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Greentraveller's Guide to Catalonia

Posted by Richard Hammond at 10:50 on Tuesday 13 June 2017

Greentraveller's Guide logoGreentraveller has published an online guide and video to Catalonia with tips on where to stay, local food and drink, visitor attractions and activities, including wine tasting, cycling and kayaking.

Greentraveller’s Guide to Catalonia features over 50 recommendations for places to stay, local food and drink, local attractions and activities.

Watch the video of Catalonia:

Over a third of Catalonia’s territory has some degree of special protection, including 14 Natural Parks and one National Park, as well as marine and natural reserves, natural sites of national interest and natural protected areas. The region also has two International Biosphere Reserves and five CETS certified Natural Parks.

In 2015, Catalonia was labelled the world’s first Biosphere Responsible Tourism Destination as a territory beyond specific cities or destinations.

Written and researched by Paul Bloomfield, the guide includes some of the most appealing places to stay in Catalonia. “In cities such as Barcelona and Girona you can bed down in hip hostels and boutique hotels,” writes Paul, “while among the peaks of the Pyrenees nestle cute mountain lodges, spas, and campsites with bargain prices but million-dollar views, and along the coast you’ll fine historic resorts and traditional cob-and-thatch fishermen’s cottages.”

Mas Ardèvol is a rural house in the hills above Porrera and provides easy access to the Montsant mountains. Photo: Richard Hammond/GreentravellerMas Ardèvol is a rural house in the hills above Porrera and provides easy access to the Montsant mountains. Photo: Richard Hammond/GreentravellerCatalonia's varied habitats and landscape are reflected in a host of delicious food and drink specialities. As Bloomfield explains: "The coastline yields spectacular seafood – savour oysters and mussels around the Ebro Delta, paellas and zarzuelas (fish stews) along the coast. Mountain pastures lend delicate flavours to cheeses from cow, sheep and goat milk, and the range of pork products is staggering, from Iberico dried hams to sausages in all shapes, sizes and hues – for carnivores, tucking into a succulent butifarra is a must."

"Then there are the regional and seasonal specialities: white asparagus, Pyrenean river fish, wild mushrooms, Ebro Delta rice and the Lleida favourite cargols (snails) with rich allioli. Bloomfield says: "Even the simple tomato here has a flavour unimaginable anywhere else, delicious rubbed on toast in the ubiquitous pa amb tomàquet. Catalonia's wine regions include no fewer than 12 designations of origin – don’t miss fresh-flavoured sparkling cavas, grenache and carignan wines, many of them organic and all delicious."

The eight Romanesque churches and hermitage retreat of the Boí Valley are collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: GreentravellerThe eight Romanesque churches and hermitage retreat of the Boí Valley are collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: GreentravellerThe guide also includes tips for local cultural attractions, such as fine Romanesque churches, Roman and Greek ruins and contemporary galleries and museums. Bloomfield says: "It’s the landscape that’s the real star in Catalonia. The Costas will be familiar, their shores lined with sandy beaches lapped by the temptingly turquoise Mediterranean – but you’ll also find national and natural parks of spectacular beauty and variety. There’s the volcanic cones and lava flows of La Garrotxa, the limestone cliffs of Montsant, the Pyrenean lakes of Aigüestortes, and the shimmering wetlands of the Ebro Delta, to name just a few. All are best appreciated on foot, by bike or with paddle in hand."

In addition, Bloomfield writes about the variety of activities in the great outdoors. "Mountain high, river deep… not to mention delta, beach, sea and cycle path – Catalonia's roster of venues and activities is nearly endless. So in the Pyrenees you might try skiing, mountain-biking, hiking or canyoning, or simply immerse yourself in traditional farming life.

"Along the coast the beaches lure sun-soakers, but there’s also stand-up paddleboarding, cycling, hiking, scuba-diving, fishing, bird-watching – even punting and rice-planting – to be enjoyed. And in the highlands of Lleida and the Terres de l’Ebre, sheer escarpments and dramatic gorges provide playgrounds for rock-climbers, paragliders, trekkers and kayakers – or, for something less energetic, the chance to soar above dormant volcanoes in a hot-air balloon."

Vicenç Capdevila, Director of the Catalan Tourist Board in the UK and Ireland, says: “Thanks to its scenic variety, Catalonia has become an appealing destination for many travellers.

“While the Pyrenees are an ideal place for skiing, winter tourism, hiking and active and adventure tourism, the Catalan coastline combines steep cliffs with hidden coves, long sandy beaches, protected coastal areas and a wide range of water sports.

“The hinterland between the Pyrenees and the sea boasts numerous attractions, such as countless Romanesque churches and monasteries, Montseny, Montserrat and Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac natural parks, plus pedestrianised old towns featuring heritage sites and traditional products.

Greentraveller’s Guide to Catalonia provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the diversity of one of Europe’s premier destinations.”

Richard Hammond, Chief Executive of greentraveller.co.uk, says: “Our team loved visiting Catalonia this summer while researching for this guide and filming. From the Pyrenees in the north to bird-bustling wetlands in the south, dramatic gorges and vine-striped highlands and sandy shores, as well as the world famous city of Barcelona, the range of activities, culture and cuisine is astonishing.

"We hope this Greentraveller’s Guide to Catalonia help visitors make the most of their time in this beautiful part of Spain, in a way that brings local economic benefits while conserving the beauty of the landscape and environment.

"This Guide is the latest of our online destination guides that are proving popular with holidaymakers looking for that special local touch."

Landing page of Greentraveller's Guide to Catalonia

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