From the beaches of Barcelona to the vast landscapes of the Pyrenees, Catalonia is defined by the sea and the mountains. With a proud cultural identity, this corner of northwestern Spain is filled with modernist masterpieces, sloping vineyards and spectacular beaches.
“Catalonia is fantastic, it has everything: it has mountains, it has the sea, it has gastronomy, it has culture,” says Roger Torrent i Ramió, Minister of Business and Labor of the Generalitat de Catalunya. “It also has a history of welcoming different cultures and civilizations.”
Catalonia is fantastic, it has everything: it has mountains, it has the sea, it has gastronomy, it has culture.
But with so much on offer, it can be hard to know where to start with this stunning region. Luckily, however, the Catalonia Tourist Board has found the perfect solution: the Grand Tour of Catalonia.
What is the Grand Tour of Catalonia?
Inspired by the epic tours of European aristocrats in the 19th century, the Grand Tour is a circular tour of the Catalan region. The array of suggested routes and activities takes travelers from the bustling streets of Barcelona to the Penedès vineyards.
Depending on the itinerary, the 2,000km loop can be completed in 13 days by car or split into separate sections and enjoyed in one or more trips.
The tour offers everything from a taste of Catalan cuisine to insights into the artists who took inspiration from the region’s rugged landscapes.
Where does the Grand Tour of Catalonia start?
Although you can start the tour anywhere on the circuit, if you want the full experience you should start in the Catalan capital.
Barcelona is renowned for its art, Gaudí’s epic S**it pleases the family**, the energetic Primavera Sound Festival – born in the city in 2001 and now exported all over the world – and its lively nightlife.
Start your journey with a tour of the city’s modernist buildings, followed by a cooking class on Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s most exclusive boulevard.
Here you’ll learn how to create two traditional Catalan dishes: esqueixada (a cod and tomato salad) and creme brulee (a dessert similar to crème brûlée) before ending the day watching the sunset aboard a catamaran.
To really experience the city in full force, align your trip to Barcelona with some of the fantastic events on offer throughout the year. Visit during the first weekend in June if you want to dance the night away at Primavera, in August for the colorful Gràcia Festival, or if sailing is your thing, be sure to put October 2024 on your agenda as Barcelona will host the America’s Cup.
Barcelona will host the America’s Cup 2024
The oldest international sports tournament in the world, the America’s Cupis coming Barcelona for the first time in 2024. Dating back to 1851, the sailing race – dubbed the ‘Auld Mug’ – sees several countries compete in a series of yacht races.
Current title holders New Zealand will defend their top spot alongside teams from the UK, Switzerland, Italy, the USA and France.
The racing will take place close to Port Vell, with viewing platforms overlooking all the action taking place at sea.
The cup, held every three to four years, returns to Europe for its 37th edition for the first time since 2010 when it was held in Valencia.
“This is great news, because this is an opportunity not only for Catalonia but also for the whole of Europe,” says Torrent.
What else can I see on the Grand Tour of Catalonia?
The Grand Tour of Catalonia will take you from Barcelona to Montserrat, the most iconic mountain in Catalonia. Once here, a cable car will transport you through the surrounding parkland, with epic views of the Llobregat valley below.
Over the next few days you will visit the Penedès wine region before heading to Reus, the birthplace of Gaudí.
Travel can be tailored to your tastesbut the 13-day trip could see you swimming with bluefin tuna, rafting in the Llavorsi or learning about the surrealist work of Slavador Dalí at the Dalí Theatre-Museum.
You’ll also visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way, hike through national parks such as the Delta de l’Ebre, and sample delicious food and wine.
To find out more about the Grand Tour of Catalonia, you can download the app or visit the website here.