Tag Archive for: What to see in Spain

Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain comprising of 4 counties: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona.  The capital, and largest, city is Barcelona, 2nd largest city in Spain behind Madrid.  Catalonia is a complete destination with sea and mountains so, whether you fancy a lounge on the beach or a ski down the slopes, city visits or country strolls, fine Michelin star dining or a picnic in the vineyards, this land has it all.

What is the secret ingredient? A little bit of everything! History, culture, patrimonial richness, a unique gastronomy, an enviable environment with long coast paths, rolling hills, outdoor activities, countless medieval villages, Mediterranean nature, majestic cities and friendly inviting natives.

There’s so much to see in Catalonia on sightseeing routes, but here, at Gourmand Breaks, we like to take you off the tourist track and let you experience authentic secret places lovingly cared for by the people that know the area best … the locals!  These are just a couple of our favorites, but shhhhhhh! this is just between you and us.


Escape from bustling city life and extend your Spanish vacation to discover some fantastic secret places in Catalonia on our Private Secret Catalonia Tour.  You will get to break the bread with the locals on this perfect Food and Wine escape in the Catalonia countryside.

Cosmopolitan Girona is a vibrant city with much to offer:  a wide variety of retail options, top class restaurants, fascinating culture and excellent public transport connections.  It has all the vibes of city life but with a personal approach, as with its outstretched arms Girona pulls you in to its enchanting soul.

Through the heart of this up and coming city lies the River Onyar lined with its characteristic colorful houses,  dating back to the end of the middle Ages, and various bridges that criss-cross the old and new parts.

Over 1000 years of history make up the charming old part of Girona, located around the single nave Cathedral, the Jewish quarter, Sant Feliu church and Sant Pere de Galligants monastery.

In the patrimonial ensemble of the Santa Maria Cathedral of Girona the must see features are:
– The Gothic Nave, the widest in the world, without columns, at 22.80m (14th-16th centuries)
– The Creation Tapestry, one of a kind in Western Medieval art (11th-12th centuries)
– The Romanic Cloisters from the 12th century, and a collection of sculpture, painting, manuscripts, altar pieces and textiles (10th-12th centuries)

In the proximity of  the Cathedral are Sant Feliu church and Sant Pere de Galligants (now home of the Archaeology of Catalonia Museum), as well as the Arabian Baths.

According to legend, Saint Narcissus, the Bishop of Girona , and Saint Felix, his deacon, both died as martyrs, and the relics of Narcissus can still be worshipped in Girona Cathedral today.  Many miracles are attributed to this saint, such as that of the “Mosques de Sant Narcís” (‘flies of Saint Narcissus’). This legend stems from the time when the then King of France came to Girona with a powerful army, besieged the city and destroyed everything surrounding it. For the inhabitants, this was an inevitable catastrophe, because the French troops were much stronger and they were helpless. Until one day swarms of enormous and aggressive horseflies emerged from the grave of Saint Narcissus, which was sealed with a large, heavy stone slab. These flies traversed the walls of the city and attacked the French army.  Anyone who was stung by them instantly suffered a painful death. The surviving French enemies then fled back to their homeland. Since then it has been a superstition that the horseflies and flies are particularly numerous, keen to sting and agitated on Saint Narcissus Day, the 29th of  October.

As you wander through the enchanting streets of the Jewish quarter, one of the most important in Europe where a Jewish community lived for over 6 centuries, you will step back in time.  The city of Girona has long been home to myths and legends that are hidden away in its streets and buildings. Numerous symbols direct the curious to stories, which have lived on for very many years and been told in the city for generations.  The streets here are named after the medieval activity practised in them and the markets offered in them; l’Argenteria (silver), Mercaders (salesmen), Plaça de Vi (the wine square), l’Oli (oil), and de les Castanyes (of the chestnuts)…


At the heart of the old town lies the wide tree-lined avenue of  La Rambla.  Rambla de la Llibertat (it’s full title) is the main thoroughfare of the old town and starts at the Stone Bridge. Bordered by cafés and businesses, its arcades evoke the Middle Ages, at which point in history this street was the setting for an important regional market. The thoroughfare continues as the much narrower Carrer de l’Argenteria  leads to the Sant Agustí Bridge.

The 9th century city Wall has today been renovated and provides an exceptional route to follow some sections of the longest Carolingian walls in Europe.  Enjoy the views of the city and the surrounding landscape from the various watch towers which provide excellent vantage points.

From traditional stores to designer boutiques: prestigious international brands, avant-garde decoration, signature jewelry, original crafts, unique antiques, delicatessen products and many more , Girona guarantees a shopping spree will be pleasurable.

For wining and dining the city has many restaurants offering a wide range of fare: Catalan, Mediterranean, market and signature cuisine.  The gastronomy of this city has now become an international model of quality, with Michelin-starred restaurants that include El Celler de Can Roca, proclaimed by the prestigious Restaurant Magazine as the Best Restaurant in the World!

And, not to be forgotten are the museums of Girona recalling bygone days: The history of the Jews, Museum of Art, History of the City, Cinema Museum …… and the modern and cosmopolitan side of Girona on the retail and leisure side.

The city is completed with the Devesa Park.  Situated between the rivers of the Guell, the Onyar and the Ter, this fantastic city park extends for more than 40 hectares and is the most important Catalonian plane tree plantation. The plane trees that shade the famous Barcelona Ramblas came from this park and renowned poets have made it the subject of magnificent verse and songs.

Many of our Food & Wine Tours include private guided visits to Girona, Spain, in their itinerary.

Our Highlights of Spain Luxury Tour  is a complete tour including private visits in Girona, Barcelona, Seville, Toledo, Madrid and Medieval villages aswell as visits to Spanish wineries, winetasting, cooking classes, gourmet tastings and authetic meals.

As all our tours are exclusively private we can customize any tour to suit your preferences. Contact us for more information.

Salvador Dalí Domènech was born in May 1904 in Figueres, in the Empordà region of Catalonia, Spain.  In 1929 he fell in love with Gala, who became his wife 5 years later.  Throughout his lifetime Dalí experimented with many art forms, entered into the world of Hollywood and lived in the United States for 8 years.  He rubbed shoulders with many intellectual and artistic personalities such as: Federico García Lorca, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, the Marx Brothers, Sigmund Freud, Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock.


Today, in numerous worldwide cities, Salvador Dalí creations are proudly exhibited, but his life and the majority of his works can be enjoyed in three distinct locations in the province of Girona, Spain, where they are collectively known as the “Dali Triangle”:

Púbol Castle near La Pera, Spain

In 1969 Dalí purchased Púbol Castle, restoring and decorating it, for his beloved wife, Gala.  The castle became her fairy-tale residence during the 1970’s.   After her death, in June 1982, Dalí lost much of his will to live, and moved to the castle.  The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, had appointed Salvador Dalí the honourary title of Marquis of Púbol so it was only fitting that he lived there.  But, after a  fire in his bedroom, a suspected suicide attempt, in 1984,  he moved to Torre Galatea, in Figueres, where he lived until he died in January 1989.  The castle was opened to the public in 1996, and on display here are works that Dalí gave to Gala to decorate her home, along with a collection of her haute couture dresses, furniture and Dali’s treasured Cadillac.

Port-Lligat near Cadaqués, Spain
Salvador Dalí spent long periods of his youth here.  He gained much inspiration from the surroundings and the light, which is evident in his painting.  For over 40 years Dalí and Gala decorated the numerous fisherman’s huts, which they had bought at different times, and joined them together to make his beloved villa by the sea.  The house was opened to the public in 1997 and here can be found Dalí’s studio and library, along with the couples living quarters.


But, there’s only really one place where you can see the broadest range of Dali’s works, from his earliest artistic experiences and his surrealist creations down to the works of the last years of his life. of Salvador Dalí’s best works in a museum that he personally designed and was laid to rest at:  the Dalí Theater Museum in Figueres.

Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain

Built on the site of an old theater, the Dalí Theatre –Museum opened its doors in September 1974.  The Municipal Theater of Figueres was originally constructed between 1849 and 1850 but was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939.  Only the basic structure was left standing as the auditorium ceiling had fallen in.  The access corridors of the boxes remained, and the arch and  lateral storerooms of the stage survived.  The vestibule and the foyer were the only parts that remained more or less intact, and the theater remained abandoned like this for decades.

The ghostly remnants of the Theater attracted Salvador Dalí and he decided, early in the 1960’s, to construct his museum inside the ruins of the old Municipal Theater of his hometown, Figueres.   Curiously, yet not coincidentally, the theater stands opposite the church where Dalí was baptized and  it was precisely in the hall of the vestibule of the theater where Dalí presented his first exhibition.

Today, the museum receives thousands of visitors who travel from all over the world to marvel at the wacky wonders housed in this art mecca.  This former city theater is now adorned with large bright white eggs and a pattern of golden bread, because he wanted visitors to do more than quietly stare at his work. He wanted them to be part of the experiment and have a chance to respond to his work just the way an applauding audience does.

In the case of the Dali Museum, you’ll want to have change on hand to participate. Otherwise, you may never know the glory of flooding a mannequin-filled Cadillac in the atrium, looking through binoculars that transform a painting of his wife Gala into Abraham Lincoln, or crucifixes made of the oddest things dancing to music.

The collection in the Dali Theater Museum is impressive, archiving works that show the evolution of this legendary artist from age 18, through his romance with his soul-mate Gala, up until Dalí’s last death-foreshadowing painting, The Happy Horse.  From strange and subversive, to beautiful and dreamy, his mostly surrealistic work makes each room of the Dali Museum an adventure revealing something impressive about Dalí’s deep and twisted mind.

Salvador Dalí Dalí Domènech is buried in a crypt in the basement of the TheaterMuseum.


At Gourmand Breaks we are huge Dali enthusiasts, why not let us take you to experiment the works of this wackily tormented genius on our Highlights of Spain Private Tour which includes a private guided tour of the Dali Museum as well as visits to some of Spain’s most emblematic landmarks, prestigious wineries and more!



As soon as you cross the graceful XI century bridge arching over the Fluvia River at the entrance to Besalu, a gorgeously well-preserved village and monument to medieval Jewish communities in Spain——you will feel like you’re walking into another time altogether. Read more

Barcelona, Spain,  is an all-round destination offering architecture, culture, history, art, fashion, nature, fine food and good wine!  Whether you’re a galloping gourmet, an exclusive fashionista or a curious culture buff this city has it all.  Here is a photo blog insight into the heart of Barcelona, capturing just a few of the spectacular sights that await you in this bustling, cosmopolitan city.

There’s so much more, so why not join us for a tour!

Our fantastic Gourmet tour of Barcelona and the Basque Country combines stays in Barcelona and San Sebastian – 2 great foodie hotspots!

For more information, and to customize your own exclusive private vacation,  please do not hesitate to contact us


Take advantage, while you’re in Calella de Palafrugell on one of our luxury private tours in Spain, to take a walk on the wild side! Of the Costa Brava that is, as the words translate into Wild Coast.

Calella de Palafrugell is a picture postcard fisherman’s village on the Emporda coast in Northern Catalonia, Spain.  The Summer months see swarms of tourists on the beach, with tens of thousands of visitors flocking here on the first Saturday of July to appreciate the Havaneres Festival.  This festival welcomes varios musical groups who play old sea shanties with a backdrop of the lapping Mediterranean and bobbing boats.

Although a summer retreat for many, all year round the miles of coast path that line this rocky wild coast are enjoyed either for a short stroll or a longer hike.

The “Camins de Ronda” as they are known in Catalan, are a series of footpaths linking together some of the Costa Brava’s coves. As the path meanders on the cliff top, the Mediterranean embraces the rocks below, opening at times to give us the gift of a curious cove or an idyllic inlet.

Most of the coastal path is continuous but north of Calella’s neighbouring village, exclusive Llafranc,  the route goes inland as the coast gets wilder.  For example, on the coast of Begur there are four sections of coast path which are not joined, but can be equally enjoyed separately.  Even further north, in the L’Escala area some of the paths really show the wild nature of the coast with rock formations leading the way. Southbound from Calella, the coast path extends as far as La Fosca, near Palamos, and beyond.

In the past, the paths were used by smugglers and by guard patrols alike, but, in recent times the network of footpaths here have been restored to provide pretty hiking trails passing through some the areas most emblematic locations.  All the routes are clearly signposted and easy to follow.  Whichever route you take you can be assured of breathtaking views over the coves below and out to the spectacular Mediterranean sea.  You will most likely pass through pine groves on your journey and maybe even pass the occasional watchtower.  Exhilarating sea air and unspoilt beauty awaits you at every corner of the extensive coastal path, whether a gentle stroll from Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc or a longer walk to discover a hidden cove.

Walk on the Wild Side and enjoy breathtaking views and exhilarating sea air from the coastpath in Calella de Palafrugell !



Take a walk along the wild Costa Brava coast while you’re in Calella de Palafrugell on a  Private Luxury Spanish Tour



Last  year we customized a number of  tours around cruises of Portugal and Spain,  starting in Lisbon and finishing in Barcelona, for our clients using companies such  as Azamara Club Cruises and Paul Gauguin Cruises, amongst others. Here are some ideas to inspire you for your next trip….  Read more

In the last two decades, contemporary architecture has staged a thrilling encounter with the unlikely world of viticulture. Originating in California’s Napa Valley, the earliest of these winery designs were brash and postmodern, selfstyled “temples to wine” that created a thriving tourist market around California’s vineyards. But in recent years, innovation has turned West, flourishing as a modern form of branding amongst the ancient Spanish wineries of northern Spain.

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Once the capital of the Western Roman Empire, the seaside city of Tarragona in Spain still has a captivating amount of archeological finds. An amphitheater where gladiators made shows of courage and strength, a circus where legendary chariot races took place, museum of artifacts and archeological passage give visitors a fabulous setting to envision the ancient empire that once thrived here.

After enriching yourself with these archeological destinations, you can relax at the beach, an atmospheric fisherman’s quarter called El Serralló or go shopping on one the city´s wide avenues. If you feel like visiting a relaxing hidden treasure, Altafulla is a quaint seaside city near Tarragona with boutique hotels and quiet seashores to walk along.

Tarragona is an archeological treasure and we have included the city in our Luxury Wineries Tour of Spain   which includes gourmet cooking classes, excursions to Medieval villages and private tours of some of the most exclusive wineries in the area.

Cadaques: breathtaking sceneryAuthentic fisherman village in the Costa Brava

Fisherman arranging nets in their boats, Coffee, paella and crema catalana awaiting customers in white-washed buildings accented with brilliant blue hues. Children playing in soft waves lapping up on the shore. Painters still at work outside on the street. Feel such visions combine in the unforgettable atmosphere of what was once a haven for Salvador Dali here in Cadaqués.

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