Catalonia is best known for its capital, Barcelona, but there's much more to discover. With scenery that ranges from the cove beaches of the Costa Brava to the snow-capped Pyrenees Mountains which rise to 3,000m. There are wetlands that are home to flamingos, hilltop villages, Roman ruins and medieval monasteries. You'll also need to find time to visit Figueres, with its Salvador Dali museum.
Things to see and do
The Pyrenees are an integral part of Catalonia, and for a very modest outlay, around ten Euros, you can catch a train from Barcelona to Latour-de-Carol, in France, passing through spectacular mountain scenery and some of the most historic villages in the region. Or take an excursion to another scarcely populated area, Priorat, which produces some of Catalonia's finest red wines. In addition to wine-tasting you can visit the magnificent village of Siurana, the last place the Moors were expelled from in Spain. And if you visit in July you can catch festival time in Prades village.
Montserrat, 50km north west of Barcelona, is a spectacular mountain which rises to a height of more than 1,200m and on which, 725m up, sits one of Catalonia's most important shrines, Monestir de Montserrat. Take the funicular railway to visit the monastery and to explore the caves and rock pillars.
Get back to nature in Catalonia's only National Park; Aiguestortes i Estany Sant Maurici, which can be visited on foot or by four-wheel drive, and offers a mix of beautiful mountain scenery and meadows.
Arts and culture
Outside of Barcelona, the must-see art attraction is at Figueres, home town of Salvador Dali. The Dali Theatre-Museum is a 19th-century theatre housing a museum designed by the artist himself in typically flamboyant style, and housing many of his art works from throughout his career.
Eating and drinking
Great Catalan cuisine is not limited to Barcelona. Mas Prades in Delta de L'Ebre attracts foodies from across Catalonia. Be prepared though, the five-course lunch menu is very filling.
The city of Girona, in the north east of Catalonia, is home to the restaurant voted the best in the world, and holder of three Michelin stars, El Celler de can Roca. Girona province is also home to many one-starred restaurants.
If you're after the bright lights, head to Sitges whose nightlife is legendary. Start off your evening at Calle del Pecado and move on to the Club Pacha.
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