Central Catalonia is an attractive region for the visitors that prefer to experience the environment with the locals rather than with other tourists. Central Catalonia allows to blend in with the local life, you can find many great local restaurants and markets.
Central Catalonia lies with the Llobregát river running through the centre of the region. The Llobregát river origins in the Pyrenees and runs out near the airport of Barcelona. As mentioned, Central Catalonia lies close to the Pyrenees, meaning our houses lie between around 400 vertical meters to 1.000 vertical meters – this gives some quite amazing views. Furthermore, as Central Catalonia is neighbour to the Pyrenees, the landscape is filled with hills, which, among other things, gives great opportunities to go biking or hiking.
Weather in Central Catalonia
If you rent a holiday home in Central Catalonia, because of the vertical metres that vary from 400 – 1.000 metres, you will experience a more fresh and dry heat than the heat that comes with the coastal areas. In July and August, you can easily sit outside for as long as it pleases you, and the swimming pool will have a very nice bathing temperature. In the off-seasons, the weather is a bit more unpredictable, but between May and October the temperature will mainly be nice and the days will be sunny.
Great tip: On special hot days, you can advantageously close the shutters of the house, as it will help preserve a nice chilly temperature inside the house.
Cities in Central Catalonia
When you come from the city of Barcelona, you will pass by the city of Manresa, which we will recommend that you visit. The main city of the region is Berga, which lies where the Pyrenees begin to arise. Berga is, like Manresa, a wonderful city with a great antique city center. Berga is also known for the festival La Patum. We have had the pleasure to participate in the festival once and it was an exciting experience. However, you must be aware that the city center will be filled with people and when the lights go out, a parade accompanied with fireworks will move through the narrow streets, meaning it is not a festival for the fainthearted. If you wish to visit the festival and you are travelling with kids there is a more kid-friendly version of the festival, typically Saturday before noon. Besides Berga, there is also several smaller cities with Gironella as the largest and Puig Reig and Casserres as the following.
Activities in Central Catalonia
Central Catalonia offers plenty of great activities, such as the before mentioned hiking and cycling, but also many more outside activities. The tourist office in Berga has some great proposals regarding hiking routes, where many of them are circular, meaning you can finish them in one day. Other great activities in the area include activities such as “Kayaking by Cercs”, Gaudi’s “Secret Garden” by La Pobla, which you can visit by taking a train, the mines be Cercs, which is also accessible with train, two different small animal parks, and many other things. Or, how about spending half a day with the shepherd Richard, where you help with his sheep?
Great tip: Our philosophy is that a great vacation consists of a lovely holiday home as a base, and then some exciting excursions and activities. Because of this, we have made an activity document for all the regions of Catalonia. You will receive the activity document when you book your holiday rental home. The activity documents are based on our own experiences, and we have tried to make them as specific as possible. As a supplement, it can always be nice to visit the local tourist office for further inspiration.
Excursions out of Central Catalonia
From Central Catalonia, it is easy to visit different parts of Catalonia on half- or whole day trips.
Barcelona is approximately one and half hours’ drive away, and you could consider bringing bathing clothes if you’d fancy going for a mid-day swim. The city of Barcelona has so much to offer; art, culture, football, beach, and shopping. Furthermore, the atmosphere in the city centre is something special – small streets filled with street art, cafés, and restaurants. If you wish to go on an alternative guided tour, we would recommend that you visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cataloniaholidaylettings/, where we also post about guided tours and other activities. Regarding parking, it is a bit more expensive to park in a parking house. However, it gives the opportunity to park in the city centre and you also avoid spending unnecessary time searching for the cheaper parking options, which is often located a bit outside the city centre, meaning you would also have to calculate with a ticket for the metro.
Wine: By now there is practically wine regions everywhere in Catalonia and Central Catalonia is no exception. If you are specially interested, you may contact us for a list of vineyards, who offers visits. Alternatively, within an hours’ drive, it is possible to reach Catalonia’s most famous wine region Penedés. Penedés is filled with many different vineyards. The size and commercial value vary from small local organic winemakers to large wine manufacturers, who offers guided tours, where you travel around the vineyard in a small train, which can be great fun if you are thinking about bringing kids along. Here is a list of the three largest vineyards:
Beaches: The nearest beaches from Central Catalonia is in the city of Barcelona and in a nice city near Barcelona called Sitges. You may also consider driving to Costa Brava, which is a bit longer drive, but as you reach Costa Brava by going through Girona, which is a wonderful city, we think it is worth the longer drive. Along the coast of Costa Brava, there are also some lovely small villages.
How to arrive:
Flight: Both the airport of Barcelona and the airport of Girona lies relatively close to the holiday homes in Central Catalonia. From both airports you will have to calculate with approximately one and half an hours’ drive, however this obviously depends on the location of your chosen holiday home. The airport of Reus lies within two to two and half an hours’ drive from the holiday homes in Central Catalonia.
Car: If you decide to drive in your own car, you could consider going over the Pyrenees via E-9, meaning you will arrive via Foix in France, this is truly a beautiful drive, which also gives you the opportunity to visit Andorra. Even though this route is lovely, you must be aware that you will be driving in the mountains, so if you suffer from height anxiety you may think twice about going over the Pyrenees. Alternatively, you can also take the more popular route, which is the coastal highway via Perpignan, but be aware that this route can be a little packed on Saturdays.
Public transportation and car rental: The holiday homes usually lie secluded, meaning arriving with public transportation can be difficult. Therefore, we recommend car rental, even though taxi and bus, if necessary, is an opportunity. You can also read our tips regarding car rental.
Take full advantage of your vacation by understanding the Catalan way of life
Market days Almost every city, large as small, have a weekly market day, where you can buy vegetables, sausages, steaks, olive oil and other delicacies. The markets in the local towns are great if you wish to find fresh vegetables and meat, while the markets in the larger cities might even be worth a visit. In our activity document, we have a list of market days in the different cities and villages.
Staying in and going out for a bite Generally, in Catalonia and especially in areas like Central Catalonia, which is less tourist, most restaurants are open for lunch and then closed in the evening, except for Fridays and Saturdays.
Great tip: Go out for lunch, and then eat at home by the grill in the evening when the kids are tired and would rather play and bath instead of behaving at a formal restaurant.