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Getaway to Moianès: A journey to the preindustrial past

Explore the areas that belong to the region’s Ecomuseum, such as Poua de la Ginebreda and the quarry of l’Estany

The objective of the Moianès Ecomuseum is to allow visitors to experience the region’s heritage in its native surroundings. The 'museum' occupies more than 300 square kilometres and boasts ten museumizable spaces and around 100 visitable sites, all of which are related to the region’s preindustrial past. But have no fear – we're not planning to send you to them all. You will, however, explore a number of them, together with other places of interest in the region, all of which are related to its past.

Day 1: Water mills

Day 1: Water mills

Begin your visit to the newly constituted region of Moianès at the capital, Moià, where you can visit some of the water mills that were essential facilities in the preindustrial economy – places where trading deals were made and social contacts were established. You can find out how these traditional water mills functioned, learn how the millers worked, and discover the products they made. There are mills in different states of conservation and each one has its own peculiarities: the one in Castellnou has an elegant gallery of pointed arches; the Pujol Mill is set in a majestic white building; and the New Mill in Passerell, one of the last working mills in Catalonia, has a picnic area nearby that's great for a stop if get hungry after visiting so many mills.

Morning day 2: Beautiful caves

Morning day 2: Beautiful caves

You'll be sticking around in Moià on the morning of your second day in the Moianès region. On the outskirts of the town, you'll find one of those magical subterranean wonderlands that delight adults and children alike. You will not, however, be the first to go down into the caves, not by a long chalk. The Caves of Toll have been inhabited by both people and animals since prehistoric times. Though our ancestors must have explored the caves practically by touch, you're lucky enough to be able to take in more than a kilometre of beautiful, well-lit galleries, accompanied by a guide who will tell explain, among other things, how the caves were rediscovered in modern times, about the findings made there and the excavation work that's still taking place, and how the caves were once under the sea. You can complete your visit by heading for the Archaeological and Paleontological Museum in Moià, which is located in the family home of Rafael Casanova, where many of the objects that have been found in the caves are exhibited.

Afternoon day 2: The Castle of Castellterçol

Afternoon day 2: The Castle of Castellterçol

True to its name, Castellterçol has a castle, though it's located on the outskirts of the town, on a hilltop that undoubtedly served as a good lookout position in more troubled times. The construction of the building, which dates from the ninth century, was started under the orders of a gentleman named Terçol, who was a confidant of the Count of Barcelona Wilfred the Hairy. The castle is now privately owned, but if you call in advance (93 866 83 55) you can book a time to visit it. The oldest surviving parts of the castle are the moat, part of the defensive walls and a part of the 12th-century residence of the Xetmar noble family. You'll also see a fortified farmhouse dating from the 16th century that was built using stone from the castle. Your visit to Moianès may coincide with one of the concerts or performances that are held at the castle in the summer.

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Day 3: The Radials of the Ecomuseum

There are still a number of spaces in the Ecomuseum – known as radials – that have yet to be museumized. But plenty are now ready to be visited, and you can go to see some of them today. You already visited the area’s water mills on the first day of your visit, and for today we would like to suggest that you choose between a lime kiln, a farmhouse set in a cave, an ice house, a washing place and a mine. Below we give you an idea of what to expect at each one of these sites.

The ice house is up first. It's is located in Castellterçol, where you spent yesterday afternoon. This type of construction was once used to make a lot of ice in the Moianès region. You can go inside the Poua de la Ginebreda ice house to see how ice was made and sold. And while still in Castellterçol, you can also pay a visit to the Roquer washing place, which is located by a cave.

In L'Estany there's a spectacular work of engineering dating back to the 18th century that still performs the same function today: removing water from the village lake. Although the scenery at the lake was beautiful when it still contained water, it was thought to cause disease, and furthermore, the monks at the nearby Augustine monastery needed land for cultivation. The solution was to build a dry stone quarry about half a kilometre long, which is now open to visitors.

There are still two radials left to present. One of them will take you to Castellcir to visit Mas Esplugues, a farmhouse located in a cavern where you'll learn how its inhabitants exploited the resources available in the woods and fields to keep themselves fed. The other option will take you to Calders, where you'll find three circular lime kilns that date from the 19th century and that were in use until only a couple of decades ago. Nearby, you'll find a Centre for Contemporary Sustainable Art, which is devoted to researching, producing and exhibiting works of contemporary art related to ecology and the local environment.

Moianès may be a small region, but as you can see, it has more than enough attractions to keep visitors busy for 48 hours, and plenty more to offer if you have more time.

La Masia del Solà

Top-quality produce, with dishes ranging from meat and fish recipes to rice and seasonal specialities in a splendid, extensive menu that is based on carefully updated traditional Catalan cuisine. If you like to eat a hearty breakfast, take good note of this place and get ready to start your day with 'trinxat de col i patata' (a kind of bubble and squeak, served here with glazed bacon) or crispy kid meat with French fries, among other options.

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Les Voltes de Sant Sebastià

The people behind this restaurant in the capital of Moianès highlight dishes like tender lamb stuffed with cheese from Montbrú, duck stuffed with wild mushrooms, and pigs’ trotters stuffed with liver. We’re undoubtedly talking about one of the top restaurants in this newly constituted region, serving high-quality cuisine based on locally sourced produce. An added bonus is the fact that it’s located in the old farmyard of a century-old house.

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L’Esclopet

Located in the pretty village of Granera, L’Esclopet specialises in serving grilled meat dishes, and wild mushrooms when in season. Many of the products they use are sourced from local farms and are cooked in the traditional way. You can order 'escudella' and 'carn d’olla' (traditional dish of soup and boiled meat), 'botifarra' sausages, and steaks. Home-made desserts are also on offer at this restaurant, which is part of The Park on the Table gastronomic trail.

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El Rubell

Here they define their cuisine as, 'Typical Catalan top-quality home cooking, which has managed to evolve over time, incorporating contemporary tastes in a sensible way while maintaining the classical touch that is our trademark.' There’s little more to add to that description except to say that this long-standing restaurant in Monistrol de Calders was once an inn where footballer Ladislau Kubala used to stay.

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Urbisol

Serving well-presented, traditional Catalan and avant-garde dishes, this restaurant is located in the charmingly set four-star hotel of the same name which has a spa. Eating here is an unforgettable experience, from the starters to the dessert.

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Molí Vell d'en Sala

Moianès is a region of old flour mills, some of which, like this one, have been converted into country lodges. Molí Vell d'en Sala has preserved all the charm of its original stone walls, while the water that once powered it is now a fantastic pond-swimming pool that you can even go boating on. It’s a pastoral setting and ideal for families with children.

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Hotel La Violeta

Located at a crossroads near to the town of Castellterçol, this establishment was first opened 150 years ago to cater for the travellers who stopped off to rest and have a bite to eat. Although it's changed a lot since then, the hotel still serves basically the same function, with the added bonus of having become a charming place with six elegant and surprising rooms. The restaurant is another key element of this small hotel in Castellterçol.

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Mas Vilarrasa

Located on the outskirts of the capital of Moianès, this country house that sleeps a maximum of 11 guests has five bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. The house is equipped with all of the necessary household devices and has a garden, a swimming pool, and a barbecue area. Kids are sure to love the swimming pool and the games, as well as the farmyard with poultry birds and a horse.

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Motel El Toll

This motel has independent rooms with doors that open straight onto the garden in the quiet, pleasant village of Collsuspina. The motel is closely identified with the restaurant of the same name, which has been operating for 40 years and which we recommend for its local dishes. The motel has a swimming pool, a children’s play area, a car park, WiFi and even a small farm.

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Cal Sabata

This old village house has been restored from top to bottom, and since 2001 has functioned as a country lodge that sleeps a maximum of 11 people. It has a living room with a fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, different sized bedrooms, and a fenced-off garden with a porch, a barbecue, and a deck. There are plenty of places to visit in the village of l'Estany, as well as a swimming pool, a sports centre and parks.

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