Catalonia, region with history and tourism
01 Apr 2019

Catalonia, region with history and tourism

Discovering some tourist treasures – A walk through history.

Panoramic view of the Sant Benet Bages Monastery

The history of Catalonia is millennial, since it goes back to the early Paleolithic settlers. The Greek presence with contribution of vineyards, olive trees and the currency, opened the country to the Roman colonization that laid its cultural bases.

Although it is, of course, nigh on impossible to give a precise birthdate for a nation, historians place Catalonia’s roots in the 9th century. This was the origin of what we now call Catalonia, a land which has absorbed the cultural inheritance of the Iberians, Greeks, Romans, Christians and Muslims over centuries.

Dynastically united with the Kingdom of Aragon, in the 13th century Catalonia became one of the great military powers of the western Mediterranean.

Catalan politics and culture did not recover from this defeat until well into the 19th century when, coinciding with the industrial revolution, Catalonia became the main motor for the Spanish economy. Catalonia’s commercial dynamism – based mainly on the textile industry and liquor exports – coincided with the birth of “Catalanism”, a tendency which was expressed culturally in the romantic revivalist movement known as the Renaixença (renaissance),. This movement was an intellectual current of thought working to recover the identity symbols of Catalonia and, above all, to dignify the use of the Catalan language.

at the end of the 19th century a new generation of irreverent artists keen on revolutionizing society, such as Santiago Rusiñol and Ramon Casas, drove the artistic movement known as Catalan Modernism (the Catalan equivalent of Art Nouveau). Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, swiftly became a cultural hotspot renowned across Europe. Antoni Gaudí emerged as the architect in vogue amongst the Catalan middle classes. Several of his buildings, like La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Parc Güell, and the Sagrada Familia church have become international icons of that artistic revolution.

Catalonia, as a region, is the first tourist destination in Spain according to the number of visitors and total income. Its particular geography and socio-cultural characteristics turn Catalonia into an interesting laboratory for studying the evolution of tourism in South Europe. On one hand, Costa Brava, mainly, and Costa Dorada have been a classical destination for ‘sun and beach’ tourism.

On the other hand, its mountains and, above all the wide Pyrenean range have also promoted the development of winter tourism, which has reached its peak in Baqueria-Beret winter sports resort, and has forwarded the introduction of country tourism and adventure tourism.

The cultural tourism, finally, which has always counted on complementary incentives such as the Roman city of Tarraco, the Greco-Roman archaeological site of Empúries, the singularities of Montserrat or the works of Dalí, Picasso, Miró… has strongly taken off in Barcelona since the last restructuring and promotion of the city, because of the Olympic Games in 1992. All these facts make tourism a key sector in Catalonia, around which momentous debates take place, not always, perhaps, with the needed strict criteria.

Main facade of the Monastery of Ripolll

Routes with history. Touristic proposals

1.- The mysteries of Món Sant Benet, in the Bages region

The history of Món Sant Benet dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, when a noble family decided to build a monastery to house a community of Benedictine monks. The monastery has now recovered its architectural splendour and some fascinating guided tours are organised there.

2.- Ripoll. A incalculable historical value

The one that stands out most from Ripoll is the historical and cultural patrimony. In the ninth century, during the reconquest of the territory, Comte Guifré el Pelós, founded the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll and that of Sant Joan de les Abadesses with the objective of repopulating the region.

3.- Cami dels Bons Homes. Nature route In the footsteps of the Cathari

When you do the Camí dels Bons Homes, you can see the stunning beauty of the Parc Natural del Cadí-Moixeró, where the Pedraforca is located, one of the most climbed mountains in Catalonia, which is characterised by its impressive form, as its two peaks are separated by a large hill.

4.- The route of Oliba. An authentic museum in the middle of nature.

The Route of Oliba is a long route that connects some of the most emblematic works of Catalan Romanesque art. It’s art, culture and history in its essence, in places almost unchanged over time. It is a journey through the origins of Catalonia where such characters as bishop and abbot Oliba decided to repopulate these lands and Christianize them planting churches and monasteries.

TRANSPORT.- A need for tourist activities

With the general expansion of tourism and the consolidation of Barcelona and Catalonia as a tourist destiny in the world market, Avant Grup has managed to consolidate its position as a leader in coach transport for this sector.

Avant Grup brings guarantee, security and trust in the service. It has a wide and modern fleet of vehicles of different capacities that allow to fully enjoy all the traditions and popular festivals and to respond to all the mobility demands in the displacements and excursions that these activities generate.