The opportunities offered by a region like Osona are endless, with a bounty of natural attractions, charming villages, activities and gastronomy. Given the impossibility of exploring them all in only 48 hours, we've decided to concentrate on just a few places. For example, Calldetenes, which is located just two kilometres from Vic, the capital of the region, and which offers excellent views of the Vic Plain as well as Tavertet, a charming village that's a site of National Cultural Interest.
Day 1: The marl of Vic
Calldetenes is one of the smallest villages in Osona. It's located a stone’s throw away from Vic and that means that its hilltops, such as San Marcos (580 metros), offer splendid views of the Vic Plain. Here and on the surrounding hills you can observe the geological composition of the land, which is marked by the presence of grey-blue rock called the marl of Vic, or dead rock, due to its lack of consistency – it dissolves almost like sugar in hot coffee – which gives the landscape its unique, water-carved appearance. Walk around the streets of Calldetenes, explore the Romanesque church of San Martín de Riudeperes, and take a (previously booked) guided tour of the 12th-century Calvaria Flour Mill. You'll also be happy to know that Calldetenes is a village with an abundance of good restaurants.
Day 2: A visit to the market
Saturday is market day in Vic, and we're not talking about just any market. The one here is one of the most popular and iconic markets in Catalonia and has been held continuously since the 9th century. Its stalls are set up all around the magnificent main square, which, with its elegant buildings and porches, is the nerve centre of the city.
You'll be spending the rest of the day in Vic, exploring some of the city’s treasures. First head to the Cathedral, set in the heart of the old town centre. Surviving from the original 11th-century construction are the Romanesque bell tower and crypt. The rest of the building makes up a journey through the history of European art, with examples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles. Art experts point to the Gothic cloister, the Gothic alabaster altarpiece by Pere Oller, the Baroque chapel of Sant Bernat Calbó, and the mural decorations by Josep M. Sert, which date from the last century.
Finish your day in Vic with an original and fun activity. While the Cathedral is one of the city’s artistic and cultural treasures, its gastronomic treasures include a large variety of charcuterie. During your morning visit to the market you saw plenty of cold sausages for sale and probably gave way to the temptation of buying at least a 'fuet' sausage or two. But have you ever tried making a cold meat sausage? At Ca la Teresona (a charcuterie founded in 1837) you can make your own sausages, and even learn how to label them with your name. You can later follow the drying process from home on the FuetCam, and go to pick up your personalised sausage a short time later.
Day 3: On your bike!
It’s the last day of your visit to Osona and it’s time to do some exercise; the region offers dozens of cycling routes for a range of abilities. If you like the idea of mountain biking but are not particularly fit, or if you simply want to take things easy, a short and simple trail is Route 01, Tavertet - Pla del Castell - Tavertet, which is relatively flat and only a little over 7 km long. It will take you to some interesting spots in the Collsacabra range, including viewpoints of the castle and the Sau Reservoir. That leaves you a few hours to visit a beautiful village called Tavertet, a site of National Cultural Interest, located at the top of vertiginous cliffs overlooking the River Ter. With its lofty views, isolated position and abundance of houses dating from up to 400 years ago, it seems that time has stood still here, and visitors often report a pleasant feeling of freedom. Perhaps that's why an association devoted to interculturalism and spirituality has set up its headquarters in the village. Now, with fresh air in your lungs, the memory of stunning views in your mind and feeling spiritually refreshed, it's time to begin your journey home.
If you feel like pizza during your visit to Osona, an excellent option is to Can Zeppelins in the centre of Torelló. Here you’ll find all the classics, including capricciosa, margarita and quattro formaggi, as well as others that are more surprising and original. And if you don’t fancy pizza, you can order pasta dishes, salads or a dish of fried bread with pork loin in cream of mushroom soup.
Haute cuisine in the centre of Vic, using fresh, seasonal produce. The fish served here comes from both the Catalan and the Cantabrian coasts and is their big speciality – in fact, they describe themselves as a seafood restaurant. But the meat is also worth ordering – try the steak tartare – and when in season, wild mushroom dishes are usually on the menu. This is a small but great restaurant with a wine list that does not disappoint.
A suggestive name for a restaurant that really likes to create and experiment with dishes based on seasonal products. Here they do a bit of everything: cream soups, vegetables, meat, fish, rice... There's also a good selection of cheese, and ham and game dishes. Also definitely check out the 'extras' they offer: a shop selling wine and cava with custom tastings, pairings, food tastings and more.
Behind its modest, simple appearance – in fact, the official sign says something about frankfurters – there lies an establishment that serves cooked breakfasts and lunches that leaving you wanting more, including calf cheeks with white beans, along with a variety of hot and cold starters, making it a good option for complete meals as well as lighter fare.
Refurbished in 2002 while preserving its original character and gaining in modern comforts, Can Janot is located next to the Romanesque church in Tavèrnoles and is today a country lodge with two separate apartments: Can Janot Vell, which sleeps six people, and Can Janot Xic, which sleeps four. Both apartments share the garden, the barbecue and a vegetable plot.
Viladrau was once a fashionable summer haunt, and many rich families from Barcelona built their second residences there. It's set in the middle of the beautiful natural surroundings of the Montseny Natural Park, and the purity of its waters, the quiet of its streets and the fact that it's cool in summer evenings make it still a great place to spend some time in the hotter months. A good place to stay in Viladrau is Can Xisquet, a country house that can be booked as a unit with a maximum capacity for ten guests, with elegant bedrooms where you’ll feel right at home.
This apartment-hotel has charm, great views, and peace and quiet in abundance. It’s located next to an old farmhouse, where the hotel managers live. It’s the ideal place to rest, disconnect and explore the magnificent countryside around Tavertet. One of the main attractions of L’Avenc is its covered heated swimming pool, jacuzzi and sun lounge, which make it a good choice for couples. Look out for their interesting special offers.
This is a simple but cheerful establishment with friendly staff that offers visitors all of the essential services, including a good restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine. It’s an ideal base for exploring Osona, especially the villages of Rupit and Tavartet and the Sau reservoir, as well as the spectacular Collsacabra range.
This establishment is located in the centre of Prats de Lluçanès and can be booked as a unit by groups of up to nine guests. It also functions as a hotel and has single and double rooms, a living room and a well-equipped kitchen. Right next door is the restaurant Cal Baumer, which is run by the same people and has just one long table, and the Cal Vilardell winery which sells wines, cava and spirits.
This museum has been declared of national interest by the Generalitat Government, especially for the magnificent collection of medieval art it contains, but also for the facilities themselves, located next to the Cathedral of Vic. Some 29,000 examples of Catalan Romanesque and Gothic painting and sculpture are on display, as well as pieces of industrial and decorative arts, and an excellent collection of woven cloths and liturgical vestments. Among the masterpieces here are the 'Christ in Majesty' from Santa Maria in Lluçà, the 'Baldachin' from Ribes and the 'Descent from the Cross' from Erill la Vall, all from the 12th century.
First opened at the turn of the 21st century and completely equipped for the scenic arts, whether in the form of concerts, theatre or dance, in both large and small formats, the Atlantida gets the best shows from Barcelona but also promotes local talent, making for a programme that's both complete and varied. The governing foundation of the Atlantida aims to consolidate Vic and Osona as cultural references in Europe.
The museum's main objective is to provide insights on the process of industrialization that took place around the River Ter. It occupies an ideal site, in the old Can Sanglas factory, near the river. The collections, however, are quite diverse, since there is enough space in its 1,500 square metres to treat the river as a natural resource. The museum also hosts Centre of Studies of Mediterranean Rivers (CERM), dedicated to promoting education and environmental awareness, and the stewardship and research in Mediterranean rivers.
If you like Romanesque art and architecture, a visit to Santa Maria de Lluçà is sure to delight you. The monastery, which takes its name from the region of Llucanès, was consecrated in 905, though it reached its maximum splendour in the 13th century. Today the whole ensemble offers many items of interest, especially the cloister, dating from the 12th century, which contains a variety of decorative elements, among which the capitals, in particular, stand out, although the ironwork decorating the door, the murals and the small museum, with pieces of jewellery and religious objects, are also quite remarkable.
A visit to this major example of Catalan Romanesque religious architecture is also worthwhile thanks to its magnificent setting, overlooking a meander of the River Ter. Inside you'll find a monastery that, while humble, features numerous enchanting details, such as its small cloister and the parlour, which later became a cellar, as well as the anthropomorphic tombs that make it clear that the building was raised above a necropolis. To make the visit more attractive, the rooms are decorated with antique furniture and furnishings.
Refurbished thoroughly in the early 1990s, Teatre Cirvianum now offers a full programme of professional and amateur drama, music and dance performances. Its governing board also manages courses and workshops in the annexes of the theatre, and has promoted projects such as the FESTUS youth street arts festival, which takes place in summer since 1999-2000. The festival is committed to projects that propose a special, different and intimate relationship with the audience.
Montesquiu Castle has seen many modifications, both inside and out, since it was first built in 1285, but a visit is always recommendable. On the ground floor, an audiovisual presentation stars the ghosts of four famous inhabitants of the castle telling their stories. Then there's a tour around the castle dependencies. The upper floor is currently the site of the resource centre run by the Diputació de Barcelona and hosts conventions, conferences and courses. If you have time, have a walk around the castle’s park.
Jacint Verdaguer, a key figure in the Catalan literary renaissance, was born in Folgueroles in 1845. His family home has been transformed into a museum that you can visit. And it's worth a trip because the museum itself is inside a typical 17th-century village house, and of course you get the opportunity to learn more about the priest-poet Verdaguer. In fact, the whole village of Folgueroles is like an open-air museum dedicated to the writer, and we recommend that you take a look around it either before or after calling in at the museum.