Barcelona and the Catalonia Coast

Description

Discover a unique culture and amazing scenery, through the charm of its white washed villages, mountain forest landscapes and glorious beach resorts. Fantastic highlights include visits to the Catalan Capital of Barcelona, the Monastery of Montserrat and the town of Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí.

Duration
8 days
Price
from £789
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This superb holiday offers a wonderful combination of touring and relaxation with seaside sunshine, spectacular mountains and one of Spain's most vibrant cities.
On the Catalonian coast in Spain's northeastern corner stretching for some 40 miles up to the French border is the Costa Brava, or 'Wild Coast'. This coastline still has a rugged beauty, with mountains and pine forests overlooking beach resorts with their golden sands and dazzling blue sea. In addition to all the attractions of the coast, Catalonia's capital city, Barcelona, is within easy reach, as are the mountains, towns and villages behind the coast, some of which we will see and visit on our programme of included excursions and sightseeing tours. The Costa Brava has also attracted many artists including Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso as well as being the home of the famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali.

Calella, on the neighbouring Costa Maresme, offers an air of relaxation, making this pleasant resort an ideal centre for this wonderful holiday. The beautiful beach is 3 kilometre long stretch of golden sand and Calella's wide choice of boutiques and shops are treasure troves for great value clothes, leather goods and local handicrafts. You will also find lots of pavement cafes where you can relax with a drink and watch the world go by.

The old Calella town is well worth a visit, to find out about the history of the area with a stroll around the narrow, cobbled streets taking in the ancient buildings. Here you can also find some more traditional tapas bars and restaurants.

Book this tour today from £789
Included in price
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Buffet breakfast and dinner each day
  • Full day excursion to Barcelon
  • Full day excursion to Montserrat and a Cava vineyard
  • Full day excursion to Besalu and the Salvador Dali museum
  • Three-quarter day excursion along the Costa Brava
  • Air conditioned coach travel
  • One piece of hold luggage and one piece of hand luggage per person
  • Transfers between airport and hotel
  • Services of a Mistral Tour Manager

Accommodation

We stay for 7 nights at the Mar Blau hotel in Calella on the Maresme coast, which is ideal for our included excursions and visits. This well managed 3 star hotel offers a comprehensive range of facilities for an enjoyable stay including an inviting foyer with 24 hour reception desk and a well stocked bar where you can get drinks and snacks. A popular feature is the large swimming pool and sun terrace, which has reclining sun loungers and parasols and is the ideal place to relax after a days sightseeing. All of the comfortably furnished bedrooms are air conditioned and have en-suite bathroom with hair dryer, satellite TV and balcony, The buffet restaurant offers a variety of Mediterranean and international dishes and there is always an extensive choice of cold and hot dishes, salad and desserts. Book this tour today from £789

Excursions

During our stay we have arranged a programme of included and optional excursions and visits, all taken at a leisurely pace.

Barcelona

Enjoy a full day in fabulous Barcelona – the vibrant Catalan capital full of charm and steeped in history. Our day begins with a panoramic tour, introducing you to the main sights of this vibrant city; after driving along the shoreline and passing the Olympic Village, the Twin Towers of Barcelona and the new and old ports, we reach the mountain of Montjuïc - a landmark visible from almost everywhere in Barcelona. From here there are extensive views over the entire city, including the port, which is one of the largest in the Mediterranean. The stadium which held the 1992 Olympic Games is also here. We'll also see Gaudi's masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, the La Seu Cathedral and the Parc Guell. Our tour finishes at midday in the Gothic Quarter – ideal for perhaps having lunch on "LasRamblas", the most popular street in the city. This afternoon feel free to discover the area at your own pace: take in the atmosphere while you walk through the narrow streets and characteristic little squares. Our guide will advise you on interesting sites to visit, such as the Plaça del Rei, the Corte Ingles department store or more of the architecture of Gaudi, such as the Casa Battlo and the Casa Mila apartments. Or you can just relax and enjoy a coffee in these beautiful surroundings. We also recommend a visit to the Picasso Museum, located in a charming 15th century palace nearby. Although Picasso was born in Málaga he spent his youth in Barcelona, where his father was an art teacher.

The Costa Brava Coastline

Catalonia's "Wild Coast" is known for its breathtaking scenery of high cliffs and secluded coves, traditional Catalan fishing villages and international resorts. As well as enjoying the scenery along the coastline, on this three-quarter day excursion, we'll stop in Blanes, where fishing is still an important part of the resort's economy. We take a walk along one of the prettiest and most traditional promenades in this area of Spain, starting at "La Palomera" rock, which is where the Costa Brava begins. Reaching the centre of Blanes, we will have free time to explore the resort on our own. We strongly recommend a visit to the interesting Marimurtra Botanical Gardens, which are delightfully situated on a hill above the port. Or you could explore the colourful harbour, where fishing boats and recreational yachts are side by side. Before we leave Blanes there will be time for lunch in one of the many restaurants and tapas bars, before we make our way back to our hotel.

Emporda Countryside and Besalu

Our full day excursion begins with a drive through the fertile plains of the Empordà: one of the richest agricultural regions in Catalonia. We reach Figueres, capital of the area and famous for being the town where Salvador Dalí was born and spent his childhood. The Dali Museum, which is in a former theatre refurbished by Dalí himself, is an unmissable experience. Apart from three floors full of the artist's extravagant creations, the building itself is well worth seeing. After our visit, we continue on through the region of "La Garrotxa", which boasts some of Catalonia's most beautiful countryside. In the hills, we'll make a stop at the medieval town of Besalú, with its picturesque arcaded streets and squares. Step back in time with a stroll across the impressive Romanesque bridge, which dates back to the 11th century and be sure to visit the ancient Church of Sant Pere, which was originally part of a monastery built in 1003.

Monastery of Montserrat

This full day excursion takes us to the symbolic heart of Catalonia, the Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat. It is situated in a stunning mountain range with amazing rock formations, from where it gets its name Montserrat – meaning serrated mountain – and is a fascinating place to visit. The present monastery dates back to 1844, the original having been destroyed in the War of Independence. In the monastery you can see the famous Black Madonna statue, which was carved from wood around 1000 years ago and perhaps hear the monastery's L'Escolanía choir, which is Catalonia's equivalent to The Vienna Boys Choir. The views from the mountain are breathtaking and on a clear day you can see as far as the Pyrenees and even Majorca. This afternoon we drive down to the vine-covered Penedès region, Catalonia's wine producing area, noted for its Cava, which is made by the same method as Champagne in France. A visit to a producer is a must for a guided tour of the cellars and to see how this delicious wine is made, and then have a tasting of the end result!

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