Getaway to Vallès Oriental: Montmeló, Granollers and La Roca

We will see the important heritage of the region and experience the passion for motor racing
La Roca Village
By Xavier Amat |
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The trip we now begin in Vallès Oriental is focused on three towns close to each other. In Montmeló, as well as the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, we will discover interesting sites from Roman times. Later we'll go to Granollers to walk through the squares in the town centre. Finally, in La Roca del Vallès we will follow a prehistoric route but we will quickly return to the present to explore the shops of La Roca Village.

IN COLLABORATION WITH BARCELONA ÉS MOLT MÉS AND THE DIPUTACIÓ DE BARCELONA.

Jaciments Montmeló

Afternoon day 1: Roman Montmeló

We start in Montmeló, a town that will delight lovers of archaeological sites, especially from the Roman period. There are two important sites: Can Tacó is a unique political-military Roman enclave, dated between the late 2nd century BC and early 1st century BC. It stands out for its perimeter wall with two large cisterns to collect rainwater and extensive remains of wall decorations in a fine state of conservation. It is listed as a Cultural Asset of National Interest by the Government of Catalonia. The other is Can Massot, a Roman villa whose most notable element is a room that preserves the threshold of the front door, decorated with an exceptional piece of blue marble or limestone with white streaks and doorjamb holes.

A journey to the past of the splendid Roman Empire to begin our exploration of the Vallès region.

Circuit de Catalunya Montmeló

Morning day 2: The Circuit

We have a radical change of theme but not of town. It is time for the smell of tarmac and to visit the famous Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya. The venue offers the opportunity to explore the facilities from inside on a tour of areas normally only frequented by drivers or mechanics and other parts that you may have seen on television but you can now discover for yourself. You can walk in the paddock, the boxes, the briefing room, the press room or the VIP lounge... and even go up on the podium! You will learn a little more about how a motorbike or Formula 1 race is organised, how the mechanics work or how the competition is supervised. Check the days when the guided tour is available.

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Porxada Granollers

Afternoon day 2: Squares of Granollers

This afternoon we suggest a walk through the centre of the region's capital, Granollers. There are several historic squares, very close to each other. Plaça de la Porxada is the most photographed and renowned. It dates back to the years 1586 and 1587, when the Council of the town of Granollers commissioned a corn exchange from the Barcelona housemaster Bartolomé Brufalt. Since then, Plaça de la Porxada has witnessed the passage of thousands and thousands of locals and strangers and many important events. We can next go to Plaça de l'Oli, attached to Plaça dels Cabrits, and the latter to Plaça de les Olles. Here, in Plaça de la Porxada, food stalls were also set out. Today the commercial spirit of the whole area is alive, and looking above the shops we will find very beautiful Gothic bay windows or in some cases if we look at the front doors we will see old porches or arcades. Plaça de Perpinyà (also known as Plaça dels Porcs), Plaça de Maluquer i Salvador (also known as Plaça del Bestiar or de can Sínia) and Plaça de la Corona are other squares you must discover on this walk through Granollers.

Morning day 3: La Roca, between prehistory and the Middle Ages

Very close to Granollers is La Roca del Vallès, where we will spend the last day. One of the most outstanding and emblematic buildings in the town, and very visible, is the castle on top a hill that still has the appearance of a fortress. We have references to it dating back to the 10th century, although it is known that it was extensively rebuilt in the late 15th century and restored in 1952, when it was bought by its current owner, Antoni Rivière. As it is a private castle and inhabited we cannot go inside but it is worth looking up and taking some photos.

Later, and given that we are in front of the gateways to the Serralada Litoral Park, we can take the Prehistoric Route of Céllecs on foot or by bike by following the signs of the PR C-36, which will take you to megalithic monuments such as the covered gallery of Can Gol, the dolmens of Céllecs and Can Planes, or the Pedra Foradada. Constructions that show us that those ancestors already felt very much at home in this part of Vallès.

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La Roca Village
© La Roca Village

Afternoon day 3: Shopping in La Roca Village

Did you begin this trip on a Friday afternoon and so today is Sunday? You can still go shopping if that's what you want! La Roca Village is open every Sunday throughout the year and if you don't know this place on the outskirts of La Roca del Vallès we recommend a visit.

There are over one hundred shops, mainly selling clothes but also perfumes or delicious chocolates. It brings together the best labels and most of what they offer is available at prices that can reach 60% discounts. You see that it is a long pedestrianised street with shops on both sides, closely ressembling a Mediterranean town featuring many houses with a modernista air. There are even benches inspired by Gaudí that recall those of Park Güell. The youngest can safely run and they will find some children's parks to play. If you are hungry or thirsty there are many terraces to relax or ice-cream or crepe stands. A place where you can spend a pleasant afternoon to round off your trip.

Restaurants, Mediterranean

Aroma Restaurant

Dishes based on Catalan and Mediterranean recipes, with excellent ingredients from local suppliers, and in a warm, family and intimate setting. This is the Aroma Restaurant in Sant Celoni, opened just over a decade ago. You can choose from several set menus.  

Restaurants, Catalan

Mont Bell

Four decades of work have earned this establishment is reputation, which might be defined as something more than a restaurant because it has several distinct areas to eat depending on if you are holding a function, a business presentation or having lunch or dinner with your partner – if this is the case, you should know that they have a dining room for romantic candlelight dinners. The menu is very comprehensive, with around one hundred dishes of local, traditional and creative cuisine.  

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Restaurants, Mediterranean

La Mama

The restaurant is located in Can Magre, a 16th century country house, and has several spacious dining rooms. If you go in summer, the terrace is very nice, where you can also have lunch under the porch. The range of dishes is very wide, including rice and noodle paellas, pizzas, grilled meat and fish. Leave room for the delicious desserts.  

Restaurants, Mediterranean

Lucerón

The Lucerón restaurant offers a lovingly created cuisine based on local products and some specialities with a long history, from the time when Antoni Lucerón and his wife first opened a restaurant in the 1970s. Today it is run by their daughters and they are committed to lovingly-cooked food very well presented at the table.  

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Restaurants, Catalan

Can Collet del Pla

'Trinxat' (mashed potatoes and cabbage), duck confit or beef stew. Onion soup, cannelloni or duck liver with Pedro Ximenez wine reduction. At Can Collet del Pla they cook quality dishes using local ingredients. You won’t go hungry. This country house on the outskirts of Sant Antoni de Vilamajor also boasts different dining rooms (and therefore different atmospheres), with a warm welcome and good service. And on summer evenings they expand their selection of dishes with a tapas menu to savour while you enjoy the breeze blowing off the peaks of Montseny.  

Hotels

Hotel Can Cuch

Can Cuch opened its doors as a hotel-restaurant in 2011, so, despite being a house dating back to the 10th century, it still smells new. It oozes charm from every corner, with cosy well-appointed rooms, a chill-out terrace with spectacular views of the El Vallès region, and a wine cellar in a natural rock cave. Just the spot if you're after an unforgettable romantic getaway.

Hotels

El Folló

Rural tourism establishment in a 12th century country house in Montseny Natural Park. It was refurbished in 1993 and now has eight rooms, each one boasting spectacular colours and views, all with private bathroom, and three accessible for disabled people. It offers guests a restaurant service, sharing the table with the owner's family.  

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Hotels, Spa hotels

Vila de Caldes Balneari

In the spa town of Caldes de Montbui it’s a good idea to stay in an establishment that offers spa and thermal treatments, and Vila de Caldes Balneari does all of that, and under medical supervision. Its recently refurbished rooms are all elegant and have views. If you want to dine on the premises, Burg & Gintònic is a contemporary-style lounge/burger restaurant.

Hotels

Hotel Mercure Augusta Vallès

This hotel is strategically located near a motorway exit, a five-minutes drive from the Circuït de Barcelona–Catalunya racetrack, 15 minutes from La Roca Village shopping centre and only 20 minutes from Barcelona. All of its 101 rooms are soundproofed, and the hotel has meeting rooms and a restaurant, Transit, which specialises in Mediterranean cuisine. There is also a swimming pool and a solarium.

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Hotels, Rental apartments

Atenea Vallès

Aparthotel in the town centre of Granollers, and therefore well connected, with 84 apartments of 35 m2, all of them with bedroom, sitting room, kitchen and bathroom; ideal for a maximum of four people, two adults and two children. Car park, gym, several meeting rooms and a restaurant with sophisticated dishes are several of the assets of this establishment.  

Things to do, Event spaces

Fàbrica de les Arts Roca Umbert

Over the last decade, the old Roca Umbert textile factory has become the centre of cultural life in the capital of Vallès Oriental. The building contains different spaces including the municipal library, opened in 2005, the Centre Tecnològic i Universitari, the Espai d'Arts, which provides services and resources to the region’s artistic community with the aim of promoting contemporary creation, and cub, a space given over to rehearsals and musical production. Special mention must be made of La Troca, a unique space that hosts a dozen entities related to the world of popular and traditional culture.

Theatre, Public and national theatres

Teatre Municipal Can Gomà

Not many places can claim to have been wine and champagne production facilities before becoming a theatre with a program of dance and children’s and professional drama. The building is very beautiful both inside and out, and retains its original cellars. What was once the wine vat is now the sound and light booth. A place, then, that offers some added value when attending a show, and a good example of how to convert old buildings to other uses.

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Museums, Art and design

Thermalia

On the ground floor here there is the tourism office of Caldes de Montbui, an obligatory stop-off to find out everything you need to visit the town. You can also take advantage of your visit to see everything that Thermalia has to offer, from the history of the town’s spas to an important selection of works by the sculptor Manolo Hugue, who lived in the village for many years, and a number of pieces by his friend Pablo Picasso. The temporary exhibition room also features interesting exhibits.

Museu de Granollers
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Museums, Art and design

Museu de Granollers

The museum’s collection covers various fields, including archeology, art, decorative arts, ethnography and numismatics. The Natural Sciences are also studied here since an extension was built in 1987. The museum is therefore multidisciplinary, as you will discover when you explore its permanent and temporary exhibitions which will help you to learn more about past and present of Granollers and its surroundings. And for lovers of contemporary art, there is a good exhibition on the third floor of the building.

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Theatre, Public and national theatres

Teatre Auditori de Granollers

Opened a decade ago, the building was designed by local architect Josep M. Botey, and consists of two halls: the larger one with a capacity for 700 spectators and the smaller one for 221. The number of shows that are scheduled throughout the year is remarkable; they include music, theatre and dance, but if you just want to explore the building, nothing better than to ask for a guided tour (for groups with a minimum of 15 people), on which you will be able to walk around the stage, the dressing rooms and the stalls.

Museums, History

Casa Museu Prat de la Riba

Head for Castelltercol to discover the house where Enric Prat de la Riba, one of the greatest 20th century Catalan politicians, lived. Prat de la Riba was the creator and first president of the Mancomunitat (Commonwealth), and whether you agree with his politics or not, the house is worth a visit because it retains the decor and atmosphere of an early 20th century town house. We particularly like the bedroom, with its 19th century furniture, and the atmosphere of the office, which was transferred here from Barcelona.

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