Getaway to Vallès Oriental: The essence of Montseny

A three-day trip with suggestions on what to visit in this area, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
By Xavier Amat |
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Spend a few hours on a farm, enjoy the countryside, taste organic products, or meditate in a hotel made from natural Finnish wood. Those are just a few ideas on how to pass a pleasant few days in the region of Vallès Oriental, specifically on the Montseny Massif, an important natural space which UNESCO considered worthy of classification as a Biosphere Reserve. A great getaway for ensuring you return home with your batteries recharged.

IN COLLABORATION WITH BARCELONA ÉS MOLT MÉS AND THE DIPUTACIÓ DE BARCELONA

Montseny Pantà de Santa Fe

Day 1: Life on the farm

You'll spend the first day at Masia Can Turró farmhouse in the municipality of Santa Maria de Palautordera. The farm has been run by the same family for generations and, although they've modernised the facilities and working methods, the spirit of the old farmhouse is still intact, with animals, vegetables and orchards, meaning they're almost completely self-sufficient.

You should find your visit to be quite enlightening, as the Can Turró Rural Environment Classroom offers a practical insight into the chores done at home, and if you've got children with you, they can give bottles to the calves and treats to the sheep as well as seeing other animals. The package deal we suggest for today includes lunch at El Racó de Ca l’Eli and an overnight stay in the Cal Ferrer apartments.

Parc Natural del Montseny

Day 2: Montseny's ecology

For the second day, we suggest another package deal, which will take you to an ecofarm in Aiguafreda for the morning. The Salgot family explain how they live and their pig-breeding methods, including a presentation on the various stages of a pig’s life and a tasting of their organic cured meats. Right after that, you're off to Pla de la Calma for a lunch with organic products in this restaurant with the Slow Food distinction. The afternoon leaves you free to explore the area before settling in for a night in rural accommodation in La Morera.

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Hotel Somlom Salut

Day 3: Total relaxation

To add the finishing touch to this excursion based around the environment and organic farming, head to the Hotel Somlom in Sant Esteve de Palautordera. This establishment is made from natural wood and runs on renewable energies. Even better, it's specially designed for rest and relaxation and has a modern well-being and health centre that offers all kinds of treatments. It also offers package deals so, for example, you can enjoy a Zen meditation session or a massage of your choice as well as a night in this tranquil hotel.

At the end of the three days, you're sure to go back home revitalised, full of positive energy and with plenty to talk about.

Restaurants, Catalan

Can Parpers

Located in the Serralada Litoral Park, in the part that separates Maresme from Vallès Oriental, Can Parpers is an ideal restaurant for groups or families since it has a large garden where children can play before or after eating, allowing their parents to relax and chat over an aperitif or a coffee. Foodwise, expect Catalan market-style cuisine with grilled meat dishes as highlights.

Restaurants, Haute cuisine

La Font de Can Moreu

Offering creative cuisine made with passion and top-quality ingredients, this restaurant in the Montnegre i Corredor Natural Park also takes care with the presentation of all of its dishes, from starters to desserts. You'll also find a good wine list, and concerts are staged here in the summer – all good reasons for coming to La Font de Can Moreu.

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Restaurants, Pizza

Ventidue

This pizzeria in Sant Celoni uses quality produce to make top-notch pizzas and pasta dishes at reasonable prices, along with home-made desserts to end your meal on a perfect note. A careful selection of raw materials and baking in a wood-fired oven ensure that few pizzerias can offer such as unforgettable experience as Ventidue.

Restaurants, Catalan

La Taverna d’en Grivé

Their use of local and seasonal produce, the mastery with which they cook and serve it, the warm atmosphere of the dining rooms, and the more than 300 wines in the cellar all make La Taverna d'en Grivé one of the top restaurants in Granollers and the wider region. The menu here is varied, but the people in charge point to eggs with foie gras and black truffles, crispy pig's trotters with shellfish, and rice with rabbit as standout dishes. And don’t miss the dishes featuring white 'ganxet' beans.

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Restaurants, Catalan

Can Pedragosa

Home-made, traditional food is on offer at this country house on the outskirts of Llinars, where, among many other dishes, you can order cannelloni, paella, onion soup, grilled meat and traditional local desserts, including crema Catalana. Don’t come looking for sophisticated dishes, but the quality of the products and value for money here are unparalleled.

Hotels

Hotel Suís

Practically a landmark in the town, due to its location facing the town hall of Sant Celoni and its long history, dating from 1920, this refurbished, three-star hotel is accessible for disabled guests and offers satellite TV, internet and en-suite rooms. Fans of retro styling should know that a number of rooms here maintain their classical decoration.

Hotels

Hotel Mercure Augusta Vallès

This hotel is strategically located near a motorway exit, a five-minutes drive from the Circuït de Barcelona–Catalunya racetrack, 15 minutes from La Roca Village shopping centre and only 20 minutes from Barcelona. All of its 101 rooms are soundproofed, and the hotel has meeting rooms and a restaurant, Transit, which specialises in Mediterranean cuisine. There is also a swimming pool and a solarium.

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Hotels, Spa hotels

Vila de Caldes Balneari

In the spa town of Caldes de Montbui it’s a good idea to stay in an establishment that offers spa and thermal treatments, and Vila de Caldes Balneari does all of that, and under medical supervision. Its recently refurbished rooms are all elegant and have views. If you want to dine on the premises, Burg & Gintònic is a contemporary-style lounge/burger restaurant.

Hotels

Ca l’Agnès

This country house in the Montseny Natural Park is off-grid and uses only renewable energy and waste resources. With a capacity to sleep eight guests, this eco-friendly lodging is bookable as a unit, and if you decide to stay here we recommend that you give the car a rest and head into the woods, where the only sound is that of your walking boots.

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Hotels

Can Mateuet

This 18th-century country house is now a rural lodge surrounded by farmland with five en-suite double bedrooms that is bookable as a single unit. Here you’ll find a swimming pool and a restaurant that serves only the country house guests. And consider this if you’re getting married: Can Mateuet is specialised in holding open-air weddings.

Things to do, Event spaces

Fàbrica de les Arts Roca Umbert

Over the last decade, the old Roca Umbert textile factory has become the centre of cultural life in the capital of Vallès Oriental. The building contains different spaces including the municipal library, opened in 2005; the Centre Tecnològic i Universitari; the Espai d'Arts, which provides services and resources to the region’s artistic community with the aim of promoting contemporary creation; and cub, a space given over to rehearsals and musical production. Special mention must be made of La Troca, a unique space that hosts a dozen entities related to the world of popular and traditional culture.

Theatre, Public and national theatres

Teatre Municipal Can Gomà

Not many places can claim to have been wine- and cava-production facilities before becoming a theatre with a programme of dance and children’s and professional drama. The building is striking inside and out, and retains its original cellars. What was once the wine vat is now the sound and light booth. It's a space that offers added value when you're attending a show, and it's a good example of how to convert old buildings for other uses.

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Museums, Art and design

Thermalia

On the ground floor here you'll find the tourism office of Caldes de Montbui, an obligatory stop to find out everything you need to visit the town. You can also take advantage of your visit to see everything that Thermalia has to offer, from the history of the town’s spas to an important selection of works by the sculptor Manolo Hugue, who lived in the village for many years, and a number of pieces by his friend Pablo Picasso. The temporary exhibition room also features interesting works.

Museu de Granollers
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Museums, Art and design

Museu de Granollers

The museum’s collection covers various fields, including archeology, art, decorative arts, ethnography and numismatics. The natural sciences have also been studied here since 1987, when an extension was built. The museum is multidisciplinary, as you'll discover when you explore its permanent and temporary exhibitions that help you to learn more about past and present of Granollers and its surroundings. And for lovers of contemporary art, there's a good exhibition on the third floor of the building.

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Theatre, Public and national theatres

Teatre Auditori de Granollers

Opened in 2003, the theatre's building was designed by local architect Josep M. Botey and consists of two halls: the larger one with a capacity for 700 spectators and the smaller one for 221. The number of shows scheduled throughout the year is remarkable; they include music, theatre and dance. But if you just want to explore the building, the best way is to ask for a guided tour (for groups with a minimum of 15 people), during which you'll be able to walk around the stage, the dressing rooms and the stalls.

Museums, History

Casa Museu Prat de la Riba

Head for Castelltercol to discover the house where Enric Prat de la Riba, one of the greatest 20th-century Catalan politicians, lived. Prat de la Riba was the creator and first president of the Mancomunitat (Commonwealth), and whether you agree with his politics or not, the house is worth a visit because it retains the decor and atmosphere of an early-20th-century townhouse. We particularly like the bedroom, with its 19th-century furniture, and the ambience of the office, which was transferred here from Barcelona.

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