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With an amazingly diverse landscape from sun-kissed coastal coves to snow-covered peaks, and its own distinctive culture, Catalonia has it all for the active traveller. Here are five of the best ways to explore it…

cycling
scuba diving
food
skiing

Discover Unique protected landscapes

Nearly a third of Catalan territory is protected – from its ‘jewel in the crown’ Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves of Montseny and Terres de l’Ebre, with an incredible diversity of unique landscapes. There are nine awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage sites in Catalonia, including the archaeological sites of Tarragona and the architectural wonders of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona. In fact, so complete, authentic and sustainable is Catalonia’s offering as a place to visit, that it holds the first Biosphere Destination certification as an integral tourist destination.

 

Explore a foodie paradise

Catalonia’s rich diversity is reflected in the region’s cuisine. It has 53 Michelin-starred restaurants including the World’s best - El Celler de Can Roca in Girona – and is the European Region of Gastronomy 2016. The secret is in the quality of its regional ingredients – Prades potatoes, wine from the Penedes, the ganxet bean, Siurana olive oil, pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato), rice from the Ebro delta, sausage from Vic and the cheeses of Alt Urgell.  Whether on a walking or biking trip, city break or a vineyard tour – you’ll enjoy a uniquely-flavoured experience.

Enjoy winter like never before at one of Catalonia’s 10 downhill ski resorts. After a day carving the slopes, relax in the spas and historic thermal springs before exploring the culture of authentic Catalonian villages in the midst of abundant nature. Discover the powder slopes of Baqueira Beret in the Val d’Aran, where they even have their own Aranese language, and the quiet Romanesque chapels in the Boi Valley. Or enjoy the magnificent views at Alp 2500, one of the largest ski areas in the Pyrenees, linking the two resorts of La Molina and Masella. At less than two hours from the city delights of Barcelona and Girona, this is a fantastic day trip with a difference! 

 

Enjoy superb skiing

Enjoy winter like never before at one of Catalonia’s 10 downhill ski resorts. After a day carving the slopes, relax in the spas and historic thermal springs before exploring the culture of authentic Catalonian villages in the midst of abundant nature. Discover the powder slopes of Baqueira Beret in the Val d’Aran, where they even have their own Aranese language, and the quiet Romanesque chapels in the Boi Valley. Or enjoy the magnificent views at Alp 2500, one of the largest ski areas in the Pyrenees, linking the two resorts of La Molina and Masella. At less than two hours from the city delights of Barcelona and Girona, this is a fantastic day trip with a difference! 

 

World-class walking and biking

Catalonia has more than 9,000km of hiking trails. Cross the high peaks of the Pyrenees, trek through exotic volcanic terrain or walk between the sheltered coves and long, golden sandy beaches. And Catalonia is the perfect destination, for a biking holiday too.  From a family ride along the coast, a cultural circuit full of history, a tour of vineyards, or a mountain challenge, there are a host of networks to help you explore. Take to the traffic free Greenways – or choose from more than 6,400km of marked mountain bike trails.

Each year Catalonia attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the region’s varied watersports – from kayaking to white-water rafting; from surfing to sailing; from snorkelling to scuba diving. The Costa Brava alone has more than 30 dive centres! Visit superb water resorts such as Roses-Cap de Creus, the underwater world at L-Estartit-Illes Medes on the Costa Brava, go underwater cave snorkelling at l’Ametlla de Mar on the Ebre coast. Or try one of the freshwater alternatives – inland lakes and reservoirs where you can canoe, sail, windsurf and row. And don’t miss the chance to brave the rapids with some adrenline filled white-water-rafting on the Noguera Pallaresa River in the Pyrenees or even try a spot of canyoning.

 

Heaven above and below the surface

Each year Catalonia attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the region’s varied watersports – from kayaking to white-water rafting; from surfing to sailing; from snorkelling to scuba diving. The Costa Brava alone has more than 30 dive centres! Visit superb water resorts such as Roses-Cap de Creus, the underwater world at L-Estartit-Illes Medes on the Costa Brava, go underwater cave snorkelling at l’Ametlla de Mar on the Ebre coast. Or try one of the freshwater alternatives – inland lakes and reservoirs where you can canoe, sail, windsurf and row. And don’t miss the chance to brave the rapids with some adrenline filled white-water-rafting on the Noguera Pallaresa River in the Pyrenees or even try a spot of canyoning.

catalunya.com