This blog post was originally posted on December 29, 2015, and was updated on May 3, 2019.
Barcelona is wonderful, but there is so much more to discover outside of the city. In particular the wonderful medieval villages in Catalonia.
Catalonia has a rich history, beautiful and varied landscapes and amazing local food and wine. Getting out of its capital to explore the area is an absolute must! However, while there are many day trips just a short train or bus ride away, there are also a number of gorgeous, medieval villages in Catalonia that are worth the drive out of the city.
Most of these must be reached by car, as they are planted in the middle of the beautiful Catalan countryside. Furthermore, each can be fit into a day, so don’t doubt taking a day out to visit one of these beautiful medieval villages in Catalonia!
When it comes to well-preserved medieval villages in Catalonia, this beautiful place wins hands down. Peratallada is well worth the hour and a half drive from Barcelona. Seemingly dropped into a beautiful, sprawling countryside, stepping inside its walls is like stepping back in time.
Local’s Tip: Make sure to also grab a bite at Bonay, one of our favorite restaurants for casual yet rich Catalan countryside eats. Not sure what Catalan food is all about? Let our foodie guide Raquel explain some of our favorite dishes that you must try while in Barcelona!
Just a 10-minute drive from Peratallada you will find Pals, another medieval village worth visiting if you’re already in the area. The Gothic Quarter has been greatly restored in this beautiful town. Finally, don’t miss out on the imposing 15-meter high Romanesque tower, the Torre de les Hores.
Besalú is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Catalonia. Find it tucked away in the volcanic region of La Garrotxa. The most notable (and photo-worthy!) sight is the 12th-century Romanesque bridge spanning over the Fluvià river. Take a walk around to the back of the village to see small herbal gardens. Not to mention, here you’ll also find some instructions on how to make one very potent Catalan digestif, ratafía.
4. Castellfollit de la Roca
Though there isn’t a whole lot to see within the tiny town of Castellfollit de la Roca, the view of this cliff-hanging village is enough to leave anyone speechless. Of course, if you’re in the area, it is definitely worth stopping by to have a look for yourself.
Cadaqués is an old fishing village that has inspired artists, passersby, and countless others throughout the years. The cobblestone streets are sprinkled with bougainvillea twist and seem like a maze and all eventually end at a fishing port and beach that packs to the brim in the summer months.
Local’s Tip: Be sure to also visit Salvador Dali’s old stomping grounds, his own home, and garden are located in Portlligat nearby.
Built upon the tip of a rock, Siurana is one of Spain’s lesser-known destinations. However, it truly is one of the most beautiful medieval villages of Catalonia. Southwest of Barcelona, located in the wonderful region of Priorat (famous for its wine), Siurana has breathtaking views of the valley and river where it gets its name.
Local’s Tip: Be sure to taste the region’s extra virgin olive oil, which has DO status, as well as the excellent Priorat wines.
Begur may be small (less than 4,000 people call it home!), but this tiny beachside town packs a massive punch. A true triple threat, it’s home to fabulous gastronomy, fascinating historical sights, and some of the best beaches in Spain to boot. The stunning medieval castle offers unparalleled views of the old town, with its characteristic whitewashed houses and cobblestone streets, and the shore is dotted with hidden beaches and secret coves that make for a great day of exploring.
Another beautiful village to the west of Barcelona, Guimerá is a tiny little town with only 300 residents! Take a walk around the cobblestone streets and get lost in its charm. Finally, when you are done, head up to the 10th-century castle that boasts panoramic views of the area.