A week well spent in Catalonia, Spain
9 x days, 4 x towns, 27 meals, 11 bottles of red wine, and hundreds of feel good memories to last us an absolute lifetime, here’s a breakdown of how we explored Catalonia in just over one week!
Day 1 - Barcelona
Checked into El Palauet, on a beautiful street in the heart of Barcelona, walking distance to some of the best hot-spots in the city, El Palauet was filled with so much charm and character. Our favourite was the rooftop beer garden and spa!
Exploring the city, we only had a few hours to spare, so decided to venture our on foot - walking the streets of Barcelona you can see so much, in little time. The markets are a must-stop, and Sagarada Familia sure did take our breath away
Tapas Tour, exploring the streets of Barcelona is hungry work, and there was no better way to cure this than a tapas and wine tour with a true local! We joined a small group of 4 other travellers from around the world, and had our local Catalun guide share with us his favourite local tapas locations. These kind of experiences are our favourite, authentic, and filled with food!
Rental car pick-up, because we intended on doing lots of self-paced exploring, a car was the most accessible option for us, with a rental pickup right in the heart of Barcelona, this was a really easy process!
Visit to Montserrat (1 hour drive from Barcelona), WOW, we had NO IDEA there were mountain ranges as impressive as Montserrat so close to Barcelona! We spent a few hours wandering around the Montserrat, but could have spent days! We highly recommend taking the Funicular, a cable car style transport that whizzed us right up to the top in only a few minutes, for only a few euro’s. We also recommend comfy shoes! If you’re up for some rock scrambling (or even if you’re not) there are so many wonderful view points of the valley and mountains once you’re at the top with the Funicular!
Oller del Mas Winery for lunch, a family run vineyard surrounding a medieval castle that has been transformed into a restaurant is where we spent the afternoon, the food here was divine, (Kirk loved that they kept bringing out bread rolls, we quickly discovered that this occurs a lot in the Catalonia region!) and the wines even better. We enjoyed a long lunch, and there was also a beautiful view of the Montserrat mountain ranges from the top of the castle,
The Green Spot for dinner, who knew Barcelona had so many wonderful plant based food options? If you’re vegetarian, or wanting to experience tasty plant based food, this is the place to go!
Drive to Costa Brava (1.5 hours), we had our time in the city, and now we were ready to hit the coast and explore the Costa Brava region! We are big ocean lovers, and wow, weren’t we in for a big treat!
Arrive Hostal La Gavina, hands down this was our favourite spot in the Catalonia Region, and we often spent our mornings enjoying coffee on our balcony talking about how we could stayed in the Costa Brava region (and specifically Hostal La Gavina) until we were old and grey. Hostal La Gavina is perched upon the cliffside of the Costa Brava region S’Agaro, with ocean views from your rooms, a large swimming pool area, and a number of delicious restaurant options on site, this place really just felt like home for us. The staff here were all so incredibly friendly, and the internal features of La Gavina made us feel as though we were waking up in a palace by the sea each morning
Lunch at Taberna del Mar, only a few minutes stroll along the sandy coast of S’Agaro from our hotel, Taberna del Mar is an ocean-front restaurant specialising in fresh seafood & absolutely nowhere else in S’Agaro can beat these views from your dining table!
eBike in Gualta medieval villages, only a half an hour drive from S’Agaro, and we found ourselves in a tiny medieval village called Gualta, we were lucky enough to have a local guide take us around via eBike (like a pushbike but it has an internal motor that means less peddling, more soaking up the scenery!), We rode until the sunset, through the quiet cobble stone villages, and up to some wonderful view points, and we loved how much ground we covered in such a short period of time on the e-bike!
Costa Brava Sailing Experience, oh what a morning! Our favourite morning of the trip! We enjoyed a slow breakfast at Hostal La Gavina, and then headed to the wharf where we met our captain Jordi on the Costa Magica sailing boat - Jordi invited us upon his boat and we spent the next few hours exploring the untouched beauty of the Costa Brava coast. We anchored at a few spots where we could enjoy a swim, snorkel, the pristine beaches, and a bite to eat and a few beers. The water so incredibly blue and clear, for us there really is just nothing like the ocean breeze and saltwater! For two people who have seen ALOT of ocean and coast, there was really something so extra special, magical and peaceful about the Costa Brava region that made us feel as though we have lived here for a lifetime,
Lunch at Tragamar Restaurant, a short drive from S’Agaro, this restaurant was quite literally on the seaside! After a wonderful feast, we joined the many locals who were also soaking up the sunshine, and went for another ocean dip.
Dinner at Hostal La Gavina, after a seven course feast paired with wines at the restaurant within La Gavina, it was a good thing that we didn’t have far to go between dinner and bed because we almost needed rolling out of there!
Drive from Costa Brava to Girona (1 hour), with sadness, it was time to leave this seaside town, and onto our next adventure in Catalonia - to Girona!
Check-in at Hotel Sants Metges, perched upon a hill this restored medieval castle turned hotel / museum was our base for the next few days, and only a short 20 x minute drive to the heart of Girona
We checked into our modernised apartment room in Sants Metges, and had a little explore around the grounds, with a pool, spa, and sauna, this place ticked all the boxes for some much needed R&R!
Girona Old Town Walking Tour, the last few hours of our day we spent with our local guide Anna, she showed us the preserved Jewish quarters, and we spent the afternoon strolling through the old historic centre, where we visited the Cathedral and also lots of locations that are famous for being where Game of Thrones season six was filmed!
Sunrise Balloon flight over the Volcano, we awoke before sunrise and made our way to the balloon flight starting point, approximately a 45 x minute drive from Hotel Sants Metges. Once up in the hot air balloon, we watched the sun rise as we floated above the clouds, peacefully flying above the impressive volcanoes and beautiful landscapes of Catalonia. We spent almost 2 x full hours in the air, and even shared some champagne and traditional lava cake for breakfast from high up!
Exploring Fageda d’en Jorda Forest, on our way back towards Girona, we stopped at this amazing little ancient beech forest and wandered along the walking trails within, everything so lush and green, Catalonia continuing to blow us away with it’s diverse landscapes and beauty.
Day 7 - 9
After a jam-packed week in Catalonia, we were looking forward to spending our last few days getting off the beaten track, submerging in nature, and having some relax time, so off to Priorat we went!
Check in to Terra Dominicata, okay, WOW, this is exactly what we had in mind.. after driving through the mountains, we arrived at Terra Dominicata in Priorat, a beautiful wine region and surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and orchards. Our room was spacious and even had a secret tunnel that took us directly to the restaurant area! The hotel and farm has it’s very own winery, so we were able to spend our days wine tasting, visiting the nearby vineyards and wineries, and of course soaking up the last of our Catalonia sunshine by the pool. On our second morning we awoke early for a run throughout the mountains, and devoured our complimentary breakfast of pastries, eggs, fresh juices and coffee.
In just over a week, we think we covered pretty good ground through Catalonia, and absolutely fell in love with this region of Spain, from the cityscapes, to coastal towns, and mountainous wine regions, it ticked all of our boxes for a diverse European adventure,
Our favourite part of the trip was definitely the Costa Brava Coast, we will be re-visiting here for sure!
Let us know if you guys had any questions, always more than happy to help via DM at @MishAndKirk !