The cultural and outdoor activities in Empordà attract attention because of their great diversity. It is a natural area where the Greek, Roman and Iberian civilizations have settled and left their mark. This forged people’s character as well as landscape and architecture, giving birth to many charming villages.
On the one hand, Romanesque art has a great influence in the area, known mainly for its monasteries, its Augustinian abbeys and its high castles. On the other hand, Gothic art also has a place in Empordà with the church of Santa María and civil architecture.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Cadaqués became the avant-garde artistic epicenter concentrating countless artists from all over the country. Salvador Dalí has made this region a reference for the surrealist movement. In fact, Figueres and Cadaqués are an important part of Dalí’s life and work.
But it is also the most important megalithic region of Catalonia. Between Sierra de Rodes and Albera, there are more than a hundred dolmens and menhirs.
Do you want to know the most picturesque activities in Empordà?
8 cultural and outdoor activities in Empordà
- Canonical of Santa Maria de Vilabertran
The best preserved example of medieval Augustinian canons, which is in Empordà, is the Canon of Santa Maria de Vilabertran, created by Father Rigau according to the provisions of the church to fight against the noble impositions of the time and the moral variations of its members. One of its buildings, the most emblematic, is the church, where you can see the transition in the architecture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Inside, there is a processional cross, which is the largest gothic goldsmith’s piece in Catalonia.
- Natural site of Albera
The eastern part of the Pyrenees is called the Sierra de la Albera, from the Pertús to the sea. It is about 25 km long and the main peaks are the Puig de los Pastores (1167 m), the Puig Neulós (1257 m), the Puig de los Cuatro Termas (1156 m) and the peak Sallafort (992 m). The natural area of national interest of Albera is a natural monument that is part of the municipalities of La Jonquera, Espolla and Rabós.
- MUME Memorial Museum of Exile
The memorial museum of exile (MUME) is a space that invites you to remember the story and to ponder about it. It is located on the same border post where most of the exiles fled during the civil war in Spain and Catalonia. You can browse a permanent exhibition, and other temporary ones. It is a window over the past and the present, the exiles having been a constant in the twentieth century history.
- Toy Museum of Catalonia
The Toy Museum of Catalonia was inaugurated in 1982 and represents a breakthrough in the history of toy in Catalonia. A journey into childhood by walking among more than 4000 pieces: theaters, construction games, cardboard horses, cars, dolls, spinning tops and more. People like Joan Brossa, Quim Monzó, and many others have even played with some of them. There is also a space dedicated to Dalí’s first twenty years with toys and other souvenirs.
You can browse it by listening to the music of Pascal Comelade and Erik Satie.
The Toy Museum of Catalonia has received, among others, the 1999 National Prize for Popular Culture and the 2007 San Jorge Cross.
- The key points of Empordà
Girona was the border between the Arab world and the Christian world in the past. Currently, there are still great castles from the time of Kings, Counts and Knights. They remain intact and you can appreciate the structure, the walls, other ruins and constructions.
- Natural Park of Aiguamolls
The Aiguamolls Natural Park in Empordà is one of the most famous and emblematic natural regions of Catalonia. It is one of the two wetlands of Catalonia and there are ponds, fences and floodplains at the confluence of the rivers Muga and Fluvià. It is also a preferred habitat for wildlife, including waterfowl.
- Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes
The monumental complex of Sant Pere de Rodes, is one of the many witnesses of Catalan Romanesque architecture, and one of those with the most sophisticated architecture. They are part of the Monastery of Sant Pere, the city of Santa Cruz and Verdera Castle, which is located in the heart of the Cabo de Creus Natural Park. The visit of this monumental complex allows to discover in the same place natural spaces and constructions that represented the three states that constituted the medieval society: the religious, the nobles and the peasants.
- Verdera Castle
In the heart of the area of the Counts of Empúrias, Verdera Castle was built in the tenth century, it is located at the highest point of the Sierra de Rodes, at 670 m altitude, from where you can enjoy a view exceptional panoramic. In medieval times, it was an enclave of great strategic and military importance because of its location, located in a difficult place to access and enjoying a vast visual horizon.
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