Top 6 places to visit outside Girona (3)

Just a few minutes drive away from Santa Pau you will find a parking lot from where you can start a short 40 minutes hike to a chapel in the middle of a volcano crater. You should be able to walk uphill for some 20 minutes to be able to reach the chapel as you will have to cross the crater rim.

6. Ermita de Santa Margarida de Sacot

First mentioned in 1403 the chapel was built on the bottom of the volcano crater in Romanesque style. However, seismic activity destroyed the original chapel in the year 1427. The reconstructed building you can see now is actually from the mid 19th century. After many years of neglection it was restored in recent years.

The natural park of Garrotxa is a volcanic zone (Parc Natural de La Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa) with an area of 120 km² (approx. 30,000 acres). It comprises eleven municipalities, more than forty volcanoes, more than twenty lava flows and integrates twenty different nature reserves. All volcanoes are considered inactive, but not extinguished. The last eruption of one of the volcanoes was about 11,000 years ago. In 1982 the Catalan government declared this area a protected natural park.

After having visited the chapel we also discovered several small waterfalls along the Vies Verdes, hiking and cycling paths along ancient railway tracks.

Vies Verdes – Former Train Tracks that are now used for recreational purposes

In the evening time we visited the small village of Tortellà (population 771) in order to find an authentic dinner spot. The visit was spontaneous and apparently it was the village´s summer festival with food trucks and live music. So the whole town was out in the streets!

The central market square of Tortellà
The church of Tortellà

Conclusion: Girona province – a must visit!

Our three-days trip to Girona and surroundings was extremely rewarding. To be able to discover beautiful areas full of nature, history and stunning medieval architecture within a one-hour car drive only from Barcelona just revealed to us what a great spot Barcelona is to live in. And we realised that there is so much more to discover! We will be back in the region in April – so stay tuned!

Also interesting: Iconic hills in Barcelona

Not only the volcanic hills in the Garrotxa area have a very distinct shape but also several hills in Barcelona have an iconic character.

Montjuïc hill for example is standing out at the harbour of Barcelona with its height of 185 meters (600 feet). This made it a natural watch tower as from the foundation of the city by the Romand more than 2000 years ago.

The Barcelona Feeling offers a great historic walking tour over the Montjuïc hill including a stroll in nature where you can enjoy this green lung of the city.

The Bunkers of Carmel are situated on a similar hill further land inwards. With a stunning view point and still not so overrun by mass tourism this hill is certainly a must to visit. Check out this private tour: “Escape busy downtown: The Labyrinth of Horta and Bunkers of Carmel”

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The church of Siurana

High on top of the mountain platform, you can find the church of Siurana from the 12th century. It was built in Romanesque style and is located just a few meters away from a 240 meters cliff.

It was officially mentioned in a papal document of 25 of March 1154. As already written in the last blog post (Hiking in Siurana), the village was of strategic importance with its castle on top to guard the surrounding area. With building a Christian church in Siurana the re-christianization of Catalonia was also completed.

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The medieval village of Siurana is absolutely picturesque. Nowadays only 35 people are living on top of this mountain plateau. It is only a 1,5 hours walk away from Cornudella de Montsant where you can easily park your car.

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In the far back you can see the reservoir, Riu Siurana, which only carried little water when we visited. The whole area is very popular among rock climbers from all over the world due to the many excellent climbing sites with a high degree of difficulty.

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Inside the church

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Most of the windows are only cut into the wall. The church itself is made of precisely cut stones.

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Above the church portal you can find a semicircular tympanum showing the crucified Christ in its middle. On both sides of his head are the sun and moon as a sign of his universal rule and – as sovereign symbols – two lions. Below the stretched arms you will see the apostles.

Christian´s Ritual

Christian´s ritual is to light a candle in every new church he is visiting. See below what he has to tell.

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“One of my rituals is to light a candle when visiting a new church. Since my childhood I have been used to do that together with my grandmother, especially whilst on our many Italy holidays with the whole family.  She is 90 now and will soon come to Barcelona again where I am sure I will find another church where we both can light a candle as we did 30 years ago.”

Check out the The Barcelona Feeling:

Looking for an activity and things to do when visiting Barcelona?

Barcelona Nature Walk – Hike through the natural park of Collserola along the old Romand road

Olympic Barcelona – Climb on top of the Montjuic hill and discover its history and its significance as green lung of Barcelona

Wine Tour – Exclusive Cava & Chocolate. Discover how both fit perfectly together.

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Hiking in Siurana (Priorat)

During this summer we did a couple of out of town trips and discovered beautiful areas in Catalonia. As Michael read how amazing the Priorat area was supposed to be we decided to rent a car and drive there on a Saturday and find out on our own.

So about a 1:45 hours drive to the South of Barcelona, not too far from Tarragona, we arrived to the comarca (county) that is only scarcely populated. The region of about 500 square kilometres  (about 200 square miles) has only 9.500 inhabitants spread among 23 villages. So you can imagine that all of those villages are pretty small being the biggest with Falset (2.800 inhabitants). The region is especially known for its high quality wines certified under D.O.Q. Priorat and under D.O. Montsant. Also the olive oil production is important economic sector.

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I had found a wonderful aerial foto on the internet when researching where to go, so Siurana would be our final destination: a little village on the top of a mountain platform. As it was possible to hike up the mountain, we decided to leave the car in Cornudella de Montsant – 1:15 hours walking distance.

The walk led us through vinyards, a nearly empty reservoir, over hills and in the end up the old Moorish street to the little village.

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Siurana is a village with a more than 1000 years history. Within its medieval boundaries only 30 people are actually living there. It used to be a strategic watch post with a castle on top for the whole area and also it was the last stronghold of the Moors before they were driven out of Catalonia about 800 years ago.

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We had 3-course lunch in the middle of the village before we discovered the rest of Siurana like the church (see next blog post) and the amazing views around.

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This last foto shows the amazing panoramic view you can have in Siurana. The village is located on this platform on the rock. The cliff is about 300 meters. In the back you can see the reservoir which was quite empty. The rock formation in the back on the right is very popular among professional climbers. Priorat ranks among the best climbing areas in the whole world.

For wine lovers this is the perfect region. In every village you can tase and buy wine accompanied with food of you like. Priorat is the only other wine region next to La Rioja with a high quality label D.O.Q. –  Denominació d’Origen Qualificada. Its wine making history goes back as far as the 12th century!

We will certainly come back and stay a weekend in this beautiful region in the near future.

Interested in a wine tour? Contact us: The Barcelona Feeling – Private Guided Tours.

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On Top of Tibidabo – Amazing Views

From the Tibidabo mountain range you can enjoy amazing views over Barcelona.











































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Barcelona Spring Impressions (2)



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Planning to visit Barcelona soon and you would like to discover more than the usual? Check out The Barcelona Feeling – Private Tours

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