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Catalunya could be described as a country within a country; an amazing diversity of landscapes, a people justifiably proud of their language and culture, traditions that date back thousands of years and world renowned gastronomic excellence.
Easy access by road, rail and air makes Catalunya an ideal destination for holidays, offering something for everyone; sporting facilities, cultural activities, fascinating places to visit and stunning beaches. Barcelona, surely the most exciting, modern city in Europe, is easily reached from any of the properties we offer.
The north of the region sits below the foothills of the Pyrenees. Dense forests of cork and pine trees surround the picturesque walled village of Sant Llorenç de la Muga, famous for its carefully restored stone houses, and nearby Maçanet de Cabrenys, reputedly one of themost beautiful villages of the Alt Empordá. Close by the vast natural reservoir of Boadella offers kayaking, whilst the medieval town of Besalú is famed for its stunning medieval bridge, complete with portcullis.
Within an easy drive are the beaches of Port de la Selva and Port de Llança, whilst the Marine Natural Park of Cap de Creus lies just to the south with the imposing monastery of St Pere de Rodes perched on the mountain behind.
To the south west of Figueres, Navata is well placed for the golf facilities of Torremirona and the tiny village of Lladó offers a taste of life in a rural community. A scenic cross country drive to the country beaches that line the bay of Roses takes in the Empordá Marshes National Park en route. Sant Marti d'Empuries, just a short walk from the famous ruins, is a perfect example of a carefully restored medieval village whose narrow streets open into a tiny square, under the shadows of the church, where there are a handful of restaurants serving fine local Catalan cuisine.
Heading south, the vast plains of the Baix Empordá are home to the stunning medieval villages of Ullastret, CruÎlles, Torrent, Palau Sator, Peratallada, Pals and Fonteta. The lively commercial town of La Bisbal is the centre of the ceramics trade and has a colourful market.
The market town of Palafrugell has three coastal bays within a few kilometres. Calella de Palafrugell, a pretty, white-washed fishing village plays host to the festival of the 'havaneres' or sea shanties, during the early summer. Stylish Llafranc has a perfectly formed bay with a tiny yacht harbour. Here you will find an array of traditional restaurants along the sea front serving an impressive range of tasty local cuisine.
Tamariu is the next beauty and, perhaps the most authentic spot along the coast, with its narrow horseshoe bay and sandy beach surrounded by pine clad cliffs. At night, the atmosphere is truly Mediterranean with fishermen preparing to put to sea at dusk in search of 'calamar' and sea bass and the sprinkling of restaurants come alive, prettily lit up and offering the freshest of fish from the day's catch.
As darkness falls local artisans offer their wares below the light of burning gas lamps and amateur jugglers and would-be violinists visit from time to time, adding to the magic of the evening. Picturesque Aigua Xelida has hidden coves and sits on a spectacularly indented coastline, whilst the other side of the pine clad hill reveals the stunning sandy bay and shimmering turquoise waters of Aigua Blava neatly tucked away out of sight, a secret waiting to be discovered.
Nearby, the hilltop castle town of Begur offers amazing panoramas and hidden alleyways and squares among the narrow streets of its old quarter. Below, its headland drops breathtakingly to the tiny shoreline villages of Sa Riera and Sa Tuna and beyond to the Mediterranean.
The Catalan fishing harbour of Palamós proffers a maze of back streets with hidden tapas bars and some of the best fish restaurants in the area. The wooded hillsides of Mont Ras offer superb facilities for mountain biking through the trees; alternatively the new 'Green Way' for cyclists and walkers links Palafrugell to Palamós via the picturesque country beach of Platja d'en Castell, backed by its protected nature reserve.
Just inland, the hamlet of Vall Llobrega lies quietly amidst vines and woodland and boasts two respected local restaurants. Follow the back road through the wooded foothills of the Gavarres mountains via the hamlet of Romanyá, famed for its two excellent restaurants. Heading west towards Girona, the very local village of Santa Cristina d'Aro offers a mix of shops and restaurants and a varied range of sporting opportunities. The countryside around the hamlets of Bell Lloc and St Miguel d'Aro is ideal for walking and cycling.
The hidden cove and small marina of Cala Canyelles lie just south of the stunning corniche that runs from Sant Feliu de Guixols to Tossa de Mar. Pine trees cling to the cliffs that run down to the water's edge and the crystal clear waters are popular for both divers and snorkellers alike. From the sandy beach it is possible to hire a kayak and explore this rugged coastline from the best vantage point: the sea.
The Catalan capital, Barcelona, teems with life and atmosphere, unforgettable architecture, wonderful museums, a Gothic quarter, a thriving port, vibrant 'ramblas', the best in shopping, traditional bars and restaurants... and so much more. This colourful and exciting city is seemingly inexhaustible and easily traversed via its efficient public transport system.
Most meals start with 'pa amb tomáquet', bread rubbed with tomato and garlic and then drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt. This is often topped with anchovies, red peppers or chorizo.
On the National Day of Catalunya, 11th September, large scale celebrations take place all around the province, culminating in the dancing of 'sardanas' and fireworks into the night.