Home to Pyrenean peaks, a volcanic landscape and a dramatic coastline, Catalonia is a diverse region that feels distinct from the rest of Spain. Its unique culture and traditions span millennia, and the Catalans even have their own language. Catalonia, or Catalunya as it’s known locally, lays claim to historic castles, ancient wine villages and hilltop fortresses, making Catalonia holidays popular with cyclists and walkers who want to learn about the region’s history.
If you want to take a tour of Catalonia by bike, you can enjoy varied cycling tours that snake along hilly roads and smooth coastal paths, and through lush meadows and old cork forests. The contrasting scenery creates a captivating and interesting backdrop for any Catalonia trip. During your adventure, stop off at pretty fishing villages and learn about the customs of the Catalans or visit the local churches and castles that date to medieval times.
A walking tour of Catalonia takes a slower pace along the turquoise coast to secluded bays and through ancient Spanish landscapes that inspired the likes of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. For art lovers, it’s worth visiting the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres where Dali lived in the late 19th century. You can even see the artist’s crypt which is buried beneath the stage of the theatre.
Walking in the foothills of the Pyrenees introduces you to some of the most awe-inspiring mountain scenery you’ll see on a Catalonia trip. Follow beautiful trails through hidden valleys of orchards and vineyards and climb to the famous Madeloc watch tower for panoramic views across the Spanish border to Roussillon.
Catalunya Adventure Holidays
8 Daysfrom£ 1,799
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
Find out why they call it the Wild Coast on a picturesque walking week in Spain
Botifarra: One of the most popular and classic Catalan dishes is botifarra, a tasty sausage that is often eaten in the mountain regions and Iberian Peninsula. The sausage is generally made from lean pork with salt and pepper seasoning before being grilled and served alongside mongetes (white beans). Often other ingredients such as garlic, mushrooms, onions and parsley are added to the meat. The combination of the sausage with the beans is simply delicious!
Pa amb Tomaquet: Like in many other Mediterranean countries, bread is not only a staple of the Catalan diet but it’s also part of the culinary heritage. Pa amb tomaquet is, in simple terms, bread rubbed with tomato. Smearing the bread with tomato was once a means of utilising any leftover or stale bread to avoid waste when food was scarce. You’ll find this regional delicacy or rustic bread and ripened tomatoes accompanying most meals in Catalan households or restaurants. In more traditional mountainous areas, the bread is served alongside tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and you rub the bread yourself.
Escalivada: This traditional regional dish is the perfect starter or accompaniment to a meal and is ideal for vegetarians and vegans. Meat and fish are common ingredients in most Catalan dishes so escalivada is a great alternative. There are just two main ingredients in escalivada, aubergines and red peppers. Typically, they’re both left to char on a barbeque or grill before the insides are cut out and mixed with salt, olive oil and garlic. Delicious on its own or served with pa amb tomaquet or flat bread (coca), escalivada has a wonderful smoky flavour.
Arros Negre: A fabulous fish dish with origins from ancient Catalonia, Arros negre is traditionally made with cuttlefish, green pepper, garlic and white rice. Shellfish lovers often add whole prawns and mussels, which is very similar to a basic paella. The black ink from the squid is added to the water that the rice is boiled in, giving it a more intense and rich seafood flavour. A slight variation of Arros negre is fideua Negra, which replaces the white rice with noodles and is served with a thick, garlic aioli.
Fricando de Vedella amb Bolets: This rich, hearty stew is a favourite with Catalans during the autumn months when they go out to forage for wild mushrooms in the woodlands and countryside. Put into a large cooking pot and blended with veal, red wine and ripe tomatoes, the mushrooms add a deep, earthy flavour to this traditional stew. Before the stew is served up, a combination of breadcrumbs, saffron, oil, parsley and toasted almonds (known as picada) is thrown into the mix to add flavour and thicken the juices from the meat. This is a perfect dish to warm up your stomach and soul on a cool autumn evening.
A fantastic cycling holiday in the hidden Costa Brava, hardly any traffic or other people, with superb hotels and delicious meals.