In Spain there are many wonderful areas, where traditional agriculture coexists perfectly with modern world. To these areas run old route of pilgrims and it seems, that nothing had changed since the Middle Ages. We are talking about the Catalan Pyrenees. The charm of these places is that most of the villages are lost in the mountains, surrounded by wild nature and beautiful landscapes, and, of course, historical heritage. For now we intends to introduce you 5 magnificent villages, that are ‘lost’ in the Pyrenees.
Also known as the town of witches, this town is not exactly in the Pyrenees, but rather in its foothills, situated on the place of volcanic eruption and it is without a doubt one of the most picturesque places in Spain.
At first glance this mountain village may seem very cozy with its beautiful and long stairs, made with remnants of volcanic lava, its narrow streets, stone houses, some of which are dated back to the XI-XII centuries, balconies with flowers and the smell of firewood for heating in winter… But like all ancient settlements do, this town also hides some secrets. It is no coincidence that Rupit is known as the town of witches. According to legend, at the times of Spanish Inquisition in the Middle Ages, witches lived here in the village, and later on were burned. Who knows what have they conjured? Among the main attractions of the village we can note the Romanesque churches of San Juan de Fábregas and San Miguel de Rupit As for the food, Rupit will offer you excellent homemade bread, goat cheese La Garrocha and variety of homemade smoked and cured meats.
This historic town is situated at the confluence of two rivers: Fluviá in the south and Capellades in the north.
This is the place, where once lived in harmony Christians and Jews, and today on its streets is hovering the spirit of the Middle Ages. Besalú Jewish baths are the only ones found in the Iberian peninsula. To access the city you will have to go through the old bridge of fortress, which looks like a true gateway to the past. This town has witnessed many historic moments related to peaks and declines of the Catalan nation; and its streets keep many memories. The main attractions of this place are the old stone bridge, dated from the twelfth century, the impressive castle of Besalú, stone houses and the seats of two meters high, where according to the legend evil spirits take rest. Gastronomy also has a great importance in Besalú. In the local restaurants you can try such dishes as duck with pear sauce, lamb with peas, sweet and sour rabbit, wild boar stew and cod with garlic and mint.
Truly lost in the Pyrenees town, surrounded by mountain peaks of 2000 meters height. A town, that looks like a post-card, Viella is located in the valley of the river Garonne.
Here wide avenues contrast with narrow streets and medieval houses, giving Viella the modern charm and, at the same time, without depriving the city of authenticity. XII century buildings, manors, museums and churches of Viella, with its picturesque scenery, make this town a place, that you can not miss. Moreover, here starts a chain of routes of great beauty through the Pyrenees. The main attractions are San Miguel church and paintings of Gothic and Baroque periods in the parish church. Viella is well known for its superb cuisine. Here the famous cheese Bargergue is produced. One of the most typical dishes, that is served in the restaurants here is the traditional wild boar stew or soup with peas in Aranese style.
Valle de Bohí
There is no need to close your eyes to imagine what was life like in Valle de Bohí a few decades ago.
It is as if the valley is frozen in times and its landscapes refuse to change. The village forms eponymous route, which brings together nine Romanesque churches built between the XI and XII centuries, that are as UNESCO World Heritage sites. For landowners, artisans, farmers and vassals, who once have inhabited this earth, the church had not only been a meeting place to pray, but also a symbol of protection. The traditional cuisine of Valle de Bohí is a mixture of the authentic recipes of the area and mountain cuisine. The most typical dishes of this town are rabbit baked with rice, homemade soup with thyme, snails and traditional Spanish tortilla.
Esterri de Aneu
It is a small village where time goes slowly and the beautiful landscapes relieve the stress of travelers from big cities.
Knowing Esterri de Aneu should you should start with medieval bridge of Romanesque style, dated from the twelfth century, and to end up in the shops and restaurants of the village, because if there’s something that the town is known for is its excellent cuisine: cured pork and lamb, smoked meat, cheeses and homemade soups, and delicious desserts, prepared according the recipes passed down from generation to generation. All these dishes are so popular among gastronomy lovers. The main attractions of the town are the Church of San Vicente de Esterri de Aneu, the medieval bridge and the Ecomuseum Valls d’Àneu.
Whichever destination you choose, immersion in the culture of the Catalan Pyrenees and time travel are assured! It is essential, at least once in life, get ‘lost’ in the beautiful scenery of the Spanish Pyrenees. And that’s not all! Remember, that if you still want for more, you have to discover the French Pyrenees and Andorra!