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If you’re planning your vacations and looking for a destination to fall in love with on your next trip and, along the way, experience the Middle Ages, we’d like to suggest a country with a long history that is still alive, visible and well-preserved in all kinds of wonderful places. Have you ever been to Catalonia? In northeastern Spain, just to the south of France, and with the waters of the Mediterranean Sea bathing its coasts, Catalonia is one of the regions of Europe with the best preserved historical remains from the Romanesque period, ranging approximately from the 9th to 12th centuries. At that time, what is now Catalonia was the Marca Hispanica, a territory bordering the Carolingian kingdom to the north (the direct predecessor of France) and Al-Andalus―the Muslim caliphate that had conquered the Iberian Peninsula a few centuries before―to the south, a free and militarized Christian region where they began building castles, churches, monasteries and bridges. Catalonia was an area of transit for trade and pilgrims towards the west, so it needed plenty of fortresses, places of worship and transport links.
Most of these buildings survive in good condition, making Catalonia the ideal travel destination if you like medieval art and culture and you also want to complement the experience with good food, incredible landscapes, friendly and welcoming people and other kinds of monuments or artistic attractions like painting, sculpture or historic centers with cobbled streets. If that appeals to you, look no further: Catalonia is the ideal destination for your trip. And if you’re wondering what’s worth seeing, here’s the answer: 11 comprehensive routes through the country to discover Romanesque art and enjoy it in situ.