Catalonia has its own language and traditions differentiating itself from the rest of Spain, which is just part of the reason it draws so many visitors. Others include its medieval history, rugged mountains, farm country and Mediterranean views, not to mention outstanding food and wine. The best part? You can combine it all with a visit to world-class Barcelona for the ultimate Catalan adventure.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Families can experience a slice of the American Gold Rush at this themed hotel, all while taking advantage of unlimited access to PortAventura – the most popular amusement park in Spain. Contemporary rooms are bright and attractive with subtle touches alluding to the Wild West motif, while suites have more living space and kitchens. No matter where you stay, you’ll have a range of rides, activities and restaurants (buffet and a la carte) that take you even further afield – to China, Polynesia and Mexico. There are four swimming pools and oodles of kids’ amenities and entertainment.
Don’t worry romantics, this elegant hotel attracts mostly couples, thanks to its serene location in a small town called Xerta. Surrounded by lush, green landscapes near the Delta del Ebro Nature Reserve, you’re perfectly primed for a range of outdoor activities. Take your pick of rooms in two areas starting with a more historic building boasting colonial charm with exposed wood beams and balconies. Or, choose modern decor in the newer addition, with suites that have terraces and private gardens. Amenities include an outdoor pool and spa, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant – the property also runs a cooking school – with items like crispy cod skin with spiced hummus.
Here’s your chance to stay at a working vineyard. Part hotel, part winery, this family-run business is located in a hillside village called Gratallops. Simple rooms have modern decor and come with private terraces overlooking the Catalan countryside where you can enjoy your complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival. The onsite restaurant is a highlight, located on the upper hillside with stellar views of the vineyards, especially at sunset. Menus serve modern, seasonal cuisine, like tuna belly with sesame, soy vinaigrette, green beans and ginger – served alongside wine that has, of course, been produced onsite. Breakfast is included in the rate.
This chic, historic guesthouse in Cornudella has been lovingly restored with seven rooms and suites, each with its own rustic design and charm – think exposed stone walls, original wood beams, soaking tubs and balconies with glorious views. Common areas are just as stylish and include a restaurant and bar featuring local wine, cheese plates and tapas. Ask the staff to help arrange art gallery tours and adventures in the surrounding Monsant mountains – like hiking, biking, kayaking, paragliding.
This approachable resort takes advantage of its peaceful setting along the Ebro River with three options for lodgings: a hotel, a hostel with a shared kitchen, and two houses that can fit up to eight people. Most guests opt for the hotel section for its contemporary interiors, minibars, and balconies or terraces. Guests have access to an outdoor pool, and an indoor spa area with a jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath. Breakfast is served daily, while the nearby town of Flix offers options for lunch and dinner. As for activities, you can choose between a range of outdoor pursuits, or visit historic churches, a working olive mill and a former air-raid shelter.
Catalonia’s best-preserved medieval monastery is a top draw for those staying at this modern hotel – it’s just a short walk away, after all – and guests get a discount. There are 80 spacious rooms with wood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, as well as a lovely outdoor swimming pool surrounded by spacious, manicured grounds that include a spectacular chef’s garden. This is where kitchen staff pick up daily produce to supply the three onsite restaurants (one of which is Michelin-starred) that are all committed to seasonal produce. Try the local beef steak with organic vegetables.
If buzzing Barcelona is on your docket, the Majestic Hotel & Spa is a classic choice dating back to 1918. Today, there are 271 renovated rooms boasting warm tones and plush decor. Located in the Eixample district, guests have easy access to Gaudi architecture and luxury shopping on Paseo de Gracia. When you need a break, enjoy the hotel’s spa, bars and restaurants. Health nuts will love the award-winning breakfast buffet with gluten-free and lactose-free options. Meanwhile, the rooftop pool offers stunning views of Barcelona’s landmarks, especially at sunset. Sit back and order a champagne cocktail while you enjoy the natural light show.
The Spanish hotel brand Melia is responsible for this slick beach resort, less than an hour south of Barcelona by car or train, in the coastal town of Sitges. Rooms feature modern, beach-inspired decor, Nespresso machines, and bathrobes – and many offer views of the Mediterranean, too. You can also snag water views from the outdoor pool and rooftop bar. Impressive dining outlets, both inside and out, include signature cocktails, paellas and an entire bar dedicated to oysters. Keep an eye out for group activities, like yoga at the beach.
Another excellent option in Barcelona is this hip, modernist hotel a short walk from Barcelona Cathedral. The bright and spacious rooms have contemporary furnishings, along with minibars and Nespresso machines, while upgraded rooms have more space and potential views of the cathedral. Sophisticated dining outlets include Market Restaurant for buffet breakfasts and a la carte options while the 8th-floor restaurant – next to the pool terrace – offers tapas with a long list of gin and tonics. Only guests, though, have access to the heated plunge pool and sun loungers overlooking a spectacular city view.
North of Barcelona, this hotel and 18-hole golf course enjoys close proximity to the medieval 14th-century Peralada Castle, as well as several charming towns along the Costa Brava. The 64 rooms are serene with warm earth tones and natural materials, while upgraded suites have terraces and whirlpool tubs. When not using the outdoor pool or indoor spa, relax at the beautifully decorated dining and drinking options, which include a high-end Asian restaurant with items like beef tartare, not to mention a garden bar serving fresh-pressed juices and local vermouth.
Heading to Girona? Discover these hotels and book now on Culture Trip.
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