|| Situated in the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula, Catalonia covers an area of 32 000 km2 and has 6 million inhabitants.
History, language and a distinct cultural, political and legal tradition have shaped the personality of the country and the people. Nowadays Catalonia is an autonomous community within Spain with a government of its own known as the Generalitat.
Catalonia is a land of rich and varied scenery and has preserved a rich architectural heritage.
- The Catalan Pyrenees, with peaks rising to 3 000 m, run along the northern side of the country and are ideal for skiing, hiking, hunting and fishing,
- while perfect conditions for nautical sports are offered by the 580 km of Mediterranean coastline, where the tall cliffs and secluded coves of the Costa Brava and Costa de Garraf alternate with the long sandy beaches of the Costa del Maresme and Costa Daurada and the unique natural environment of the Ebro Delta.
- Inland lie many fine cities steeped in character, with magnificent historic building, among them Lleida, Girona, Tortosa, Vic and several others. Barcelona, Catalonia's cosmopolitan capital, is one of the most fascinating cities on the Mediterranean, offering a lively cultural life, good shopping, and many sporting events and facilities.
- All these factors, together with an established tradition for fine eating, plentiful accommodation and excellent services and facilities, make Catalonia one of Europe's leading tourist regions.
- This map shows the location of the chief towns, cities and other sights of interest to visitors, though the sheer number of historic buildings and other attractions make the choice a difficult one. It also provides much useful information. Welcome to Catalonia!
Language and culture
- Catalonia's own language is Catalan, a Romance language which has co-official status alongside Castilian (Spanish). Catalan literature, though affected by the political and cultural vicissitudes of the country's history, boasts outstanding prose writers and chroniclers -Ramon Llull, Ramon Muntaner, Josep Pla-, magnificent poets -Ausiàs Marc, Jacint Verdaguer, Joan Maragall, Josep Carner, J.V. Foix- and gifted novellists -Joanot Martorell, Narcís Oller, Mercè Rodoreda.
- Catalan music and dramahave produced some remarkable works, personalities and groups. Examples in the field of music are the Llibre vermell de Montserrat, Antoni Soler, Enric Granados, Frederic Mompou, Pau Casals, Alícia de Larrocha, Montserrat Caballé, Josep Carreras, Tete Montoliu and the Nova Cançó movement, while the Teatre Lliure, Els Comediants, Els Joglars and La Fura dels Baus, are among the leading names of the major theatrical revival of recent years.
- Catalonia's artistic heritage is a permanent reminder of the creativity of the people. Examples are Empúries, the Roman monuments in Tarragona, the vast Romanesque heritage, both rural and urban, the civil and religious works of Gothic art, the great painters of the 19th century, such as Marià Fortuny, the flowering of Modernist art (Art Nouveau) with Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch, and the world-famous Catalan artists of the twentieth century -Nonell, Mir, Gargallo, Miró, Dalí and Tàpies. Catalonia possesses a large number of museums, ranging from the famous Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, with its extraordinary collection of Romanesque art, to the small ethnographic museums of country towns.
While Catalan cuisine has a personality and flavour all its own, it is also an integral part of the Mediterranean gastronomical tradition with its three classical ingredients -wheat, oil and wine- enriched by Oriental and New World influences. The country's varied landscapes give rise to wide range of ingredients and cooking methods. There are basically three types of cuisine: that of the mountains and hinterland -mainly meat, cheese, sausages, and the produce of market gardens, forests and farmyards -; that of the coast - tasty fish, often served with rice, noodles or potatoes-; and that of the cities, consisting of variations on traditional and international dishes.
The following are some of the best loved dishes:
- escalivada (baked vegetable salad),
- pa amb tomàquet (the popular tomato bread),
- botifarra amb mongetes (sausage with white beans),
- escudella i carn d'olla (broth, stewed meats and vegetables),
- arròs a la cassola (casseroled rice),
- arròs negre (rice cooked in cuttlefish ink),canelons (canelloni),
- coca de recapte (savoury pastry),
- faves a la catalana (stewed broad beans),
- rovellons a la llauna (wild mushrooms),
- trinxat amb rosta (potato and cabbage cake),
- pèsols ofegats (peas à l'étouffée),
- fricandó amb bolets (veal fricandeau with mushrooms),
- mandonguilles amb sèpia (meat balls with cuttlefish),
- cargols a la llauna (snails),
- peus de porc (pig's trotters),
- bacallà amb samfaina (salt cod with ratatouille),
- calamars farcits (stuffed squid),
- graellada de peix i marisc (grilled fish and seafood),
- llagosta amb pollastre (spiny lobster with chicken),
- romesco (spicy sauce),
- sarsuela and suquet de peix (types of fish casserole),
- ànec amb peres (duck with pears),
- conill amb allioli (rabbit with garlic mayonnaise),
- costelles de xai (lamb cutlets),
- perdiu amb col (partrige with cabbage),and so on.
The most mouth-watering deserts:
- include excellent fresh fruit (melons, peaches, apricots, figs, strawberries, cherries, etc.) and
- high quality sweets and pastries: bunyols (fritters), coca de llardons (suet pastry), crema cremada (caramelized custard cream), massapà (marzipan), menjar blanc ("blancmange"), panellets (marzipan cakes), torrons (almond sweets), and tortells (pastry rings).
A glass of one of the delicious Catalan wines are an essential complement: red, white and rosé table wines and generous desert wines (such as ranci) are sold under eleven different authorized labels (D.O.) :
- Terra Alta,
- Conca de Barberà,
- Costers del Segre,
- Empordà-Costa Brava,
- Alella ,
- Pla de Bages,
- Montsant i
- Cava sparkling wines also enjoy a well-deserved reputation. Prepared by means of the "Champagne" method, they come mostly from the Penedès area (Sant Sadurní d'Anoia).
Culture / discovery
Its history and tradition make Catalonia one of the richest tourist destinations in terms of cultural resources, with a rich, attractive monumental heritage offering visitors endless opportunities to enjoy art from many different periods.
Catalonia offers many possibilities for those who seek active tourist experiences based on sport. Such visitors will find excellent facilities assuring them a splendid holiday all over the country. Just choose your favourite sport and find all the different products and facilities available.
Nature-lovers will discover not only a pleasant, temperate Mediterranean climate, but also a wealth of landscapes and rich diversity in Catalonia. From steep, rocky coasts to gently sloping sandy beaches, from inland plains and wooded mountains to deep Pyrenean valleys and snow-capped peaks, the opportunities to enjoy nature are endless here.
Leisure / rest
Tourism can have a calm and peaceful side based on rest, relaxation and leisure activities. Catalonia offers numerous opportunities for enjoying experiences full of peace and pleasant sensations.
Interested in seeing more of Catalonia during your stay?
More about Barcelona: museums, architecture, fine dinning, entertainment, and more?…
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Want you to discover Catalonia by your own? Visit the Official Tourism websites: