As soon as I booked off annual leave from work, I knew I wanted something different. Despite being a city girl through and THROUGH, I felt like I needed a major break from my typical lifestyle. It just felt so… commercial? That’s why I jumped at the chance to go explore rural Catalonia. Now, I’ve explored Spain many times and Barcelona is like a home base for me, but rural areas? Never been there. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been documenting my travels around Catalonia on Instagram, but wanted to take you all on a little trip whilst I reminisce on my experiences. Let’s go!
Wine Cellars, Huge Breakfasts + Sunrises With A View?
Sign me right up! Before we get into all things rural, it’s worth explaining where I was staying during this trip. My accommodation was located at a small costal town known as ‘Roses’. It’s a prominent fishing port in Catalonia and attracts plenty of tourists during the summer. In winter months, as you would expect, it’s a LOT quieter. However, this didn’t bother me in the slightest. I was absolutely committed to having a peaceful week, after all. From Roses, it would be a short drive to rural location number 1 – Garriguella.
When I say Garriguella is tiny, I really mean it. I was told by locals that there is only one supermarket, if you could even call it that, and it’s the size of a small petrol station. I was also told that internet connection is notoriously bad. So far so good, as this is exactly what I needed to hear to have a visit without distractions. The inner city girl in me was probably shaking though.
The first place I checked out was ‘Cooperativa Garriguella’. The best way to describe this spot is like a café connected to a small farming area, mixed with a zone dedicated to selling anything grown on the land. Did that make sense? I hope so, as I’m an absolute newbie to this all. It seemed unthinkable that the huge plate of food I was eating was most likely produced at the same building. There was also something so innocent about seeing locals bringing in empty jars to fill up with wine directly from the source.
A Water Fountain In The Middle Of Nowhere…
Next up was the type of place you’d only discover through a local. That place was a tiny village known as ‘Vilarnadal’. If my description for Garriguella was ‘ahhh it’s tiny’ then wait until I tell you Vilarnadal has just over 250 people living there. The whole place was giving me major ghost town vibes! However, the reason why I was keen to drive over here was because of the village water fountain, said to have some of the purest water EVER. Guys, it literally had no taste to it. None at all. Apparently this is what water should actually taste like? Commercially bottled water could never haha! Interestingly, I noticed there were 2 water fountains in the village but one has water that wasn’t suitable for drinking. You’ll know which is which by the signs though, luckily. Without a doubt, I’ll be bringing empty bottles to re-fill with water next time I’m even in slightest proximity to the village. Dare I say it’s Catalonia’s best kept secret? It was really that good. As there wasn’t much else Vilarnadal had to offer, it was on to the next one. Yes I really did manage to slip in a Jay-Z song title into a travel blog post haha.
Besalú For An Afternoon Of Running Around Saying ‘Oh That’s Cool’ Every 2 Seconds
I wish I was joking when I say the above, but I’m really not. You see, Besalú is really beautiful. I mean, the type of beautiful that makes you forget where you are for a moment. Whilst it’s a place that had greater exposure during the Middle Ages, you’ll still find Catalan natives travelling here for a day trip. For me though, it was the circus museum that got me intrigued with the town. I’ve always LOVED anything to do with the circus so a whole EMPTY museum on it? I’m sold! Conveniently named ‘Circusland’, the building features 3 floors of fancy circus outfits and memorabilia. I was certainly living my best life reading the history of where the first circus performance took place to who wore the most extravagant acrobatic outfit. If anyone is curious on the logistics, it took around 45 minutes to see everything and tickets cost a mere 6 euros. You already know something like this in the city would cost double, at LEAST.
With my afternoon finishing with a drive back to Barcelona, I started to really appreciate rural life. I was always under the impression it was ‘boring’ but I couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not yet ready to give up the hustle and bustle of the city, but now I completely see the appeal of spending some time away from it all. Rural locations will be seeing me more often it seems.
Want to see some more photos of my adventures? Follow me on Instagram! I’d love to connect.
Until then, see you in the next post!