WEEKEND TRIP TO FRANCE FROM BARCELONA
As you might have already guessed we used some of the Christmas holidays to do some travelling to nearby destinations. After the one day trip to Montserrat we decided that we would like to go further to the north and closer to the border with France. We have noticed that most people always try to go travelling as far as possible, while there are so many interesting things to be seen only in a couple of hours drive from Barcelona.
Out trip stops included: Girona, Besalú, Figueres, Perpignan, Narbonne and the highlight was definitely Carcassonne. We had 2 nights booked in hotels – one in Figueres and one in Carcassone and the timing worked quite well if you leave Barcelona early in the morning. Though our advice is to spend 2 nights in Carcassone if possible.
Girona: We have already mentioned Girona on some of our articles. We will repeat once again – definitely a must see in Catalonia. In my opinion the best time to visit it is during the Flower Festival (sometime in May every year), but even if you go now – you won´t regret it. It has its charm during all seasons. A must-see is The Call (the Jewish quarter), the Cathedral and a walk along Girona´s Medieval walls – Passeig de la Muralla.
Besalú: To be honest we found out about Besalú by “googling” what there is to see in the north of Catalonia. Never heard about it before and it is a shame, because it is a really beautiful old village. It is located only 30 km to the north from Girona. Highlights there are definitely the Romanesque bridge over the Fluvia river (built in the 12th century), the churches of Sant Vicenç, Sant Pere (build in 1003) and Santa Maria, Casa Cornellà and Miqvé et Synagogue Juvie. With good time planning you can manage to see most of these historical sites.
Figueres: Figueres is quite a famous name in Catalonia – mostly associated with the Dali Museum. It was our 2nd time there so we were sort of familiar with the places to go and things to do. Though this time we were there on the 5th January – so we coincidentally were there on the eve of Three Kings Day, which involved parades with giant paper maché dolls, fireworks, live music and dressed up characters throwing candy to the children from their floats – definitely a bonus to the Figueres experience. If you haven´t seen the museum there you definitely should – even if you have no idea of art. We recommend a dinner in Txot cidreria. They offer a big variety of Basque tapas and ciders and are located 3 minute walk from the main plaza.
Route: There are of course 2 ways to get to the different destinations – one is using the highway, the other is using the villages through routes. It is a personal choice. We decided it is worth it to take the village through route on the way to France as it gives you a chance to see more of the country-side.
Price: The rental car, the gas, hotels and tolls are around 200-300 Euros for two people- depending on the price of the car and the hotel prices.