It's an ideal time to visit more off-the-beaten path regions of favorite destinations. For example, I love everything Barcelona offers, plus there are so many ways to explore the surrounding region - like the coastal cool of Sitges (pictured above) to rocky mountain highs in the Prades and Pyrenees Mountains. Catalonia is rich with arts and culture, history, and cuisine you'll love to savor across all its landscapes!
Excerpt below from 12/10/20 Virtuoso article by Catalan Tourism Board can be found HERE.
Once an ancient country molded by Iberian, Greek, and Roman cultures, Catalonia today attracts travelers as a distinct autonomous community in northeast Spain, full of regional traditions and stories. Coastal Barcelona, with open-air market patatas bravas and dreamlike Antoni Gaudí’s architecture, is arguably the most well-known destination here – but there’s much, much more to explore. We recommend planning your trip by grouping the region’s destinations into three categories: cities, marine villages, and small towns. Here’s a sampling of what to look forward to.
Make Girona Your Home Base
Located between the seaside Costa Brava region and the Pyrenees Mountains, just over an hour’s drive northeast of Barcelona, the city of Girona and its surroundings make a great introduction to Catalonia’s varied landscapes. On the List: Gaze upon Romanesque and modernist buildings in one of the world’s best-preserved Jewish quarters, fall in love with the flower arrangements at the Temps de Flors festival held each May, and make reservations for the hallowed 18-course tasting menu at three-Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca.
Find Artistic Refuge (and a Great Time) in Sitges
Catalan’s character is said to swing between seny and rauxa, which roughly translates to between “good sense” and “fits of madness.” Locals say that the same can be said of Sitges. At first glance, this seemingly quiet seaside town presents itself as a sanctuary of picturesque white houses and delicious seafood. However, Sitges is the birthplace of Catalan modernism and home to a raucous LGBTQ-friendly carnival in February. On the List: Have a rum tasting at Casa Bacardi, dedicated to the founder of the famous brand, Facundo Bacardi. If you’re visiting in October, catch a movie at the Sitges Film Festival, which specializes in fantasy and horror flicks.
Climb High in Siurana
At 2,400 feet above sea level, Siurana (population 168) sits on a limestone crag amid the Prades Mountains and Serra de Montsant Natural Park above the village’s namesake river. Rock climbers from around the world come here to scale peaks such as the Reina Mora cliff face, which served as a strategic lookout point for the ancient Muslim community that thrived here before the Christian Moors invaded in the twelfth century. On the List: Head to nearby Priorat wineries such as Mas Doix and the Scala Dei tasting room (both about a half-hour drive west) to sample local reds, mountain bike in Montsant park, and take in the sunset from one of the many clifftops.
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