Catalonia has countless rural tourism options, with something for everyone. You will find Catalonia’s most rural spots in a careful selection of very special rural accommodation, where authenticity and friendliness are among the most outstanding features. These rural tourism establishments are classified by ears of wheat, a new category comparable to the stars used for hotels. Each ears-of-wheat category establishes a set of features taking account of the specific characteristics of the building, its rooms, furniture and outdoor spaces, not forgetting the services offered to guests and the activities available in the area. Country homes, farmhouses and agro-tourism establishments in isolated rural areas or small villages. Individual accommodation or accommodation shared with the owners and other guests, allowing us to enjoy a wide range of options in our free time and to discover other ways of life connected with nature and the countryside.
Catalonia offers numerous natural areas that are ideal for leisure, adventure and nature watching activities, all while enjoying its varied landscape. From the highest peaks of the Pyrenees to the most well-hidden coves of the Mediterranean, through the valleys of inland Catalonia and the natural sites of the Ebro delta and the Lands of Lleida, active & nature tourism offers a variety of options within everyone’s reach. The mild climate allows to take part in various activities throughout the year, such as hiking on an extensive network of long and short routes, cycling through the Greenways and mountain biking in one of Catalonia’s 18 MTB centres. You can also interpret nature, observing flora and fauna, exploring the seabed or walking in one of Catalonia’s nature spaces.
The secret of Catalan cuisine is in the quality and uniqueness of the products used, plus the combination of what is offered by the land and the sea. Prades potatoes, wines from the Penedès, the ganxet bean, Siurana olive oil, calçots (a type of tender onion) from Valls, rice from the Ebro Delta, sausage from Vic and the cheeses of Alt Urgell, to name but a few of the Catalan products with certification of origin and agri-food quality. Catalan cuisine is internationally renowned for achieving a difficult balance between innovation and tradition, through the work of chefs like Joan Roca, Carme Ruscalleda, Santi Santamaria and, above all, Ferran Adrià, who from the kitchens of El Bulli restaurant revolutionised the world gastronomy scene. Behind the cuisine of Catalonia today lies the story of a country, a land, a way of being and of doing things. That is why it has been nominated for recognition by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In addition to its many restaurants of all kinds, Catalonia has a network of public markets where product quality is paramount, and a number of groups of restauranteurs dedicated to promoting the cuisine typical of each area, working with the two terms of territory and product. The biodiversity of Catalonia’s landscape also allows you to take part in adventure activities like rafting and hydrospeeding on several rivers, sea kayaking, canyoning, hang gliding, paragliding, ballooning, skydiving, horseback riding and climbing.
The Industrial Revolution in the Iberian Peninsula began in Catalonia, which became one of the most industrially dynamic regions of Europe. The new steam-based industry brought changes to manufacturing processes, transportation systems and even to the way workers lived. These changes can be seen in numerous examples of industrial heritage conserved in Catalonia, located around the Llobregat and Ter rivers. In Catalonia, the modernist art movement is closely associated with the Industrial Revolution. The modernist imprint is evident in factories like the Vapor Vell de Sants in Barcelona (one of the first in Catalonia), the Anís del Mono factory in Badalona, and the Freixenet Cava winery in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. One of the most characteristic elements of Catalan industrial heritage are its textile factory colonies, located in rural areas by the river. Some examples are Colonia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, the Viladomiu colonies in Gironella, and the Borgonyà colony in Sant Vicenç de Torelló. These small villages have all the services necessary for the workers, dedicated exclusively to the factory and their families. Throughout Catalonia there are examples of this industrial heritage, and of factories still in operation, in the fields of food, design, cars, wine, etc. More information is available from the Catalan Industrial Tourism Network or from the Museum of Science and Technology in Terrassa.