September 25, 2017

Beer & Gossiping during Medieval Times!

While visiting Erfurt Germany I was struck by a few accoutrements on the medieval buildings that still adorn the streets of this Thüringen city.  For Travel Photo Thursday I’m sharing two interesting medieval architectural features.

Back in the day brewing rights were given to certain buildings in the city.  In fact, during the 16th century there were more than 600 small breweries in Erfurt!

Beer Sign Erfurt Germany

Fresh beer is sold here today!

With so many breweries, it makes sense they would limit the days each brewer could sell beer.  To alert the citizens of Erfurt that fresh beer was available the brewer would place a small bundle of straw in an opening on the front of the building (look above the window to the  right of the door).

Gossip Seats on Medieval buildings Erfurt Germany

Or maybe the very first smoking area!

The next architectural addition to the façades of medieval buildings that I found very interesting was the “Klatschstein” or so called gossip seats. Look closely and you’ll see two nooks on either side of the front door.  This is where citizens or merchants could sit and gossip about the folks passing by!  Was this the start of the Enquirer?

Gossip and Beer Erfurt Germany

Gossip while drinking beer!

What interesting architectural features
have you seen during your travels?

 

 

These photo’s are part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the Erfurt Tourist Office!  For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites.  Even though my trip was paid for by these organizations, all opinions are my own.

London Bridge through the Ages

The London Bridge has been at the heart of the English capital for its entire history, playing a vital role in linking the north and south banks of the River Thames. There has not only been one London Bridge, however.  The name has referred to a number of very different structures over the ages.

Origins

London as a major metropolis came into being after the Roman invasion in AD 43. Although trade along the Thames was by then well established, it was the invaders who first bridged it, probably with a pontoon bridge of the sort used by troops. The first permanent, substantial London Bridge appeared a little over a decade later, but this wooden edifice was destroyed during the revolt led by Boudica in AD 60. Once the rebellion had been put down, the London Bridge was rebuilt.  This cross-river link helped to confirm London as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia.

Medieval times

When the Roman legions departed from Britain, around AD 410, the engineering skills required to maintain the London Bridge went with them and the bridge gradually decayed until late Saxon times. During this period and the first century of Norman rule, the London Bridge was rebuilt several times after destruction resulting both from military action and natural causes, such as the tornado of 1091. The final structure from this period, originally ordered by Henry II, was finished in 1209. This timber bridge survived for 600 years and, at its height during the Tudor period, boasted 200 shops along its 800-foot length.

London Bridge at night London England

London Bridge Illuminated by burge5000

The 19th century bridge

By the 19th century, it was clear that the ancient bridge was inadequate for the much larger London of the Industrial Revolution. In 1831, the new five-arched stone bridge was opened and the medieval bridge was then demolished. Although the new London Bridge had more capacity than the one it replaced, as the city continued to grow, it in turn became overcrowded. By the turn of the 20th century, the London Bridge was the single worst point of congestion in the entire capital.  In fact, the sheer weight of vehicles crossing it every day lead to the foundation beginning to sink.

London Bridge today

Despite its flaws, it took until the second half of the 20th century for this London Bridge to be replaced. Famously, it was purchased by an American businessman, who had it shipped in pieces to the US and reassembled in Arizona. The replacement bridge, the one that stands today, was opened by the Queen in 1973. This is a straightforward concrete box girder bridge, which does not have the elegance of some of its predecessors but is able to stand up to the high demands of 21st-century traffic.

The many visitors who stay in London Bridge hotels today may well pass over the bridge regularly without ever realizing the two millennia of history behind this Thames crossing!

 

Have you crossed the London Bridge without realizing its history?

 

This article was brought to you by Mercure hotels.

Wandering Freiburg

The wonderful picturesque town of Freiburg am Breisgau in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany has an honored location as the gateway to the Black Forest. The university town dates back to 1120 and is full of charm, culture, museums and great restaurants.  Freiburg is a wine center of the Rhine Valley and its historic old town has born witness to the varied history of the region.View from Tower Frieburg Germany

The best way of seeing Freiburg is by wandering the streets in the pedestrian friendly old town.  On this walk you’ll pass canals where medieval fisherman, tanners and other guild members once practiced their professions.  You’ll also have the chance to meet the people that helped shape Freiburg in the many statues honoring them.Along Canal in Freiburg Germany

Yes it is through the medieval facades, squares and streets where we meet the real Freiburg and since, in my opinion,  walking is the best way to experience Freiburg I’m sharing a few of the wonderful things I saw while wandering the streets its streets.

Let’s start in and around Rathausplatz where you will find not one but two Rathaus’ (Town Halls).  The Old Town Hall sits to the right of the New Town Hall and is now home to the Tourist Information office.   Both Town Halls were made by combining older homes – the Old in 1557 and New in 1896.  The New Town Hall was the original site of the university dating back to 1457. Most of the remaining parts of the square are taken up by a former Franciscan Monastery including its church which was built in approximately 1300. You will also notice a statue erected in 1853 honoring Berthold Schwarz, the inventor of gun powder and one of my guides during my stay in Freiburg!

Insel Area Freiburg GermanyMore Insel Area Freiburg Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you keep wandering Freiburg you will come upon many beautiful streets and buildings.  Konviktstrasse and the Insel area are two of the most beautiful and picturesque in the city. I loved them both and could spend hours just wandering.  As you’re wandering make sure to slow down to take notice of all the detail on the buildings!  If all your walking has made you thirsty a stop at the Roten Bären (Red Bear) may be needed.  This is Germany’s oldest pub and has been continuously serving since 1387.
Konvictstrasse Freiburg Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Historiches Kaufhaus or Historic Merchant Hall is one of the many beautiful buildings lining the Munsterplatz.  Dating back to 1520, merchants and officials governed and traded at this location during Medieval times.  Look closely and you will see sculptures of Hapsburg emperors. The Minster dominates Munsterplatz and should not be missed.  The Medieval Minster was completed in 1513 after 300 long years of construction.  Besides all the statues, gargoyles and relics found in the Minster, there is also a 381 foot high spire where you will be rewarded with wonderful views after climbing the many many stairs to top!Historiches Kaufhaus Freiburg Germany

As you have seen Freiburg is a beautiful city! There is much more to Freiburg and over the next few weeks we will explore more of this medieval beauty.Looking down from Minster Tower Freiburg Germany

If you haven’t seen enough pictures of Freiburg Germany, visit our Facebook page where you will find more!

 

This is my entry for Carnival of Europe hosted by DJ Yabis at Dream Euro Trip!  Take a look at all the wonderful European entries.

 

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people with the Freiburg Tourist Office!  If you need more information on Freiburg, please visit their websites.

Tidbits from the Historic Highlights of Germany!

Germany is one of my favorite countries to visit so it was with great excitement that I set out on a whirlwind 6 city tour of Germany!  Every trip to Germany is exciting but this one was especially so since I was going to explore cities and regions I have never been to including 3 in former East Germany.

Map of my German trip

by David Liuzzo on Wikimedia

As the wonderful Deutche Bahn trains carried me far and wide, I was amazed by the green beautiful scenery passing by my eyes.  The rolling landscape is full of green meadows, dense forests, farmland and the ever present church steeple!  Even as I neared the Baltic coast the landscape was still rolling just not quite as high.

German Countryside from Train

German Countryside from Train

Today I’m sharing a few interesting tidbits I learned as I explored these historic highlights of Germany!

Cecilienhof Palace Potsdam Germany

Cecilienhof Palace Potsdam Germany

In Freiburg I enjoyed a guided tour by the monk, Berthold Schwarz, who invented Black Powder during medieval times in the very same city!

During a tour of Mainz my guide told me that Germany has a population of about 83 million people and is roughly the same size as the state of Montana, which only has a population of about 1 million people.  Interestingly, I’ve never thought of Germany being that crammed full!

Erfurt was the first city I visited that was once part of East Germany. While wandering the medieval streets I was struck by the number of pregnant women I saw (they were seriously everywhere!).  Matthias, my guide, said it was true and felt it was due to the fact that people are finally feeling they have a future!

Beautiful Potsdam was where I discovered that President Truman first learned the tests on the atomic bomb were successful at the beginning of the Potsdam Conference and approved the order to drop the bombs while still at the conference held at Cecilienhof Palace.

Dostoyevsky Bust Wiesbaden Germany

Dostoyevsky Bust Wiesbaden Germany

I really enjoyed the funny dry sense of humor my guide in Rostock possessed and had to chuckle when he explained that Rostock was once part of the German Democratic Republic of which they were neither Democratic nor really a Republic.  Times have definitely changed here!

My last stop was Wiesbaden which has been a town attracting the rich and famous for decades.  Originally drawn to Wiesbaden by its spa, the casino helped keep the rich entertained.  In fact, the casino in Wiesbaden is where Fjodor Dostoyevsky lost his fortune and subsequently became the inspiration for his novel, The Gambler.

During the next few weeks I’ll tell you more about the amazing cities I’ve visited and hopefully inspire YOU to explore some of Germany that is off the normal tourist path!

 

 

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at all the local tourist offices that made it all happen!  To learn more about Germany off the Beaten Path, please visit the Historic Highlights of Germany website.

Erfurt’s Krämerbrücke

There are many reasons to visit Erfurt and one of them is the Krämerbrücke or Merchant’s Bridge.Erfurt Germany Krämerbrücke Bridge View

Florence Italy may have its Ponte Vecchio but Erfurt Germany has the 120 meter long Krämerbrücke which is the only bridge in Europe that has houses along its entire length that are still inhabited!Erfurt Germany Krämerbrücke View

Spanning the Gera River and sitting at the center of Erfurt’s well preserved medieval city center sits the lovely bridge that has played a role in the city’s trade since at least 1117 when it was first mentioned.  The Krämerbrücke was originally built of wood to support Erfurt’s location on the Via Regia trade route but was replaced with a stone bridge in 1325 after fire kept destroying the wood structure.Erfurt Germany Krämerbrücke Outside View

Today the 32 buildings on the Krämerbrücke delight visitors with its galleries, boutiques, cafes and shops of local artisans.More Erfurt Germany Krämerbrücke Bridge View

Yes there are many reasons to visit Erfurt and the Krämerbrücke is a small representative of the beauty that lie within the city limits!

 

I’m sharing these photos as part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

 

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people with the Erfurt Tourist Office!  For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites.

I’m Off to Explore Historic Germany!

I’m not indecisive but I have a hard time naming my favorite European travel destination, it just feels wrong to all the other wonderful places I’ve visited.  But if pressed, I would name Germany as my favorite destination in Europe and by that I would actually mean Bavaria.

Even though I’m bewitched with Bavaria, I’ve been feeling the need (and desire) to spread my wings and discover more of  Germany.  Now I’m being given the chance to explore more of the Historic Highlights of Germany!

Beginning Thursday morning, I’ll be spending 12 days criss crossing Germany.  Once again I’ll be using the very efficient German rail system to get me north, south, east and west in this Central European country.  Get ready for a fast paced trip in the land of my fore-fathers!

Freiburg Minster Germany

Freiburg Minster by Joachim Messerschmidt Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

First off will be a wonderful excursion in the heart of a German wine region and the gateway to the Black Forest, Freiburg. Known as the sunniest and warmest city in Germany, Freiburg also boasts a lovely medieval center, inviting cafes and taverns and a varied history that is all wrapped up in a laid back atmosphere!

Mainz Town Hall Germany

Mainz Town Hall by Rainer Kiedrowski Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

After exploring Freiburg, I’ll be whisked by Deutsche Bahn up to Mainz who sits alongside the lovely Rhine river.  I’ve been to Mainz before but there is much more to this city than I previously explored including Chagall blue stained glass windows, a Gutenberg printing press, Roman ruins and wine!

Erfurt Cathedral & St Severus Church Erfurt Germany

Erfurt Cathedral & St Severus Church by Toma Babovic Thuringer Tourismus

Then I’ll be going east to Erfurt where Martin Luther studied and lived.  This city of towers and spires has enough churches to be called “The Rome of Thuringia.”  Erfurt is home to one of the best preserved medieval Old Towns around and Europe’s longest inhabited bridge!

Sanssouci Palace Potsdam Germany

Sanssouci Palace Potsdam by Torsten Kruger Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

Continuing east, my next stop will be Potsdam.  You know how much I love palaces and castles; well Potsdam is home to some of the most beautiful and famous castles and palaces!  Add in the amazing history and I am excited to visit this city!

Old Quarter Rostock Germany

Old Quarter Rostock by Joachim Messerschmidt

Next, I’ll be zipping up north to the Baltic Coast where I’ll spend time exploring Rostock!  Ever since I wrote “Off the Beaten Path in Rostock Germany” I have wanted to see the unique brick architecture and now I’ll get to!  I’ve never been to the northern coast of Germany so one of my goals is putting my tootsies in the Baltic!

Wiesbaden Fountain Germany

Wiesbaden Fountain by Torsten Druger Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

The last leg of my trip takes me south to Wiesbaden where I’ll spend my last few days.  As I mentioned in “Wiesbaden- Worth A Second Look?I’ve spent a short amount of time here but now I will get that second look!  So I’m looking forward to wandering this elegant spa town enjoying its architecture, museums, shopping, and Viennese style cafes.  Maybe there will also be more wine in my future 🙂

Keep reading, as I’ll be sharing all my adventures with you all!  Follow along using the #exploregermany hashtag or watch our Facebook page!

By the way, I’m not cheating on you Bavaria, just seeing more of your wonderful country.  I’m sure I’ll be back but for now I’m off to explore different corners.  I hope you understand. .  .

 

Let me know any “must sees” I shouldn’t miss while in Germany!

 

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to all the sponsors!

 

Eye Catching Porrentruy Switzerland

A week or so ago, as my husband was watching the Tour du France, I kept seeing this beautiful village and passing landscape as the riders got closer to the days finish line.  By the end of the race, I was mesmerized by the quaint charming little town this stage ended in.  Come to find out, it wasn’t even in FranceNo this lovely village is in Switzerland and is known as Porrentruy.

Porrentruy Swizterland panorama

Porrentruy Swizterland panorama by Dietrich Michael Weidmann

Located in Northwest Switzerland, in a little pocket of land surrounded by France at the bottom of the Jura mountains, this village of approximately 6,800 people has over time wandered back and forth between being part of France and Switzerland.  Even though tools and other objects dating back to the Mesolithic, Bronze and Iron ages have been found here, the first actual settlement wasn’t established until 1140.

History has left its mark on Porrentruy and can be seen in the many Baroque, Gothic and Neoclassical buildings still standing.   Let’s go discover what’s hidden within the streets of Porrentruy!

Porrentruy Chateau Switzerland

Le Chateau Porrentry by Anne Monard jura.ch

  • The city is shadowed by a medieval castle that dates back to the 13th century and was once the home of the Bishop of Basel (1527-1792).  The Refous Tower is the oldest building standing on the castle grounds today.  The tower was built in 1271 and offers fantastic views to anyone willing to climb up!
  • A portion of the medieval city gate still stands tall even if it was built in 1563.

    Baroque Hôtel Dieu Porrentruy Switzerland

    Baroque Hôtel Dieu Porrentruy Switzerland by Polo7

  • Besides the many baroque buildings in the old town, there are also grand medieval fountains. The Fountain of the Samaritan was built in 1563 and is a stunning fountain depicting a scene from the bible.  The Standard Bearer’s Fountain, built in 1518, was the first fountain to have a figure on top.  Look closely and you will see the symbol of the city at the bottom, the wild boar.
  • The 200 year old Botanical Gardens display many types of plants including those found in the Jura region.  In one building you will even find carnivorous plants!
  • The Hotel Dieu dates back to 1761 when it was a hospital for the needy.  It remained a functioning hospital until 1956 when it became a museum.  Inside this wonderful Baroque building are exhibits detailing the history and culture of both Porrentruy and Switzerland, an old Apotheke and watchmakers display.

    Inside Gothic Saint Pierre church Porrentruy Switzerland by polo7

    Inside Gothic Saint Pierre Church by polo7

  • Porrentruy is home to a Gothic basilica, St. Peter’s Church, that was built from 1321-1333.  The interior of St. Peter’s is very beautiful and houses splendid relics and a Gothic altar.

I have never been to the Jura region but I’ve now decided there is more of Switzerland I need to explore!

View of Porrentruy Switzerland

View of Porrentruy Switzerland by Alain Perret jura.ch

Porrentruy definitely caught my eye!

Has it caught yours?

Miltenberg Calling!

As I’ve said in Gengenbach Calling and Hallstatt Calling, pictures speak to me.

Now I can add Miltenberg Germany to this list! I recently saw this picture of Miltenberg and it is one of the reasons I keep coming back to Bavaria and Germany!

Miltenberg Bavaria Germany river Main

Miltenberg by Bundesarchiv_B_145_Bild-F079086-0035

Located on the banks of the Main River in the German state of Bavaria, Miltenberg is at a minimum one of the most beautiful locations in the area!

This medieval town was first mentioned in 1237 but it was around 155 AD that the Roman’s built a fortress and limes in the area.  In fact, it is these Roman Limes and the Main River that formed the Roman Empire’s border with Germania.

Marktplatz in Miltenberg am Main Bavaria Germany

Marktplatz in Miltenberg am Main by Bytfisch

Miltenberg still has many timbered buildings which help keep the feeling of medieval times.  Wander the old town center and medieval marketplace or discover the lovely St. Lawrence chapel and cemetery dating back to the 14th century.  Or visit the castle Mildenberg which has helped protect the village since 1230.

Miltenberg river Main Bavaria Germany

Miltenberg, river Main by reinholdbehringer, on Flickr

The hotel Zum Riesen, in Miltenberg’s Old Town, has laid claim to being one of Germany’s oldest Inns if not the oldest. It seems that way back in 1314 Ludwig from Bavaria stayed here not long after his coronation!  Now I’m not sure if this is the oldest inn in Germany but it sure has been around a long time and seen its share of history including witch trials which took place in the square out front of the inn.

Miltenberg Hotel Riesen Bavaria Germany rive Main

Miltenberg Hotel Riesen by Matthia Schussler

Miltenberg is in the middle of a wine producing region in Germany. There a many options to taste wine from the region including hiking through the vineyards sampling wine at local wine makers taverns!

Visitors may also enjoy hiking or biking along the trails on the Main River.   A popular hike is to Closter Engelberg for bread and beer!  Even though Miltenberg is in the middle of wine country, there are two breweries in town including one at the hotel Riesen.

Miltenberg Main river Bavaria Germany

Miltenberg 27 by Myrddin Pendragon, on Flickr

This peaceful serene village also makes a great base for seeing some of Germany’s other amazing villages including Rothenberg ob der Tauber, Wurzburg and Heidelberg.

Yes pictures inspire me and Miltenberg is definitely calling.


What pictures have inspired you to visit?

3 Little Gems of England

A few months ago we discovered two of Europe’s secret villages, Kuressaare in Estonia and Giethoorn in Holland.

Today we’re opening the door on a few more of these “secret” villages by traveling to cheery old England.

Castle Combe Tea Room Cotsowld England

Castle Combe Old rectory tea room by Saffron Blaze

England is littered with small beautiful villages sprinkled across the landscape. Some regions of England, like the Cotswold’s, are famous for their little gems. Even though the villages we’re discovering today are within easy reach from London, visiting these beauties will give you the feeling as if you’ve gone back in time!

 

Introducing 3 Little Gems of England!

 

Castle Combe river Cotswold England

Castle Combe river by Saffron Blaze

Castle Combe is located a mere 85 miles west of London in a lovely lush valley in the Cotswold’s. The castle of this beautiful and serene village no longer stands but you can still see a medieval church including one of the few medieval clocks in England that is still in use and a 14th century carved market cross marking the site of the town’s old wool market. Wandering this village, dubbed by some as “The Prettiest Village in England”, you will still notice the traditional Cotswold architecture of thick walls and roofs made of natural stone tiles. The village is so charming that it has been the filming site of many movies including last years Warhorse.

St Giles Church Chalfont St Giles England

St Giles Church by Skinnyde, on Flickr

Chalfont St Giles is the 3 time winner of the “Best Kept Village” competition and anyone walking the village will see why! At every corner the cozy town oozes old world charm. Chalfont St Giles is located in Buckinghamshire only 25 miles from London but seems a world away. The village green still hosts cricket matches and the river Misbourne has a Roman road crossing it. If you’re looking for traditional English pubs maybe one of the six located in the village will be to your liking! As London was being ravaged by the plague, it was here that Milton settled in 1665. In this 11th century village Milton’s cottage, where he finished Paradise Lost, still stands. Noel Gallagher of Oases used to call Chalfont St Giles home as did William Penn who is buried here – next to both his wives!

Chalfont St Giles by timo_w2s, on Flickr

Since 1944 Lacock has been almost entirely owned by the National Trust which helps ensure its charm stays intact. This well preserved village was once a medieval market town and its streets are lined with Tudor style houses. Besides the quaint houses of Lacock, visitors will want to see the parish church and the Lacock Abbey. The Abbey was founded in the 13th century by Lady Ela, who was Countess of Salisbury and whose husband was an illegitimate son of King Henry II. Lacock has also been seen in many TV shows on the BBC including Pride & Prejudice and the Abbey was seen in Harry Potter films as well as the Other Boleyn Girl.

Lacock Abbey Forecourt Cotswold England

Lacock Abbey Forecourt by Ian Petticrew

As you can see, all 3 of these villages can be descried using the same words – serene, beautiful, charming, medieval, unspoiled, prettiest, picturesque and traditional.

Ford in Lacock Cotswold England

Ford in Lacock by Immanuel Giel

Some may even call these “secret” villages but I think little gems fit better!


What do you think?

Catalonia – Spain’s Best Kept Secret?

Sitting in the north east corner of Spain is Catalonia. Home to a varied landscape that offers many surprises, Catalonia is a well kept secret that is waiting to enthrall you with all its charm.

Barcelona is the capital and most well known city of the region but there is so much more to be found.  A land of contrasts, Catalonia offers a rugged coastline, mountain peaks, lakes, rivers, forests, and surprises around every corner.  The villages are as lovely as the natural environment. Sights range from Romanesque architecture to Arab remnants and from prehistoric relics to avant-garde art.

San Mauricio Lake Catalonia Spain

San Mauricio Lake by Gligan


Here are 5 reasons to visit Catalonia!


Natural Wonders

You are surrounded by nature in Catalonia. The countryside varies from coastline to mountains and includes wetlands, rivers, valleys, lakes, plateau, forests and even volcanoes.  All of this beauty combines to offer a multitude of options for outdoor activities.  You can find something to do whether your time is spent on the snow-capped peaks or on one of the majestic beaches. In one trip you can enjoy the Pyrenees and then find yourself lounging by the Mediterranean!

Boi Valley Catalonia Spain

Vall de Boi: Boi and the valley by David Domingo, on Flickr

Outdoor Activities

The options for outdoor activities are as vast as the landscape.  Ranging from gentle easy hikes to canyoning or enjoy an easy glide down a river or the intensity of white water rafting!  Your days can be spent on horseback or quads.  You may choose to explore the region from the heights of a hot air balloon or from a seat on a horse-drawn carriage.  You could even visit a Natural Park made of salt to feast your eyes on salt stalagmites and stalactites!

Kayaking in Catalonia Spain

kayak by miuina, on Flickr

Culture

The historical and artistic heritage of Catalonia is also very diverse. Catalonia’s cultural treasures include cave paintings, ruins of great civilizations both Greek and Roman, Romanesque architecture, medieval castles, Gothic cathedrals, Jewish quarters, modern buildings and great art.  This is the land of great artists such as Dali, Miro, Picasso, Gaudi and Pau Casals.  A visit to the museums, houses and scenes that inspired their works can be enlightening!  If this isn’t enough, enjoy one of the many concerts, performances or local festivals the region offers.

Village of Cruïlles Catalonia Spain

Village of Cruïlles by Vincent van Zeijst

Cuisine

The world famous cuisine of Catalonia uses all the resources of the region from the mountain, sea and farm. In fact, people travel to this destination solely for the cuisine.  Traditional favorites include Pa amb Tomaquet (bread smeared with tomato and drizzled with olive oil), Escudella (a meat and vegetable stew) and Bacalla amb Samfaina (Cod with a ratatouille).  But also of importance is the modern cuisine found by renowned chefs and Michelin rated restaurants.  Learn about local cuisine by enjoying a cooking class, visiting a local fresh market, gastronomic museum or at one of the many festivals and fairs.  Catalonia also produces great wine and Cava.  The wine production in this area dates back to Roman times and has been growing since.  Visit museums related to the wine industry or enjoy tastings at the vineyard.

Barcelona Cuisine Catalonia Spain

Barcelona by George M. Groutas, on Flickr

Wellness

Spas seem to have grown in popularity lately but wellness has been important to Catalonia since the Roman era! In Catalonia there are 18 thermal baths found in natural surroundings including at least one Natural park.  The spa towns can be found spread throughout the region.  Other wellness centers can be found in resorts near the coast and other inland areas.  Each offers a variety of treatments including mud treatments, paraffin baths, massage as well as facial and beauty treatments.

Tossa de Mar Catalonia Spain

Tossa de Mar by Gordito1869

 

Whether you want to spend your time on a bike, at a spa, on the golf course, touring the historic sites of a city or on the sea, you’ll find an abundance of options in Catalonia!

 

Why would you visit Catalonia?