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Charming Old Towns and Picturesque Villages near Barcelona

Give yourself a break from Barcelona's noise and traffic and travel to another time and place: life as lived in Catalonia's smaller villages and historic old towns. Stroll medieval bridges, hike around stone houses that hang onto green hills for dear life, and enjoy a breather from the crowded streets of Barcelona. Foodies can shop in tiny artisan shops for charcuterie, cheeses and bread or eat traditional and nouvelle cuisine made from seasonal and locally sourced ingredients
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17850 Besalú, Girona, Spain
A short trip from Barcelona via bus or car, explore Besalú's medieval old town. Cross its restored 11th century bridge into a picturesque village with cobblestone streets. Shop for handmade trinkets or stop off for a meal or a drink in bars and...
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08569 Rupit, Barcelona, Spain
In Rupit, Stone cottages with orangey-red terracotta roofs perch around a stream, half-hidden by the mountainous green hills. An hour and a half drive from Barcelona, walk around this beautiful, if tiny village (approximately 340 residents). Pose...
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La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
As you enter Barcelona's famous Mercat de Sant Josep de La Boqueria from La Rambla, one of the first stalls you encounter is Tocineria Marcos, purveyors of Iberico ham and a stunning array of other cured, cooked, and fresh meats. It's just one of...
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Plaça del Rei, 08397 Pineda de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
In the midst of entertaining tourists, he turns to me and smiles knowingly, whispering with his eyes: "Life is beautiful, my dear. Life is beautiful!"
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Carrer de Querol, 21, 17520 Puigcerdà, Girona, Spain
Oriol, the chef and owner, will welcome you with a beaming smile. Your wallet will thank you because an afternoon of wine and cheese tasting will not break the bank. Close to the border of France, in the small town of Puigcerdà, Tap de Suro is a...
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Plaça del Roser, 1, 17531 Gombrèn, Girona, Spain
Michelin-star chef, and virtually self-taught man, Francesc Rovira's cafe and restaurant in sleepy Gombrèn is not centrally located for gastronomy enthusiasts to find. Far from Barcelona, but not too far to drive for a day, nestled in the Pyrenees...
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Carrer Orient, 25, 17538 Alp, Girona, Spain
In the town of Alps in the valley of La Cerdanya, Casa Patxi serves traditional Catalan food - family style. The friendly woman who owns the restaurant, and her son, will welcome you as if you are her own. Each course will be served with love and...
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Plaça dels Valls, 6-9, 17811 Santa Pau, Girona, Spain
Just off the main square of Santa Pau, which dates to the early fourteenth century, under cover of a deep sapphire sky -- we ducked under a stone arch to walk into Cal Sastre. Immediately I noticed the salmon walls, multitude of awards and faded,...
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Carrer del Balandrau, 24, 26, 17534 Ribes de Freser, Girona, Spain
Within Hotel Caçadors, lies a restaurant with a chef renown for inventive Gin & Tonic creation. But the restaurant does not merely delight with drinks. The gastronomy features local ingredients and seafood so fresh it surprises (given the...
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Pl. Major, 28, 17468 Orfes, Girona, Spain
I took one bite and about fell off my chair. This was the creamiest, most flavorful onion dish I had ever tried. I found myself taking smaller and smaller bites so that I could somehow make it last longer. In a tiny little town barely found on the...
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Muntanya de Sant Sebastià, 17211 Llafranch, Girona, Spain
In Costa Brava, Spain, you may hear someone say, "ir a hacer el vermut," which can have dual meanings. Literally it means, let's go drink vermouth, but in Spain the term vermut is also a more general term for let's have an aperitif (a drink to...
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Would-be ghost-hunters will enjoy a tour of this abandoned village in Tarragona province a little over an hour's drive from Barcelona. Left completely deserted after the end of the Spanish Civil War, crumbling homes, a church in ruins, and empty...