The picturesque mountain town of Besalú is well-known for its ancient Catholic monasteries and iconic Romanesque architecture, particularly a photogenic 12th-century bridge that has become the symbol of the town. In the Middle Ages, Besalú was a regional capital, overseeing this scenic section of Catalonia.
Besalú makes a fine base for exploring the region's hiking and climbing opportunities, including the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone (la Zona Volcánica de la Garrotxa), with more than 40 dormant volcanic cones surrounded by protected forests. It’s also a popular day-trip option from nearby Barcelona. A typical day trip includes a tour of the medieval town’s highlights, often combined with a visit to the nearby town of Girona, Pals, Vic, or Santa Pau. Alternatively, a private tour focusing on the region’s Jewish heritage may include the old Jewish quarter and Museum of Jewish History in Girona and the remains of a medieval synagogue in Besalú.Things to Know Before You Go
- Besalú is a must-visit for history buffs or those looking to get off the beaten path.
- Choose between the value of a small-group tour or intimacy of a private day trip to experience the town.
- Day trips from Barcelona can last anywhere from seven to 10 hours, depending on the itinerary and which other towns are included.
- Most tours include hotel pickup and drop-off; some include lunch at a local restaurant.
How to Get There
Located 81 miles (131 kilometers) northeast of Barcelona, Besalú isn't yet connected to the Spanish train system. For those relying on public transit, direct buses run from Girona, 21 miles (34 kilometers) away, and, much less frequently, Barcelona. You could also take the train from Barcelona to Girona; Besalú buses leave from just outside. Virtually all Besalú tours from Barcelona and Girona include round-trip transportation.When to Get There
Besalú enjoys a mild climate throughout much of the year, though you should expect cold, sunny days in winter and hot afternoons in summer. Since the town isn’t connected to the rail network, it rarely gets crowded, making it a good option to escape the high season crowds in Barcelona.La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park
If you’re lingering in Besalú for more than a day trip, definitely set aside some time to explore the volcanic terrain of this beautiful park. More than two dozen signposted walking trails lead to some of the park’s most important landmarks, including lava flows and volcanic cones.