- MAP Travel
Catalonia (which may also be written as Cataluña or most commonly in Catalan as Catalunya)is a large autonimous region in North-East Spain made up of 4 provinces: Girona, Barcelona andTarragona on the Mediterranean coast, and Lleida inland stretching up to the Pyrenees and the French border.
The Province of Girona
City of Girona
something for everyone from the spectacular Pyrenees in the North to the Costa
Brava – a combination of resorts and unspoilt coves and Mediterranean beaches.
Large areas are covered with green fields and naturalparks dotted with medieval
villages, historic sites and the city of Girona, dominated by the Cathedral
standing above the old town alongside the banks of the Ongar river. Salvador
Dali is one of its best known sons, remembered in his birthplace of Figueras
and the coastal town of Cadaques. The area around Emporda is famous for
anchovies, and close by are the museum and well preserved ruins of the Roman
and Greek settlements at Empurias.
The Province of Barcelona
View from Park Guell Barcelona
The province of Barcelona
surrounds the city and stretches to the foothills of the Pyrenees, to the Costa
Brava in the North and to the Costa Dorada south of the city. The works of
Gaudi can be seen all over the city, on the hill of Montjuic and in his
unfinished Cathedral of Sagrada Familia. The other Cathedral is surrounded by
the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter leading to La Rambla, the mile long
promenade filled with markets and stalls and links the Plaza de Catalunya to
the statue of Columbus standing high above the port. Barcelona hosted the
Olympics in 1992 and has been one of the liveliest tourist destinations since
then, as it offers so much variety - historic buildings, large parks, a
magnificent beach and numerous shops, tapas bars and restaurants. North of the
city is a series of small towns with long sandy beaches and marinas. These are
connected by a coastal railway so are easily accessible to the city, and an
hour’s drive inland are the two Paradores in the province. In the foothills of
the Pyrenees near the city of VIC, the Parador overlooks the reservoir of Sau
and at Cardona a Medieval castle stands high above the town famous for its salt
production and offers views reaching as far as Montserrat where the Benedictine
Abbey is perched at the top of the jagged mountain.
The Province of Tarragona
Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet, Tarragon
Tarragona is the
most southerly province of Catalonia and apart from its coastline along the
Costa Dorada it contains some magnificent mountainous country with vineyards
producing some excellent wine in the Priorat area, also renowned for its olive
oil. The Monastery at Poblet, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is one of four
monasteries along the Cistercian route. The delta of the River Ebro is a
wildlife sanctuary and fertile area producing almonds, fruit, vegetables and
rice. North of the delta are small fishing ports and the city of Tarragona, the
former Roman capital of Spain and principal port of entry for the Romans. It
radiates out from a balcony overlooking a well preserved Roman ampitheatre
beside the sea.
Catalonia’s Paradores Hotels
The Parador de Aiguablava
The Parador at Aiguablava sits on a headland surrounded by idyllic coves and beaches in the unspoilt part of the Costa Brava. One of the friendliest and most relaxing Paradores, all the standard rooms have sea views and balconies and as well as the hotel’s restaurant, the Parador also owns an award-winning restaurant, voted oneof the Top 10 beach restaurants in Spain. A perfect week’s holiday is a combination of 3 very different Paradores - AIGUABLAVA on the coast and the two inland Paradores in the province of Barcelona.
The Parador de Vic-Sau
The Parador at Vic-Sau is a country house overlooking the reservoir of Sau in the foothills of the Pyrenees – a relaxing, tranquil place for those who want to get away from it all, and also a base for a walking holiday.
The Parador de Cardona
Cardona is one of the most traditional, historic and atmospheric Paradores as it is a Medieval castle, with views of the mountains and the Monastery at Montserrat. It is one of the Parador-Museums with a Romanesque church.
The Parador de Tortosa
This Parador, an impressive castle dating back to the 10th century, is on a hill above the ancient city of Tortosa. Beautiful mountain views can be enjoyed whilst having a swim in the outdoor pool or going for a stroll in the hotel’s gardens.
Parador de La Seu d’Urgell
This elegant modern hotel stands in the historic town centre of La Seu d’Urgell, next to the Romanesque cathedral. Leisure facilities at the Parador include a small gym where guests can work out, a sauna and a solarium to unwind and relax and an indoor pool to go for a refreshing swim. A golf course can be found just 6 km away.
Parador de Vielha
This modern Parador has unsurpassed panoramic views of the Pyrenees and the Arán Valley, which may be enjoyed from the circular glazed living room. From the terraces there are delightful views to snow capped mountains, tumbling streams and distant villages. The swimming pool and well looked after gardens are maintained in perfect harmony with the Paradors breathtaking surroundings.
Parador de Artíes
Recently built in typical local style, the Parador is on the site of the house of Gaspar de Portola the discoverer of California. The traditional mountain design is continued in the wooden beams in the cosy attic bedrooms. The lounges are spacious and tastefully decorated and the Salon Chimenea particularly stands out.