12 Aug 2019
A tour of the art and culture of Catalonia during the summer
The culture, art and history of the country, together, make up a wide and varied tourist offer.
Catalonia has always been a crossroads of cultures and influences. Before the consolidation of their own language and the rest of Latin languages, a certain diversity was already taking place in the territory, since Christians wrote in Latin, Muslims did it in Arabic and Jews in Hebrew.
The architectural modernism of Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner is currently one of the main tourist attractions, as also are the works of contemporary architects such as Josep Lluís Sert, José Antonio Coderch de Sentmenat, Richard Meiers, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Ricard Miralles/Benedetta Tagliabue, Ricardo Bofill, Rafael Moneo and Santiago Calatrava to highlight some.
Painting and architecture also form part of the Catalan identity. Catalonia, land of welcome, decidedly influenced geniuses such as Pablo Ruiz Picasso, who studied for a time in Barcelona, a city with one of the most primordial museums of the work of this painter from Malaga. The Picasso Museum, together with the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation in Figueres, is among the most frequented museums all over Catalonia. In addition, Barcelona has the most complete Romanesque art museum in the world, the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), which has numerous frescos, church and hermit altarpiece and works from the Pyrenees.
Visitors know how to enjoy culture in all its aspects as there is an extensive recreational offer that covers different disciplines related to the world of culture, architecture and art.
Bordered by the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, Catalonia is a traditional region of Spain that is fiercely proud of its unique culture.
Catalonia’s landscapes and Mediterranean light have always been an inspiration for artists. This is why this country is now home to a variety of painting styles to delight visitors. If you come to Catalonia you can explore unusual museums and venues where you can enjoy and begin to understand the unique universe of towering geniuses like Picasso, Miró, Dalí and Tàpies.
Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain with a millennial history. With 7.5 million inhabitants, it is a highly developed area that leads the Spanish economy. Is a benchmark European region as well.
Catalonia is an industrially active and entrepreneurial land. These characteristics, together with quality infrastructures and services, make Catalonia an ideal destination for the business world, art and culture.
Whether it’s art, science, history, or culture in general that excites you, Catalonia has a museum for it.
If there is an interest in culture, history or painting, you’ll find so many interesting examples of that you won’t even know where to begin. Unique buildings in Barcelona, “the capital of Modernism”, such as the Sagrada Familia Cathedral or the Palau de la Música Catalana Auditorium, the outstanding archaeological site at Tarragona city, the monastery of Poblet in Tarragona, the churches of the Boí valley in Lleida… all declared World Heritage sites by the UNESCO.
The museums of Catalonia together constitute an itinerary which takes us from the Romanesque to the most contemporary and avant-garde art.
In Catalonia, there are museums and cultural centres you simply cannot miss. In the city of Barcelona you will find the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), which displays an entirely unique collection of Romanesque mural painting; the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya; the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA); the Museu de Pintura contemporània Can Framis; the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern; the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), which specialises in urban culture; the Museu d’Història de Catalunya, which takes you on a journey from prehistory to the 20th century; CosmoCaixa, with its exhibition devoted to the laws of nature; and CaixaForum, which organises a wide range of social, cultural and educational programmes for the whole family.
Outstanding institutions in the realm of permanent monographic art exhibitions are the Fundació Miró, the Museu Picasso and the Fundació Tàpies.
Outside Barcelona, worthy of special mention are the Museu d’Art de Girona and the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí –Costa Brava–, the Fundació Palau and the Museu Nacional de la Ciència i la Tècnica –MNATEC–, the Museu Episcopal de Vic and the Museu de Montserrat and Món Sant Benet.
The industrial heritage
During the second half of the 19th century, Catalonia headed the Industrial Revolution on the Iberian Peninsula. This economic development was behind to the artistic and cultural renovation of Modernism.
Over one century later, that industrial revolution has left us two attractive tourist legacies. On the one hand, the opportunity to discover former manufacturing processes that have been preserved until the present day and, on the other, to contemplate and appreciate examples of industrial architecture scattered all over Catalan territory. To plan your stay, it would be a good idea to consult the Xarxa de Turisme Industrial de Catalunya – XATIC, which provides information on the twenty Catalan cities and towns that preserve testimonies to the industrial past of Catalonia, and the system of the Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya –MNATEC-.
Culture and spirituality
The long Catalan tradition of pilgrimages, which dates back to Antiquity and is still alive today, offers cultural and landscape prospects for those tourists who seek the spiritual aspects of these routes. The four most emblematic ones are the following.
Camí de Sant Jaume – (The Saint James’ Way)
The Camí de Sant Jaume has been, since the Middle Ages, the route that leads European pilgrims to the apostle’s tomb in Santiago de Compostela.
In Catalonia, the Way begins at the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes –Costa Brava– and its main points of interest are Vilabertran, Girona, Vic, Manresa, Montserrat, Cervera and Lleida, and from here pilgrims proceed to Alcarràs to connect with the Aragonese stretch of the Camí de Sant Jaume. Part of this route is also accessible to people in wheelchairs or whose mobility is restricted. The www.camidesantjaumeperatothom.cat website provides you with all the necessary information.
The Camí Ignasià, established by the Company of Jesus, recreates the route taken by Ignatius Loyola in 1522 from Loyola –in the Basque Country– to Manresa –Paisatges Barcelona. Some of its stretches coinciding with the Camí de Sant Jaume.
Catalonia Sacra (Holy Catalonia)
Catalunya Sacra is an initiative set in motion by the Catalan dioceses that allows you to discover the architectural and artistic heritage associated with the Catholic Church. The 10 Catalan dioceses are blessed with a rich heritage that dates back over two thousand years and has established close links between Christianity and our country’s culture, identity and spirituality.
Catalonia Sacra provides you with the opportunity to discover the 12 Catalan cathedrals; to follow itineraries through the archbishoprics of Barcelona and Tarragona, as well as through the bishoprics of Girona, Lleida, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Solsona, Terrassa, Tortosa, Urgell and Vic; and to discover the monasteries of Santa Maria de Vilabertran, Santa Maria de Ripoll, Santa Maria de l’Estany and of the Mare de Déu de Montserrat and Sant Cugat del Vallès.
The Montserrat Abbey, –Catalonia Central– concentrates in a single space a great cultural and architectural heritage, astonishing natural beauty and deep spirituality that originates from a legend dating back to the year 880. Around seventy monks form the Benedictine community that lives in the monastery.
In Avant Grup we drive with the culture
Symphonic orchestras, music bands, theatre companies, dance companies, cultural associations Cultural associations and other groups interested in the art entrust their activities, sightseeing and trips to Avant Grup. We have a wide and modern fleet of different capacities. We collaborate in the logistical organization of the travel program with the aim of offering the best quality in the service and in the best economic conditions.