Have you heard about the GeoParc Mundial UNESCO de la Catalunya Central? It could be defined as a geological and mining park, an open air museum formed by almost all the municipalities in the region of Bages and Collbató (Baix Llobregat). The accumulation of these areas of interest is due to the fact that millions of years ago, what today is the geographical heart of Catalonia was bathed by a sea, which was pushed out by the rise of mountain ranges like the Pyrenees. It left us wonderful places such as the rocky formations of Montserrat, the Toll Caves in Moià and the Salt Mountain in Cardona. This is where you’ll start your getaway.
IN COLLABORATION WITH BARCELONA ÉS MOLT MÉS AND THE DIPUTACIÓ DE BARCELONA.
White and salty paradise
Cardona, a historically important town with many attractions, such as its castle or the centre, is also home to an area known today as the Salt Mountain Cultural Park, which from 1929 to 1990 was the Mina Nieves, one of the most important potassium salt mines in the world. Today you can visit a small part of the mine with a guided tour on which you’ll hear about the exceptional geological features of the site and the importance of salt over the centuries for humanity. And in Cardona in particular the mine was the main source of work for most of the 20th century.
If you haven’t had breakfast yet or are just feeling peckish, we suggest that you go to Súria and buy the falletes de Migmón, handmade biscuits inspired by the shape of the fault of the same name, one of the symbols of Súria. This town will fill the next few minutes of your visit, especially the walk around the so-called Poble Vell, on top of the hill, fortified and with a medieval air. It still has old streets, houses and mansions and porticoed squares.
You can enjoy lunch at Masia la Garriga de Castelladral, at kilometre point 5.2 on the road from Súria to Castelladral. Before eating, it’s worth exploring the place, a charming EcoHotel built on a medieval country house. The restaurant is located in the old barn, with views over the mountain of Montserrat, and serves traditional cuisine with a contemporary vision, using fresh products from the market or the country house’s own organic vegetable garden.
You’ll complete the getaway by exploring the world of oils. In Navàs, you’ll be greeted by the owners of Migjorn, a family and territorial project dedicated to recovering terraces and olive trees and that makes excellent extra virgin olive oil. They offer different visits; we’ve chosen the one called Past and Present Olive Trees, which includes a walk around the olive trees, a visit to the workshop and an olive tasting and pairing with local products. A delicious end to your visit to the Vall del Cardener and the GeoParc.
The complex cultural and recreational complex run by the Fundació Catalunya - La Pedrera near Manresa invites you to savour it slowly: the Romanesque monastery of Sant Benet de Bages, the Alicia Foundation, the ecological market gardens, the hotel with three restaurants, one with a Michelin star, and spaces for events and meetings ... In brief: art, cuisine and nature for all ages, tastes, and budget, bound together since 2007 in an aromatic sauce. How are you going to taste it?
The Scenic Arts Centre in Manresa has a busy schedule that includes performances in various genres, as well as education in the scenic arts and a bar-restaurant. It’s set in a noucentista-style building from the 1920s that was closed in 1980 and reopened in 2007 as a theatre and concert hall. The main hall has seating for 8,000 spectators, while the smaller one seats 200. It is managed by the Galliner association and attracts some 75,000 spectators every year.
The hero of the great Catalan defeat of 1714, head councillor Rafael Casanova, was born in this house to a rich family in 1660 and it has changed very little since then. The house already existed in the 16th century, but the Casanovas family bought and renovated it in the 17th century. Look out for the Gothic window and the 18th century Ester Cycle paintings. It also houses an exhibition on Casanova’s historical period, the town, his life and his ancestry, as well as the municipal archives and the Moia county museum. The centre belongs to the Museu d’Història de Catalunya network.
This is the last bit of the Principality that succumbed to the Bourbons in 1714. A refuge for the viscounts, earls, and dukes of Cardona for seven centuries, kings uncrowned by the 'white gold' (salt), it's an imposing place with two great treasures: the divine Romanesque collegiate church of Sant Vicenç and the Minyona tower. A Gothic cloister was added, and 17th-century bulwarks. The castle also boasts a, recently made into a museum, all of which makes up the monument that is the History Museum of Catalonia, with all that entails.
This museum never takes a day off. It shows the cream of the crop of abbey’s heritage, gathered from the Napoleonic devastation. The museum opened in 1963, but its contents date back to 1911, with objects from the monk Bonaventura Ubach’s expedition to the Middle East. The modernist rooms from Puig i Cadalfalch feature, over two floors, both old and contemporary paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries paintings, Byzantine icons, jewellery, archaeological pieces from the biblical world, and Nigra Sum, about the adventures of the Virgin of Montserrat.
Something new and difficult to explain. Abstract, but palpable. And very wide: covering a whole region. But what on earth is a Geopark? A Geological and Mining Park. An outdoor museum covers almost all the municipalities in Bages, as well as Collbató (Baix Llobregat Nord), with five information points and nine centers: the Salpetre caves, the Toll caves, Montserrat, Sant Llorenç, La Culla, Súria, the Valentí Masachs Geology Museum, Sallent and Cardona. It is covered by two routes: from Moià to Cardona and from Moià to Collbató.