If you find yourself in Europe, you may not know how many beautiful places there are to explore besides the typical tourist hot spots. There are plenty of hidden gems all across the region of Catalonia and if you’re feeling a bit of wanderlust, now is your chance to see all that it has to offer!
1. Take a hike in Montserrat
Looking to take a break from the busy city life of Barcelona? The Montserrat mountain is just 50 km from the city and is truly breathtaking. To get to the top of the mountain you can either take a short cable car ride, take a train that runs up the mountain or hike. Either choice allows you to see a gorgeous view and experience the mountainside of Montserrat. If you’re looking to get some peace and quiet, take a hike up the mountain and explore Saint Cecilia’s Monastery. This ancient roman church is filled with history. Plus, there’s lots of modern, abstract art that covers the walls. Also, Montserrat is full of rock structures, peaks in various shapes and gorgeous overlooks that makes the hike all the more worthwhile.
2. Admire the artwork in the Girona Cathedral
Taking a weekend trip to Girona? Don’t miss seeing the Girona Cathedral! Stand at the bottom of the Placa de la Catedral stairs and look up at the majestic architecture. The Cathedral de Santa María was built in between the 11th and 18th centuries. It’s famous for it’s Gothic nave—the widest in the world! Once inside the cathedral, stop by the Cathedral Treasury Museum to see stunning religious artwork. Tickets are only 7 euros and includes an audio guide.
3. Take a tour of Old Town Pals
While you’re exploring Catalonia, check out Old Town Pals, a majestic village located near Costa Brava. Take a walk through the historic village and drop by the Torre de las Horas. This Roman tower is a Gothic-style bell tower and dates back to the 11th century. If you feel like you’re in the middle of an episode of Game of Thrones, you’re not crazy—this part of Girona was actually used to film a couple of different scenes in Season 6. Game of Thrones fans will definitely fall in love with this medieval town!
4. Walk through La Fageda d’en Jorda
Peace and quiet is what you’ll find if you travel to La Fageda d’en Jorda. This beautiful forest is about an hour away from Girona. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a magical forest in a fairy tale. It’s surrounded by 21 volcanoes and rests upon a cooled lava wash. Best time to visit? In mid-November or any time in the fall is the best to see the leaves change colors. If you are tired of walking, head to the La Fageda Dairy Farm. They offer tours showing how they make their yogurt!
5. Step back in time in Peratallada
If Old Town Pals wasn’t medieval enough for you, head on over to the village of Peratallada. This region has been kept in pristine condition and the cobblestone streets are the same stones that have dated back from the 11th century. If you’re in the area, a must-see is the Peratallada castle which is one of the most famous buildings in town. If you’re looking for a place to eat, check out Bonay Restaurant which is one of the oldest running restaurants in town.
6. Go rock climbing in Siurana
Spend a day in this romantic village located right on the side of a cliff. Visitors can take a guided tour to hear all about the legends and rich history of Siurana. Tours start at noon on the weekends. The incredible views in the village also attract a lot of rock climbers. However, if you’re not into rock climbing, you can also wander the cobblestone streets and check out the remains of a Moorish castle.
7. Go white water rafting down the Noguera Pallaresa River
If you’re looking for the ride of a lifetime, white water rafting down the Noguera Pallaresa River in Sort is just the thing to do. Sort is a great city to stay in for a couple nights to explore and check out all the fun things to do along the river. You can travel down the river for 45 euros which includes a package that allows you to go swimming in a pool after! There’s plenty of other activities that you can take part in including kayaking, paintball, and horseback riding.
8. Kayak in Mont Rebei Gorge
If you crave adventure and love to hike, the Mont Rebei Gorge is the place to go! Located on the far west side of Catalonia, this Gorge allows visitors to hike various trails, admire the stunning turquoise water, and hike through forests. Also, there are foot bridges throughout the gorge that lead you across the water to other regions of the gorge. There are stairs that run along the cliffs and right alongside of the mountain which can be a little tricky to navigate—but it’s worth it for the views and Insta-worthy pics.Still interested in seeing the gorge, minus the hiking? You can take a small ferry boat or rent kayaks to explore the gorge.
9. Explore Aigüestortes National Park
Want to go explore Spain’s most beautiful natural park? You’re in luck. Aigüestortes National Park is located right in the Pyrnees mountain range and is covered with untouched flowers and lakes stretching for miles. With so many lakes and waterfalls to explore, it’s truly a hiker’s paradise. Plus, with nearly 14 acres of forests to explore, you can definitely spend the day wandering through this expansive park.
10. See the stalagmites in the Benifallet Caves
The Benifallet Caves are literally a hidden gem in Catalonia! This set of six caves with ancient stalagmites were discovered in the late 20th century. While you’re there, you can take a guided tour that takes you throughout Dos Cave and Meravelles Cave. While the visit will cost you 7 euros, it’s definitely worth it for the incredible things you’ll see down under. If you’re staying in the area, make sure you check out the rest of the village which is full of restaurants and bars and is lively throughout the day and evening.
11. Spend the day at the beaches in Sitges
This Mediterranean coastal town is located in the Garraf area is a beach lover’s paradise. Besides the gorgeous coastline, there are lots of other things to do in the area including various festivals and sports events. The Sitges Film Festival draws in visitors from all over the world and is held in the first week of October. If you only have a short time in Sitges, we recommend spending the day biking along the coast and taking a dive into the water that surrounds the town.
12. Wander through Tarragona’s Roman Ruins
If you haven’t gotten the chance to visit Rome, Tarragona’s Roman Ruins are the next best thing. What was once called Tarraco is now a beautifully preserved area of ruins dating back nearly two thousand years. Further, this city was once of the most crucial cities in the Iberian Peninsula and is rich with history and culture. There is an old amphitheater and many museums across the city to visit. If you’re interested in history and like to explore ruins, it’s definitely worth a trip!
Ready to start your journey in Catalonia? Check out our latest flight and hotel deals and explore this historic region.