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Break in the Baix Llobregat: Between Gaudí Crypts and the Delights of Nature

A few kilometres from Barcelona, the comarca of Baix Llobregat offers plenty of surprises and charming places to visit

If you live in Barcelona, you probably know that you can reach the Baix Llobregat in a jiffy, whether by public transport or by jumping into your own car. Some of you might think that it is too close to be worthy of a three-day getaway, but believe us when we say that you don’t know what you are missing. Castles, Modernist jewels, beaches and fantastic natural spaces are just waiting to be discovered!

 

WITH THE COLLABORATION OF BARCELONA ÉS MOLT MÉS AND THE DIPUTACIÓ DE BARCELONA.

Day 1, Afternoon: A World Heritage Crypt

Day 1, Afternoon: A World Heritage Crypt

The first steps in the comarca lead us to Santa Coloma de Cervelló and in particular to a very special industrial colony: the Colònia Güell. Strolling around, we can see the colony’s Modernist buildings and it’s a good idea to visit the Interpretation Centre, situated in what used to be the consumer cooperative, where you can find a permanent exhibition explaining the history of the entire colony.

A must-see is the crypt in the church, designed by Antoni Gaudí and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Yet another marvel from the genius Catalan architect. You will see the differences between each of the columns, the rich craftsmanship of the furniture and the pretty pine cone-shaped stained-glass windows, which almost seem to act as a sundial.

Industrialist Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to build an entire church and the architect worked on the site for a decade, developing the first catenaries using fine brass fishing chains to form the inverted curved arches. But the Güell family’s financial difficulties and the death of the entrepreneur meant that Gaudí could only complete the crypt. Nonetheless, it is hard to express in words the sensation one experiences in a place like this, so the best thing would be for you to go and see for yourselves! We recommend taking the guided tour or using the audio guide so you don’t miss any of the finer details.

Day 2: Different Sensations in Castelldefels

Day 2: Different Sensations in Castelldefels

This excursion is best taken in warm weather so you don’t miss out on one of the great attractions of the Baix Llobregat: the beaches. Even though only four towns in the comarca lie along the coastline – Castelldefels, Gavà, Viladecans and El Prat de Llobregat – we can assure you that they provide plenty of places to take a dip in the sea along extensive stretches of sand. What is more, many of the spots along the Baix Llobregat shoreline enjoy the distinction of being Blue Flag beaches, due to their high environmental and quality standards.

Today we have decided to opt for sunbathing and swimming in Castelldefels, where there are almost five kilometres of beaches. But if you are a fan of water sports, both the Club Marítim Castelldefels and the Club Nàutic Castelldefels have a long list of activities so you can spend some memorable hours splashing about in the sea.

And while we are in Castelldefels, we are going to take the opportunity to visit one of its icons: the castle. With fantastic views high on a hilltop between the Garraf Massif and the littoral, an interior church was erected in the 10 th century on the site of Iberian and Roman settlements and the castle was built in the 16 th century. It was purchased by the Castelldefels Ajuntament in 1988 and restoration and reconstruction work began which is still underway today.

Groups of 10 or more people can request guided tours and there is the occasional open day with free entry. For more information or to make a booking, contact the Oficina de Turisme in Castelldefels.

Day 3: The Delta del Llobregat

Day 3: The Delta del Llobregat

Where there is water, there is life. And, despite its overexploitation, the River Llobregat still reaches the sea with enough force to form a delta in which there are some highly valuable natural environments for very specific ecosystems to thrive in. The natural spaces of the delta are protected and span the municipalities of El Prat de Llobregat, Viladecans, Gavà and Sant Boi de Llobregat. There are various signposted routes you can explore to enjoy the various natural features, from lagoons and wetlands to coastal pine groves next to virgin beaches with dunes and their accompanying plant species. Birdwatching, especially of aquatic birds, is one of this location’s other great attractions. As a side note, the delta is also home to one of the country’s few populations of Kosteletzkya pentacarpos, an herbaceous plant with large pink flowers in the Malvaceae family, and over 22 different species of orchid have been catalogued here. In summary, this is one of the rare examples of wetlands in the middle of a metropolitan area in the entire Mediterranean and a magnificent spot to end our mini getaway.

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