Europe

Besalú, a medieval ark that is beautiful (Guide and what to see)

Besalu It is one of the most beautiful towns what to see in Catalonia and Spain. It is a medieval town preserved in an amazing way, and from the bank facing the Fluviá River, it generates a panoramic view that is difficult to match.

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matias callone On my recent trip by car as a roadtrip leaving from Barcelona (**) I visited different towns and attractions until I finished the tour in this beauty of a town calledBesalu

. It is a finishing touch for a four-day trip that I am going to share with you in detail. And a great idea to “escape” from Barcelona ready to shade ourselves with the towns and landscapes that unfold as soon as we leave the urban area.

Reasons to visit Besalu Besalu It is one of those destinations that is difficult to go wrong in a photo: it shines from every angle. What we see today is not exactly what its medieval appearance was like. There are some changes and transformations throughout the centuries (something difficult to avoid of course). However, much of this aspect can be intuited through buildings that stand out among the group: especially the bridge, churches, the archaeological remains of the old Jewish baths, its squares, remains of walls. All this set completes a picture that today looks monumental and is projected as a tourist magnet. It is in fact one of the towns with a medieval imprintmost beautiful to see in Catalonia and throughout the Iberian Peninsula

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Besalú is mentioned in countless writings, stories throughout the centuries. It is also the scene of movie scenes, advertisements or as a simple but powerful regional postcard. To add reasons, Besalú has been declared a National Historic-Artistic Site since 1966.

And with its views there is no one who can doubt its beauty:

Besalu

Besalu

How to get to Besalu. Besalu is in the province ofGirona and in theRegion of La Garrotxa

. This is near the Pyrenees and France, located at 150 meters of altitude. There is no difficulty in getting there, since it is a well-connected town by road. For those who want to arrive by public transport, it is a little more limited, with combinations since there is no direct service, and something limited with the schedules. Undoubtedly the most practical is the car. The Distance from Barcelona to Besalu

It is 131 kilometers along the AP-7 and under normal conditions it should not take more than 1 hour and a half.  But as I was saying, on the route that I am going to share with you, you will see the detail to add more points to stop (and extend more days).

Besalu

Brief history of Besalu.

Like many towns with centuries of history, Besalú was born around the castle, documented as early as the 10th century. It was preserved in its beginnings as a decentralized site within the county of Gerona, and later as the capital of an independent county (until it became part of the house of Barcelona in the year 1111).  Due to its importance, and above all because it did not grow excessively, Besalú arrives today very sure that its past is one of its most precious values ​​and that it must protect it.

Besalu

Besalu

What to see in Besalu. your bridgeRomanesque

. Although it is not necessary to mention it to be included in your visit, the pedestrian bridge of Besalu

It will probably be our main access to the town (as in my case).  Especially if we park our car in the tourist car parks on the other side of the Fluviá river.  It is the symbol of Besalú, the pedestrian path that connects with the monumental center and fully immerses us in the sensation of a journey through time.

Besalu

Besalu

This monumental bridge has been mentioned since the 11th century, and was rebuilt several times both due to natural damage and human conflicts (the last major incident was after the Spanish Civil War when part of the bridge was blown up).

With its 105 meters long and the tower 30 meters high, there is no one who can resist the photo (or the amazement).  After crossing the bridge, it is time to enter the streets of the town.

Besalu

Besaluthe jewish baths

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Within Besalú and as in so many ancient towns and cities in present-day Spain, there was a Jewish quarter (until they were expelled in 1435). From that legacy and culture, for example, the archaeological remains of the Jewish baths were recovered. And it is known that there was a synagogue of which only a few remains remain. The baths (miqve) were rediscovered very recently (in 1964) in an excavation, and they are an authentic archaeological treasure that can be seen next to the Fluviá river on one side of the town.

The church of the Monastery of San Pedro de Besalú and San Juliá.

The Benedictine monastery is not standing, but its church with relics that attracted pilgrims for centuries is.  That is why the Sant Juliá hospital was built next to it in the 12th century.  Both buildings can be admired and visited.

BesaluCornella House

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Part of the heritage inventory of Catalonia, this house is an example of Romanesque civil architecture among the best preserved from the medieval period. In Wikipedia there is an entry with information about this house. (in Catalan)Church of Saint Vincent

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With a Romanesque style and transitional elements, this church has been documented since at least the year 977. It is next to one of the largest squares in the town.

Besalu

Besalu

Besalu

How long to visit Besalú. The town of Besalú can be covered extensively in a morning or an afternoon, since it is not too big. It has all the services, various restaurants, cafes and shops that open especially on weekends. Not far away are towns likeSanta Pau

another lesser-known beautiful medieval quarter (and much quieter even on weekends).

Besalú, in conclusion, has enough merit to become the goal and end point of a route full of charm. Although of course you can also continue towards Cadaqués, the Costa Brava, or towns such as Castelló de Empuries towards the coast. Or even continue exploring the entire area of ​​La Garrotxa, which with its extinct volcanoes, foliage, mountains, small rivers, waterfalls and trails, is one of the most beautiful nature spots in Catalonia.

In road trips through Catalonia, it is not about thinking how many days are enough, but how many days we could extend to add more and more ideas that are so worth including in an itinerary. The options are many and multiply kilometer by kilometer.

All images belong to Matías Callone / (**) The visit to Besalú and the route were drawn up as part of a trip through charming towns from Barcelona to Besalú organized by the Catalan Tourism AgencyYou might also be interested in:

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