby.
Santa Pau is a cozy enclave of beautiful historic buildings in the volcanic region of Garrotxa, and an ideal place for those chasing for the true taste of rural Catalonia. The serene medieval village owes its magic to its perfectly preserved monuments, but also to the kindness of Mother Nature.
It’s tiny and extremely quiet, but it offers plenty of sightseeing and adventure opportunities. Santa Pau is also known as a culinary heaven, its fine restaurants based on fresh local produce being equally seductive as its main attractions – the 15th century Gothic church, the arcaded Plaça de la Arqueria, or the timeless cobbled alleys that never fail to impress.