For the record, I’m not slagging off Barcelona in any way with this post. In fact, it’s easily one of my favourite European cities.
However, when backpackers are interailing through Europe, they tend to just stop at the big cities, without really exploring the surrounding areas. So my recent exploits in Spain inspired me to put this list together – gorgeous places in Catalonia that are really underrated. Here goes.
‘Beautiful’ doesnt really cover it with Girona. This charming city totally won me over with it’s winding lanes, cobbled streets and rather stunning architecture. It has gorgeous cathedrals, lovely parks and is full of charming cafés and restaurants. And the best part is that shops aren’t allowed to put signs out on the streets so the rustic and historical feel of the city is maintained. Scratch that, the best part is the gelato but that deserves a whole other post…
When I visited, I had dinner at El Bistrot and would highly recommend it. It had a great atmosphere and brilliant Escalivada Paté. And you have to try the Thyme Ice Cream for desert! Get a table by the windows for people watching on the streets below.
Another beautiful location, Montblanc is a medieval town that’s full of history. It’s main feature is an outside wall with square towers from the medieval times, created to protect the city. I recommend you go up one of the towers for stunning views of Montblanc.
Just wandering around this place is gorgeous, but there’s also a pretty cathedral to visit which is quite important to the town’s history. (Look out for the masturbating monkey gargoyle! No, seriously.)
Also, if you’re feeling peckish, grab lunch at Cal Jordi. I had an exceptional Mushroom lasagne here and the host is so lovely, insisting we drink some desert wine from the traditional porró!
3) Sant Feliu De Guixols
This is quite a low key location I discovered at the end of a bike ride from Llagostera down the lovely greenways. It’s a bit off the beaten track but the beach here is just gorgeous with crystal clear waters and pretty landscapes. There’s even a marina and a spot to watch the fisherman at work on the cliffs! A great little find.
Poblet’s main attraction is a royal monastery housing 32 monks (and several cats!). A tour around this majestic building not only teaches you about how these monks live and it’s links to royalty, but is worth a look just for the intricate architecture. The beautiful wooden doors and large arches are really something. Stay behind if you want to visit the monks’ 6.30pm prayers consisting of gregorian chanting. Definitely an experience.
If you’re staying in the area, Masia Del Cadet is a wonderful gastronomic hotel nearby. Dinner at this place was fantastic and my room even had a terrace with great views.
5) Terres Del Ebre
This is one for you nature-lovers out there!
The Vias Verdes from Bot to Benifallet is a gorgeous route of the old railway tracks through impressive valleys and old spooky tunnels, even stopping at the old train stations! It’s a great place to explore via bike or would be cool to hike it (this part of the Vias Verdes is about 11km but is all downhill!). There’s even some natural hot springs to explore enroute!
Another part of the Terres Del Ebre is the wetlands of Ebre Delta National Park. If birdwatching and observing nature is your thing, this is the place for you. If it isn’t your thing, it’s still really pretty. I’d recommend Casa De Fusta for lunch!
As as you can see, Catalonia is full of such wonderful sights and experiences, that aren’t just limited to Barcelona. It has definitely inspired me to branch out and see what’s outside our famous European cities!
Have you been to any of these places? What did you think? Do you have any other suggestions for awesome places to visit in Catalonia? Leave a comment below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!
Please note this is a sponsored post but all views expressed are my own! I wouldn’t play you like that shorty.