Grand Tour de Catalunya - Section 5. From Surrealism to Modernism. From Figueres to Barcelona
The Grand Tour de Catalunya is a journey full of travels. This circular route, inspired by the great journeys that the young people of the 17th century bourgeoisie made through Europe, proposes a rediscovery of the territory beyond the main icons of our land, so that you can enjoy its purest essence through the unique landscapes that it gives us, a unique identity and cultural heritage and a gastronomy that will make your taste buds vibrate.
The Grand Tour of Catalonia, which covers more than two thousand kilometers, is not designed to be done in a single run, unless you are one of the lucky few who in our current busy world, and have almost more than a month to be able to do it. For this reason, this route offers you 5 different sections divided into several stages, where each stage is equivalent to one day. In this way, each traveler can organize the route to their liking, travel it at their own pace and at any time of the year.
The last stage will take you back to the sea on a journey that runs from the capital of surrealism, Figueres, to the capital of modernism, Barcelona, over 7 stages and 525 kilometers .
Along the way, one will enter through the Costa Brava in seaside and bohemian towns such as Cadaqués and will have the opportunity to cross some of the most beautiful stretches of Caminos de Ronda, pure Mediterranean essence. The sea will not be the only postcard image of the section, since you will meet again with the medieval villages, this time those of the Empordanet. For mountain lovers, the Montseny Natural Park is presented as a gift with beautiful trails and routes. On the way to Barcelona, you will enjoy the family beaches of the Maresme and the Indian architecture, the gastronomy of Vic, the DO Alella wine and other delicatessen for the palate.
Read on for more details on the last stage of the Grand Tour de Catalunya.
You cannot miss :
- Natural Park of Cabo de Creus, Cadaqués and Portlligat
- Inland medieval villages
- Montseny Natural Park
- Barcelona coast: modernism and Indian villages
Stage 1: Dalí's Empordà
The stage begins in the hometown of Dalí, the genius with the sublime mustaches, so there is no plan that does not include a visit to the Dalí Theater Museum , an authentic surrealist monument in itself. We recommend a guided tour to delve into the genius of the artist's mind and not miss details of all the trompe l'oeils, visual resources, metaphors and symbols that his works hide. After the visit, you can also visit the Toy Museum , where you can find toys from the genius's childhood and the Empordà Museum , a museum dedicated to the culture of the area.
Did you know that there are two other Dalí museums? Crossing and advancing along the roads of the Cap de Creus Natural Park , you will arrive at Cadaqués , one of the most beautiful and iconic towns on the Catalan coast and the stopping point of the stage where the Casa de Portlligat is located, the house that Dalí turned into his workshop and a meeting point for many of the artists and intellectuals of the time . In Púbol, stands the Castle that Dalí gave to his wife and muse, Gala . The route that connects these three museums is called the Dalinian Triangle .
Driving between vineyards of the denomination of origin (DO) Empordà , hit by the tramontana, extending from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean, you will arrive at the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes , where you will learn the close relationship that this territory has with the wine tradition and the monks who inhabited the monastery. From the viewpoint, you can see how the Pyrenees merge with the sea and a beautiful panoramic view of Cap de Creus and Port de la Selva.
After visiting the monastery, the house of Portlligat de Dalí and Cadaqués, you will head towards the ruins of Empúries , where the Greeks and Romans entered the Peninsula and built one of the most prosperous and important towns of the time in what which refers to the wine trade.
To end the day, in L'Escala , a town with a seafaring tradition, the Anchovy and Salt Museum is a mandatory stop to discover the work of the salting factories and taste the well-known anchovies of L'Escala .
Stage 2: A trip to the Middle Ages
The day rises in the second stage of the section. This stage will immerse you fully into the ampurdanesa essence through the character of its villages, medieval towns and fishing villages along 72 kilometers that will take you from Pals to Tossa de Mar.
With Montgrí and its castle at the top behind you, you will approach L'Estartit, from where you can embark to visit the Iles Medes, a Mediterranean paradise for diving enthusiasts . Afterwards, the Grand Tour offers you an exciting journey into the past through the medieval towns of the Empordanet: Ullastret, Peratallada, Monells, Pals, etc. and the best way to do it is on two wheels, so wear comfortable clothes to go out on an e-bike. You will be located in the land of the Manzana de Girona, a product with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) , so you are morally obliged to visit a local cider house to taste this delicious elixir and other products derived from the apple. Then, embarking on the route again, you will move back to the shore of the Mediterranean to discover the beauty of the coves of Begur and Calella de Palafrugell . Do you already know which writer used to spend the summer on Canadell beach?
You will end the day in Palamós , where the best way to get into the local seafaring tradition is through traditional recipes in a 'boat cooking' workshop, where you will learn to prepare the dishes that the sailors and fishermen prepared on board the boats. boats when they went fishing. Products as emblematic as the prawn from Palamós and the rice from Pals will not be missing from the list of ingredients .
Next, you will have the privilege of being able to see the arrival of the fishermen to port and see how the fish auction takes place. Before ending the day, wine is the best pairing for fish, so a stop at the Brugarol winery to taste several DO Empordà wines is the best option. Oh, and don't forget to enjoy the winery's architecture! It has been designed by the prestigious and award-winning architecture studio RCR. A feast for the eyes .
To finish the stage, head towards Tossa de Mar, where you can spend the night.
Stage 3: Coastline of the Costa Brava
In this third stage, you will dedicate the morning to the towns in the south of the Costa Brava, visiting majestic gardens hanging over the sea. Then you will head to the City with Character of Girona and finish the 90 kilometers of this stage in the picturesque town of Hostalets d'en Bas.
The panoramic view of the Villa Vella de Tossa de Mar is one of the Costa Brava postcards, with the wall surrounding the fishing district of Sa Roqueta. Let yourself get lost between the wall and the narrow streets, authentic balconies on the Mediterranean that will offer you beautiful landscapes of the sea. After the visit to the Vila Vella, the Grand Tour proposes you tour one of the most beautiful stretches of all walks of Ronda, specifically the section between Sant Feliu de Guixols and Tossa de Mar.
The next stop of the stage takes you to enjoy the rest of the morning and noon in Girona . Before that, make a short detour to Lloret de Mar , where both the beauty of the Santa Clotilde Gardens and the imposing views of the sea will steal your heart. The landscape from the stairway guarded by two mermaids is unique! And if by chance, you are passionate about the world of botany, in Blanes you will find another important garden, that of Marimurtra .
Once in the city of Girona, a gastronomic visit is the best option to get to know the city, since in addition to stopping at the most important points of the heritage, you will be able to experience and taste the typical flavors of the area: the xuixos, the ice creams of the Roca brothers, donuts, local cheeses and liquors , etc.
In the afternoon, golf lovers can take a break to play a few holes at one of the best golf courses in Europe, the PGA Catalunya Resort . Then, you will head towards the lands of the Pre-Pyrenees, specifically in the Garrotxa region again, this time to get to know one of the most picturesque and beautiful villages in the area, Hostalets d'en Bas .
Stage 4: Hiking in the Montseny
The first stop of the day is in one of the Charming Villages, Rupit , with its iconic set of stone houses in the middle of the Collsacabra, a natural landscape of mountains with vertiginous cliffs, streams and waterfalls . At the Rupit tourist office you can hire a visit to delve into the history of this town grown under the shelter of a huge rock where one day there was a castle.
Next, you will head to Tavertet to make an excursion that will allow you to get spectacular views of the cliffs that take the name of the town and the Sau reservoir, one of the reservoirs of the Ter River at the foot of the Les Guilleries mountain range, surrounded by exotic pine and fir forests. Already in Manlleu , the next stop of this stage, you will discover the industrial past marked by the river Ter through a theatrical visit.
You will continue the route on the way to Vic . Its Plaza Mayor is one of the most emblematic of the Catalan regions , a monumental porticoed square that is always very lively, especially during the weekly market. Thanks to the guided tour of the city, in which you will have the opportunity to discover its Roman temple, the cathedral and the streets that were part of the Jewish quarter, you will be able to enter a centenary dryer to taste the sausages that have made Vic famous, the fuet and llonganissa .
In the afternoon, the Grand Tour proposes you to discover and delve into the local folklore and learn about the legends of witches and bandits that surround the Montseny Natural Park, a place declared a Biosphere Reserve . The best way to do it is undoubtedly putting on your hiking boots and doing a circular route in which you will find majestic redwoods, firs, beech and oak trees that seem to have been taken from a fairy tale. Later, if you are interested in learning more about the relief of the area, you can visit the Espai Montseny de Viladrau , the park's interpretation center.
Stage 5: The modernist Maresme
The modernist heritage of the coastal towns of the Maresme is the prelude to your arrival in Barcelona, in the 154 kilometers that await you ahead, not without first stopping in Alella to taste some wines that were already produced in Roman times.
Going down the mountains of the Vallès Oriental, you will reach the Maresme coastline, characterized by fine sand. In Sant Pol de Mar , let time pass and relax contemplating the calm sea. The rest of the morning can be dedicated to touring the different towns along the coast to discover the modernist heritage of the area. In Canet de Mar , you can visit the house of Domènech i Montaner and taste the modernist stained glass windows, some typical tea pastries of the city, or in Arenys de Mar the Sinera cemetery and in Mataró the Casa Coll y Regàs and the Nau Gaudí , the first work of the architect, they are also very good cultural options.
In the afternoon, let yourself be delighted with an organic rosé cava from DO Alella , which pairs perfectly with the Vallalta strawberries .
On the way to Barcelona, if what you are looking for is to download adrenaline, in the Catalunya circuit you can enjoy various experiences related to the world of speed, or if what you prefer is to enjoy an afternoon of shopping, in La Roca Village you will find more 140 stores of the main national and international boutiques.
Stage 6: An appointment with Gaudí
The best modernist buildings by Gaudí and Domènech i Montaner, trencadís crafts, the most traditional Catalan cuisine and a literary walk through the Born district complete your first day in Barcelona.
Begin the stage with a guided tour that will follow in the footsteps of the Barcelona Modernism Route, which runs through 120 buildings with works as important as Gaudí or Domènech and Montaner: Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Casa Vicenç, the Modernist Site Sant Pau or the Palau de la Música Catalana are some of the icons of this trend. After the visit, you will continue with your immersion in modernism with a workshop to learn trencadís , an ornamental technique characteristic of modernism. With some basic tools and pieces of ceramic and glass, you will come up with your own elaborate piece and great ideas for recycling construction materials!
At noon, you will be able to participate in a traditional Catalan cooking workshop, and with a full belly, you will set off on a literary route to visit the stages of pieces such as La sombra del viento or La catedral del mar. At night, enjoy the bustle of the city with some tapas and a good glass of wine.
Stage 7: The sea of Barcelona
The last stage to finish the Grand Tour is dedicated to the sea of Barcelona and the products that are extracted from it.
The best way to enjoy the essence of any town or city is by visiting the markets with local products, and Barcelona's market network is one of the largest in the world with more than 40 markets. With the carrycot in hand and with the help of a local guide, you will enter the stalls to get the freshest and best products and then be able to prepare a good rice. Write down all the steps of the recipe well to be able to succeed when you cook it at home for your friends and family!
In the afternoon, you can visit the fishermen's brotherhood, see the arrival of fishermen to port and discover how a traditional activity such as fishing has survived in a large metropolis, being able to serve all the demand of the city.
To put an end to the Tour and the stage, you will board a catamaran to close with a golden key this wonderful route that will have shown you the essence of Catalonia. A good swim in the Mediterranean, an aperitif and a glass of cava watching the sun set behind the Collserola mountains is, without a doubt, the best way to finish.
Encourage us to visit the Grand Tour of Catalonia, enjoy the essence of our land in all its splendor like never before. For more information visit https://grandtour.catalunya.com/en/
Text and images Grand Tour de Catalunya.