The Autonomous Community of Catalonia or the Catalan region is located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is composed of four provinces: Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona.
There is much diversity of scenery and terrain; the provinces are fertile, watered by rivers and have long coastal zones with the exception of Lleida, which is landlocked. The three coastline provinces of Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona, offer a wide selection of hotels and good beaches.
Catalonia covers an area of 3.1932 million hectares, of which a little over 5%, is designated as protected natural areas.
The area that Catalonia covers was first settled during the Middle Paleolithic period and was since occupied by the Carthaginians, Romans and Moors.
In the Middle Ages the Counts of Barcelona started to create a real Catalan culture, at the same time the area became very influential in the Maritime industry.
The region then spent nearly 3 centuries in almost constant battle, with the fighting factions of Spain, who were fighting to centralize the power throughout Spain.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), when Franco came to power, the public use of the Catalan language was banned.
Catalonia posses a wealth of architectural, monumental, cultural, artistic and gastronomic riches. Romantic routes exist in all four provinces, which trace the regions culture, heritage, sports and cuisine at a leisurely pace.
There are 38 nature reserves in the high mountain areas, where you can find parks, ski slopes and rivers for fishing. These reserves are also perfect for adventure sports like rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking, rafting, bungee jumping, hang gliding, and high altitude endurance training.
The green and fertile valleys, rich in agriculture, are where rural tourism holds sway. These lowlands are ideal for activities like golf, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and long distance running.
Stretching along the coast of Catalonia are the Costa Blanca and Costa Dorada; this coastline is one of the most naturally stunning and diverse. From the stunning bays and coves of the Costa Brava, whose backdrops are pine covered hillsides, to the golden sandy stretches of the Costa Dorada.
The gastronomy of Catalonia is rich and varied. Principally it is the typical Mediterranean diet of fish and seafood with fresh vegetables, olives and olive oil rice and pasta.
We recommend that visitors try some traditional Catalan dishes whilst on holiday, especially delicious are
Escudella I Carn D'olla, vegetable broth with pork, veal and chicken. Pa Amb Tomàquet,
simply rustic bread, can be toasted, rubbed with tomato pulp and dressed with oil and salt; these delcious breakfast can also be served with ham, sausage or tortilla.
Coca is a very thin dough baked with onions, peppers and other vegetables served with and meats, or fish (especially sardines).
The climate is temperate, with mild temperatures and moderate rainfall throughout the year. In the highlands the winters are cold with lots of snow, making them ideal ski-resorts.
On the coast hot summer temperatures are tempered by cooling sea breezes and the winters are exceptionally mild with some rain.