Catalonia may be most famous for its capital city but there’s a lot more to the region than just Barcelona. Featuring some of the world’s best restaurants and Spain’s finest ski resorts, not to mention a wealth of stunning medieval villages and exclusive wineries, there’s never a bad time to visit Catalonia.

WINTER

WHAT: Ski in Baqueira-Beret

The ski resort of choice of the Spanish royal family remains one of the best-kept secrets in Europe.

STAY: Hotel Val de Neu

This is situated at the heart of the ski resort, only 50 yards from the new ski lift. The hotel has everything covered to maximise the comfort of its guests – from a thermal spa to a special service that drops your equipment off at the ski lift.

  • +34 9736 35000
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  • Perimetrau s/n Nucleo 1500
    25598 Baqueira
    Lleida, Spain

EAT: Casa Irene

In the delightful medieval hillside village of Arties, only 6KM from Baqueira-Beret, you will find Casa Irene, a warm, welcoming restaurant that serves contemporary local cuisine, as well as two tasting menus.

DO: Visit the nearby medieval villages

It may be the swankiest ski resort in Spain, but prices in Baqueira-Beret are less than half of what you’d pay in Val d’Isère in France or Verbier in Switzerland. Baqueira is made up of a main resort and several satellites with a piste map that offers 146 km of groomed runs. If you don’t want to spend all your time in Baqueira-Beret itself, the charming medieval villages of Arties, Salardu and Tredòs are all nearby.

SPRING

WHAT: Explore the Villages of the Empordà

Dotted with fishing villages, secret beaches, delightful medieval towns and world-class restaurants, the Empordà has something for everyone.

STAY: Hotel Castell d’Empordà

Set in an actual medieval castle dating back to the 14th century, few hotels are more magical than Hotel Castell d’Empordà. All the sumptuously decorated rooms enjoy great views, but for the full castle experience, check into one of the spectacular tower rooms, starting at only €130 a night.

EAT: El Celler de Can Roca

Voted the best restaurant in the world in 2013 and 2015 (and currently in second place). Prepare to be wowed by the boundless creativity of Roca brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi.

DO: Get Lost in Empordà

While beachgoers enjoy the fishing villages of Calella de Palafrugell, Tamariu, Aiguablava, and Sa Riera, history and architecture buffs will delight in 13th-century Pals and enchanting Peratallada, ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, with its maze of narrow streets, sunny squares and towers. For art enthusiasts, don’t miss the Dalí Theatre-Museum in the artist’s hometown of Figueres.

EARLY SUMMER

WHAT: Wine tasting in Priorat, Montsant and Penedès

If you thought Spanish wine was just Rioja, think again. Catalonia has 10 denominated wine regions including Penedès, home of cava, and Priorat, one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine regions in Europe.

STAY: Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel & Spa

This hotel is ideally situated right on the golden sands of Catalonia’s Costa Dorada, within easy striking distance of the Priorat, Montsant and Penedès wine regions.

EAT: La Boella

Many wineries have their own culinary offerings or collaborate with local restaurants. In addition, La Boella is an olive mill that produces top-quality extra virgin olive oil and is home to a superb restaurant specialising in local cuisine.

DO: Visit Scala Dei

While in Priorat, don’t miss the stunning monastic winery of Scala Dei, with roots dating back to the 12th century. Moving on to Montsant, a smaller region known for its excellent price-quality ratio, check out Cellers Baronia del Montsant, home to the Clos d’Englora wines. Finally, in Penedès, pay a visit to the Pere Ventura winery to learn all about cava, Catalonia’s famous variety of sparkling white wine.

LATE SUMMER

WHAT: Relax in the Cerdanya Region of the Pyrenees

Located far away from the pressures of everyday life, the overwhelming serenity of the Cerdanya leaves visitors little choice but to disconnect.

STAY + EAT: Torre del Remei

This hotel is set in a magnificent Art Nouveau chateau dating back to the turn of the 20th century. Purchased by the current owners in 1989, this grand stately home has been renovated and converted into a luxury boutique hotel. Torre del Remei also has a beautiful dining room, where you can enjoy a sumptuous nine-course seasonal tasting menu for €89.

DO: As little as possible

Read a book somewhere in Torre del Remei’s three hectares of sculpted gardens, relax by the seasonal pool or take a long walk in the stunning surroundings full of rolling green meadows, ancient olive groves and deep forests of thick pine trees. The hotel offers a whole host of activities, including guided mountain trekking and hot-air balloon rides over the rugged terrain of the Pyrenees.

AUTUMN

WHAT: Eat Your Way Around the Costa Brava

Ferran Adrià’s world-renowned El Bulli may be closed but the Costa Brava remains one of the world’s most exciting destinations for foodies.

STAY: Miramar

When visiting the Costa Brava, you may as well do so in style. Book a table for the unforgettable 33-course “Moments” menu at Miramar, a two Michelin-star restaurant by Chef Paco Peréz, before checking into one of its impeccably appointed guest rooms. In 2016, the property was completed with five luxury suites, all of which overlook the sea. Wake up to the sound of the waves breaking under your window before heading downstairs for Peréz’s world-famous Eggs Benedict breakfast spread.

EAT + DO: The Costa Brava

The Costa Brava is a veritable treasure trove for foodies. One of its secrets is Compartir, run by three former head chefs from El Bulli, who also head up the considerably more famous Disfrutar in Barcelona. Compartir focuses less on molecular cuisine and more on innovative takes on local delicacies. Don’t miss the lobster with chicken sauce and deconstructed cheesecake with cherry sorbet.

Other Costa Brava favourites include FarNomo, a restaurant set in a converted lighthouse that specialises in Japanese food made from local ingredients, and Jani, with its unbeatable sea views and some of the best lobster paella on the coast.

Hotel Val de Neu

Casa Irene

Hotel Castell d’Empordà

El Celler de Can Roca

Empordà

Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel & Spa

La Boella

Scala Dei

Torre del Remei

Miramar

The Costa Brava

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