All posts filed under: cities and villages

vic bridge

Vic – historical treasures and Catalan small-town-charm

Vic’s small town beauty: Wide sandy beaches and the turquoise Mediterranean, small bays surrounded by steep cliffs, picturesque sailing boats and countless pine trees… For most people the epitome of Catalonia. It is easily forgotten that the interior of the Spanish region houses its own treasures. One of them: the charming small town Vic.

Vic’s Romanesque history

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The Romanesque Pont de Queralt

Situated about 70 km to the north of Barcelona, the town with its 40.000 inhabitants finds itself surrounded by the beautiful nature of the Comarca Osona. Vic couldn’t be more picturesque, even if it tried. On the outside of town walls, surrounded by trees, one can find the ancient stone bridge Pont de Queralt.

Sur le pont…

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Autumn in Vic

If something dates back to the 11th century and is that well preserved, it just has to be impressive! Up until 1274 the only way from Barcelona into the town led over the Romanesque arch bridge – after that, the king of that time decided to divert the old road; the new one led through the “Malloles“ gate. The beautiful bridge was named after a family of counts who lived in the town centre and it was even displayed on the back of a five peseta note issued in 1954.

 

 

 

Strolling through Vic

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The baroque Església dels Dolors

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Hidden church in Vic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing by the baroque Església dels Dolors, we continue our way towards the city centre; soon we reach Vic’s outstanding Cathedral.

vic cathedral

Vic’s outstanding cathedral

The Romanesque bell tower is the tallest of its kind in Catalonia and presents, together with the Pont de Queralt, Vic’s most important landmarks.

vic bell towervic bell tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The crypt and the remains of the Santa Maria church date back to the Romanesque era as well, the rest was built in a Gothic and neoclassical style.

A city full of history

On the other side of the church square lies the famous Episcopal Museum which was inaugurated in 1891. The building’s modern look misleads, though…inside it holds one of Europe’s best collections of medieval art including masterpieces of painting and sculpture from the Catalan Romanesque and Gothic periods.

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Vic’s famous episcopal museum

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The imposing Roman temple

 

 

A few steps further, we find the next historical treasure: the impressive Roman temple. The temple is the only remaining building of the city of Auso, as Vic was called in Roman times. Today it is regularly used to host exhibitions and cultural events.

 

 

 

 

Travel through time in the Catalan small town

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Vic’s colourful streets

 

Through colourful streets in the typical Mediterranean style we find our way to the big Plaça Major – the town’s main square. The surrounding buildings are all from different eras. Particularly impressive: the Catalan modernism. Walking around the Plaça Major certainly feels like a travel through time.

 

 

 

vic architecture

Impressive Catalan modernism

It is also remarkable that all of the surrounding houses on the square were built with arcades in order to withstand the inclement weather; the arcades had to be high enough to accommodate a man on horseback – isn’t that clever?

vic square

Vic’s main square

We all do it: we underestimate Catalonia’s interior and above all small towns like Vic. But it’s these small, hidden places that have a lot to offer: historically interesting sights, beautiful nature right on the doorstep and a great deal of small-town-charm!

Some impressions of Vic…

view tarragona

48 h in Tarragona

Madrid, Barcelona, Seville or Valencia… everyone knows them and everyone is dying to go there. Without a doubt, all of these well-known Spanish metropolises have their own charming character but in search of my next travel destination I was looking for something different. I was looking for smaller and less known cities. Cities like Tarragona.

The Roman Tarragona

tarragona history

Tarragona – full of Roman history

 

The Catalan small town is situated about 100 km to the south of Barcelona, directly by the sea. Tarragona captivates above all with its great variety of medieval and, especially, Roman buildings.

 

 

tarragona circ roma

Tarragona’s impressive Circ Roma

 

 

It is not surprising that a big part of the city has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. On my first day I decided to follow the traces of the Romans. If you’re like me and you absolutely love sightseeing you should get the cheaper combined ticket including the most important buildings.

 

 

 

 

tarragona amphitheatre

The Roman amphitheatre with a stunning background

Early in the morning, after a delicious Xuixo and a cafe con leche, I start my archeological promenade with the first and most popular Roman monument. Located directly by the sea, the ancient amphitheatre dates back to the 2nd century AD. In Roman times countless gladiator fights took place in the ancient monument. Nowadays there are still fights happening in the summer but of course only for the tourist’s entertainment!

A city full of history

While enjoying the view from the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, I’m already looking for the route to the next monument. I don’t have to do a lot of planning though – the Roman Circus where horse and chariot races were held, and the provincial forum with its vaults and pilasters are less than 5 minutes away.

tarragona provincial forum

The provincial forum from the outside

Hidden underground passages lead from the Roman Circus to the Praetorium, a Roman-era tower with a viewing platform.

tarragona underground

Underground-treasures

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The Roman’s impressive work

As I make my way up the stairs, I have to stop again and again to look at the different sculptures. It is quite impressive to see how detailed and multi-faceted the Roman works are…

 

 

On top of Tarragona

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Beautiful view from the roof

Finally, a narrow staircase leads up to the viewing platform on the building’s rooftop. With the excellent view of the old historic part of town on the one side and the endless Mediterranean on the other side, the platform is the perfect spot for a short breather. What better way to relax?

Walking along the Roman walls

tarragona roman walls

Tarragona’s imposing Roman walls

But off I go again! The next sight is located only 15 minutes away. My path leads me through Tarragona’s beautiful and bustling alleys until I reach the Roman walls. As I am walking between palm trees and the impressively high Muralla, that has been surrounding the city since the 2nd century AD, I can almost imagine what life must have been like during the Roman times…

tarragona local forum

The remaining parts of the Local forum

After a short break in the trees’ shadow, I continue my way to the last monument of the day: the Local Forum. What was once used as the religious and social hub, now surrounded by modern day buildings almost seems a bit bizarre. Bizarre but interesting! I definitely envy the residents living around the remains of the ancient Fòrum Local. Because who wouldn’t like to wake up every morning with such a view?

 

 

 

 

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Local Forum surrounded by modern houses

Tarragona’s modern side

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Tarragona’s impressive cathedral

A new day, a new cafe con leche. Today I want to explore Tarragona’s modern side. The first sight on my schedule is the old cathedral which was built in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. But, wait! Didn’t I talk about visiting Tarragona’s modern side? Well, the beautiful Catedral de Santa Maria is at least less old than the Roman part of town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outside of the ancient church doesn’t fail to impress me but, in my opinion, the real gem lies on the inside. The mysterious cloister with its beautiful rose garden truly amazes me and even reminds me a bit of Hogwarts!

The beauty lies inside..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of the Cathedral’s cloister is truly captivating…

A walk through Tarragona’s modern history

tarragona castellers

The traditional Castellers made out of bronze

 

I continue my promenade to the grand Plaça Imperial and from there I’m walking in the shadow of the trees along Tarragona’s beautiful Rambla. Not long after, I reach the town’s landmark: the Monumento a los Castellers. The iconic statue with its Castellers, the traditional Catalan human pyramid, towers high above my head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing along the Rambla…

tarragona statue

Roger de Llúria

As I continue along the Rambla, I pass numerous sculptures and statues until I reach the majestic Monument a Roger de Llúria. Behind the huge statue I find of the most beautiful places Tarragona has to offer: the Balcó del Mediterrani. From the charming terrace lined with palm trees I have an excellent view of the sea, the beach and the ancient Roman amphitheatre.

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Amazing view from Balco Mediterrano

A perfect ending in the city by the Sea

As I’m enjoying the sun and the sea air in this beautiful and relaxing spot, I can suddenly hear Catalan folk music in the distance. Soon after, I spot the traditional Giants dancing wildly through Tarragona’s streets.

tarragona giants

The traditionally Catalan giants

Fascinated I follow the procession which leads me back to the cathedral. For the first time I can witness the famous Castellers in action! What I had previously seen in form of a statue, unmoved and made out of bronze, is now brought to life on the church square. Definitely the perfect ending in one of Catalonia’s most beautiful cities!

Girona: City with History

Just arrived in Girona, quickly collected your baggage and immediately heading to Barcelona? Wait!
Far too often, the charming city Girona is clouded by the Catalan capital Barcelona, which is larger, but also flooded by tourists. Not only is the beautiful medieval old town of Girona worth visiting – there are many more places to see.

The famous river Onyar and the colourful houses…

The church Sant Feliu

On a sunny morning, we decide to finally visit the city we had heard so many things about. Stepping out of the car, we realize that our car park is only a stone’s throw away from the church Sant Feliu. The perfect opportunity to visit the oldest church of Girona first! A very impressing building both from the outside and the inside, which combines different styles in a beautiful way.

       

The Cathedral of Santa Maria

The next monumental attraction is just around the corner: The Cathedral of Santa Maria. Probably the most popular selfie spot in town! We can’t resist, either.. The result: Far too many pictures of the building from every conceivable perspective.. Too bad that we left our selfie stick at home!

Game of Thrones - Girona - Costa Brava - Catalunya

Also a filming location from Game of Thrones!

Once you’ve climbed the stairs with a total of 90 steps and entered the cathedral, you’ll definitely be overwhelmed by the size and, above all, the beauty of the interior. Again, a very impressive combination of different architectural styles  – Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque.

Pont de les Peixateries Velles

While strolling through the Christmassy old town and store hopping through some sweet boutiques, we reach the next popular picture spot faster than expected: The red steel bridge Pont de les Peixateries Velles, which connects the old town of Girona to the modern part and was created by Gustave Eiffel. It offers a wonderful view to the river Onyar, the colourful facades and the impressive cathedral.

       

Passeig de la Muralla

It’s time to make our way to the last tourist spot: the city wall of Girona. What a view! The steep climb is rewarded with an impressive panoramic view of the old town, the cathedral, the Jewish quarter, the church and the Pyrenees.

Girona - Costa Brava - Catalunya

This impressive view is totally worth it!

Christmas shopping in Girona

Enough sightseeing, we are in the mood for shopping! Many small shops and boutiques make it quite easy for us to find the perfect Christmas gifts for our loved ones. The city center is decorated with many colorful fairy lights and lovingly placed Christmas accessories – Oh, I can’t wait for Christmas!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Rambla de la Llibertat

All these highlights and still no food! Luckily, Girona is brimming with restaurants that are waiting for hungry tourists to pass by! Following the smell of food, we walk to the Rambla de la Llibertat and pick a nice place in the shadow of a tree. With all the presents we bought, we are ready for the best time of the year – Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Hike in paradise: Cadaqués – Cap de Creus

A hike through Catalonia’s beautiful nature: Starting from the residence of Spain’s most eccentric artist up to the easternmost part of the Iberian Peninsula

Distance: 14,6 km

Duration: approx. 4 h

Level of difficulty: medium

Starting point: Cadaqués

hike cadaques

Costa Brava’s “pearl”

Our promising trail starts in the region’s most popular fishing village: in Cadaqués. The small village is often called „the pearl of Costa Brava“ and those who have already payed a visit to Cadaqués understand perfectly why. The polished, snow-white houses together with the blue of the Mediterranean are dazzlingly beautiful. But because we don’t want to lose too much time, we’re not staying long in „the pearl“.

Short detour to Casa Dalí

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Dalí’s art

Once we have climbed the first steep hill, we’re making a small detour to Cala de Portlligat. In an extraordinarily picturesque bay we come across Dalí’s famous residence. Even though it is hard, today we’re only stopping to admire the Casa-Museu Salvador Dalí from the outside – we still have a lot (of walking) ahead of us!

A hike through Catalonia’s nature

hike catalonia

Olives everywhere!

Our hiking route continues and leads us from the beach up the hill past seemingly endless olive groves. Slowly I’m beginning to understand why olive oil tourism is booming in Catalonia! For a couple of minutes we’re walking in the shade of the olive trees, after that we’re continuing our way under the bright blue heaven between pine trees, cacti and other typically Mediterranean vegetation.

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Walking in the shadow of the trees

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Our beautiful hiking trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature everywhere

While we’re following our trail, we still get to feel the quite strong autumn sun. With the Mediterranean to our right, the route is meandering along the rocky coast. Up and down, we make our way through the beautiful Catalan nature and enjoy the numerous breathtaking views.

 

hike cap de creus

Almost there!

Soon I catch a first glimpse of our final destination in the distance! The lighthouse shines bright like a diamond on the highest point of the Cap de Creus Natural Park and provides us with the necessary motivation for the last part of our hike. With the destination so close and the thought of a well-deserved ice cold Cerveza, the last couple of kilometres really fly by.

A well-deserved break from our hike

hike cap de creus

The dreamiest bay

Meanwhile, the sun is getting stronger and stronger while the sea is getting more tempting with every minute passing by. As it happens, we find the most beautiful bay of the whole hiking trail shortly before our last ascent. Crystal clear, turquoise water surrounded by cragged rocks and the picturesque lighthouse in the background…

 

hike seagulls

Even the seagulls are enjoying the beautiful scenery!

Is this a dream? Naturally, after walking 7 kilometres in the bright sun, we seize the opportunity and cool down in this breathtaking scenery. Definitely a pleasure you don’t come across every day! We let the sun dry our bodies and after a couple of minutes relaxing on the beach, we take on the last part of our hike.

Ultimate hike destination: the light house

cap de creus hike light house

The iconic light house

After finally reaching the top, a breathtaking and incomparable view awaits us. Surrounded by steep cliffs and the deep blue Mediterranean, the beautiful light house towers above our heads.

hike cap de creus

Rocks and the deep blue sea

Next door, we find the charming restaurant and our long-awaited ice cold Cerveza. With the sunshine in our faces, we enjoy our well-deserved break for the next hour.

hike cap de creus

Magnificent view from the charming restaurant

I have to stop one last time and enjoy the amazing view!

hike cap de creus

Captivating view!

Refreshed and relaxed, we make our way back to Cadaqués where the evening sky is already showing off all of its beautiful colours. A day to remember…

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Dalí in Cadaqués!

Besalú – Medieval charm

The back country of the Costa Brava is filled with treasures. Where overcrowded cities and beaches take a back seat, the focus is on rural tranquility and medieval beauty. In quiet, car-free old towns with beautiful, lovingly restored buildings, you start a journey into another time.
Destination: The most beautiful medieval villages of Catalonia. One of them – Besalú.

Besalú - Pyrenees

The beauty of the Costa Brava, right in front of you!

Enchanted by Besalú

Starting point of our little journey through Besalú: The gigantic, perfectly restored bridge Pont Vell. The view of the beautiful bridge, its two majestic towers, the river Fluvià, the picturesque old town with numerous medieval stone houses and the foothills of the Pyrenees is simply overwhelming. Nobody can resist here: Taking pictures of this view is a must!

Besalu - old town - medieval

Impressive, isn’t it?

Back to the past

Unleashed from everyday life, we enter a place far away from stress and worries. Small, narrow streets lead to the village square, the Plaça Llibertat with lively little restaurants and cafés. The Monastery of Sant Pere leaves you very stunned. Our thoughts wander far into the past. Our next stop: the Church of Sant Vicente – also an impressive Romanesque building.

 

Definitely a highlight

In the former Jewish quarter, a very special highlight awaits us: a Jewish ritual bath. Only four of these species have survived across Europe – Wow! You cannot miss that. Such a magical place ..

A perfect walk..

A true masterpiece – Besalú

From the bank of the river Fluvià, we enjoy the unique view of the majestic bridge and the medieval work of art Besalú for the last time. While listening to the lapping of the river, we feel the passing time and the history surrounding this magical place.

 

 

 

Costa Brava’s white paradise – Cadaqués

 I’d already heard quite a lot of things about the former fishing village – the typical Cadaqués style, the unique location and the views to numerous snow white houses made me feel very excited. Let’s see whether the white town of Dalí can sweep me off my feet ..

Stunning views

Spectacular views accompany you on your way to Cadaqués!

The rather twisting road on our way to Cadaqués already turned the car ride into a small experience: gliding from left to right and admiring one stunning view after another – I guess I could already imagine what the city has to offer. I couldn’t lay my phone aside for as much as 2 minutes before having to take way too many pictures of the wonderful bays and harbours again.

But heads up! Be careful and don’t let your phone drop out of the car – you wouldn’t be able to get it back …

White paradise

After a car ride of about 15 minutes and 25 new pictures in my camera roll, we finally arrived: I had a small paradise right in front of me! Whether it is possible that absolutely every house in a village is painted white? So it seems. Whether it may be forbidden to build a house of a different colour here? I’d love to find out … Maybe I’ll know soon if I keep visiting and talking to locals!

Definitely worth visiting..

I have to admit, I was speechless: numerous snow white houses, green pine-trees, a beautiful church that attracts the views because of its height, the mountains behind it and the light blue sea with lots of white boats in front of Cadaqués. A stunning village! You have to visit once you are staying in Catalonia!

Restaurant Cap de Creus

But the car ride wasn’t over yet – again through the mountains! My phone’s camera had a busy day ..

Our destination was the restaurant Cap de Creus right next to the light house of Cadaqués. I could describe the evening in this stunning restaurant with one single word: WOW! I was and still am really impressed. It doesn’t matter where you’re sitting, the views are spectacular everywhere. In addition, a live band starts playing beautiful music just before sunset which brings the atmosphere to a maximum.

Chilling in a restaurant with a live band at the top of the mountains, holding a cold drink in your hand and watching the fantastic sunset – I don’t know if there’s something that could possibly be better than this!

Dinner in Cadaqués

After having extended my photo albums by more than 50 pictures and videos, it was time to return to the city centre of Cadaqués. In situ, we spent some time drinking a beer in front of a crowded bar next to the beach and went to the pizzeria Plaza after that: the only restaurant that could offer a table for 12 persons at nine in the evening without a reservation – the peak season was quite noticeable. After a delicious dinner including pizza, mussels, pasta and a free round of shots, we kept going.

Bar Boia Nit

The ultimate destination was the popular bar Boia Nit, which is very famous for its stunning cocktails. Of course I had to check whether they are really that good.

So, I ordered a piña colada and was quite surprised to watch my cocktail arriving in a pineapple-shaped cup! But not just that: decorated with many small fruits, sipping the cocktail turned into a unique flavour experience! Get over there and try it. You won’t be disappointed!

Beautiful cocktail that tastes fantastic!

Not the last time..

Finally, we finished our special cocktails and spent some time talking and relaxing before heading back home. But: Cadaqués, I’ll be back soon!

pals medieval village

Pals – Medieval Catalan beauty

Travelling through medieval times.  The Spanish region Catalonia is known for many things. Breathtaking scenery, similar to Italy’s Tuscany, the impressive coast with its steep cliffs and the seemingly endless Mediterranean… and of course a number of charming villages captivating with their history.

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Hidden corners in the medieval village

Medieval idyll

With its 2500 inhabitants, the small and historical town Pals is classified as one of the ten most beautiful Catalan villages. After a visit on an early autumnal but sunny afternoon in September, I now understand perfectly why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Situated on a small hill, Pals’ name derives from the Latin word “palus” meaning marsh. As the name already insinuates it was once surrounded by lakes and moors. These days the village is lined by trees in all shades of green and paddy fields where the typical Spanish paella rice is produced. Arriving at the villages entrance, we abandon our car and continue by foot – the only way you should be passing these hilly, narrow streets!

Time travel in the Catalan village

pals medieval village

Medieval time travel in Pals

After taking a few steps we reach Pals’ gates and feel as if we’re transferred to a different era. Those who are expecting even a touch of modernity are searching in vain. Thanks to an impeccable restauration the whole villages medieval basic structure is still well-preserved. You can almost hear the horse’s hooves on the bumpy cobblestone of Pals’ narrow streets and our thoughts wander… What life must have been like here in earlier times?

Torre de les Hores – the town’s landmark

medieval pals

Torre de les Hores in medieval Pals

We continue our path along the old stone walls covered with picturesque ivory and reach the town’s landmark. The “Torre de les Hores” – a Romanesque tower – sits majestically on top of the hill characterising the townscape. Moving further you find yourself on a little square with a viewing platform overlooking the beautiful surroundings and the dark blue sea. On clear days you’ll even be able to see the Medes Isles.

 

 

medieval pals

Green idyll in Pals

 

After enjoying the panoramic view for a while, we stroll down the old stone steps to the centre of the village. For those looking for a refreshment or a bite to eat, Pals offers a nice selection of cafés and restaurants considering the villages rather low number of inhabitants. One definitely doesn’t have to starve in Pals!

 

 

 

After this first travel through time to the Middle Ages one thing is for sure: we are excited to see what the other nine villages have to offer!

Figueres Dalí museum

Figueres: artistic flair guaranteed!

 

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Església de Sant Pere in Figueres

Figueres – small town charm. Those who are looking for a bit of variety and urban feeling – even if it’s just on a small scale – should give the charming town Figueres a go. The relaxing atmosphere is perfect for a stroll through the town and some window-shopping – I’m sure your wallet won’t stay put for long! From charming, classy boutiques to bigger fashion chains – Figueres has it all. The city also has a range of culinary treasures to offer to its visitors. For those who are looking for restaurants in a beautiful ambiance, the square in front of the town’s church is the place to be. Lean back and watch the colorful life of the city.

Dalí everywhere!

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Dalís impressive sculptures!

But now moving on to a man who gave Figueres its artistic flair and made the town known around the world. Yes, you guessed right: Salvador Dalí! Because what would be an article about Figueres without mentioning Catalonia’s most prestigious artist? Exactly: simply incomplete and not capturing the town’s character. Strolling through the Catalan streets, stumbling upon Dalís works of art over and over, you can definitely tell: Figueres takes immense pride in the surrealist.

 

Teatre-Museu Dalí – Figueres pride and joy

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The famous facade with its colossal eggs

His most impressive and noticeable work would be the Teatre-Museu Dalí in the city centre. The matte red facade with its oversized eggs representing love and hope, the enormous dome-shaped roof and the strikingly beautiful front with its countless details that alone take up a couple of minutes to observe, give a first hint of what’s hiding behind the old walls of Figueres’ former municipal theatre.

 

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Night at the museum

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Impressive facade of the Teatre-Museu Dalí

Every summer the museum offers its art-loving visitors a special treat: exclusive nighttime tours including a glass of champagne! But beware: the tours that take place between 10pm and 1 am are extremely popular. Get your tickets early enough and I guarantee you won’t be sorry! The short period of waiting doesn’t bother us because now in the evening time a light breeze is blowing in front of the museum and you don’t feel like melting in the sun anymore like one of Dalís famous clocks.

 

 

Figueres entrance museum

Beautiful details at the entrance

Entering the Teatre-Museu Dalí we immediately get goose bumps all over our bodies. In the semicircular inner courtyard where all of the different figures and sculptures are magically displayed with spot lights shining on them, our eyes wander directly to the giant glass dome. Especially at night the outside area of the museum spreads a special charm because now the stars are shining – almost kitschy – above our heads.

Figueres glass dome museum

The sparkling glass dome at the museum

Figueres’ famous museum – fascinating and multi-faceted

Figueres museum dalí

Much more than just the famous clocks!

We continue our visit through the different rooms and notice in amazement: Dalís works of art were extremely multi-faceted. There is so much more to the artist than just the „Melting Clocks“. You could spend hours studying and interpreting every little detail of his art work. Dalí once said to his friend (and rival) Picasso: „Picasso es un genio, yo también“ meaning “Picasso is a genius but so am I“. Well, he wasn’t particularly humble…but he also didn’t have any reason to be!

 

 

 

Surrealistic dream

figueres dalí artwork

Dalís huge artwork

Those who still haven’t had enough after a couple of hours in the surrealistic museum, now have the chance to stock up on souvenirs from the gift shop. And if you developed a certain fascination with the artists life and motivation like I did, grab yourself a copy of Dalís autobiography “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí“ and start reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

pirate

Yo ho, yo ho – pirates in l’Estartit

„Yo-ho, yo-ho a pirates life for me“ Jack’s Sparrow was humming with a wild grin on his face as he puts out to sea with his beloved ship. Plundering, capturing, throwing all manners overboard and knocking back barrels of rum… Oh, the sweet life of a pirate!

 Back in time – pirates in l’Estartit

pirate life estartit

Pirates in l’Estartit!

 

Of course, life for commoners wasn’t always easy during that period. Especially the citizens of the former fishing village l’Estartit had a hard time. In the 16th century, the Medes Islands – now uninhabited – were jam-packed with pirates, corsairs and rapscallions of all sorts. The poor villagers were victims of the pirate’s attacks more than once.

The pirates are coming!

Even though l’Estartit’s past is still engraved in the citizens memory, nowadays they take it a lot more lightly – as I could see for myself at the pirate’s celebration in l’Estartit! Having arrived at the village, I immediately felt the changed atmosphere of the usually quiet holiday destination: thrilled anticipation and hundreds of voices excitingly chattering. Boat trips to the Medes Islands, workshops, exhibitions and artisan markets are organised during the day. But now, at night time, when the sun has already sunken and the moon is up in the sky, the scene changes. It’s getting dangerous and loud… the pirates are coming!

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Pirates on the beach of l’Estartit

Fire dancers and sword fighters

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Playing with fire

In the course of the next two hours, l’Estartit offers its visitors a spectacular show. Torchlight processions accompanied by traditional musicians as well as dancers performing incredible acts with fire and realistic sword fights are thrilling the audience. The best is yet to come, though. I let my eyes wander over the dark blue sea and in the distance – far away from the show – my eyes catch a glimpse of something big. Something big that’s coming closer and closer. A giant pirate ship packed with pugnacious barbarians loudly roaring while swinging their swords. Not only the kids jaws are dropping – mine is too! The first pirates are already jumping overboard and screaming furiously while running towards us. The fierce fighting that follows couldn’t be more thrilling.

Fireworks on the beach

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Giant firework over the sea

The spectacular show on the beach ends with a a giant firework over the sea.

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Sparkling firework at the beach

Grand Finale on the church square

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Fire-breather on l’Estartit’s church square

But that wasn’t all. The whole gang of pirates persists in roaming the streets of the village – and we are of course close behind! Finally, all pirates and corsairs come together on l’Estartit’s church square to celebrate the end of the spectacular show. For many visitors this was only the beginning of a wild night. The next barrel of rum is already open – that’s the way real pirates live! And we say: drink up me ‘earties, yo ho!

 

 

Idyll Made of Stone – Peratallada

The back country of the Costa Brava, not far away from Girona, is cut from a very different cloth. Here, you can find the most beautiful medieval villages of Catalonia. These seem to send you into another time, if it weren’t for the tourists running around with the latest camera technology.

       

Peratallada – is one of those magical places full of history! Hardly any other village surprises with such an authentic, medieval charm.

Peratallada - stone houses - Costa Brava

Beautiful stone houses to discover in Peratallada …

Peratallada – “carved stone”

Peratallada — derived from “pedra tallada”, meaning “carved stone” — lives up to its name. Surrounded by a moat and a gigantic fortification wall, the place carries a medieval charm and rural silence hidden behind stone walls.

       

Far from the crowded beaches

The streets, the towers, the houses, the archways, even the church and the castle – everything is made out of natural stone and has been renovated with lots of love in the past few years. Numerous coffee bars, restaurants and hotels create a friendly atmosphere far away from the crowded beaches. Some small boutiques with souvenirs, ceramic and clothes tempt you to go shopping.

shops - peratallada - costa brava

Welcoming shops in the centre

Majestic church Sant Esteve

Having left the village over the fortress bridge after a relaxing walk through the shaded alleys, you’ll see another medieval jewel: The gigantic Roman church Sant Esteve, dating back to the 13th century, majestically rises just outside the doors of the village and forms a popular photo scene.

Church - Peratallada - medieval village

Beautiful, gigantic church Sant Esteve

Time to pay a visit to Peratallada!

Peratallada is on the toplist of the 10 most beautiful villages of Catalonia and is definitely worth visiting …