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Advice on where to stay in Catalonian countryside?

Advice on where to stay in Catalonian countryside?

May 12th, 2008, 09:38 AM
  #1  
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Advice on where to stay in Catalonian countryside?

Hello, my boyfriend and I are spending some time at a friend's home on Menorca in late July, then would like to spend three days touring the Catalonian countryside and possibly the Loungedoc area before ending with our final night in Barcelona. We are interested in visiting medieval villages, and do not want to be on the beach as we will have had enough of that on Menorca. I have been doing a lot of research online, but it is hard to tell what location and hotel would be 1) centrally located for day trips mentioned above 2) be atmospheric and romantic (like Castelle d'emporada, which is sold out during my stay) 3) Not be so isolated that we are stuck in our hotel afterhours (like some of the beautiful inns I've seen that appear to be in the middle of nowhere). Mapwise, it looks like Girona may be a good choice? If so, any recommendations? Also, what about Cardona, is that too inconvenient? Thanks so much!
Keeksm is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 02:13 PM
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Are you going to be driving or using public transportation?
Robert2533 is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 03:24 PM
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Definitely driving.
Keeksm is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 07:08 PM
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We were in this area and loved it, especially staying at the parador in Begur (Parador Aigublava) which was great for day trips to various medieval villages such as Pals and Peretallada and the Greek and Roman ruins in Empuries, as well as Girona and Gala's house in Pubol and the theatro Dali in Figueres (my least favoriite of the ones I've mentioned). I would have liked to spend more time in Girona--it seemed lovely. The parador in Cardona was interesting, but didn't seem like there was as much in the nearby area, though Montserrat is a interesting place to stop (take the tram up--road is very scary).

Suggest you get the Rough Guide to Costa Brava and check out parador.es.
artlover is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 10:15 PM
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Late July is difficult. The area around Begur will be packed with tourist. Traffic will be heavy.

I would look further inland, in the Catalonia Pyrenees (http://www.cataloniapyrenees.com/).
Robert2533 is offline  
May 13th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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Thanks for the replies so far. I have read about Begur and it sounded cute, but I am not as interested in being on the beach (as I will have spent 5 days doing so on menorca), particularly if it means crowds. I was thinking more inland, or possibly pyrenees if there is something suitable. Again, I am looking for a special, romantic hotel in a little village (not overwhelmingly large and busy, but some options for walking to dinner in the evening).
Here are some towns I've been looking at:
Monells www.hostalet1701.com I can't find any reviews of this hotel though which concerns me.
Vic-- is this a village or a larger city? Any special accomodations?
Garrotxa, Rupit or Besalu?
Please continue to advise!


Keeksm is offline  
May 13th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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Keeksm,
As much as I love the tiny village of Rupit, which is super picturesque, you won't find any luxury lodgings there, just a tidy little hostal.

Vic is a lovely city with fine Romanesque art museum and grand central square, and we've stayed at the Parador outside of town (isolated) but it doesn't make a good base for exploring the prettiest parts of the Catalonian countryside, which lie NORTH of Vic.

And Cardona is rather "dusty" with nothing to offer other than the dramatically situated Parador and the salt mines.

For the most picturesque area of Catalonia you need to stay NORTH-the Garrotxa extinct volcanic area is particulary pretty, as is the Cerdanya valley in the Pyrenees foothills, as well as the Alt Emporda, where the Castel d'Emporda is located.

In the "deluxe, beautiful, romantic inn" category, there are many in the Garrotxa, Alt Emporda, Cerdanya and Pyrenees of Art Urgell.

But with only 3 days, I wouldn't go as far afield as the Cerdanya or Alt Urgell in the Pyrenees unless everything else is booked.

I'd stay somewhere in the Alt Emporda/Garrotxa within easy driving distance of the lovely city of Girona.

I'd look in the Girona PROVINCE.

Besalú is enchanting, but no luxury romantic property in town. The Jardín de Martana can't compare to the Castel.

BUT 2 km. outside of Besalú there's a new spa hotel Sant Ferriol. Both of these are members of Ruralka, a less expensive romantic inn group than Rusticae.
www.ruralka.com

The following are members of the prestigious Rusticae group, are romantic and upscale. The closest in luxury to the Castel would be the first here:

Mas Salvi (easy drive to Pals & Begur)

Mas Falgarona (drive to Figueres-also a member of Ruralka)

Mas Ferran (4 km. from Girona)

Can Xiquet (closer to the border for explorations of the Languedoc-Roussillon)

Arc de Monells (close to Girona & Monells is a lovely little medieval village)-this is also a Lugares Divinos property and has a really nice restaurant.

Look at them at www.rusticae.es but I would book directly or through wwww.innsofspain.com, which represents all Rusticae properties.

Another that isn't a Rusticae member:

Canaleta Heras (closer to the French border & member of Ruralka & Lugares Divinos)
www.canaletaheras.com
www.lugaresdivinos.com

Hope this helps!






Maribel is offline  
May 13th, 2008, 01:40 PM
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Morella is a walled hilltop town, and a national monument. The following hotel might suit your needs:
www.cardenalram.com/Index.aspx

This fortified farmhouse is possibly too remote, but my family enjoyed it:
http://www.casaguilla.com/

Londonres is offline  
May 13th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Check out Hotel Mas Pau-- not far from Figueres. Easy to reach Besalu, Olot, Rupit, Banyoles and Girona--

We stayed there two weeks ago and found it to be quite charming.Reminded us of a Borgo we stayed at in Tuscany.

Our accommodations included a gastronomic meal which was excellent!
adrien is offline  
May 13th, 2008, 04:20 PM
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adrien and Keeksm,
I completely forgot about the Mas Pau, right outside of Figueres, same location as Mas Falgarona. I was thinking about the Mas Falgarona only because of the Rusticae affiliation.

I stayed at the Mas Pau and loved it as well, and I've recommended it to others repeatedly. And it does seem kind of Tuscan.

The restaurant is fabulous!!
(the folks at El Bulli recommend it)

The Mas Pau is a member of Lugares Divinos.
www.maspau.com



Maribel is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 06:04 AM
  #11  
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Wow, thank you all, these are some excellent options, most of which have not shown up in what I thought were my extensive internet searches! This forum has been so helpful. Now I am overwhelmed with options, several look fantastic-- Mas Pau, Can Xiquet, Sant Ferriol (that spa!), Arc de Monells, Mas Falgorna. And now I received an email that Castle d'Emporada is in fact available-- but after looking at these others, I'm not so sure which. To help narrow it down, which of these (or other similar type places, you guys have hit my style exactly!) would we be best situated to visit a cute village for dinner and evening strolling, as we would like more options than eating at the hotel...convenience (parking, easy roads) and proximity to the hotel is key, as we are more likely to venture out (and treat ourselves to some wine) if we aren't going far. Thanks again!
Keeksm is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 07:34 AM
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Londonres...Morella is not Catalonia....but Comunidad Valenciana and it's a bit far south.
kenderina is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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Keeksm,
In the village of Avinyonet in the Garrotxa area where the Mas Pau and Mas Falgarona are located, there are no other dining options, so you'd need to drive into Figueres each night, which is 5 km. away.

Ditto to the Mas Salvi (the closest in feel to the Castell) which is quite private, down a country road, 2 km. outside of Pals, a stunningly beautiful medieval village (but more "museum"-like with few fine dining options).

The Castell is a few km. outside of bustling La Bisbal, the pottery town (not cute and medieval-kind of ugly but filled with ceramics). The tiny, tiny neighborhood where the Castell is found has no other dining options.

The Arc de Monells is better from the "cute, medieval village" standpoint, and there's other dining at the l'Hort del Rector next to the church.
And it's not far from Pals or from Madremanya, which has a truly fabulous restaurant in the La Placa inn.

The Sant Ferriol Hotel Spa, once again, is out in the countryside, 1.5 km. outside of Besalú, then 1.6 km. down a country road. So, about 3 km. to any dining options in town. In Besalú Els Fogons de Can Llaudes is a fine gastronomic restaurant, and we've had very nice meals on the terrace at the Curia Reial.

The Can Xiquet is also a countryside place-only 10 km. from the French border.

These Rusticae, Ruralka and Lugares Divinos properties by nature are country lodgings since many of them are reconverted catalan farmhouses-a mas. Just look through their web sites and find the one that most appeals to you, noting the distance from the mas to the nearest town.



Maribel is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for the additional info. Maybe my ideal of a lively medieval village won't work. Searching your postings Maribel, I noticed you really like Parfelluga (sp?) and Begur, which I had dismissed earlier as too coastal. But, if this is where the dining/shops are, maybe I should reconsider. Do you think Hotel del Teatre in Regencio might be a good option? Not quite in the middle of everything, but seems to be close to the coastal villages. I think that might be a better option than staying directly in the coastal villages, which appear very busy and child friendly? Thanks!
Keeksm is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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And what do you think about the village of Peratallada? This appears to be more of a village, but the only accomodation there I can find is Hotel el Pati, and I'm not sure how luxurious that looks. Thanks!
Keeksm is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Keeksm,
I know both b&bs in Peratallada, and neither is luxurious at all, like the ones I posted above.

I really like the Hotel Teatre but Regencos is tiny, tiny-a village with no stores, basically and no restaurants other than the hotel one.
For services you can drive into Begur.

I do love the beguiling town of Begur and the Hotel Aiguaclara there is a lovely "indiano" mansion, but there's no pool and no beautiful Tuscan-like grounds around it.

Mas Salvi is only a few km. from Pals and Begur.

Be back later with more thoughts...
Maribel is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Cardona!!!
Check out the Parador. We *loved* it.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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Keeksm,
More thoughts...

Again, I really think that with just 3 days before Barcelona you'll want to be in the prettiest, most scenic part of the Catalonian countryside, without going further west to the Pyrenees. That part would be the Empordá (Catalonia's version of Tuscany) or the Garrotxa volcanic region. You've narrowed down your choices well.
The area around Cardona (Barcelona province) just isn't the best or most beautiful of that Tuscan-like Catalonia countryside. For sightseeing that area is much more limited.

We've visited all these areas & most of the properties mentioned above fairly recently, so that we could have a decent basis of comparison.

As you can tell from the many choices of romantic accommodations in the Girona province, that area is quite upmarket (lots of architects live there) and filled with cute medieval villages such as Peratallada, Monells, Madremanya, Cruïlles, Pals, Ullastret, Romanesque Esclanyá, all which are located east of Girona within an easy drive of each other.

Then you have medieval Besalú, Santa Pau and those of the Vall d'en Bas of the Garrotxa, which are further west, near Olot.

But both areas are within easy reach of Barcelona for your last night, which is important.

If you like the looks of the Hotel del Teatre in Regencós, it's really very close to lovely hilltop Begur. Takes no time-I know from personal experience.

And in Begur you have a twice-weekly outdoor market (Wed./Sun.), shops, several very nice restaurants (Galena-Mas Comangau, Bliss Primo Piatto, Fonda Caner, Cancliment i Sa Cuina), a good pizzeria/cafe, very upmarket villas surrounding the town, atmospheric coves like Aiguafredda, Sa Tuna (Hostal Sa Tuna serves great rice dishes) and Aiguablava (where the Parador sits & the Mar i Vent seafood restaurant right at the cove).

The town is filled with "indiano" mansions, interesting architecture, castle ruins with spectacular views and a GREAT tourist office! And it's only 10 km. to the fabulous Greco-Roman ruins of Empúries.

See it all at www.begur.org/turisme

The drive from Regencós to Girona is only 40 km.

At the Spa Sant Ferriol your closest major town would be Olot, which does have charm, but as a town, it doesn't appeal to me nearly as much as Begur, probably because it lacks those gorgoues Med views.



Hope this helps you to decide.


Maribel is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Maribel,

Thanks for your very well thought out reply, you are helping so much, I feel like you've been my personal advisor!
I am going to review your messages and the websites with my boyfriend this weekend, now that I've narrowed it down, maybe I'll give him a say... I'll be sure to follow up and post my final intinerary and trip report!
Keeksm is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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Keeksm,
Eager to know which place boyfriend likes best! Have fun planning!

We love both the Garrotxa area and the Empordá, so it's a tough choice but a great one to have to make!
Maribel is offline  
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