Besalu may not be well-known but it was once a historical capital. This quaint little town is worth a visit when in Catalunia.
You may not have heard of Besalu. I hadn’t until a few weeks ago. It’s a small town located in the northern region of Catalonia with just over 2300 inhabitants. What it lacks in size it makes up for in history.
Where is Besalu
Besalu is located in the Girona province, Catalunya. Besalu is located a ~35-minute drive away from the nearest coastal town. It is ~1 hour away from Barcelona by car and makes for a wonderful day trip. If you are planning a tour of Costa Brava or Barcelona, then I highly recommend that you add Besalu to your itinerary.
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What is Besalu Famous For?
Walking through Besalu is like wandering into a medieval dream. The roads are cobblestone that are hundreds of years old and the old bridge with its fort-like pillars makes you imagine some famous knight coming home to his princess.
Besalu was once the capital of a medieval state, over a thousand years ago. It may not have the majesty of palaces but I can tell you that its straight out a King Arthur movie (the one with Sean Connery obviously). Can you imagine that the town market was established in 1027?
The town also has very important Jewish heritage as it is a part of the Jewish route in Spain. Jewish history goes way back here and there is even a ritual Jewish bath dating back to the 12th century.
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What I Loved the Most
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Besalú strolling through this small medieval town, along small maze-like passageways, making several stops for a cappuccino along the way. They know how to make a good cappuccino here!
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My favorite way to experience Besalú was just wandering. I wandered through the cobblestone streets, I walked along the river, taking in the views of the famous bridge, I wandered through passageways:
My Favourite Cafe
It was one of these such passageways, that led to an AMAZING cafe, 10 del Pont, a stone-walled cafe with an assortment of teas and the best caramels I have ever tasted. I bought three bags the first time, then went back the next day for another bag. Despite my sugar high from four bags of caramels, I wish I would have bought more.
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I preferred to walk the streets of Besalú – wait a minute, that didn’t come outright, but you know what I mean. Besides I had to burn off some of the calories I consumed from eating four bags of caramels, but another more leisurely option was also available for those who hadn’t indulged as I had:
Along the way we stopped at the cathedral, dominating the town square:
Next was a stop at the quirky and almost unbelievable Museum of Miniatures:
The Museum of Miniatures
The Museum of Miniatures features over 2000 pieces of varying sizes, with the micro miniatures featuring detailed artworks displayed in the eye of a needle! Fortunately, the micro miniatures are presented with magnifying glasses.
The miniatures here are created by artists from all over the world. I wonder how much patience goes into these creations and what a surgeons hand you must need to achieve this level of perfection in something this small! I loved this 0ff-beat museum and I think it would be a hit with children as well.
Besalu’s Humble Chairs
Besalú is also soon to be famous for its artwork – the humble chair as you’ve never seen it before. It’s a collaborative art project between inhabitants who donate space and artists who create their version of a chair. Perhaps one day tourists will flock here for its world-famous chair collection:
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Any guesses what this artwork is by local artist Kel Domènech?
Why it’s a chair of course, but one that is under lock and key so that nobody can steal your favorite chair. Only you can open it up when you’re ready to use it – with a key. Genius!
What to Know Before You Go to Besalu
There are a lot of options for accommodation in Besalu if you would like to spend a night. The Els Jardins De La Martana hotel is located right at the Romanesque bridge and only 550m away from the town’s center. The hotel comes highly rated (9.1).
They even have bicycles to hire, perfect if you would like to explore the excellent cycling routes in the area. If you prefer apartments to hotels then Cal Fuster is perfect for you. It’s only 350m away from the town’s center. The apartment is large so if you’re planning a family or group trip then this is most definitely the place for you.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Besalú. Its proximity to other interesting destinations in Catalonia such as the winery hosting Martin Faixó wines, which are made according to centuries of family traditions, and Salvador Dali’s house, make it a great base for a slow travel adventure. It is hard to beat the view from the backyard of Mas Tallaferro, our luxury villa from Charming Villas located just a few minutes walk from the town square.
It was also the perfect setting for our Catalonian paella – in which I learned the secret to perfecting a Catalonian paella. I may just tell you…if you bribe me with caramels!
Thank you to Charming Villas for making my trip to Besalú so enjoyable. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.