What happens when you arrive in Begur? You feel a call to enjoy the good life, its beaches, and the coves hidden between the cliffs and the vegetation, and the historical centre and the gastronomy of Empordà.
From this coastal town of the Costa Brava you will enter inland Catalonia, leaving the sea behind you. The route begins with a trip to the past to discover the medieval trident that form Pals, Peratallada, and Monells, three charming villages that are worth visiting. You have to lose yourself in its streets and pass through corners like the Tower of Hores de Pals, the three walls that guard Peratallada, and the porticoed square of Jaume I in Monells.
The first settlers of the mountain range of Las Gavarres
The route continues towards the past to land in the Gavarres mountain range. Thousands of years ago, at the beginning of the Neolithic period, the first settlements were established here in the open air. Today there are still a large number of megalithic monuments, mainly dolmens. In the area of Fitor, twelve of these funerary constructions made with large slabs have been identified, such as the Tres Peus, the Roca de la Gla, the Doctor Pericot and the l'Estanyet. They are Vestiges of the extinct inhabitants of the mountain range who lived between 3300 and 1800 BC.
Relax in Sant Hilari Sacalm
The water is closely linked to the history of Sant Hilari Sacalm, known as "the city of one hundred fountains" because of the large number of water springs that are gathered there. Many take advantage of their mineral-medicinal properties and this has given rise to spas such as Font Picant and Font Vella. A visit to Sant Hilari Sacalm is not complete if you do not spoil your body in one of its spas.
In Espinelves, the next point marked on the map of the route through inland Catalonia, the icon is not the water, but rather the trees. In this area, you find the grove of Masjoan, the largest forest of monumental trees of Catalonia. In this municipality, the Fira de l'Avet is celebrated annually, which fills the streets with stalls selling fir trees, especially of the varieties of the area: Masjoanis and Picea excelsa.
The main course: Rupit i Pruit
From Espinelves you head towards La Vall d'en Bas, a town surrounded by mountains, cliffs and summits, which extends over a plain populated by streams, churches and manor houses, and which will be the aperitif before reaching the main course: Rupit i Pruit. This ancient medieval village houses an artistic Romanesque ensemble, connected by slate streets and flowery balconies that are scattered around the majestic castle.
History and gastronomy in Vic
Do you fancy another portion of history, and one of gastronomy? Vic is the place for you. In the historical centre of the city you will find the Roman temple, which was built at the beginning of the second century AD, the Cathedral of Sant Pere, the Episcopal palace, and the Bridge of Queralt. But what has made it one of the most popular cities in Catalonia is its weekly market and the pork sausages, especially the longaniza, which has Protected Geographical Indication.
A journey inside a mountain of salt
An hour's drive from Vic you will feel some of the sensations that the miners experience. In Cardona is the Salt Mountain, a unique geological phenomenon that hides an old mining development inside. Equipped with a mining helmet, you will enter inside the mountain to travel about 500 meters through spectacular galleries covered with stalactites and stalagmites, and you will see the different seams of salts. As you are already in Cardona, visit the castle (9th-12th century), in Romanesque and Gothic styles, an imposing stone fortress that stands high on the hill before the mines. Inside is the Romanesque church of Sant VicenÁ (11th century).
You will love Mura
And from one Romanesque church to another, that of Sant Martí, nestled in Mura accompanying the stone houses that make up the town, and with an enviable environment dominated by the Natural Park of Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac.
Manresa is already a good attraction to continue with your itinerary and give you a hiker's touch while travelling along a section of the Camino Ignacisno, which recreates the route that Ignacio de Loyola travelled in 1522 from Loyola to Manresa.
Next stop: Montserrat. You will be captivated by the majesty of the mountain with its mesmerising silhouette trimming the sky, and the spectacular monastery and abbey, which seem to rise up from the rocks. Below the mountain range on its eastern side up to Igualada, for many years it was an important industrial centre of the treatment of the skin.
Goodbye with a sunset
Afterwards, the upper part of the Conca de Barberà will open the doors of the valley of Corb river to you, the land of cereals, of olive trees and of the medieval town of Guimerà. Finally, you will cross the Canal d'Urgell in Arbeca, before heading towards Lleida, from where you can watch the spectacular sunsets from the West. Pure magic.