A good friend of mine, Frank, once walked the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella. I love to hear all about this remarkable journey through Catalonia, an authentic piece of Spain. Part of the route passes the Spanish Pyrenees in the north of the region. A journey with small villages, impressive monasteries and old churches in the background. During my holiday in Catalonia, I learned that the Costa Brava has beautiful beaches and impressive castles. And the best of all? The food is absolutely delicious!
My exploration of the Mediterranean took me to all kinds of places, including some true gems in Catalonia. And when I stumble across a small-scale bed & breakfast I just might spontaneously decide to spend the night.
My Spanish recommendations are small-scale and unique, which means the owners may not have a lot of free rooms available during summer. Do you want to book a holiday in Catalonia? That means you're looking for a location away from the masses and I recommend that you start searching in time. You can be the first to experience my latest discoveries or head out spontaneously with a last minute to Catalonia.
Good to know: my flying holidays to Catalonia include a rental car and a place to stay.
Locals consider this Spanish region 'a country within a country'. I sympathise with the Catalan pride of their 'country'. Catalonia is different than the rest of Spain . And at least equally beautiful. A trip to Catalonia offers so much variation, from a holiday by the sea to hiking in the mountains and a visit to the cities in between.
And nature enthusiasts can treat themselves to the woody mountains of the Pyrenees. Whatever you do, don’t forget to stop every now and then to marvel at the remarkable view. The villages and towns in the mountains are very different from the rest of Catalonia. I highly recommend taking some time to explore them. And then there are vast natural reserves, such as Montseny; definitely worth a visit. I like to follow up an active day in the mountains with some ‘time off’ by the coast. Golden beaches, clear blue water and the sand under my feet; there’s no such thing as a bad day for that. The coastline of the Costa Brava is perfect for a beach holiday and a great place to unwind.
And for variation, I love heading out to a city every now and then. A fly & drive holiday to Catalonia gives me the freedom to hop in the car and go on a city trip whenever I want. I can’t get enough of the remarkable Catalan cities such as Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona. The impressive architecture and rich culture never cease to amaze. With fun cities and towns within arm’s reach, Catalonia is a great destination for a short holiday or a week away from home.
Just like I discovered the semi-dry Fondillón Alicantino wine in Alicante Catalonia ignited my love of cava. Riddled with vineyards, the region provides a perfect setting for a hike or road trip. Don’t forget to taste the sangria de cava, a unique version with cava instead of red wine. Such a great summery refreshment! One Catalan dish that you have to try is Fideua. It resembles paella except it is made with thin pasta instead of rice.
Pinchos are another great tip for a culinary trip in Catalonia. Pinchos are small bites, like tapas, but served on a toothpick. Don’t throw away the toothpicks because the number of toothpicks on your plate s how they calculate the bill. A great way to try all kinds of tasty little dishes from Spanish cuisine!
Catalonian weather is different for every region. The coast has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers with temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees. Odds are you'll find me in Alicante during summer vacation. The inlands have colder winters and hotter summers and are also great for a warm holiday to the sun. In the Pyrenees, it rains a lot and even snows during winter, which sometimes covers the mountain tops well into the summer. The mainland of Andalusia is a great winter sun destination, but I do not spend my winters in Catalonia. I prefer to head out to my beloved Canary Islands instead and treat my skin to the warm Canary sun.