In Catalonia you will always have something more to discover. Choose the landscape to suit your own taste: we are a region full of natural contrasts. You have sea and mountain. You can enjoy hidden coves with crystalline waters, stroll through a green valley bordering a glacial lake or experience nature in the wild. To preserve this rich landscape and ecosystems, more than 30% of the region is protected. The result is 18 natural parks spread throughout the Catalan geography with very different peculiarities among themselves, as much in the flora and the fauna as the orography and the climate. You will find parks with more than 300 different species of birds and 1,400 species and subspecies of both submarine and high mountain plants and ferns. But they do share one trait. Do you know what that is? It is the possibility of finding many proposals to enjoy as a family.
Sea and mountain
In the Pyrenees of Catalonia, time moves more slowly. They still maintain a part of the rural essence, of times gone by, in the villages and in the artistic heritage, which mostly expresses the Romanesque style. Nature maintains a hold on many corners that are practically unexplored, which can only be reached via a hiking route, by crossing thorugh forests, rivers, and alpine meadows, and by heading towards one of the highest peaks in the Catalan geography.
A little more than two hours by car and you will find the sea bathing the Catalan coast. This is a great added value to your visit, because the diversity of landscapes you can see is very large. The Mediterranean, the birthplace of Western civilizations in ancient times, is one of the places with the highest concentration of biodiversity in the world, clearly defined by its colour, fauna and temperature.
The Catalan regions show one of the Mediterraneanís most hidden sides, transforming into tiny and charming coves with fishing boats, kilometres of fine sand beaches, and urban beaches capable of satisfying the need for sunshine of any visitor. Because in Catalonia the climate is your friend: the average temperature is 17ºC and you can enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine every year.
Land of geniuses
These landscapes have served as inspiration for artists from around the world who have contributed to shaping the artistic feel of the twentieth century. These creative geniuses have helped the name of Catalonia to cross borders. The melancholic world of the first piece by Picasso, born in Malaga and created in Barcelona, the luminosity of Miró, the surrealism of Dalí, the painting of Tàpies, and its origins in the group Dau al Set have been inspired by this journey. Catalan culture has managed to unite tradition and roots to result in works that remain in your memory and in time, such as the Sagrada Familia, by the great Antoni Gaudí. The architecture of GaudÌ fascinates people with the structural elements created, the sophisticated constructive techniques, and the use of the materials, the fantasy and the originality of the decorative elements.
Catalonia is a thousand-year old country where you can find all sorts, from dinosaur footprints and traces of Neanderthal man's presence, to a rich Roman heritage and numerous villas and places that have preserved the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. The Romanesque and Gothic style also have a space in the native cultural diversity, as well as the modernism that became the style of the great illustrated civil works of the bourgeoisie that inspired the Industrial Revolution. It left a mark, especially in the field of architecture, with works such as the Casa Batlló, the Pedrera, and the Palau de la M˙sica.
The Catalan capital is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Mediterranean. Come and visit, and savour its unique personality, which combines design and the avant-garde with the heritage of more than two millennia of history. Whatever your interests may be, Barcelona has something to offer you.
Urban and rural life co-exist together
Other Catalan cities also have their own unique appeal, such as Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. They lead interesting socio-cultural, avant-garde and state-of-the-art movements, but they also know how to look back to their past, building human towers, growing fruit trees, carefully cultivating the vineyards to produce the best wines, and giving shape and colour to pottery.
Urban life coexists with small charming villages with squares and arches that maintain the testimony of thousands of years of rural life. Different sized villages receive the inspiration of visitors and offer creativity, innovation and an open spirit based on centuries and centuries of urban life. This is Catalonia. A contrast between the more rural surroundings and the more urban streets just a few miles away.
Since the time of the first Greek and Roman settlements, Catalonia has been fascinated by gastronomy. It is omnipresent in all corners of the country, both in the form of producers, who are the first link in the gastronomic chain, and restaurants. They have led the revolution of stoves that Catalonia has experienced over the last 25 years that has turned it into a world benchmark. Chefs such as Ferran Adrià, Carme Ruscalleda, and the Roca brothers have placed our cuisine among the most reputed in the world. The 60 Michelin stars of 50 Catalan restaurants recognise the combination of tradition, quality, innovation and effort.
"Catalan cuisine is the landscape placed in the pan", as writer Josep Pla said. The sea and the mountains are two ingredients that are also mixed in traditional Catalan cuisine in the form of different products. The Catalan pantry is varied, delicious and of the highest quality. Cheese, sausages, wines, cava, meats, fish, vegetables ... Products that vary according to the season, seasonal products that fill the markets of towns and cities.