Top ideas for exploring outside Barcelona: where to eat, where to stay, what to do
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Where to eat and sleep
Explore Barcelona's surrounding regions in winter
Winters tend to be mild in Maresme, so we are going to propose a couple of routes that wind among the pine and Mediterranean oak trees that cover its mountains and hills. But most of the routes we recommend will be centred on the city of Mataró. And those with a sweet tooth are in for a treat, since we'll begin our tour stopping off at the local cake shops to taste some of the region's specialities such as Coca de Llavaneres and wafer-like neules.
Vallès Oriental is a county without the sea or large rivers, but the importance that water has played and plays in its character is beyond doubt. That is why, on this getaway, we want to invite you to visit two renowned spa towns: La Garriga and Caldes de Montbui. Water is also a major feature in the place where we will end our tour, Sant Miquel del Fai.
The success of Sílvia Alcàntara's novel 'Olor de Colònia' and its recent TV adaptation seems to have awakened considerable interest among a lot of people about the history of Catalonia's textile colonies. So, we'll take advantage of our winter getaway to the Berguedà region to explore some of them, but let's begin by visiting the regional capital.
We could spend a whole weekend just in the capital city of Vic and we will, in fact, spend quite a few hours there on this trip. However, we will also take advantage of our 48 hour stay in order to get to know the other villages on the plain, like Folgueroles and Sant Julia de Vilatorta and take to bikes or horses to get out and explore the region's natural environments.
This is no mere concrete buffer lying between the capital and Central Catalonia, albeit one with a magnificent industrial history. The second most populous county in the Principality, and the only one with two capital cities - Siamese twins that fight like cat and dog - hides away far more than just a couple of usable pine trees, but rather a whole forest of urban and countryside activities that save Barcelona residents from having to travel any further. So, come with us on a warm winter tour of a landscape that is home to 12 out of every 100 Catalan citizens.
With its many natural spaces and unique archaeological remains, the Baix Llobregat is a region that offers many places to explore. We suggest that you spend your weekend going back to prehistoric times by visiting the Mines of Gavà, by losing yourself in the Llobregat delta and the caves of Montserrat, where you will have many opportunities to enjoy the scenery and disconnect from your everyday routines. And all of this at very short distance from the city of Barcelona.
Wine permeates every nook and cranny of the Alt Penedès: its landscapes, gastronomy and industry all revolve around it and it has become both a way of making a living and a way of life. Nature and wine-tasting are both present in our proposal for a weekend that we hope will help you to discover wineries and take the first steps to becoming a wine connoisseur, or at least being able to tell a good wine from a bad one.
The heart of the country, an honour it shares with the Sanctuary de Pinós; it even has the shape of a heart! Catalonia's seventh biggest region, covering some 1,300 square kilometres, offers the visitor seven different landscapes to explore, including the plain of Moianès, which lies to the east. The region features so many contrasts that it's almost impossible to condense its main attractions in a two-day itinerary, but we think we've managed it.
This region is something like Thursday. It's not in the middle of nowhere, but rather in the middle of everywhere: halfway between Barcelona and Lleida; a transition zone between the county of Penedès and Central Catalonia. In fact, it's something of a miniature country in itself, a jigsaw puzzle with three pieces: Alta Segarra (or 'High Anoia'), the heavenly plateau that lends itself so well to aerial views; Southern Anoia, lying at the feet of Montserrat, where we will set off on a border route, and, between them, Conca d'Òdena, a low lying humid area that plays home to the incomparable metropolis of an unimaginable region. Let's explore it all together.
Enjoy the sea, explore the legacy of Romanticism and taste a dish of xató, one of the stars dishes of the Penedes region. These are just three of the essential experiences that Garraf offers its visitors. The massif that gives its name to the county is part of a natural park that extends over 12,000 acres and that increases even more the number of activities you can take advantage of during an intense weekend.