Spring-Summer Getaway to Anoia
Discovering the region from different points of view and taking a stroll through its history
With its surprising landscape, in which agricultural land lie next to oak woods, windmills and vineyard shacks, Alta Anoia is a little known region that is gaining more and more adepts every day. Travelling around both its skies and its lands, and travelling in time from the Middle Ages to recent historical times are some of the challenges we’re throwing your way on this 48 hour trip. Ready to begin?
Afternoon day 1: The castle of Boixadors
© Consell Comarcal de l'Anoia
Alta Anoia is a land of castles, and one example is Boixadors, which first appears in records in the year 1015. From the 15th century on, the castle was part of the Barony of Boixadors, in the hands of one sole family who maintained control of it until the 19th century. A circular tower, some walls and the Romanesque church of Sant Pere, which dates from 1015, are some of the parts of the castle that remain standing today. The church was reformed during the 18th century and a century later ceased to be the parish church. The ensemble was declared a site of national cultural interest in 1949 and now belongs to the local council of Sant Pere Sallavinera, in whose municipal area the castle lies in an area near the neighbouring counties of Bages, el Solsonès and Segarra.
In recent years, the Diputació de Barcelona regional council has carried out a number of restoration projects on the site, which added to the work already carried out in the 1970s. Apart from the buildings themselves, the site occupies a privileged location on top of a hill and surrounded by 800 metre tall mountain ranges, with valleys and streams that make up a singular landscape.
Morning day 2: Anoia from the air
© Josep Cano / Diputació de Barcelona
To enjoy this landscape from another perspective, with clouds and the wind as your travelling companions, Alt Anoia offers visitors the possibility of taking a hot air balloon ride that sets out from the village of Rubió. This is a different way of seeing the area's villages and woods, the river, and the nearby mountains of Montserrat. A company called Camins de vent is responsible for your adventure, which will start between 7 and 7.30 in the morning, the best moment in the day, since it's when there's less wind, the air is cold and the atmosphere is stable.
The activity includes a drink to celebrate your "hot air balloon baptism" and a traditional breakfast, during which you'll the photographs that have been taken during the ride. The whole experience takes around 5 hours, though the balloon ride itself lasts around one and a half hours. You won't get too cold so there's no need to dress up very warmly!
Afternoon day 2: The mysteries of the night sky
© Marc Vila / Observatori de Pujalt / Consell Comarcal de l'Anoia
After spending so much time up in the air you may be curious about the stars that are light years away from the planet Earth. The Pujalt Observatory schedules a large number of activities related to astronomy, including meteorological visits, astronomical observations and specialised courses.
The observation sessions begin with an introduction to the basic concepts of astronomy, explaining what eclipses are, the movement of the planets around the sun and the constellations. The observation session itself then begins using both the naked eye, binoculars and the telescope, and involves finding the pole star and, depending on the time of the year, the Milky Way, star clusters and galaxies, the moon and nebulae.
The observatory also organizes visits that pay special attention to the weather, with laboratory experiments to help you understand the natural world around us. Larger groups can also carry out observations with the Astronomical Association of Barcelona (ASTER), which are open to those who already have some experience. To take part in any of these activities, it's essential to contact the observatory in order to arrange your visit.
Morning day 3: Memories of war
© Consell Comarcal de l'Anoia
The Spanish Civil War and day to day life in the Republican Army during the conflict aret he focus of the Memorial to the People's Army in Pujalt, a museum that is set in an ex-training camp. In 1938 a training camp for the 18th Corps of the Republican Army was set up here. The main facilities were barracks, underground air raid shelters, tents, houses, laundries, shooting ranges and trenches, which were used by 8,000 to 10,000 soldiers.
The site has an interpretation centre that takes you through the history of the war, the reasons for setting up the training camp, the day to day life there, and the figure of the commander in chief. As well as photographs, you can see a number of documentary films on the subject. On Sundays and public holidays, guided visits of the site and two complementary routes are held starting at 11am at the interpretation centre, for which pre-booking is not needed.
The first route shows how the different services were distributed between the buildings that existed on the base in 1938 and are still standing today, including houses, sheds, warehouses and civil and religious buildings destined for public use. This tour also visits the air raid shelter in Plaça de Dalt, one of the four that existed in the town of Pujalt. The second route passes through the Bosc dels Obacs, where you'll find barracks, latrines, armories where weapons and ammunition were kept, and bomb shelters, among many other points of interest. The memorial aims to play a key role in remembering and understanding the Civil War and, above all, to be a tribute to all those who suffered during the conflict.
Afternoon day 3: Exploring nature on horseback
© Consell Comarcal de l'Anoia
The fields and mountainsides of the Alta Anoia are the perfect places to explore the region's landscapes. A good way to do it is on horseback, an activity that is offered by Finca Cal Graells, which is located below Pujalt, on the Calaf plains. At Cal Graells you can learn how to ride and follow a number of trails, whatever your level of experience. The itineraries last around one hour and it's not necessary to have a minimum number of participants; you only have to book the activity ahead of time.
Cal Graells also organises a whole range of more specialised activities, such as natural horse handling, emergency horseshoeing and intensive courses for beginners. The farm also offers equine therapy, consisting of rehabilitative activities to help people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Down's syndrome and people suffering from anorexia and bulimia. There's a wide range of activities on offer to help you to leave behind the stresses of everyday life by being in contact with nature and horses, and exploring the finest spots in Alta Anoia in a different way.
Where to stay and where to eat
Cultural venues in Anoia
Tracing its origins back to 1949 and located in industrial heritage Rec neighbourhood, the Igualada leather museum was first opened in the 1990s in the old 19th century Cal Boyer cotton factory. It offers four circuits: Man and water, From the pit to the pumps, Leather in history and The world of leather. The other centre is set in the old 18th century Cal Granotes tannery, in which you can learn everything about the tanning process in the preindustrial era.
- Doctor Joan Mercader, s/n, 08700
A popular destination for school trips and attracting more than 30,000 people every year, the Capellades Paper Mill Museum is also worth visiting for adults. Inaugurated in 196 in one of the town’s 7th century mills, the museum has a collection illustrating 7 centuries of paper production and culture through visits and workshops. The mill still generates half of its income from the sale of paper made using traditional techniques.
- Pau Casals, 10, 08786
Rather than amenities, castles are monuments, and this is one of 13 castles run by the History Museum of Catalonia. With more than 1,000 years of history, Claramunt Castle is one of the icons of the region, one of the most spectacular forts in the country and the main attraction of the region’s Border Castle Trail. Access is on foot, but the 25 minute walk to the top of the hill will be well rewarded. The trail also includes the castles of Òdena, Tossa, Miralles and Vilademàger.
- Camí del Castell, s/n, 08787