Winter getaway to Osona
Vic in depth and the villages of the Plain
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, because, as you many already know, Osona winters are often quite cold, and the capital gives us the option to seek shelter in some of its enclosed spaces. 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.
Afternoon day 1: The city of the saints
We will begin our getaway in the city of Vic, at one of its must-see sites, the Cathedral of Sant Pere Apòstol. The famous Abbott Oliba -whose statue we can see outside- was the instigator of the first Romanesque construction in the 11th century. The best-preserved relics from that period are the bell tower and the crypt with capitals taken from a previous temple, both of which are of great beauty. The Cathedral's façade is neo-classical, the cloister and the main altarpiece by Pere Oller are Gothic, and there is the remarkable baroque chapel of Sant Bernat. All in all, it's an amalgam of styles, something that makes it especially attractive to visit and we recommend you go on a guided tour so as not to miss a single thing. The interior will also surprise you with wall paintings by Josep Maria Sert, huge solemn canvases that the artist had to paint and repaint, since the ones he finished in 1930 were damaged during the Civil War and he himself took on the responsibility of restoring them and painting new ones.
Morning day 2: Market day
If you began this getaway on Friday afternoon, and today is Saturday, take a walk around the local weekly market. Some say that the main square of Vic is the main square of the whole of Catalonia, because of the beauty of the buildings that line it and its sheer size. While it's always worth visiting, on market days, Tuesdays and Saturdays, the atmosphere is spectacular. People have been setting up their stalls and selling their wares here ever since the 9th century, and today you can buy clothes, locally-sourced food products, crafts, fowl... It's an example of dynamic commerce in the heart of Osona.
We know that you are eager to explore other parts of the region, and that the crowds that the market attracts in Vic could be a little off-putting. So, let's head out to Tavertet, where we can rent bicycles to explore the hills of Collsacabra. Don't worry; we won't make you sweat too much. The route we propose to Pla del Castell, is quite flat, only a little over 7 kilometres long, and can be completed in an hour. There are plenty more to choose from in Collsacabra and around the Sau reservoir.
Afternoon day 2: The centre or the outskirts?
There's plenty to like around here. Vic itself has lots of interesting and yet-to-be-explored corners, while the region is packed with attractive places to visit. So, we'd like to propose two alternative routes that could satisfy all tastes and also give you some flexibility in case of bad weather.
If you prefer to get to know Vic a little better, a good option is to take a guided tour . You can design your own or even do one on Segways and have fun while exploring the city.
The walls, the Roman Temple, the Plaça Major, the town hall, the Roman bridge ... there are many things to see in a city this full of history. Be sure to leave enough time for the Episcopal Museum, next to the Cathedral, a building opened a decade ago and especially designed to complement the works of each collection. The items in the museum's collection are of exceptional quality and include an altarpiece by Jaume Huguet named Retaule de l'Epifania, a beautiful representation of the Mother of God by Boixadors, the Davallament d'Erill la Vall and an altar front from the time of the Taifa Kingdoms, to give just four examples.
But maybe the biking route we did earlier has left you wanting more contact with nature this afternoon. So, we'd like to propose that we cover a section of the so-called Vic Green Belt, a signposted nature route that covers a total of 32 km around the outskirts of the capital, which is notable its ecological value and landscapes. You'll pass through the beds of the Gurri and Mèder rivers and see monumental trees, fountains and houses. It's definitely a good way to see part of the Vic Plain.
Morning day 3: The land of the poet
On the morning of our last day in the region we'll head for the village of Folgueroles, birthplace and childhood home of the poet and writer Jacint Verdaguer, more commonly known as Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer. His work played a key role in the Catalan literary renaissance and is still important today. That's why the Amics de Verdaguer association converted his small family home into a Museum. We can explore the different chambers in this typical 17th century rustic house and if we take the guided tour we will be able to hear recitals of his verse. We will find the same poems written on the streets that exude Verdaguer wherever you look. Before or after visiting the museum, which is open from 10am to 1.30pm, we can take a two hour horseback ride from the Centre Hípic de Malla, the riding stables located at kilometer 57 on the C-17 road. Or we could pay a visit to Prat Verd, a "magic forest" measuring 12,000 square metres where art, in the shape of large scale sculptures, and nature come together.
Afternoon day 3: What’s the time?
Let's end our brief journey to Osona in a fun and entertaining way and, at the same time, explore new roads and new towns on the Plain of Vic. In Folgueroles, as well as the verses of Verdaguer, there are also a lot of sundials, which go by the different names of the houses they adorn like Can Campaner, Can Jordi, Can Sellabona, some of which are very nice and original, while others are very old. There is a route designed to make sure that you don't miss a single one. We particularly like the motto that appears on the sundial on Can Cintet Torrents and says, "It's time to be happy". Just over two kilometers from Folgueroles we will find Sant Julia de Vilatorta. Sundials are also plentiful and varied here, there's even one on a niche in the cemetery! But we should also see Sant Julia de Vilatorta's moderniste and Noucentiste buildings. In fact there are 18 itineraries designed to help you get to know the town. Some are based in the town while others explore the surroundings, since Sant Julia de Vilatorta is located at the edge of one of the major woodland areas in the Guilleries region. So let's follow one of these routes until a sundial, or simply a wristwatch, tells us that it's time to go home.
Where to stay and where to eat
Cultural venues in Osona
Declared of national interest by the Generalitat Government the museum, especially for the magnificent collection of medieval art it contains, but also for the museum facilities themselves, located next to the Cathedral of Vic. Some 29,000 examples of Catalan Romanesque and Gothic painting and sculpture are on display, as well as pieces of industrial and decorative arts and an excellent collection of woven cloths and liturgical vestments. Among the masterpieces here are the Christ in Majesty from Santa Maria in Lluçà, the Baldachin from Ribes and the the Descent from the Cross from Erill la Vall, all from the twelfth century.
- Plaça del Bisbe Oliba, 3, 08500
First opened just a few years ago and completely equipped for the scenic arts, whether in the form of concerts, theatre or dance, in both large and small formats, The Atlantida gets the best shows from Barcelona but also promotes local talent, making for a programme that is both complete and varied. The governing foundation of the Atlantida aims to consolidate Vic and Osona as cultural references in Europe.
- Francesc Maria Masferrer, 4, 08500
The museum's main objective is to provide insights on the process of industrialization that took place around the River Ter. It occupies an ideal site, in the old Can Sanglas factory, near the river. The collections, however, are quite diverse, since there is enough space in its 1,500 square meters, to treat the river as a natural resource. The museum also hosts Centre of Studies of Mediterranean Rivers (CERM), dedicated to promoting education and environmental awareness, and the stewardship and research in Mediterranean rivers.
- Passeig del Ter, 2, 08650
A visit to this major example of Catalan Romanesque religious architecture is also worthwhile thanks to its magnificent setting, overlooking a meander of the River Ter. Inside you will find a monastery that is humble but that has numerous enchanting details, such as its small cloister and the parlour, which later became a cellar, as well as the anthropomorphic tombs, which make it clear that the building was raised above a necropolis. To make the visit more attractive, the rooms are decorated with antique furniture and furnishings.
- Carretera BV-5213
Montesquiu Castle has seen many modifications, both inside and outside, since it was first built in 1285, but a visit is always recommendable. On the ground floor, an audiovisual presentation starring the ghost of four famous inhabitants of the castle tell their story. The visit proceeds with a tour around the castle dependencies. The upper floor is currently the site of the resource centre run by the Diputació de Barcelona and hosts conventions, conferences and courses. If you have time, have a walk around the castle’s park.
- P. Emili Juncadella, 1-2, 08585
If you like Romanesque art and architecture, a visit to Santa Maria de Lluçà is sure to delight you. The monastery which, takes its name from the region of Llucanès, was consecrated in 905, though it reached its maximum splendour in the thirteenth century. Today the whole ensemble offers many items of interest, especially the cloister, dating from the twelfth century, which contains a variety of decorative elements, among which the capitals, in particular, stand out, although the ironwork decorating the door, the murals and the small museum, with pieces of jewellery and religious objects are also quite remarkable.
- Plaça de l'Església, s/n, 08514
Refurbished thoroughly in the early 1990s, Teatre Cirvianum now offers a full program of professional and amateur drama, music and dance performances. Its governing board also manages courses and workshops in the annexes of the theatre, and has promoted projects such as the FESTUS youth street arts festival, which takes place in the summer and has been through thirteen editions. The festival is committed to projects that propose a special, different and intimate relationship with the audience.
- Plaça Nova, 10, 08570
Jacint Verdaguer, a key figure in the Catalan literary renaissance, was born in Folgueroles in 1845. His family home has been transformed into a museum that we can visit. It is worth visiting since it’s a typical 17th century village house, as well as providing the opportunity to learn more about the priest-poet Verdaguer. In fact, the whole village of Folgueroles is like an open air museum dedicated to the writer and we recommend that you take a look around it either before or after calling in at the museum.
- Major, 7, 08519