CATALONIA & ANDORRA: Between the Pyrenees, modernism & history
DURATION: 9 Nights / 10 Days
- Day 1- Arrival to Barcelona Airport, Accommodation in Cadaques
- Day 2- Accommodation in Gerona
- Day 3- Accommodation in La Molina
- Day 4 – Accommodation in Pas de la Casa
- Day 5 – Accommodation in Andorra La Vella
- Day 6 – Accommodation in Barcelona
- Day 7 – Accommodation in Barcelona
- Day 8 – Accommodation in Tarragona
- Day 9 – Accommodation in Sitges
- Day 10 – Departure from Barcelona Airport
Day 1 – BARCELONA – CADAQUES (Aprox. 180 Km)
Arrival in the El Prat Barcelona International airport. Immediately after one is on route due North on the first adventure towards the idyllic, unspoiled & mythic fishermen´s village of Cadaques. Situated in the Nature Reserve on the Cap de Creus peninsula, Cadaqués is one of the most symbolic places on the Gironese Costa Brava. At the head of Cadaqués bay is its historic quarter. A network of narrow cobblestoned streets and white washed houses creates old town with an inspiring Mediterranean air and deep seaside flavour. This has been the source of inspiration for international famous painters and artists for decades. Visited by many famous artists, it was Salvador Dalí who gave Cadaqués its utmost international fame. The artistic genius spent long periods here during his childhood as well as establishing his home. Recommend is the fascinating visit to the home-museum, of Dali located beside Port Lligat bay, which along with the Municipal Art Museum exhibits work by artists who maintained close links with Cadaqués. The rich culinary tradition of Emporia is well represented in Cadaquès and Dishes like fish “suquet” (stew), rice casserole or cuttlefish with pease, shows a clever combination of products from the sea and from the inland. Accommodation in central situated Hotel S`Aguarda *** (or similar).
Day 2 – CADAQUES – GERONA (Aprox. 75 Km)
Leave Cadaques through the scenic narrow curved road bringing one close to next stop on route, the town of Figueras. Birthplace of the great controversial surrealist artist Salvador Dali & at the same time home of his impressive last artwork – The Theatre Museum Dali. Given to him by the town hall, the building was designed by the master to accommodate a large part of his seductive works – and at the end to serve as his burial place. Further on, a stroll through the small town will take you along narrow streets passing some important modernist works such as Casa Cusi & the former slaughterhouse which today serves as a cultural centre. Enjoy lunch on the charming Plaza Mayor before catching the coach towards the special authentic city of Gerona, also serving as capital of the province. Placed on the banks of the Onyar River, one will note the extraordinary sight of the colourful houses reflected in the water. Then stroll through the ancient well preserved Jewish quarter ”Call” located among the more than 600 years old Forca street. Finally reaching the astonishing Romanesque & Gothic Cathedral – with the widest Gothic naive in the world. One can continue to admire the Arab baths dated back to the 12th century, or enjoy another Modernist expression in the notable work ”The Casa & Fabrica Harinera Teixidor”. Accommodation in central situated Hotel Ultonia**** (or similar).
Day 3 – GERONA – RIPOLL – NURIA – LA MOLINA (Aprox. 83 + 32 + 50 = 165 Km)
Well prepared try go for a round trip of the impressive Catalonian highland. First stop can be at the beautiful Lake of Banyoles located close to the village of the same name, the largest natural lake in Catalonia. It became famous as the rowing location for the Barcelona Olympics 1992, and similar to Loch Ness, it counts for its own local monster. The route takes you further on to the charming village of Besalu which most significant feature is its 12th century Romanesque bridge over the Fluvia River. Take a stroll round the characteristic arcaded streets and squares. Making acquaintance with a restored mikveh, a ritual Jewish bath dated back to the 11th century & the church of Sant Pere which goes back to the year of 1003. Last stop the this hectic morning could be in the village of Ripoll, the capital of the county of Ripollès, also known as the cradle of Catalonia. It’s located on confluence of the Ter River and its tributary Freser next to the Pyrenees near the French border. Visit the important Romanesque Benedictine monastery, Santa Maria de Ripoll, dated back to the 8th century. After lunch next next stop could be in Ribes de Freser situated dramatically on the mountain side of the confluence of the Freser, Rigard and Segadell rivers. The atmospheric village contains also of a rack-railway that runs from the town to Queralbs and to the shrine of Núria, through the Nuria valley. As Queralbs is the highest point in the valley reachable by road, the rack railway is – besides the old footpath/mule track – the only way to reach the shrine and ski resort of Núria. This fascinating tour could be topped up with an interesting visit to the “Sanctuary of the Virgin of Núria” monastery. Back in Ribes, one will make her way to La Molina through another mountain landscape going through the pass “La Collada de Tosses” of more than 2000 m. Molina is a known ski resort which in the summer contains of numerous activities. Accommodation in central situated Hotel HG La Molina****.
Day 4 – LA MOLINA – LLIVIA – PAS DE LA CASA (Andorra) (Aprox. 20 + 37 = 57 Km)
Today, one will experience a real curious phenomenon as one visits the Spanish enclave Llívia within the French department of Pyrénées-Orientales and separated from the rest of Spain by a corridor about 2 km wide. After the visit one can drive along the French side of the border towards the sixth smallest nations in Europe, the legendary Principality of Andorra. This landlocked microstate- an area of 468 km2 – Located on the roof of the Eastern Pyrenees Mountains bordered by Spain and France. As the only state in the world, the official language is Catalan. Entering the country from the French side alomg the spectacular mountain road, with its fabulous views of the impressive mountain peaks, beautiful valleys, running rivers, steaming thermal source, and lakes etc., one will arrive at the town & ski resort of Pas de la Casa. This refers to the pass, being the only point of Andorra, where water drains into the Atlantic Ocean. At 2408 m, it is one of the highest points of the European road network. Enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding Pyrenees as you wonder round the charming village which has a regular population of 3000 inhabitants. Furthermore it’s also a large shopping hub thanks to the wide variety of stores. Enjoy the surrounding nature and why not take a hiking route in the afternoon or experience some the many cultural activities which always takes place here. Accommodation in central situated hotel Meta*** (or similar).
Day 5 – PAS DE LA CASA – ANDORRA LA VELLA (Aprox. 30 Km)
After enjoying the fantastic mountain views during breakfast one will continue along the spectacular mountain road, with its fabulous views of the impressive mountain peaks, beautiful valleys, running rivers, steaming thermal source, and lakes etc.will takes us right through the heart of Andorra to its capital Andorra la Vella. It’s the highest located capital city in Europe, rising 1023 metres above sea level. The city is also known worldwide as a paradise for exclusive tax free shoppers, so this afternoon is “sacrificed” for this very special event. Andorra is really a place to relax, to be fit and enjoy life. During this day one can experience several of the reasons why. Taking off from the valley and up at the mountain one will pass the village of La Massana overlooking the idyllic valley of Anyos. Further up reaching the town of Ordino which lies on the foot slopes of the Casamanya (2740 m), a mountain which has spectacular panoramic views from its summit being located almost exactly in the centre of Andorra. One can choose to visit The National Auditorium of Andorra located in Ordino town, which characteristic narrow cobblestoned streets one can stroll along afterwards. Sights could be the Sant Cebrià Church, the gardens of Casa Rossell and Casa d’ Areny. One can go on and experience the ascent the astonishing valley of Arcalis and passing through the picturesque villages of Llorts & El Serrat one will finally arrive at the fabulous lake of Tristiana. Here one will get the opportunity to breathe the clear mountain air while strolling along the wonderful lake. Back through Ordino one can decent over the mythic Coll D’Ordino pass and the curved roads, which has experienced many dramatic Tour de France/Vuelta de España stages. Arriving in the capital it is recommendable to visit the water world of Caldea. Being Europe’s largest health spa, using the water which emerges from the thermal source in Escaldes-Engordany at 68º C, it creates a harmonious interrelation between the body and water in its futuristic surroundings. A real treat and the way to end a wonderful day before dinner. Accommodation in the central hotel Tudel*** (or similar).
Day 6 – ANDORRA – MONTSERRAT – BARCELONA (Aprox. 160 + 55 = 215 Km)
Leaving the valley of Andorra la Vella on the way back to Spain. Through the spectacular Catalonian jagged highland and the long Cadi tunnel one will reach the important Montserrat monastery, understanding the meaning of the word Montserrat (Jagged = Serrat in Catalan). Catalonia`s Saint – ”The Black Madonna” – & the famous boys choir ”La Escalonia” can be witnessed in person, when one enters the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat. After the visit one will descend to the extraordinary Catalonian Capital Barcelona. Late afternoon a sightseeing tour of the historical Gothic old town can be arranged: The starting point can be the imposing Santa Maria church. From there impressions continue as one can visit the Medieval Cathedral, Palau de la Generalitat, the Town Hall, and strolling by the charming narrow gothic streets to the typical & lively Plaza Real Square. A must is of course walking on the always busy & atmospheric pedestrian area ”Las Ramblas”. One could end this afternoon looking at the Columbus statue or maybe visiting the folkloric ”Boqueria” market. Last but not least, one can approach the authentic Barceloneta quarter next to the popular pleasure port area, ending up in the Olympic Port, experiencing what history and evolution combined can do to a city. Accommodation in a centric hotel Tres Torres*** (Easy access from the highway and with parking).
Day 7 – BARCELONA
This morning a panoramic tour could take place in the Modernist Barcelona. A first stop on the sublime ”Paseo de Gracia” avenue, features many decorative forms of ironwork, ceramics and stained glass. The perfect example is seen on the prominent block of ”Manzana de la Concordia” where Gaudi’s ”Casa Battlo”, Domenech’s ”Casa Lleo Morena” and Puig’s ”Casa Amatller” really stand out. Further one can visit the famous and genius ”La Pedrera” building and continue to the dramatic ”Church of the Holy Family”. A symbol of the city and of course the flamboyant Gaudi who historically often was commissioned by the industrialist Guell family. One can witness examples of this productive collaboration on several stops, such as the Guell Palace and the spectacular ”Guell Park”. The park, majestically located on the Collcerola Mountain above the old town, combines architecture with nature creating a series of breath-taking experiences for the visitors. The park also contains the curious ”Gaudi House Museum” where this special man’s creativity really can be seen. Further driving along the mountain range, one will pass the charming village areas Sarria & St. Gevacio before reaching the gothic monastery of Pedralbes. Highlights are the three-story cloister and the gardens inside the monastery. One can end the day with a visit to Domenech’s master piece Palau de la Musica. Accommodation in a centric hotel Tres Torres*** (Easy access from the highway and with parking).
Day 8 – BARCELONA – POBLET – TARRAGONA (Aprox. 120 + 43 = 163 Km)
Before leaving the city on the way South one should ascent the Montjuic mountain to enjoy the panoramic views of the sea, mountains and city. Then becoming acquainted with the Olympic installations next to the old Royal Palace. Going further South one will soon be driving on the old roman highway ”Via Augusto” passing under a spectacular Roman Triumphal Arch from the 3rd Century. Before arriving in Roman Tarragona one can make a turn inland for an impressive and different day approaching the often overlooked route of the Monasteries of the Cister order. First in line is the Monastery of Santes Creus, founded in the 12th Century by French monks, with its artistic decoration that reflects utterly the identity of the Cister order. Continuing the journey to the city of Montblanc. A walled town preserving the atmosphere of the Medieval era, experiencing the outstanding beauty of the main square and its palaces. Later one, as one reaches Poblet situated in a beautiful valley one will visit the best preserved Monastery – Santa Maria – of the Cister order and see the Cloister, the church & the Sant Jordi Chapel and of course witness the fantastic star shaped Dome. Ending up in the vibrant Mediterranean city of Tarragona, Catalonia’s Roman capital. Time to enjoy the local life and gastronomy. Accommodation centric situated hotel Urbis Centre***.
Day 9 – TARRAGONA – VILAFRANCA DEL PENEDES – SITGES (Aprox. 54 + 21 = 75 Km)
Begin the day exploring the ancient & charming old Roman Tarragona, the best conserved in Europe. Starting at the Archaeological National Museum with its magnificent mosaics collection and the archaeological ensemble: The Pretoria and the Forum Romano Circus delicately connected with secretive domed tunnels. Then a walk on the 1 km long city wall to the seashore where we find the spectacular well preserved Amphitheatre. Leaving Tarragona behind going North, approaching the Capital of the wine-region of Penedes Vilafranca, one can visit the local Wine Museum. In this region the variety of wines is among the largest in the world, but without any doubt the most original wine of the region is the sparkling one known as Cava. The production is concentrated around the town of San Sadorni D’Anoia. One can visit Cordoniu one of the world’s most beautiful wineries and experience a train ride through the ancient subterranean tunnels of the bodega. Later arriving in the picturesque and still unspoiled seaside village of Sitges, located on the feet of the Garraf Mountains 25 km South of Barcelona. On a stroll round the magnificent old town one can visit the Cau Ferrat – the private residence of Santiago Rusiñol – and the Maricel Palace which houses an interesting collection of contemporary art. All in all, a different way to spent time getting close to the Catalan culture. Accommodation centric situated Hotel Capri*** (or similar).
Day 10 – SITGES – BARCELONA (Aprox. 29 Km)
Departure from Barcelona airport located south of the city. Take the beautiful coastal road situated on the borderline of The Garraf Mountains and nature-park. Make a short stop and get a good glimpse of Gaudi`s less known works the ”Celler” restaurant building which is to be found in the cosy Garraf village.
- Group A: Fiat 500 (0r similar)
- Partial Damage Cover with excess (CDW) and occupants insurance.
- Free cancellations & amendments.
- Unlimited mileage.
- VAT included.
- The vehicle will be delivered with half a tank of fuel (between 30 € and 65 €, depending on the hired car group) and you can return it empty.We don´t charge refuelling service.
In Centric 3*** or 4**** Hotels with Breakfast.
Available: All Year Round
Prices From: 499,00 Euros Total Price 2 Persons.
Including: 1 Double Room with breakfast in the above mentioned hotels (or similar) and 1 rental car including the above mentioned conditions.
Early Booking Discount.
Avoid To waist time standing in a queue or simply to find your favorite sight or event sold out !
Entrances For Multiple Sights, Events, Tickets and Much More Available For Forehand Reservation Against Supplement.
Fly & Drive Route Including Car Rental with Markets Best Prices & Conditions.