Blacksmithing, a lawless past, craft beer and electric bikes are just some of the features you'll discover during the course of your stay in Osona, which will centre around the natural area called Lluçanès. You'll never be at a loss for something to do.
Afternoon day 1: Alpens and wrought-iron elements
Alpens, in the north of Osona, is one of those villages everyone refers to as charming, where you'll want to stroll leisurely around its pastoral streets. However, it's perhaps better known for the wrought-iron elements dotted around it, works by the blacksmith Joan Prat, which you'll be able to spot in the form of street lamps, doorknobs, railings, grilles, etc., as well as sculptures, such as 'Manelic' (a character from the famous Catalan play 'Terra Baixa'), which you'll find at the village entrance in the pretty Plaça Major; another dedicated to blood donors – in this case by the artist Enric Pla; and another, 'Dansa Alpensina' – a collective work directed by Miquel Xirau, which was created during the 11th edition of the International Blacksmithing Festival.
Day 2: Beer and bandits
Make sure you get a good night's rest and that you set your alarm for a nice early hour, because you've got a pretty jam-packed schedule for today. Firstly, we recommend you visit Olost and the Espai Rocaguinarda, a study centre dedicated to banditry in the 17th century, and especially the bandit Perot Rocaguinarda, one of the most infamous of the area at the time. Born in Oristà in 1582, and killed in Naples on an unknown date, Perot appears in texts by authors such as Cervantes, Verdaguer and Lope de Vega, and despite having been a real person, many legends surround him as retold by the Espai Rocaguinarda, which opened in 2013.
In the same village, but with a somewhat different theme, we recommend you visit the brewery Cerveses Auseken, where you'll learn about the craft beer–making process whilst taking a tour of the brewery, and completing your experience with a beer tasting.
Your morning will have no down flown by between bandits and beers, so after lunch take a walk around Oristà, its squares and church, and gaze upon houses with carved stone lintels, arched doorways and gothic windows built between the 16th and 18th centuries. In Oristà you could also take the time to visit the pre-Romanesque crypt in the church, and the Rocaguinarda Museum of Pottery from Catalan Countries, a modest museum containing 4,000 pieces of Catalan pottery from across the ages.
Day 3: To Lluçà on two wheels
If you thought Day 2 was pretty intense, get ready for Day 3, which should be just as full-on and with a bit of exercise thrown in. In Perafita you'll find the Burricleta centre, where you can rent an electric bicycle and attempt one of many signalled routes. The company will make recommendations based on the level of difficulty that you're prepared to take on. The electricity incorporated into the vehicle will help out a great deal, so you won't get tired of pedalling, as will the GPS system that comes with it.
A highly recommended route is one that goes all the way to Lluçà, during which you'll enjoy captivating landscapes and take in the tranquility of Lluçanès. Once there, go and meet the locals in Mas La Font, who'll tell you all about their farming activity, and try their organic veal that they produce themselves as part of the La Font Sostenible project.
A must-see visit is the church of Santa Maria de Lluçà, a jewel of the Romanesque era that was consecrated in 905, and which, among many interesting features, includes a small cloister from the 18th century. And what better place than one with more than 1,000 years of history to wrap up this fascinating stay in Lluçanes.
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.