Need sun, sea and beach, but don’t want to travel too far for it? Then Catalonia is the ultimate travel destination for you. In this area on the northeast coast of Spain, you will find the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada.
Think of destinations such as Lloret de Mar and Blanes, where the teenage hormones are flying around you, but also trendy cities that are perfect for a city trip, such as Barcelona. Of course, a visit to the FC Barcelona stadium should not be missing, but that is certainly not the only highlight of this region …
Montserrat is a spectacular Benedictine monastery high in the mountains. I think Montserrat is a magical place and it was the highlight of my trip through Catalonia! Montserrat is located about 50 km northwest of Barcelona and is the most important and mysterious mountain of Catalonia. The monastery of Montserrat has significant religious significance and attracts many Catholic pilgrims every year. They visit the beloved “Virgin de Montserrat”: a black statue of a virgin who can perform miracles. They come to touch or kiss the statue’s hand.
View Gothic buildings in Lleida Catalonia
Lleida or Lerida is a place in the west of Catalonia. It has beautiful historic buildings, such as the Institut d’Estudis Ilerdencs historical museum, which was previously a Gothic-style hospital. The cathedral La Seu Vella is also worth seeing: this cathedral was built in both Gothic and Romanesque style. Another impressive building is the Gardeny castle, which was used by the Knights Templar. The town hall La Paeria is a monument from the Middle Ages. If you go out at the end of the day, don’t forget to bring a jacket. There is no Mediterranean climate in Lleida, and it can cool down well when the sun is down.
Enjoy the beach and history in Sitges
Sitges is a beautiful and trendy seaside resort with a 6 km boulevard and is a popular place for locals from the region. The town is authentic and atmospheric, and there is a lot to do. There are three beaches: Playas Zona Centro, Playas Zona Levante and Playas Zona Poniente. The centre is small and has many beautiful and historic buildings, and I particularly like the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It is also lovely to visit the Bacardi museum. Facundo Bacardi, the founder of the brand, was born in Sitges.
Relax on the beaches of Sitges
Sitges is half an hour’s drive from Barcelona. It is a fishing village with a lively, relaxed atmosphere. There are more than fifteen ‘golden beaches’ around Sitges, which contrast nicely with the colourful houses. And where is it better to enjoy fresh seafood than in a fishing village?
Eating and drinking in Catalonia
Eating and drinking play an essential role in Catalonia. Catalan cuisine is famous, and the Catalans are incredibly proud of their wines and cava. You can arrange a gastronomic tour at various places in the region and discover the gastronomy of the area. But if you drive your car through the vast landscape, you will see local restaurants everywhere and make a stop in a small village and eat there, providing an excellent introduction to the gastronomy of the region. Many restaurants work with a daily menu, where you can choose from many starters and main courses and usually pay an amount of around 15 euros for a divinely tasty meal.
Walking to Castell d’en Plaja in Lloret de Mar
Believe me: the nightlife in Lloret de Mar is terrific when you are seventeen. But you can also do other things there. For example, visit the Castell d’en Plaja castle. You walk straight from the beach. You cannot attend the castle itself, but you have a phenomenal view of the coastline of Lloret de Mar from here. One of the sights in Catalonia that you should not miss.
Experience the local traditions and festivities in Catalonia
The culture of Catalonia is abundant, and there are many local traditions and experiencing a local festival is the perfect way to get to know and experience authentic Catalonia. Young and old are full of pride in participating in the festivities and passion and liveliness spatter from it. In the summer there is a summer party or other activity somewhere in every village since Catalans make a party of everything! For example, there is the midsummer night on June 21, and in September, there are harvest festivals in the many villages since this is the time that the grapes are harvested.
The botanical garden of Blanes
The botanical garden of Blanes, or the Jardí Botànic Marimurtra, is a beautiful sight in Catalonia. You will not only find all kinds of tropical plants here, but you also have a fantastic view of the sea. Are you in Blanes and do you want to do something else than lie on the beach and party until the light comes on? Then, visit the botanical garden. Then you can regain your strength.
Attend training from the Castellers
Attending a training of the Castellers (the human castles) is a unique experience that introduces you to the traditions of Catalonia. People climb on each other and create a meter-high tower. In Catalonia, this is a dangerous sport, and there are competitions for it. People train for years, and it takes a lot of practice and art since people stand on each other’s shoulders, and everyone has to keep his or her balance. Strength, balance and endurance are the magic words at the Castellers. Towers of four people, of three people, towers of nine people, all possible options are there.
Barcelona is the capital and most famous of all the sights in Catalonia. We can fill an entire article about the city, but we’ll save that for another time. Things you absolutely should not miss are La Sagrada Familia, designed by (there is “i.e. again”) Gaudí. Construction on the church started in 1882 and is expected to be officially completed in 2026.