Travels in Catalunya
Earlier this year our friends at Travelllll.com went off on a blog trip organised by the team at Catalunya Tourism to explore the region and the wealth of attractions for all interests so here's a little taster of their expereiences and some suggestions of our own.
Sport in Catalunya
F1: The Travelllll.com team kicked off their trip in style with a private box at Barcelona's own F1 track, the Circuit de Catalunya. The Circuit de Cataluny also offers range of ways to release your need for speed from track days and off-road experiences to cycling training. Even for those less fixeated by what's happening on the track the Circuit has something to offer: as Adam Groffman fromTravelsofadam.com notes "with thousands of spectators and a giant arena filled with food, drinks and an energetic crowd, it was hard not to be impressed!"
Football: You cannot escape the passion for "el rey de los deportes" - football, so the natural culmination of the blog trip was visit to the heart of the game, the FC Barcelona stadium where you can explore behind the scenes with a Camp Nou Stadium Tour and Museum visit. Nose around the dressing rooms and feel the thrill of being a player as you emerge from the famous tunnel into the stadium
Sailing: Sailing around Catalunya offers the chance - not just to get off the beaten track, but to leave the track behind entirely. With more than 40 sailing clubs, Catalunya offers plenty of options from racing to a day out on a historic yacht (Pailebot Santa Eulàlia) to lessons (for those less familiar with life on the waves). For the experienced sailor you can sail from pretty much any marina in the Costa Brava to the Balearic Islands. With Mallorca lying around 120 nautical miles from the Costa Brava you can sail across by day and relax by night in one of the many luxurious Mallorca hotels.
Barcelona is well known for its culinary delights, but as Akila McConnell from theroadforks.com notes "What struck me about Catalan cuisineis the focus on local, fresh and seasonal ingredients" so the Catalunya blog trip team ventured a little further afield to get right to the source of some of their favourite - and some less well known - Spanish dishses.
At Sant Carles de la Ràpita the team were introduced to the "Mussel route" for mussel and oyster tastings and in the Costa Darauda, the team helped prepare local delicacy: Calcots - an enormous green vegetable cooked over a fire and eaten by "peeling off the char, blackening our fingers with soot and leaves" before draping "the tender onion in succulent romesco sauce" and then sucking it down the throat [Theroadforks.com]
Of course the region is also famed for its wine and particularly for Cava so naturally the team needed to sample a little of the local produce fresh from the winery visiting the 12th century wine farm, Castell d'Encus. For those wishing to explore local wines there are a number of ways to sample them including wine tasting in the heart of Barcelona or a wine and cava tour at Penedès.
Back in Barcelona the team also checked out some of Barcelona's hidden restaurants - to get a feel for this emerging cultural experience, check out our People Shaped Travel guide
For a wealth of culinary ways to explore the city, visit the Things to do section.
The home of Gaudi is a natural centre for surreal experiences so why not take a look at the world from some alternative perspectives. In the Terres de Lleida area you can try paragliding in Serra del Montsec. From Barcelona itself why not head out to float above the world in a hot air balloon, soaring over the jagged rocks of Montserrat and looking down on the lunar-like landscape whilst enjoying a picnic lunch. Or let GPS be your guide and experience GoCar tour of Barcelona.
Human castles are a popular tradition that the ...As Planetd.com explains, "People compete to make the highest pyranmid... the higher the level the more people involved" With a little help from the experts, the Castellers de Vilafranca, the blog trip team managed a few turns at the human castle. We also took a look at the castellers of Barcelona as part of our People Shaped Travel videos.