Any Saturday or Sunday morning is a party in Besalú. The old capital of Cataluña wakes up early, the beautiful greenish waters have a honey-colored hue to them, as they await your visit. The tourists begin to arrive and end up falling to their knees, exhausted. The town knows that its century-old aura is as strong as a spell. Everyone that visits is cast under the spell, there is no escaping.
It’s like you’ve been put under a spell as soon as you get close to the long 11th century Roman bridge. Besalú’s best medieval profile as you come from Fluviá. Once inside the town, the small, intricate, dark streets of the center or Jewish quarters seem like mysterious secrets in the shadows.
But then, the sun starts to break through the towers and chases the ghosts off. Full of light, the Sant Vicent Romanesque church glistens, as well as the precious Tallaferro street and the busy Plaza Mayor. It’s worth stopping in a café there for a coffee or a drink, or any of the bars for that matter. Afterwards, head on to visit the Curia Rejal, a singular building with gothic touches, the Miqvé, the surprising subterranean baths, and the Sant Roman palace-house.
Besalú is something else. You’ll be sure to find some type of festival, open market, or something special going on during the weekends.
Of all the things in this small medieval town, the bridge is undoubtedly the most important, imposing and impassible on the River Fluvia. It's a Romanesque work from an unknown time, but it had to come after the year 1075. Although the entire Villa has its charm, this is a beautifully preserved bridge worth a visit at any time of year. Personally, I prefer to go in spring when the riverbed is higher and the accompanying environment is much more imposing.
In 1415, the authorities closed the Jewish Besalu in a sector that had been bounded between Bridge Street and the river until the Fluvia started descending. There were Boarded up doors and windows of houses and streets, except for the Jews portal which were opened in the wall. Twenty years later there wasn't a Jew left in the village. We wandered around to the Interpretation Centre of Jueus Call, Plaza of the Jews and we got to observe their plant archaeological purification ritual baths and down the Fluvia River. The major cultural figure of the Jewish community of Besalu was the grammarian and troubadour Ramón Vidal who lived sometime during the 12th and 13th centuries.
This Benedictine monastery was founded in 977 by the Earl Bishop Miro. Currently, it's the only church of Sant Pere that was consecrated in 1003. It has a Romanesque style and a peculiar ambulatory in the interior. There are tombs from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The bell belongs to the Baroque era. This church is located in the centre of town and can only be visited a couple of hours a day, unless you pay for a guided tour of the village.
On a summer day, the best option for cooling off after walking the streets and buildings of Besalu, is the River Fluvia. We made it through the impressive stairs descending from the Romanesque bridge that has given so much fame to the town. Once there, the river gives you some unforgettable images of the city reflected in its "peaceful" waters. We got a wonderful feeling of well-being when we decided to cross the river to explore the other side and come back through the known Jewry. We were very pleased, despite having wet sandals, and my dog was like new. He told us that he really liked Fluviá ;-) I think Besalú owes part of its beauty to this enchanting river and the surrounding landscape. We discovered some bucolic images. It's in those times when it's worth sitting quietly and enjoying the tranquil flow of the water, the freshness of its banks and, especially, the unique stamp of Besalu.
The Liberty Square or Plaza Mayor, is the nerve center of the city. The semicircular arches surround it virtually in its entirety. They crossed the main roads linking Olot, Figueres and Girona, and it is a very old square. It became a very important commercial center, and it currently features a weekly Tuesday market. All data is from the Office of Tourism Besalú
This is a 13th century building, built partially over the stream of Ganganell. It belonged to the Jewish family of Astruc. Bernat Cavaller installed himself there in the 14th century, as a king's representative, and it's still known by that name. From the same period, there are stairs and the Gothic room. It now houses a cultural space. All data is from the Tourist Office of Besalu.
Every year in early September the small town of Besalu, La Garrotxa, celebrates the Medieval Fair. For an entire weekend, the town is transformed into an authentic medieval village, with stalls packed will all kinds of objects including food, activities for all ages and at all hours, live music, warriors on horseback, and donkey rides for smaller kids. You can see exhibits of birds and even watch live potters modeling works of art. It is very entertaining and recommended for a trip to the past in our history. The architect of Besalu and location allow for a lot of play with it. So it's a good time to visit the town (if you do are not frightened by the crowds of people). The municipality provides free parking and the charge to enter for three days costs just between 3 and 5 euros.
This Romanesque structure building was founded in the tenth century by Count-Bishop Miró. It is located behind the Royal Court and it was used as a place for pilgrims. Currently it can be seen with the reforms that were carried out in the 12th century. The reforms emphasize its San Julian portal with six spiral arcs. There is a cultural and social center too.
Are you looking for places to visit in Besalú? There's a lot of stuff to do in this beautiful Spanish town, located in the province of Gerona. Many of the main attractions in Besalú are related to its medieval architecture. The city's castle is among the many things to see in Besalú and is one of the most interesting sights. Walking through its streets, you seem to find yourself in a different era, with Besalú attractions such as medieval buildings dotted around the streets.
One of the best Besalú activities is visiting the Roman bridge, one of the area's oldest structures, which crosses the Fluvià River and has been declared of cultural interest and a symbol of the city. Other things to do in Besalú in the old town include visiting the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria, the Cornella House, and Miqvé, a Jewish bath in underground room built in Romanesque style and with interesting carved stone.
Still unsure of what to do in Besalú? Among the religious buildings to visit in Besalú are the Church of San Vincente, the Monastery of Sant Pere, and the royal countil. For nature lovers, Besalú offers hiking trails and features numerous outdoor routes, including Pyrenean Counties Route. Need more things to do in Besalú? On Minube you can learn about more popular spots and hidden gems from users who have visited the city.