Puigcerdà is the largest town in the valley; in Catalan, puig means "hill," and cerdà derives from "Cerdanya." From the promontory upon which it stands, the views down across the meadows of the valley floor and up into the craggy peaks of the surrounding Pyrenees are dramatic. The 12th-century Romanesque bell tower—all that remains of the town church of Santa Maria, destroyed in 1936 at the outset of the Spanish Civil War—and the sunny sidewalk cafés facing it are among Puigcerdà's prettiest spots, as is the Gothic church of Sant Domènec. Serving primarily as a base for skiers and hikers from both sides of the border, Puigcerdà has lively restaurants and a bustling shopping promenade. On Sunday, markets sell clothes, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and wild mushrooms to shoppers.
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