Musement takes a look at some medieval towns in Girona, located in the northeastern part of Catalonia.
The province of Girona is full of magical corners, from charming fishing villages on the beloved Costa Brava to the quiet little Pyrenean towns where you can breathe the refreshing mountain air. And let’s not forget the city of Girona and its fabulous stage for Game of Thrones. Today we are going to select the medieval towns in Girona that you will love. Most are located in the extraordinary regions of Empordà and Garrotxa— their centuries of history offer beautiful sites that you shouldn’t miss.
We knew that Besalú would top our list of the best medieval towns in Girona. The Viejo Bridge was constructed between the 11th and 17th centuries over the Fluvià River as it passed through Besalú, and it ultimately served as the backdrop for a good number of cinematographic projects inspired by medieval times. The old Jewish quarter, the church of Sant Vicenc, and the monastery of Sant Pere are also interesting stops.
Speaking of film projects, the little village of Monells has earned a deserved place on the map as it served as the backdrop for the movie Spanish Affair 2. Until then, its charming main square with its characteristic arches, l’Oli square, Arcs Street, and the town, in general, had all been hidden gems of Baix Empordà. Spanish director Emilio Martínez-Lázaro’s film has prompted many locals to go and see the town for themselves.
The ivy and bougainvillea put the cherry on top of this medieval postcard town called Peratallada—a name derived from the word for “carved stone.” This beautiful town is located in an old quarry that dates back to Roman times. Peratallada stands out for its rural architecture and sandstone structures, including the fortified castle, walls, palace and church of Sant Esteve. Once you have visited these monuments, finish your stroll in Les Voltes Square and immerse yourself in the impeccably preserved authenticity of this Catalonian town.
Only six miles from Peratallada and situated in a prime location on the Costa Brava, Pals takes the title of one of the most picturesque towns in the province of Girona and in all of Catalonia. Its perfectly preserved medieval village has walls that date back to the 11th century, and its variety of architectural styles are truly particular to Pals. Of course, there are also abundant arches, sandstone, and flowers here!
5. Castellfollit de la Roca
Also in the region of Garrotxa, the spectacular town of Castellfollit de la Roca is built on a basalt rock precipice that stands 165 feet in the air. Houses seemingly teeter, making the view from afar stunning. The little town of Castellfollit offers a network of narrow streets that lead to the church of Sant Salvador, which, at one end, stands the cliff’s silhouette which is home to an outlook with unforgettable views.
The medieval village of Beget is a small center of the Vall de Camprodon in the region of Ripollès, which is formed by a charming collection of stone houses lining both sides of the river that are connected by two beautiful medieval bridges. Together with the four-story bell tower of the 12th-century Romanesque church of Sant Cristobal, the sites of Beget seem straight out of a nativity scene.
To the north of Figueres is a region famous for golf, cava and a castle that is the town’s crown jewel. Peralada’s famous castle was transformed into a casino and completed with beautiful gardens and a museum. It’s also the site of one of the Costa Brava’s most famous summer music festivals—the Castell de Perlada International Music Festival. Likewise, it is worth visiting the convent of Sant Domenec, with a magnificent Romanesque 18th-century cloister.
In the region of Gironès and three miles from Monells sits one of those medieval towns that has all you need for a weekend-long rural escape—equal parts charm and peace. With remnants of the walls, narrow cobblestone streets, and the church of Sant Esteve forming its old town, Madremanya offers the perfect backdrop for connecting with nature. Aside from enjoying its tranquility, Madremanya is located at the foot of the mountain massif called Gavarres, which has several hiking routes.