Castell de Montsoriu is the greatest Gothic castle in Catalonia. At least that’s what our guide said.
I’m certainly no expert in Catalan castles, but Castell de Montsoriu is an impressive castle, or more accurately a castle ruin located in El Montseny Natural Park. It’s one of the best castles in Spain that I have visited.
The History of Castell de Montsuriu
The castle dates back 1000 years, but the castle ruins that remain are from the 14th Century. The castle’s strategic position on a high hill served as defense over the entire valley for almost 500 years.
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Of course, the castle looked different in the middle ages. And I dare say more beautiful today. In former times, the only way to attack the castle was by ramming a large wooden log through the castle doors.
So naturally, all the trees around the castle were cut down to discourage such activity. The castle was once a vibrant place but fell into disrepair over the years and in the 1990s restorations began. The castle was opened in 2011 to the public for tours.
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The most famous room of the castle, the Gothic Room, which at one point would have been the main entrance room of the castle. (Picture knights and ladies in waiting, instead of a bunch of travel bloggers.)
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Castell de Montsoriu’s Legends
Castell de Montsoriu is rich in legends and wild creatures. There are quite a few, each of which adds a little whimsy to this already beautiful castle.
One legend has it that 3 snakes lived in one of the castle caves. They protected a precious diamond which one of the snakes kept in its mouth.
There are a few legends that surround the nights of San Juan, which is usually celebrated on the 23rd and 24th of June every year by some Catalan countries in the region. One of the legends says that on the eve of San Juan a lady can be seen standing on one of the castle towers holding a lit candle in one hand and a hunting horn in the other waiting for a gentleman on a flaming horse to carry her away.
It also had its own witch – Montosoriu na Guilleuma. Naturally, she lived in the nearby witch’s tower, pictured at the top of the hill in the photo above. The legends don’t only make for an interesting tour but are great as campfire stories.
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Catalan Wine at the Celler Serrat de Montsoriu
Fortunately, our next stop was just down the mountain to Celler Serrat de Montsoriu. It’s a small Catalan winery that prides itself on working with the physical processes, not the chemical processes, explained Josep, the owner.
He went on to explain the winery’s philosophy further We are interested in producing unique wines in a special place with special soil. No Coca-Cola here. I liked the wine even before tasting it. But I loved it after tasting it!
Sipping wine on the balcony looking up at Castell de Montsoriu, I could start to feel the legends come alive.
Related Reading: Montseny Natural Park.
The Night of San Juan
A few brave locals nervously waiting outside the doors of Castell de Montsoriu a few minutes before midnight on the night of San Juan (Summer Solstice).
Their hearts beating in anticipation of the first bell to be heard at the stroke of midnight from the nearby town of Breda. Then at the sound, hurrying into the castle and frantically trying to fill a sack of wheat and leave before the last stroke of midnight.
The successful would be instantly rich as the wheat would be converted into gold. The unsuccessful? Doomed to spend the next year in the castle’s dungeon until the next San Juan.
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Know Before You Go to Castell de Montsoriu:
- Access to the castle is by tour only. Tours are held on Saturday and Sunday and advance registration is required. Group tours may be organized on other days with advanced notice. Adult admission costs 5€.
- Tours to Celler Serrat de Montsoriu are available every Sunday morning (except during the grape harvest) at 11:00 am for groups of 5+. The cost is €12/person. You can buy wine there.
- The nearest town in Arbucies, where I would highly recommend the upscale Les Magnolies (I had an incredible 17-course meal there).
- Arbucies is just an hour away from Barcelona and just an hour away from the Costa Brava coastline.
If you prefer to stay in the town of Arbucies (which is a beautiful town with great views) you can stay at an Airbnb, use this link and get €25 off your home booking and €9 off an experience.
Hostal rural Masia el Buxaus Montseny offers you a great experience just 5km outside of Arbucies in Montseny National Park. Each room has its own private bathroom and if you choose to have breakfast you can even choose a vegan option.
Masía El Moli de Can Aulet is located about 5km away from Arbucies. The property was once a 16th-century mill which has been renovated. This is the perfect place to get away. It is situated in a wooded area and is perfect for hiking and mountain biking. It is perfect for the nature lover.
I can not think of a more perfect pairing than the wines of Celler Serrat de Montsorio with the legends (and view) of Castell de Montsoriu.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Turisme Montseny. As always all opinions expressed are my own.