Romanesque art and medieval towns on the Costa Brava
The Costa Brava, in addition to the beauty of the natural
surroundings, possesses an abundance of cultural heritage with medieval art
featuring amongst the most impressive. A large amount of mediaeval remains hide
amongst the green mountains and towns on the Costa Brava.
Here are some of them:
A small distance away from Figueres is a town with one of the largest ensemble of medieval monuments and remains in Catalonia. From the moment you cross its iconic deck bridge, you will be immediately enchanted by the town. Its winding streets and ancient stone will take you all the way back to medieval times.
Although every little corner of Besalú is a masterpiece, we recommend that after
crossing the 11th-12th century bridge you don’t miss out
on some of the most iconic examples of medieval architecture such as the monastery
of Sant Pere, the ancient pilgrims’ hospital and the Sant Vicenç church. You should definitely visit the Jewish quarter and the micvé, the only Jewish baths uncovered on the Iberian Peninsula.
you’re in Besalú, you should try ratafia, a typical liqueur of the area flavoured
with lemon peel, herbs in various amounts including nutmeg, cinnamon, and herbs
and aromatic spices.
SANT PERE DE RODES
in the heart of the Cap de Creus Natural Park
, the monastery of Sant Pere de
Rodes stands majestically on the mountain top, from where you can admire some
magnificent views of the blue waters in Llança
Bay and the town Port
de la Selva.
With its 12th
century cloister, belfry and defence tower, this Benedictine monastery is
considered one of the main exponents of medieval remains in Catalonia.
It dates back to 1 AD and is shrouded in legend related to the relics of Saint Peter the Apostle. It was running up until the 18th century when fell into disuse and all of its sculptures, reliefs and valuable objects were
subsequently pillaged. However, the beauty of the monastery’s architecture and the magnificent views on offer are reason enough to visit it.
The most striking monument in Peralada is, without a doubt, the castle. Dating back to the 18th century, although it has undergone diverse reforms, it has two enormous towers, battlements and surrounding gardens. It is situated in the heart of the city centre and currently hosts an elegant casino and
restaurant. In addition, every summer the 'Castell de Peralada Music Festival' is
In addition to the castle, the town has a well-preserved historical district and several
medieval buildings including the medieval cloister Sant Domènec with its beautiful
architectural capitals and the Sant Martí church. You should also definitely
visit the Convent of Carmen. The convent houses the Castle Museum
and an impressive library home to more than 8,000 volumes with numerous incunables,
manuscripts, unique and rare copies and a Cervantes collection with more than
100 editions of Don Quixote. Great for book lovers.
Peratallada is a delightful small medieval town inland from the Costa Brava, with narrow, winding streets and bougainvillea climbing up the ochre-coloured walls of its stone houses. In 1975 it was declared a Site of Historical and Artistic Interest. It has lost none of its medieval character and is spoilt by none of the modern buildings that upset the balance in other towns. Its main sights include the 13th-century Romanesque church of Sant Esteve, the 10th- and 11th-century castle and keep, and the Plaça de les Voltes, an arched square with some of the town’s best restaurants.
TOSSA DE MAR
Steep cliffs, narrow streets, deep blue sea and white painted houses: that’s what you’ll find in Tossa de Mar. La Vila Vella, the fortified area that overlooks the beach, is the best place to appreciate its medieval past. The wall around it protected the town from attacks by pirates and other enemies from the sea. It remains almost entirely intact, with merlons and several watchtowers. Although originally built in the 12th century, much of the current site dates from the 14th century. The perimeter of the wall offers great views over the bay of Tossa de Mar.
Other medieval towns on the Costa Brava well worth visiting include:
- PALS, which you can read about in this post on our blog.
- CASTELLÓ D'EMPÚRIES, which was capital of Empúries County during the Middle Ages and still retains many important buildings.
- BEGUR, with watchtowers and a medieval castle in its historic centre, which we’ve written about here.
Laura - Marketing Team