Getaway to Anoia: Castles, balloons and muleteers

History and heritage on a trip during which we will also experience exciting emotions from the air
Castell de Claramunt
By Xavier Amat |

Anoia is a region full of castles with varied and charming landscapes. We have prepared a trip marked by its history and medieval heritage but we will also discover the work of the muleteers and have the opportunity to go on a hot air balloon ride to get a better view of the region’s beauty.


Castell de Tous
© Albert Miro

Afternoon day 1: Legends of Tous

We are on the border of the region of Conca de Barberà, in Sant Martí de Tous. Here, an impressive fortress ‒ admittedly quite extensively restored ‒ dominates the village and its surrounding areas. This is Tous Castle. Although the Tous family stopped living here over five centuries ago, the name lives on in the castle and the village below. Today it is a private residence but opens its doors to visitors on certain days and by prior booking. You will be impressed by its long history ‒ Wilfred the Hairy or Abbot Oliba walked its rooms ‒ and many legends. It is not surprising that since July 2010 the Festival of Catalan Legends (FESLLECAT) has been held here. But there's no need to wait until July; go at any time of the year as the castle will be waiting for you. We have decided to start our trip to Anoia here.

Globus l'Anoia

Morning day 2: Anoia from the sky

Yesterday we enjoyed panoramic views from quite a height but always with our feet firmly on the ground. This morning we encourage you to go even further up ‒ much further ‒ on an activity that perhaps you have not yet tried. We guarantee you an unforgettable experience!

Two companies, Globus Kon-Tiki and Camins del Vent, offer hot air balloon rides flying over the region of Anoia. What does this region have that others don't that makes it so attractive for a balloon ride? Probably the right weather conditions and landscape but also the poetic view of the mountain of Montserrat on the horizon and the colourful sights of Anoia from the air.

Once back on the ground, you will enjoy a good breakfast and receive a flight diploma to round off an exceptional morning.

Museu del Traginer

Afternoon day 2: A tribute to the muleteers

The afternoon will be quieter. In today's world, as we have seen this morning, we can even fly but not so long ago transporting goods from one place to another was a much slower and laborious business. The muleteers made it possible to trade both products and information between country houses, villages and towns, and in Igualada there is a museum dedicated to them because of the important role they played in the region's commercial development.

The Museu del Traginer (Muleteer's Museum) explains this trade, everything surrounding it and its evolution based on the Antoni Ros collection. Notable among over two thousand exhibits displayed on three floors are the more than 40 carriages. In the museum ‒ especially adapted for the visually impaired ‒ we will also discover how the trade gradually vanished with the introduction of the new forms of energy, first steam and later petrol. In fact, the carriers of today are the muleteers who for many centuries had carted all the necessities of life back and forth.

Castell de Boixadors

Day 3: A land of castles

We have begun the trip by visiting a castle and will also reserve the last day for discovering two other fortresses because Anoia boasts many of these buildings. Perhaps the most emblematic is Claramunt, which we will visit this morning. Built in the 10th century, the interventions and reforms in the 1990s made it the ideal place to discover what these medieval constructions were like. The panoramic views from here are also worth seeing and so the hike to reach the summit, around half an hour but quite easy, is highly recommended. The castle dominates the point where the defile of the Anoia River opens up in the Òdena basin and it was built because of the struggle for control of these lands between the Catalan counts and the Al-Andalus troops. As we can still see thousands of years later, it was a majestic castle, with terraced walls and defence towers, as well as a church, Santa Maria, with Romanesque features.

And from La Pobla de Claramunt we move to Sant Pere Sallavinera, where we find Boixadors Castle. The building is first documented in 1015, so it has recently celebrated one thousand years, and from the 15th to the 19th centuries it formed part of the barony of the Boixadors, under the rule of a single family. Again, the views over the Calaf plateau surrounded by mountain ranges, valleys and brooks are amazing. Enjoy one of the cradles of Anoia to complete this trip through a region brimming with attractions.

Restaurants, Mediterranean

Tall de Conill

As its name suggests ('conill' means rabbit) this place serves excellent rabbit dishes, but that’s not all, and even seafood dishes have their place on the menu here, including cuttlefish meatballs with and prawns with cuttlefish ink. However, the dishes that have won awards are the cannelloni, pigs’ trotters with prunes and pine kernels, and the shoulder of rabbit. More than 100 years of history endorse the good work of this well-known restaurant in Capellades.

Restaurants, Argentinian

Asador Mesón el Abuelo

If you’re interested in eating at a typical Spanish roast house, El Abuelo in Igualada is the place for you. The quality of their wood fire–grilled dishes and the raw materials that go into them has won them plenty of accolades, and the restaurant is also well known for its extensive variety of 'tortillas' (omelettes) – more than 40 types. Meat lovers will especially appreciate the roasted suckling pig, though its long cooking time means that it must be ordered in advance.

Restaurants, Mediterranean

La Panadella

Following the completion of the building work on the dual carriageway between Barcelona and Lleida, this restaurant has lost the privilege of lying practically equidistant between the two cities, and therefore being an almost obligatory port of call for drivers looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But it’s still worth coming here for its traditional or more daring dishes that are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. Rooms are also available.

Restaurants, Catalan

Restaurant Hotel Robert

The restaurant at Hotel Robert is located at the foot of the mountaintop village of La Pobla de Claramunt, which is crowned by a magnificent castle. It makes for a great outing, so better fill up first with this restaurant’s exquisite stuffed onions or equally excellent duck with turnips. Top-quality Catalan cuisine.


Cal Carulla - La Cort

Have you ever slept in a renovated barn? That’s exactly what you’ll do at la Cort of Cal Carulla, but don’t worry, because you won’t find any animals there. Instead it’s a property that, although it’s maintained its rustic charm, is totally equipped with everything that you need to enjoy a weekend break. And when you leave, we think you’re sure to miss the heated pool and big garden that surrounds the complex. Perfect for a complete getaway from daily life.  


Cal Grau de Torremetzena

A place boasting a very rich ancient history: the country house now known as Cal Grau de Torremetzena dates back a thousand years, when there was an Arab cistern here and, centuries later, a watchtower. Today the house is an idyllic place, surrounded by crop fields and peace, with two independent places to stay, L'Alzina and El Roure, each one with two bedrooms and that can be booked together or separately.


Arcs Llacuna - Grèvol

Decorated in a rustic style, equipped with all essential facilities and with space for 5 people, this apartment is just the place if you’re looking for a peaceful weekend. Located in the centre of the town of La Llacuna, it is an excellent base for exploring the village and it surroundings, or if your prefer, make the most of the heated pool, sauna and gym that form part of the services on offer. You will also have access to an outdoor pool that is exclusive to clients of Arcs Llacuna.


Cal Farrés - La Farraja

Located in the rural centre of Aleny, between Calaf and Calonge de Segarra, the country house of La Farraja is an excellent base for exploring the upper part of Anoia. There is a huge range of options waiting for you. You can visit the market of Calaf, discover the many local castles, see Romanesque architecture and enjoy all sorts of outings. But if you prefer to stay close to the house, you can also take the opportunity to try out the typical lifestyle of a local farmer along with other activities organised by the centre. 


Cal Barrusca

Two units, each with a capacity for four people, make up Cal Barrusca, a 19th century country house. Traditionally dedicated to the cultivation of wheat and barley, it now offers its guests hydro massage, a swimming pool, terraces, a barbecue and a children’s play area, as well as farm animals. Guests can also enjoy rural life by learning about the different farming jobs that are carried out on the estate.

Museums, Art and design

Museu de la Pell d’Igualada i Comarcal de l’Anoia

Tracing its origins back to 1949 and located in industrial heritage Rec neighbourhood, the Igualada leather museum was first opened in the 1990s in the old 19th century Cal Boyer cotton factory. It offers four circuits: Man and water, From the pit to the pumps, Leather in history and The world of leather. The other centre is set in the old 18th century Cal Granotes tannery, in which you can learn everything about the tanning process in the preindustrial era.

Museums, Childhood

Museu Molí Paperer de Capellades

A popular destination for school trips and attracting more than 30,000 people every year, the Capellades Paper Mill Museum is also worth visiting for adults. Inaugurated in 196 in one of the town’s 7th century mills, the museum has a collection illustrating 7 centuries of paper production and culture through visits and workshops. The mill still generates half of its income from the sale of paper made using traditional techniques.

Museums, Historic home

Castell de Claramunt

Rather than amenities, castles are monuments, and this is one of 13 castles run by the History Museum of Catalonia. With more than 1,000 years of history, Claramunt Castle is one of the icons of the region, one of the most spectacular forts in the country and the main attraction of the region’s Border Castle Trail. Access is on foot, but the 25 minute walk to the top of the hill will be well rewarded. The trail also includes the castles of Òdena, Tossa, Miralles and Vilademàger.