The Most Beautiful Medieval Villages Nearby Barcelona
Visits to Catalonia are often centred around the marvellous Barcelona. But the region has more to offer than simply its capital. In fact, the region of Catalonia is famous for its well preserved medieval villages. The majority of these are within an hour and a half drive of the city. Amongst them boasts the beautiful Besalú, the village of Pals on the Costa Brava and the unbelievable village of Peratallada. Moreover, these villages are perfect for day trips out of town, or even longer breaks from city life. Keep reading to learn more about what you can see there!
Located north of Barcelona and only half an hour from the city of Girona, the town of Besalú is easily accessible. It is considered to be one of the best preserved medieval towns in the region. In fact, the beautiful Besalú is home to the remarkable sights of the Pont de Besalú and Sant Pere, an old monastery and abbey. There are endless medieval buildings and cobbled streets to wander through, leading you to the Plaça de la Libertat, where you can enjoy a lovely refreshment.
Once upon a time, the town was a bustling market town and had huge power in its former glory. Further, the city became of great importance to the Jewish community. In fact, you can still see traces of the Jewish influence today. For a better understanding, you can pay the mikveh a visit for an in depth explanation of Judaism in the town. A visit to the charming medieval town of Besalú will never go amiss!
What to visit in Besalú:
- Medieval Castle and Bridge
- Monastery of Sant Pere
- Church of Sant Vicente
- Jewish Baths (Mikveh) and Synagogue
- Museum of Miniatures and Microminiatures Micro Mundi
How to get to Besalú:
- By car: 1 h 40′ from Barcelona via the AP-7 and the E-15; 30′ from Girona via the C-66. You will find free parking in town.
- By public transportation: take a train from Barcelona to Girona or Figueres; from there take a bus to Besalú. You can also take a bus directly from Barcelona to the medieval town, but it will take longer.
Like in Besalú, cobbled streets, arches and stone walls line the central quarter of Pals. Here you can browse through ornate pottery shops, small art galleries and independent local stores. However, all the shopping could work up your appetite. Then, be sure to try the town’s famous dish: arròs de Pals a la Cassola.
The rice grows in the region’s renowned rice fields. Thus, if you are a fan of the traditional meal, take a trip to the rice fields of Pals. Go in June to witness La Plantada, when local farmers show how to plant rice manually. While, if you go in October you will have the chance to see the “Rice Harvest“. It is a festive demonstration that ends with a public rice meal. Walk or cycle there on trails that will take you through the rice fields. In addition, you can take the tourist train.
With a picturesque beach on the Costa Brava, enchanting historical centre, a stunning natural park and a calendar full of gastronomical and cultural events, there is something for everyone in this quaint town. While Pals is not known as a costal town, the Platja de Pals consists of a long sandy beach. Also you can find numerous other hidden bays nearby. Whether it be history, delicious cuisine or the beach, Pals is perfect for a relaxing stay!
What to visit in Pals:
- Torres de las Horas, a circular Romanesque tower
- Mirador Josep Pla, a viewpoint from where to experience panoramic views
- Church of Sant Pere, with its mix of architectural styles
- Museu-Casa de Cultura Ca La Pruna, with a permanent exhibition of Catalan wines and cavas (catalan sparkling wines). It also houses the Museum of Archaeology
How to get to Pals:
- By car: 1 h 30′ from Barcelona: take the AP-7 motorway to Girona/France. Exit 9 (Vidreres-Lloret) towards Sant Feliu de Guíxols/Platja D’aro along the C-35. Follow the signs to Palamós (C-31). 40′ from Girona: via the C-66.
- By bus: 2 h 30′ from Barcelona; 1 h from Girona.
Ten minutes down the road you’ll find the town of Peratallada, located halfway in between Barcelona and the French border. The medieval fortified walls of the Castle of Peratallada border the town. From there, you can see the distinctive tribute tower. Further, the town is famous for its extensive gastronomical options, with many highly rated restaurants to choose from. With the name of the town itself meaning ‘carved stone’, there is no doubt you will find this medieval town magical!
What to visit in Peratallada:
- Medieval Castle and the Aula Mayor, the most famous room of the castle
- El Portal de la Verge, the access door to the town
- Plaça de les Voltes, the main square surrounded by arched buildings
- Towers: Torre del Homenaje, Torre de las Horas, Torre de Planta Circular and Torre Norte
- Check out our amazing homes to rent in Peratallada!
How to get to Peratallada:
- By car: 1h 35′ from Barcelona: take the AP-7 to the C-66. 40′ from Girona taking the C-66.
- By bus: 3h 40′ from Barcelona: Barcelona-Palafrugell and Palafrugell-Peratallada. 50′ from Girona taking the line 8 bus.
All these towns are located so close to Barcelona, it would be a real shame to miss out! Check out our apartments in and around Barcelona and book today.