Besalú – A Medieval Gem in the Heart of Catalonia

With a population of approximately 2400 people, Besalú makes an interesting and relaxing day trip from Barcelona. As you wander the the narrow streets, it’s hard to believe that during the Middle Ages this now tranquil small town was once an important local capital.

The medieval village of Besalú in the Garrotxa region of Catalonia, Spain

What to See in Besalú

Besalu’s star attraction is without doubt the Romanesque bridge over the river Fluviá. It’s curious to think that as you approach the town across the old bridge you’re following in the footsteps of a thousand years worth of travellers.

The picturesque town centre is a compact huddle of restored medieval stone houses, small squares and narrow cobbled/flagstone streets. The most notable buildings are the Mikveh (Jewish baths and synagogue), the Church of Sant Vicenç and the Sant Pau Monastery. Guided walking tours can be organised by the Tourist Office (essential if you want to visit the Miqve).

Typically narrow streets in Besalú
Typically narrow streets in Besalú

While you’re here it’s also worth visiting the unusual Micromundi miniatures museum.

It only takes a few hours to “see” Besalú and it’s easy to combine with a visit to nearby Girona since there are frequent local buses between the 2 towns. You can then either spend the night in Girona or get one of the regular trains from there to Barcelona.

In September the town stages it’s annual medieval fayre.

The 11th Century Monastery of Saint Paul (Monestir de Sant Pau) in Besalú, Spain
The 11th Century Monastery of Saint Paul (Monestir de Sant Pau)
Medieval Stone Carvings
Stone Catvings on the Church of St Vincent (Sant Vicenç de Besalú)

How to get there from Barcelona

There are four buses daily between Barcelona and Besalú. The route is operated by Teisa and departs from the company’s offices at C/ Pau Claris 117. Please note that this is NOT a bus station. The journey takes around 1 hour 45 minutes, the fare is approximately €15. Bus timetable and prices here.

Buses from Besalú to Girona here

Trains from Girona to Barcelona here

If you have a car it takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to drive to Besalú via the AP7/E15


Small-Group Medieval Villages Day Trip from Barcelona

A magnifying glass enlarges one of the tiny exhibits in the Micromundi museum Besalú
Micromundi museum, Besalú
The 11th Century Stone Bridge Over the River Fluviá, Besalú near Girona
The 11th Century Stone Bridge Over the River Fluviá


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