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La Seu d'Ègara

Vallès Occidental, nature and heritage

This getaway will focus on Terrassa but will also take in Vall d’Horta and Casa de les Aigües in Montcada i Reixac

By Xavier Amat
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Vallès Occidental, one of the most populated regions in Catalonia, boasts many natural and heritage treasures. Here you’ll discover some of them, such as Vall d’Horta, Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac Natural Park and the Seu d’Ègara, in Terrassa. Also in the joint capital of Vallès you’ll see the modernista Masia Freixa, while Montcada i Reixac will be the final stop on your trip.

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

Parc Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i Serra de l'Obac. © Oriol Clavera
Parc Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i Serra de l'Obac. © Oriol Clavera
© Oriol Clavera

By segway through Vall d’Horta

First, head to the easternmost area of the Sant Llorenç massif. Vall d’Horta, a valley that forms part of the municipal district of Sant Llorenç Savall, is a great natural area where, for instance, you’ll find the Marquet de les Roques, an imposing building where the poet, playwright, journalist, narrator and translator Joan Oliver, aka Pere Quart, spent long periods. Country farmhouses and vineyards are a good example of the people’s presence in these lands for centuries. You can discover the valley at your leisure on foot but it is also possible, with prior booking, to rent a segway and get around on two wheels. If you’ve never tried this device, don’t worry, with a short explanation you’ll soon pick it up!

Masia Freixa i Minyons de Terrassa
Masia Freixa i Minyons de Terrassa

Two essential visits in Terrassa

Next go to one of the two capitals of the region, Terrassa – the other is Sabadell. Masia Freixa is one of its most emblematic buildings and you’ll be struck by the whiteness of its walls and columns and its parabolic arches. Yet another reminder that modernista architecture is easily identified by its regular features but at the same time each building can be unique. Lluís Muncunill, the most prolific modernista architect in the city, designed it at the request of Josep Freixa, who wanted to transform its factory into his family home. Today the building is owned by the City Council but you can explore its nooks and crannies and secrets on the guided tours.

Don’t leave the city yet because Terrassa also has some very old buildings worth visiting. For instance, the Seu d'Ègara is a real jewel. After years of restoration work, the three churches that make up the site (Sant Pere, Santa Maria and Sant Miquel) look splendid and give visitors a lesson in the history of architecture. Here you’ll see mostly Romanesque remains but also some from the Visigoth period – among the few in Catalonia from that time –, the Renaissance, the Baroque and even the late years of the Roman Empire, without forgetting two outstanding gothic altarpieces.

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Casa de les Aigües Montcada i Reixac
Casa de les Aigües Montcada i Reixac

Casa de les Aigües

You’ll spend the last few hours of the getaway in Montcada i Reixac. Here you’ll visit Casa de les Aigües, a former water extraction and pumping station and a good example of Catalan industrial modernisme. The tour is led by two characters who will take you back to the year 1879, when the station was opened, on a dramatised tour that both adults and children will love. Afterwards, if you have any time left, you can walk through the Parc de la Llacuna, in the same town, an outstanding site with great environmental and heritage value.

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