The ten most beautiful medieval villages of Girona

Gerona in the Catalan language is called Girona, which is both city and municipality of its capital called the Province of Gerona, located in the region of Girónés, one of the communities of Spain in Catalonia. It is located to the northeast of the same and has a population of about 781,788 inhabitants, according to statistics of 2020 of the INE; so it is located in the 3rd largest population, after Barcelona and Tarragona.

In addition, the province of Gerona has the largest forest area in the country. There are an estimated 48,000 trees per square kilometer, making it the third province with the most significant hectares of forest. Within this province of Gerona, as in the Catalan Pyrenees, many municipalities and counties have left their medieval past in the emblematic buildings.

How is the province of Gerona divided?

The province of Girona consists of 221 municipalities and 9 counties at the administrative level, which are: Alto Ampurdán, Bajo Ampurdán, Baja Cerdeña, La Garrocha, del Gironés, Osana, Ripollés, Pla de l’Estany and finally La Selva. A comarca is an area that differs from the others by its cultural, social, geographical or historical characteristics.

But we must mention that 3 of these comarques share their territory with another province, as is the case of the comarca of Osana and La Selva with the area of Barcelona; and that of Baja Cerdanya with that of Lleida. 

Some medieval villages of the region of La Garrocha in Gerona:

The village of Besalú: when you arrive at the Romanesque bridge over the famous Fluviá river and cross it, it is as if you were repurchasing your ticket to the Middle Ages. Once you cross it, you reach the center of this medieval village, where Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived together for many centuries, being occupied in the eighth century. However, it was named a city in the tenth century.

In this place, you can visit the old Jewish quarter, where one of the bathrooms or miqvés, which are still preserved, is located. Likewise, the Church of San Vicente and the Benedictine Monastery of San Pedro should not be overlooked.

The village Castellfollit de la Roca: this beautiful village is located about 50 m high and on a cliff known by the name of the single of Castellfollit; that’s why they call it the village on the abyss. In addition, this municipality belongs to the 11 that are located in the Natural Park of the Volcanic Zone of La Garrocha, which has 20 lava flows and 40 volcanoes.

We have the Church of San Salvador among the curiosities to know of this town. Also, next to this church is the Plaza de Josep Pla, which offers a view over the river Fluviá and beautiful views of the entire horizon.

The village of Santa Pau: is located in another of the municipalities belonging to the Natural Park of the Volcanic Zone of La Garrocha, between the mountains of Santa Maria de Finestres and Santa Julia del Mont. The curious thing is that its streets lead to the Plaza Mayor, following the arrangement of the Middle Ages. 

On one side of the square is the castle of the Barony of the thirteenth century. Another necessary visit is to the Church of Santa Maria, and you can also reach the Portal del Mar, an excellent viewpoint that offers stunning views of the entire valley.

Some medieval villages in the region of Baix Empordà and Alt Empordà in Gerona

The medieval village of Pals: the town is famous for the castle of Montaspre, which is mentioned for the first time in a precept of the king of France Odon in the year 889. Then, for centuries this castle was given to bishops, noble families, counts, among others, but it was during the Catalan civil war that the court was practically destroyed.

Today only the walls, the Torre de Les Hores, and one or two other elements of its structure are preserved. It is also worth visiting the Church of San Pedro and strolling through the Plaza Mayor, where you can taste the region’s gastronomy as an aperitif.

The medieval village of Peratallada: this village, with its network of streets and beautiful stone houses covered with vines and bougainvillea, makes anyone fall in love. It is a village with great importance for its locality, to the point that it was declared a Historic-Artistic Site and Cultural Asset of National Interest.

It is a town that has a lot of quality craftsmanship. In addition, it is surrounded by both a wall and a moat. We can know the Church of Sant Esteve dating from the twelfth century, the Portal of the Virgin, the Rock’s street, and the Square of the shearers or the Towers of Homage, among others.

The village of Monells: a town built around the castle, of which only its walls remain, with its medieval past of knights, nobles, baronesses and barons, kings, markets, and, of course, castles. 

Monells, in the early twelfth century, was the site of a market held weekly and was held in the Plaza Mayor or Plaza Jaume I, which is the heart of the village, from which you can stroll through the different towns and streets of Monells. We will also find the Church of San Ginés.

The village of Peralada, in the Alt Empordà: town of just about 2000 inhabitants, and whose attractions are The Castle of Peralada dating from the fourteenth century and belonged to the Counts of Peralada; since 1979 contains a casino and beautiful gardens, habitat of beautiful storks.

Another point to visit is the Castell Museum, in the Convent of Carmen. It is a set of 3 museums: the Museum of Glass and Ceramics, the Library, with about 80,000 volumes, and the Carmelite Wine Museum. We have the Cloister of Sant Domenech, the Church of Sant Martí, the Plaza Ramon Muntaner, and the Call Jueu or Jewish quarter in the historic center.

Some medieval villages of the Ripollés and Gironès regions 

The medieval village of Beget: it is a small village in the Ripollés region, and it was an independent municipality until 1969, when the term Camprodón was added to it. It has been preserved thanks to the difficult access, as it is located at the foot of the Pyrenees and a few kilometers from France. 

It is included in the Inventory of Architectural Heritage and Cultural Asset of National Interest. We can find monuments such as the church of San Cristofol, dating from the tenth century, the interior possessor of Christ Majesty, the Baptismal font of the twelfth century, and the Virgin of Health. You will also find the Plaza Mayor and the Clock Tower.

The medieval village of Madremanya: is located in the region of El Gironés. It is a village situated at a peak level; on its plateau; it is located at an altitude of 117 m. Its environment is characterized by the presence of the Sierra de Vall Florida and the Sierra del Montnegre. 

It has a medieval quarter of great beauty that takes you on a journey to medieval times. We recommend a walk to visit the parish church of Sant Esteve and the Carrer de la Creu. 

The town of Gerona capital: the Barri Vell or old town, is bounded by the path of the Carolingian Walls of the ninth century and the lower Middle Ages, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The most outstanding sites are the Jewish quarter, the Houses of Onyar, at river level, the Cathedral, with its striking Gothic nave, the Basilica of San Felix, and the beautiful Monastery of Galligants.

Posted in Europe, Gerone, Spain.