Catalonia stands as one of Spain's most sought-after tourist destinations. Located on the Mediterranean coast in the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, it boasts some of the country's finest beaches and a picturesque mountainous landscape.
- 1. Barcelona
- 2. Figueres
- 3. Port Aventura theme park
- 4. Tarragona
- 5. Ferreres Aqueduct
- 6. Cardona
- 7. Artigas Gardens
- 8. Tossa de Mar
- 9. Girona
- 10. Montserrat Mountain
With its seaside and ski resorts, a comfortable Mediterranean climate, and excellent urban infrastructure, Catalonia is not only perfect for travel but also for permanent residence and investment in property in Spain. The region is home to a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural attractions that draw people from all over the world. Let's delve into the top 10 captivating spots you must visit in Catalonia.
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and Spain's second-largest city, draws tourists with its rich architecture and stunning sandy beaches. Among the most popular tourist spots in Barcelona are:
- The Gothic Quarter is home to ancient churches, palaces, and museums. The narrow, winding streets, many of which are pedestrian-only, are lined with old buildings, most of which date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. The Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, stands as the primary Catholic church in Barcelona. The district also houses the city's town hall.
- Eixample is located in the heart of Barcelona, adjacent to the Gothic Quarter. This district showcases the genius of the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. Here, you'll find the iconic Sagrada Família Cathedral, which began construction in 1882 and continues to this day. One reason for its prolonged construction is its funding solely through donations. Additionally, the intricate stonework, where each block is individually crafted, adds to the timeline.
- Casa Milà is another masterpiece by Gaudí, this unique apartment building features undulating facades. Its design is said to be inspired by the sacred Montserrat mountain. Today, it houses a museum.
- Montjuïc is a hill overlooking Barcelona's port. It boasts a well-preserved ancient fortress that now serves as a military history museum. The hill features a vast landscaped park with cascading fountains that host light and music shows. Viewing platforms on Montjuïc offer breathtaking views of the sea, Barcelona's coastal districts, and the port. Visitors can enjoy Spanish cuisine at local restaurants and cafes. The north-western part of Montjuïc is home to a 14-hectare botanical garden. The hill's most beautiful building is the National Palace, a baroque masterpiece, which houses the Catalan Art Museum.
Figueres is a quaint Catalan town located in the province of Girona. It's best known as the birthplace of the renowned artist Salvador Dalí. The town boasts the Dalí Museum and the Sant Ferran Castle. This fortress, built in the 18th century to defend Spain's southern borders from the French, is the largest defensive structure in Europe. Not far from Figueres is the Cap de Creus, the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, offering a fantastic viewpoint.
PortAventura is one of Europe's most popular amusement parks, situated near the town of Salou, just an hour's drive from Barcelona. Opened in 1995, the park is divided into 5 zones, each dedicated to different geographical regions: China, Polynesia, the Mediterranean coast, the Wild West, and Mexico. There's also a separate Sesamo area designed especially for children.
Each zone offers various themed attractions, landscaped gardens, and installations. The park hosts shows, musical performances, contests, and competitions. Visitors can also enjoy cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops within the park.
Tarragona, one of Spain's oldest cities, is situated on the Costa Dorada coastline. It's home to a significant seaport, but its primary tourist attraction is the Roman amphitheatre, built in the second century when Tarragona was the capital of a Roman province. The amphitheatre could accommodate 12,000 spectators and measures 130x102 m. The city centre features the Tarragona Cathedral, constructed in the 12th century, with a nearby museum of religious art. Tarragona's excellent sandy beaches make it a popular destination for tourists.
Located just 5 km from Tarragona, the Ferreres Aqueduct is a remarkable example of ancient Roman architecture. This towering arched bridge once served as a water conduit. While its exact construction date remains uncertain, historians believe it was built during Emperor Augustus's reign. Originally spanning 25 km, only a 217-metre length and 27-metre height section remains intact today.
Cardona is a picturesque Catalan town steeped in rich history. Its standout landmarks include the Romanesque-styled Cardona Castle and the Chapel of Sant Vicenç. Perched atop a hill, the castle complex comprises defensive bastions and a ducal palace. Today, the Cardona Castle houses a hotel, café, and a restaurant offering breathtaking valley views.
The town's heart features a mediaeval square, the venue for annual cultural events and fairs. Just a kilometre away, visitors can explore a salt cave as part of a guided tour.
Close to the small town of La Pobla de Lillet, about 130 km from Barcelona, lie the Artigas Gardens. This stunning landscape project was designed by the famed architect Antoni Gaudí. Nestled amidst hilly woodland and alongside the Llobregat river, the gardens showcase unique architectural elements. One such feature is an artificial cave with internal ponds rich in magnesium oxide. A stone-arched bridge graces the park's centre, and a gazebo at its highest point offers panoramic garden views.
Tossa de Mar is a resort town situated on the Costa Brava coast, 40 km from Girona. Surrounded by cliffs covered in fir trees, the town enjoys mild weather and gentle breezes, making it perfect for beach relaxation.
Local historical attractions include a mediaeval fortress atop a hill and an old town with traditional narrow streets and squares. A favourite spot among tourists is the 10-metre Tossa lighthouse, the town's highest point.
Girona, one of Catalonia's major cities, is bisected by the Onyar River. The left bank boasts modern buildings and infrastructure, while the right bank is home to historic quarters filled with preserved mediaeval structures.
The city's crown jewel is the Girona Cathedral, constructed between the 11th and 18th centuries. While predominantly Gothic in design, its western façade showcases Catalan Baroque architecture. Other popular spots in Girona include the Independence Square, the San Cristófol Gate, the iron pedestrian bridge over the Onyar River, and the 40-hectare Devesa Park.
Montserrat Mountain and its namesake monastery offer a splendid introduction to Catalonia's rocky landscapes. Located 49 km from Barcelona, the monastery houses a library with a vast collection of antique books, including several manuscripts. It also features a museum showcasing religious relics, archaeological artefacts, and paintings. The mountainous forested area surrounding the monastery is a Catalan national park. The highest peak of this range stands at 1,230 metres above sea level. Numerous hiking trails crisscross Montserrat, offering picturesque views of valleys and slopes and a closer encounter with the region's natural beauty.
Enchanting Catalonia seamlessly blends pristine Mediterranean beaches, majestic mountains, magnificent Gothic castles and cathedrals, and of course, modern cities designed for comfortable living. It's no wonder many foreigners choose Catalonia when considering relocating to Spain or purchasing a property.
Today, Catalonia offers real estate to suit every preference, from compact apartments in bustling central districts to luxurious mansions nestled amidst mountains or by the sea. Our website's catalogue features listings of houses and flats in Spain from real estate agencies and developers. With our user-friendly search and filtering system, it's easy to find and shortlist properties for viewing and potential purchase.