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Discover Catalonia 2015: cultural getaways

Original and fun ideas to get to know the rich Catalan heritage

By Xavier Amat

From the footprint left by the Carthusian monks to the genius of Gaudí and Dalí; from the Roman remains in Tarragona to the historic shops of a small Pyrenean village, Catalonia is filled with culture from north to south and from east to west, a place to see the remnants of different civilisations and of centuries of war and peace. We offer visitors a varied selection so you can discover your next destination.

Museu Dalí Figueres

The Dalí Museum & Girona Tour

It hasn’t been long since the high-speed rail link has united the capital of Catalonia with its towns Girona and Figueres, and now we can offer a one-day excursion that makes the most of the region, leaving Barcelona and heading first to Figueres to visit one of the country’s most curious and popular attractions, the Dalí Theatre-Museum. Then it’s back on the train again to Girona, where the tour takes visitors around the most interesting corners of the beautiful city. It’s a full day before returning to Barcelona in the comfort of the train, and comfortable shoes are recommended!

Price from 65, including transport, tickets to the Dalí Museum and Girona Cathedral, and a guide.

Cartoixa d'Escaladei

The Escaladei Monastery, vineyards, olive groves, villages and natural park

The geology and climate of the Priorat area makes it unique in Catalonia, and a producer of delicious wine that is recognised world-wide. Over the weekend you will visit several bodegas where the wines are created, and the area is also home to the first Carthusian monastery ever founded in the Iberian Peninsula, back in the 12th century. Today mostly in ruins, visitors can still be awed by the impressive site and learn about how the monks lived in the spectacular landscapes of the Sierra del Montsant.

Price from 108, including one-night’s stay at a hotel and visits to different places around Priorat.

Paisatges Terres Lleida

A window to the universe

Spend two days on a journey of discovery in La Noguera, near Lleida, in lands full of monasteries and castles, and with a climax that will take you closer to the stars and the universe, at La Noguera’s exceptional observatory, with its opening dome where you can watch films and documentaries, and observe the skies through the images captured through the great telescope. There is also a telescope park where visitors can make their own observations.

Price from 85, including one-night’s stay at a hotel and visits to different places around La Noguera.


Montserrat, caves and olive groves

The caves of Collbató are a spectacular geological feature that leave an impression on all visitors, proving that the mountain can be just as beautiful inside as out. The tour takes you into the caves, with a visit on foot to the Collbató olive groves, which includes a tasting session in which visitors can sample the excellent top-quality oil. All under the magnificent gaze of the mountain range.

Price from 68, including one-night’s stay at a hotel, visit to the Salnitre de Collbató caves, visit on foot to  the olive groves, oil tasting and a guide.

Tiendas en Salàs Pallars

The shops at Salàs and a trip on the historic Lakes Train

An authentic voyage back in time, beginning with an unforgettable journey on the vintage Lakes Train, departing from Lleida and running through magnificent countryside to  the village of Salàs; and finishing with the wonderful village itself, Salàs de Pallars, where visitors can see and explore typical shops, perfectly preserved and styled from history, including a traditional grocer’s, a pharmacy, a barber’s, a tobacconist’s, a haberdashery and a village café. This is the perfect way to discover the countryside and the history of Lleida.

Price from 37.50, including your train ticket, transport from Pobla de Segur station to Salàs, a guided visit around the village, and lunch.

Vall de Núria

The Pyrenees and the Núria Valley

Immerse yourself in the Núria Valley, where history, nature and tradition are combined   in the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees. And ascend to the Núria Sanctuary  on the rack railway, nearly 2,000 metres above sea level. The train passes through beautiful countryside on a fantastic voyage that everybody must make at least once in a lifetime. 

Price 69, including transport by bus from Barcelona, tickets for the rack train and the cable car, tasting of traditional meats and spirits, and a guide.

Vitrall Cripta de la Colònia Güell
©Time Out Barcelona

Discover Gaudí’s Crypt at the church of Colonia Güell

Just 20 minutes from Barcelona is a real treat for Gaudí fans – known as the workshop of the Sagrada Familia. The Crypt at Colonia Güell, which was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2005, reveals the magic of Gaudí’s architectural genius. It’s his only work in the village that housed the workers of a textile factory, but the whole village is full of modernist architecture and well worth a visit.  

Price 9, including tickets to Gaudí's Crypt at Colonia Güell, the permanent exhibition, and a map and audio guide available in 8 languages: English, Catalan, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, German and Russian.

La Baronia de Rialp

The Rialp Earldom, an impressive escape

The Earldom of Rialp is full of 11th and 12th-century architecture, with ancient parishes, defence fortifications, and farm buildings, situated along the Rialp River in La Noguera. The visit lasts three days and two nights, and enables guests to explore not only the fascinating architecture, but also visit the Bassella Motorcycle Museum and to experience a trip in a microlight aircraft to view some of Catalonia’s most impressive countryside from above.

Price from 116, including two nights’ bed and breakfast in a double room, visits to museums and monuments, a gourmet dinner, a tourist information pack and a special gift.


Tortosa on foot

The town of Tortosa maintains some of the most diverse historic culture and tradition. Every Saturday there is the opportunity to enjoy a different walk around its streets: on the first Saturday of the month explore Arabic Tortosa; on the second it’s Jewish Tortosa, on the third, Christian Tortosa, and the fourth discovers Renaissance Tortosa. And if the month has a fifth Saturday, there is a general route around the town. The meeting point is Plaza Paiolet at 11am, and the tour is the best way to get to know the real city, leaving from the banks of the River Ebro to branch off in all directions without ever covering the same route twice.  

Price 2

Horta de Sant Joan

Horta de Sant Joan, the spirituality of the mountains

Pablo Picasso claimed that everything he knew he’d learned in Horta de Sant Joan. If you would like to visit the streets and landscapes that so influenced the talent of the artist, come and discover the mountainous area, crossed by the Tortosa-Beseit passes, and maybe gain an insight into what inspired the Templar Knights of the Order of Solomon to build a town here in the 12th century. The visit includes a tour of Horta de Sant Joan, a guided visit to the Church of San Juan Bautista, and tickets to Els Ports Eco Museum and the Picasso Centre.    

Price 12. The visit lasts two-and-a-half hours and takes place every day except Mondays.

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