Besalú, a Medieval Catalan Town

Besalú had a lasting effect on me, as most medieval villages tend to. It has all the attributes that make a village great – charm, history, art, culture, good food and even more.  It’s got a story to tell.  And more than that, there’s a feeling that’s inexplicable, perhaps because of how personal the connection is. The walls really do speak.  As we drove past the town I caught the first glimpse of the 12th-century Romanesque bridge and was stunned by its grandeur. Excitement took over.

Walking the streets of Besalú took me back to the vivid images my mind conjured up as I flipped through the pages of Shakespearean plays as an English Literature undergrad a few years ago.  That, possibly combined with reminiscences of my Disney-days as a young day-dreamer. Think Shakespeare meets the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The gorgeous stone bridge, the rustic houses, the narrow cobbled streets and medieval architecture are so well-kept that it feels like delving head first into the past.  The medieval spirit is heightened by all the gift shops selling medieval-themed souvenirs in the likes of wooden swords, armor, helmets, bows and arrows and slingshots. On a hot August day, Besalú was bustling with people, which helped to imagine what it was like during its greatest days.  In the town there’s also a miniature museum, a church and some art galleries to visit, although I didn’t really visit the museums or galleries. The best part of being in  Besalú for me was listening to the story it had to tell.

Being a short drive away from Girona (36 mins, to be exact) and a slightly longer drive away from Barcelona (2 hours, more or less) – Besalú is a very doable day trip location.  In our case, it was the the second stop in a day-long road trip around the inner part of Catalonia.  From Besalú, you could move onto  Castellfollit de la Roca.

Details of other destinations in the area will feature in upcoming posts.  In the meantime, just comment if you have any questions or need some suggestions for your trip. 🙂

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