Catalonia, Valencia, and the Costa Blanca: Places to Explore

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  • Albufera Nature Park

  • Alicante (Alacant)

    The Greeks called it Akra Leuka (White Summit) and the Romans named it Lucentum (City of Light). A crossroads for inland and coastal routes since ancient times, Alicante has always been known for...

  • Altea

    Overbuilt along the beachfront, like much of the Costa Blanca during its orgiastic days of development, Altea is still well preserved on the heights above a truly lovely little old quarter, with...

  • Besalú

    Besalú, the capital of a feudal county until power was transferred to Barcelona at the beginning of the 12th century, remains one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Catalonia. Among its main...

  • Calpe (Calp)

    Calpe has an ancient history, as it was chosen by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Moors as a strategic point from which to plant their Iberian settlements. The real-estate developers were the...

  • The Costa Brava

    The Costa Brava (Wild Coast) is a nearly unbroken series of sheer rock cliffs dropping down to clear blue-green waters, punctuated with innumerable coves and tiny beaches on narrow inlets, called calas. It...

  • Dénia

    Dénia is the port of departure on the Coast Blanca for the ferries to Ibiza, Formentera, and Mallorca—but if you’re on your way to or from the islands, you would do well to stay at least a...

  • Figueres

    Figueres is the capital of the comarca (county) of the Alt Empordà, the bustling county seat of this predominantly agricultural region. Local people come from the surrounding area to shop at its...

  • Girona

    At the confluence of four rivers, Girona (population: 96,000) keeps intact the magic of its historic past—with its brooding hilltop castle, soaring cathedral, and dreamy riverside setting, it...

  • Montserrat

  • Olot

    Capital of the comarca (administrative region) of Garrotxa, Olot is famous for its 19th-century school of landscape painters and has several excellent Art Nouveau buildings, including the Casa...

  • Ripoll

    From Olot, it’s an easy drive farther west on Route N260 to Ripoll—the wellspring, in a sense, of Catalonia’s earliest history. The town’s principal attraction is the Benedictine Monastery...

  • Santa Maria de Poblet

  • Santes Creus

    Sitges, with its summer festivals of dance and music, film and fireworks, is anything but solemn. Head inland, however, some 45 minutes' drive west, and you discover how much the art and...

  • Sitges

    The pristine fine white sand of the Sitges beach is elbow-to-elbow with sun-worshippers from April through September. The eastern end of the strand is dominated by an alabaster statue of the...

  • Tarragona

    With its vast Roman remains, walls, and fortifications and its medieval Christian monuments, Tarragona has been designated a World Heritage Site. The city today is a vibrant center of culture and...

  • Valencia

    Valencia is a proud city. During the Civil War, it was the last seat of the Republican Loyalist government (1935–36), holding out against Franco’s National forces until the country fell to 40...

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