Besalú Travel Guide

  • view of Besalú
    view of Besalú
    by Elisabcn
  • stone architecture
    stone architecture
    by Elisabcn
  • Besalú
    by Monica.E

Besalú Highlights

  • Pro
    surferob profile photo

    surferob says…

     Glimpse of village life in Spain 

  • Con
    nicoleken profile photo

    nicoleken says…

     no con's 

  • In a nutshell
    Elisabcn profile photo

    Elisabcn says…

     This is my favourite Catalunya 

Besalú Things to Do

  • Hospital de Sant Julià

    At only few metres from Sant Pere’s monastery, it was founded by the monastery itself during the XIIth century as a hospital for poor people. The building, constructed in the typical style of that period, consists on one long hall (picture 3). Decoration is almost nonexistent here, with only few concessions on the narrow main façade: again the...

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  • Monestir de Sant Pere

    Beautiful! This is the kind of architecture that I prefer: pure Romanesque style, simple lines and light and stone being almost the only decoration inside. Sant Pere is a medieval benedictine monastery founded in 977 by Count Miró of Besalú. The current church, the only part of the big ensemble that survived (picture 1), is from the XIIth...

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  • Funny sundial

    That day it was me, well my shadow, who marked the hour on that funny sundial! It is situated on the floor, in the market square just in front of Sant Pere monastery.By the way it was almost noon :-)

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  • Cúria Reial

    This is a nice example of medieval civil architecture in Besalú. It was built during the XIIIth century. We know that during the XIVth century it belonged to a Jewish family, the Astruc family. You still can see the mezuzah (a kind of parchment containing Jewish texts) hole on the entrance door, used to consecrate the homes. Later Bernat Cavaller,...

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  • The fortified bridge

    A must for any bridge lover, this medieval bridge is the jewel of the village and also its symbol. Its origin is unknown but we already have some news about it by the year 1075. The main structure should be from that period. During its long life it has been modified several times to protect the village from floods and enemy attacks. The defence...

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  • The Jewish quarter

    An important Jewish community lived in Besalú since the IXth century until 1436 and left interesting constructions like the synagogue and the miqvé (Jewish baths). Few things remain from the Jewish quarter where the old miqvé (Jewish bath) is the highlight, being the first and only miqvé found in Spain and the third (to ten) in Europe. At the...

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  • Sant Vicenç Church

    Sant Vicenç shows up to us at the end of a narrow street (picture 1).It is the parish church of the village. First documented in the Xth century, it is a Romanesque church (XIIth century) with only few gothic elements, like the rose window. The bell tower is from the XVIIIth century .When we visited Besalú the church was closed but you still can...

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  • First Impression

    A visit of Besalú is like a travel into the time, a village of narrow streets (pictures 1-2) and stone houses decorated with colorful flowers (picture 3). Still today stones talk and they tell us about its inhabitants, their everyday life and beliefs. Take your time and enjoy not only its rich historical heritage but also its hidden corners and...

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  • Plaça de la llibertat

    It is the main square of the village. Narrow streets plus porticoed medieval houses (picture 1) make here a very beautiful ensemble: what a pity that it is always full of cars! It was very difficult to avoid them for the pictures. Just in front of the town hall there is a small museum about the village. Nothing special but, as it is free and you...

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  • Remains of the Jewish quarter

    There was an active Jewish community in Besalu. Only a few ruins (of the synagogue) are left. Quite recently also a mikve (ritual bath) was found. After hard limitations of the living space and the activities of the Jews the Jews left the town. This coincided with a stagnation of the town which is an important reason for the fact that Besalu has...

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  • The bridge, of course

    The bridge dominates Besalú. It is perfectly restored (it was heavily damaged under the Spanish Civil War). It is a very pleasant walk across the bridge but it is also impressive to walk alog the river coming from the Centre of the town.

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  • Town and River walk

    The local architecture is lovely and easy to wander around its cobbled, traffic free streets on foot. You don't have far to walk to see the river and the ancient bridge. The weather was sunny, even in November.

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  • visit the only Miqveh in Spain

    The only known surviving jewish ritual bath, known as a miqve, was discovered in 1964 when owners of the land attempted to dig a well and realised they had gone through some structure which on investigation they had gone through the roof of the miqve.

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  • sant pere

    located in the center of the beautiful medieval village of besalu is the romanesgue church of sant pere. sant pere is the sole remnant of a 948AD benedictine monastery that was demolished in 1835. nearby is a mikvah, (jewish bath) that was built in 1264. it is one of three baths of that period that survive in europe.

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  • Romanic Churches

    The both Romanic churches St. Peter and St. Vincent are locked if there are no services and can only be visited on guided tours but you can always look at the interior of the churches through a window in the door and if you drop one Euro into a slot the interior will be illuminated for 3 minutes.

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  • The Bridge, of course

    The great landmark of Besalu is the Romanic Bridge over the Fluvia. The bridge was always of big srategic importance. it is not straight but changes the direction due to various rocks in the river which were used for the pillars.

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  • Enjoy the mediaeval architecture

    A nice general view of the town is from the opposite end of the famous bridge.The town is full of nice corners, small streets and squares giving a nice impression what it looked like about 700 years ago in a great period of the Catalan history.

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  • Old buildings and streets, centuries...

    Stroll through interesting old streets. Off season you could almost feel to be more than 500 years back but I expect that this looks quite different under the Summer season.

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Besalú Hotels

Besalú Restaurants

  • Catalan food

    The architecture is the first thing that struck me about this lovely find. We walked in off the streets to what looks like an old wine cellar. The bar is at the bottom of some stone steps under an enormous archway and the restaurant is through patio doors to another area. I would love to know the history of the buildingEach time we have visited (4...

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  • Typical Catalan dishes

    I have described some of the Catalan dishes you may see in BesalùArrós Negre - Squid cooked in its own ink with rice, peas, red peppers, garlic and onion. This dish is claimed to have originated in L'Empordá in northern Catalonia, but this might be disputed by Valencians. Allioli - emulsified olive oil and garlicButifara amb seques - is fried white...

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  • Spanish Calory Bomb

    Spaniards - and Catalans - know two types of breakfast. Either a coffee and a croissant, often consumed standing in a bar or Churros y Chocolate which is a veritable calory bomb helping everybody over the long time between the morning and the very late (not before 2 PM) lunch.

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Besalú Transportation

  • lotharlerch's Profile Photo

    by lotharlerch Written Mar 29, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It seems to be quite difficult to reach Besalu by Public Transport. We hired a car in Barcelona to travel around in Catalunya for 4 days. In earlier years I travelled in Spain either by my own car or by train and bus. But now I was around with a small car with Spanish licence and this gave me entirely new insights into the rude style of driving and conduct among local drivers. it seems that Spanish drivers behaved much more politely towards drivers of foreign cars...

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Besalú Local Customs

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    ready for a shot ;-)

    by Elisabcn Updated Jul 31, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you like liquors, Besalú is also known for its Ratafia. Its a kind of liquor or brandy flavoured with different herbs and it is typical of the Mediterranean areas of Italy, Spain and France. Ratafia Catalana is a Geographical Denomination (DG) and has its origins in the Catalan Pyrenees and particularly appreciated in this area but also in Languedoc in France. If you are fond of this kind of liquors don’t miss the Ratafia Fair of Besalú, every year on 29-30th November.

    By the way: the quality of the picture is not good because of the bad lightning, not because of the Ratafia :-)))

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Besalú Warnings and Dangers

  • lomi's Profile Photo

    by lomi Updated Jul 17, 2013

    Culinary traditions of this area of Cataluñya are wonderfully represented in the local restaurants...but the Bonka brand of instant coffee in some places leaves a lot to be desired! Ask instead for expresso or cafe con leche from the "machina"

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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Besalú Off The Beaten Path

  • Bésalu

    The center of Bésalu is very historical and beautiful. It is a touristic place but still very calm in july.

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  • Bésalu

    churchDel Monasterio Benedictino, established in the year 977 fror the Conde-Obispo Miró, only stays the actual church de Sant Pere, ancienst from the year 1003, romanic style century XII. (s.XII). Elementos escultóricos: leones de la fachada y capiteles interiores. Tumbas de época abacial (s.XVI, XVII, XVIII). El campanario pertenece a la época...

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  • Besalú Hotels

    1 Hotels in Besalú

    17 Reviews and Opinions

Besalú Favorites

  • You can't miss the old bridge

    This centuries-old bridge, open only to foot traffic, was incredibly beautiful and photogenic. While modern day vehicles fly past on the new bridge less than a hundred yards away, you can stand on this wonderful piece of architecture, with the calm river waters below, and gaze back at the lovely medieval scene that is Besalu.

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  • Another view....

    In that last pic I held the camera up against a wall, pointed skyward. Here's a simpler take on these chairs, curiously fixed to the stone walls of this little back alley, for no apparent reason other than to be a little creative.

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  • Art in the most unexpected places

    Had I not taken a wrong turn looking for the road to the bridge I wouldn't have found this little surprise. Someone in Besalu is clearly intent on adding some contemporary flair to the town's artistic side. And it works, for me at least.See following pic for a clearer perspective.

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