Our Spring trip to Catalunya remains a firm favourite and always books up early. A compelling mixture of Spanish passion and French panache there is nowhere quite like Catalunya and no better way to explore it than on foot. Dates 2019: 12th - 18th May
Spring and Autumn are beautiful times to walk in Catalunya. The weather is warm and in the Spring the air is pungent with the scent of new growth. We have found over the years that not only is the weather perfect, but that Catalunya offers the ideal mix of dramatic coastline, cool pinewoods, incredible art and a distinctive cuisine that stuffs squid with pork among other things and gets away with it. Starting in the palm fringed seaside town of Sitges our itinerary takes you north via Barcelona, the Catalan capital, to end in the French artists’ town of Collioure where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean.
Each day you will be immersed in a region that is neither Spanish nor French but an exciting hybrid of the two. Prepare to be converted to the region’s excellent Cava sparkling wines, bowled over by Barcelona’s Gaudi architecture, challenged by Salavador Dali’s art and wowed by the dramatic coastlines away from the resorts. Rock roses dominate the rugged coastline in huge balls of yellow, white or pungent pink in Spring.
We have followed this week with a week in the Basque to give a contrast of two great cultures. You could be daring therefore and do two weeks! The contrast is extraordinary. A language and cuisine that contradict each other and yet each with a fierce sense of identity in a world fast being swallowed up by a generalism of globalisation!
The week is punctuated by stays in the beautiful tiny ports of Sitges, Cadaques and Collioure.
James hosts this trip. Hotels, restaurants and visits have been carefully selected to reveal the character and colour of Catalunya. All meals are included and lunch will be a mix of picnics and restaurants.
An ultra-modern hotel with all bedrooms en suite on the promenade of Sitges by the sea. The bedrooms with sea views offer air-conditioning, telephone, Wifi and minibar. A small step out to dinner. 2 nights.
HOTEL BANYS ORIENTALS
Elegant, contemporary design for the 43 bedrooms all en suite in this 18th century boutique hotel set in the trendy Born quarter of Barcelona. TV, Wifi, air-conditioning. 2 nights.
HOTEL PLAYA SOL
Overlooking the fishing village and bay of Cadaques this comfortable hotel offers en suite bedrooms with air-conditioning, Wifi, minibar, TV, telephone. 2 nights.
LE RELAIS DE TROIS MAS
Situated on a bay favoured by the Fauve artists such as Matisse and Derain for its wonderful light, this 4 star hotel has 23 bedrooms all with bathrooms en suite. There is a swimming pool and, of course, a lot of sea. We will eat at its Michelin starred restaurant on our last night overlooking the bay. 1 night.
Grade Of WalkingThe walking is on solid ground. Some of the paths are narrow and a little rocky, especially in the Cap de Creus near Cadaques. There are also hills that are quite steep in the Cote Vermeille near Collioure and Banyuls. It will give you a good puff. Our day in Barcelona is a walking day too but on good pavements. We will cover a maximum of 55 kilometres in the week.
We always suggest walking the morning walk. For those feeling tired in the afternoon there is always a vehicle to take you back to the hotel. Our hotels have been carefully chosen (see ACCOMMODATION) so they are all excellent places for relaxing, reading and just taking it easy. The fact that we do not officially offer time in the villages that we stay in, as we always have walks on offer, means that often people will take an afternoon off to enjoy village life.
FOOD & WINE
As in their art and architecture it is a Catalan trait to bring together unusual combinations: chicken with prawns in their paellas or squid with pork. Anchovies and sardines are staples and onions that look like leeks called ‘calçots’ are roasted and eaten with a Romesco sauce of roasted peppers, garlic, onions, hazelnuts, tomatoes and almonds.
The Catalans are investing millions to bring the status of their sparkling Cava up to near that of champagne, and there is no better place to see this happening than at Pere Ventura. We will also enjoy the characterful Penedès red and sample Spanish wines from Rioja, Albarino and Rueda.
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SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT
12 May - 18 May