Catalonia travel guide

 

Tourism in Catalonia is one of the most important sectors of the Catalan economy. It is the main tourist destination in Spain and one of the most important in Europe. One of the main destinations is the metropolitan area of Barcelona.

Catalonia is one of the leading tourist regions in the world. Tourism accounts for about 11-12% of Catalonia’s GDP. For example, in 2019, this figure was 12.34 billion euros.

As of 2019, Catalonia’s tourism consists of over one million places to stay. This figure also includes a number of tourist sites. According to Eurostat, tourist accommodation in Catalonia accounted for 22.1% of the total in Spain and 2.5% in the EU in 2019.

Catalonia is divided into 9 travel brands. The Barcelona brand is the most highly demanded by tourists. It is followed by the Costa Brava, Costa Daurada and Costa de Barcelona.

The total tourism in Catalonia in 2019 was 39.4 million: 49.2% of foreign tourism, 38.4% of domestic tourism (Catalonia residents) and 12.4% of other residents Spain. In terms of total travel spending, which reached €25,167 million, foreign tourism accounted for the bulk (84.7% of the total), followed by resident tourists in Catalonia (7.7%) and residents of the rest of Spain (7.5%).

Overseas tourism increased by 0.8% in 2019, while its spending increased by 4.1%.

Catalonia is positioned as the leading tourist destination in Spain. Between 2005 and 2019, the number of foreign tourists in Catalonia increased by 38%, while spending increased by 144.5%.

Catalonia travel guide

Sea resorts (from north to south)

Costa Brava

Costa del Maresme

Costa de Barcelona

Costa del Garraf

Costa Daurada

Most beautiful cities (by provinces in alphabetical order)

Barcelona province

Barcelona

Berga

Calella

Canet de Mar

Cardona

Cubelles

Els Prats de Rei

Igualada

Manresa

Mataró

Sabadell

Sitges

Súria

Talamanca

Tarrassa

Vic

Vilafranca del Penedès

Vilanova i la Geltrú

Girona province

Banyoles

Beget

Begur

Besalu

Blanes

Cadaqués

Camprodón

Castelló d’Empúries

Corçà

Cruïlles

El Port de la Selva

Empuriabrava

Figueres

Girona

Hostalric

La Bisbal d’Empordà

L’Estartit

Llagostera

Llança

Lloret de Mar

L’Escala

Olot

Palamos

Pals

Portbou

Puigcerda

Ripoll

Roses

Sant Feliu de Guixols

Sant Joan de les Abadesses

Torroella de Montgrí

Tossa de Mar

Verges

Vilabertran

Vulpellac

Lleida province 

Artiés

Bagerque

Balaguer

Cervera

La Seu D’Urgell

Lleida

Os de Civís

Sant Llorenç de Morunys

Solsona

Sort

Tàrrega

Viella

Vilac

Tarragona province

Alcanar

Altafulla

Arboç

Barberà de la Conca

Calafell

Cambrils

Creixell

Cunit

El Vendrell

L’Ametlla de Mar

L’Ampolla

L’Espluga de Francolí

L’Hospitalet de l’Infant

Montblanc

Reus

Salou

Sant Carles de la Ràpita

Tarragona

Torredembarra

Tortosa

Valls

Vila-seca

Best museums 

National Museum of Science and Industry of Catalonia

Salvador Claret Automobile Collection

Bassella Moto Museum

Railway Museum

Barcelona museums. TOP 15

Ski resorts. TOP 5 

Baqueira – Beret

Port del Comte

Boí Taüll

Masella

Molina

Monasteries and sanctuaries. TOP 10

Monastery of Mas de Colom 

Monastery of Montserrat

Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes

Monastery of Santes Creus

Monastery of Sant Feliu de Cadins

Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes

Monastery of Santa Maria de Bellpuig de les Avellanes

Royal Abbey of Santa Maria de Poblet

Sanctuary de la Mare de Déu de Lord

Sanctuary of the Virgin of Montserrat de Montferri

Interesting places. TOP 10

Abandoned places: Radio Liberty Station, Pals

Abandoned places: The Torre Blanca fortifications of Castellciutat in La Seu D’Urgell

Amposta Suspension Bridge

Celler Güell

Palau Novella

Rome Aqueduct of Ferreras (Devil’s Bridge)

Roman arch in Tarragona province

Rural house with bas-reliefs at Llers

Segre Olympic rafting Park in La Seu D’Urgell

Vall de Boí and its UNESCO churches

Castles and fortresses. TOP 10

Boixadors Castle

Cardona Castle

King’s Castle of Lleida

Montesquieu Castle

Montsoriu castle

Peralada Castle

Requesens castle

Remei Castle

Sant Ferran castle

Tortosa Castle

See here full list of Catalan castles (124 objects)

The most beautiful Spanish villages list 

Bagerque

Beget

Nature. TOP 5

Banyoles – the largest lake in Catalonia

Canigou Peak – National Symbol of Catalonia

Cap de Creus — the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula

Salt Mountain Salins de Cardona

Val D’Aran valley

Festivals and traditions

The popular festivals in Catalonia and Catalan Countries are the set of traditional festivals that are celebrated in the Catalan-speaking territories. The main elements shared by the traditional festivals will be described below.

Fire is the most important element of traditional festivals, which denotes a great pagan root. It is interesting to note that these festivals of fire, which are also very present throughout Europe and beyond, have a very high acceptance in all Catalan countries, from the Fallas del Pallars Sobirà, the Fallas d’Andorra and the Canigó Flame to the Bonfires of Alicante and the Fallas, held in 90 towns in the Valencian community. More

Catalan cuisine

Catalan cuisine is part of Mediterranean cuisine and its typical example. Most often references are made to the food of Catalonia and Northern Catalonia, and occasionally Andorra but some contemporary authors like Josep Pla, Jaume Fàbrega, Eliana Thibaut i Comalada, Ferran Agulló and the English-language writer, Colman Andrews, talk about shared gastronomy throughout the Catalan cultural area, including the Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, La Franja and Andorra, and therefore it would be best referred to as the cuisine of the Catalan Countries. More

How to get to?

Airports

Airports in Catalonia are owned and operated by Aena (a Spanish Government entity) except two airports in Lleida which are operated by Aeroports de Catalunya (an entity belonging to the Government of Catalonia).

Full list:

  • Barcelona El Prat Airport (Aena)
  • Girona-Costa Brava Airport (Aena)
  • Reus Airport (Aena)
  • Lleida-Alguaire Airport (Aeroports de Catalunya)
  • Sabadell Airport (Aena)
  • La Seu d’Urgell Airport (Aeroports de Catalunya)

Distance by car to the capitals of the Spanish Communities:

To Madrid (Community of Madrid) 6 hr 29 min (626 km) via AP-2 and A-2

To Valencia (Valencian community) 3 hr 43 min (348 km) via AP-7

To Murcia (Murcian community) 5 hr 52 min (584 km) via AP-7

To Seville (Andalusia) 10 hr 3 min (993 km) via A-4 and AP-7

To Merida (Extremadura) 9 hr 15 min (958 km) via A-5 and A-2

To Toledo (Castile-La Mancha) 6 hr 58 min (689 km) via AP-2 and A-2

To Zaragoza (Aragon) 3 hr 17 min (311 km) via AP-2

To Valladolid (Castile and Leon) 7 hr 20 min (728 km) via AP-68 and AP-2

To Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) 11 hr 1 min (1,088 km) via AP-2

To Oviedo (Asturias) 8 hr 52 min (896 km) via AP-2

To Santander (Cantabria) 7 hr 4 min (707 km) via AP-68 and AP-2

To Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque community) 5 hr 39 min (567 km) via AP-68 and AP-2

To Pamplona (Navarre) 4 hr 48 min (484 km) via AP-2

To Logroño (La Rioja) 4 hr 43 min (476 km) via AP-68 and AP-2

Railways

High-speed rail (AVE) services from Madrid currently reach Lleida, Tarragona and Barcelona. The journey between Barcelona and Madrid now takes about two-and-a-half hours. A connection to the French high-speed TGV network has been completed (called the Perpignan–Barcelona high-speed rail line) and the Spanish AVE service began commercial services on the line 9 January 2013, later offering services to Marseille on their high speed network. This new line passes through Girona and Figueres with a tunnel through the Pyrenees.

Main information

Area: 32 106.5 sq. km

GPS coordinates: 41°49′N 1°28′W

Language: Spanish, Catalan

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1, in summer +2

Phone code: 93 (Barcelona)