Romanesque jewels in the Ripollés and the Garrotxa of Girona

Besalú in La Garrotxa @ Photo: Tourist Board Costa Brava Girona

Do you know that the region of Ripollés in Girona is one of the places in Spain where more jewels of Romanesque art are preserved?

This region had a fundamental role in the formation of Catalonia thanks, mainly, to its Romanesque monasteries from Santa Maria de Ripoll and of Sant Joan de les Abadesses.

We have discovered it through emblematic and picturesque villages made up of Romanesque bridges, fortresses and facades that seem to have not passed centuries, medieval monasteries and abbeys with the incomparable setting of the Pyrenees in the background.

Today we talk about five of our favorite places in this area of Costa Brava Pyrenees.

Pont de Camprodón in Ripollés @ Photo: Tourist Board Costa Brava Girona

1.- Camprodón

This is one of the must-stop villages if you get off the ski resort Vallter 2000. A Romanesque complex with medieval touches, this town stands out above all for its unique bridge overlooking the Girona Pyrenees.

Further, Camprodon also has a museum dedicated to the musician Isaac Albéniz and it is a great starting point to make routes through the camprodon valley.

Ripoll Monastery in Ripollés @Photo: Tourist Board Costa Brava Girona

2.- Ripoll

Its origins are closely linked to Count Wifredo the Hairy (840-897) and the Benedictine monastery of Santa María, which had an important weight in the history of Catalonia.

According to the chronicles, in 888 he dedicated himself to Santa Maria a new Cenobior, that was the origin of the monastery that we know today. Its best known part is the portal, built in the 12th century and considered as one of the most important Romanesque monuments in the world.

San Joan de les Abadesses @Photo: Tourism Board Costa Brava Girona

3.- Sant Joan de les Abadesses

This municipality is located 10 kilometers from Ripoll, whose history is also linked to its monastery founded by Wilfredo the Hairy.

The monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses retains a sculptural group composed of seven life-size pieces, which is considered as a unique specimen of the 13th century sculpture and from the transition from Romanesque to Gothic.

Among its most outstanding Romanesque monuments are the old Bridge, the remains of walls and the Main Square, arcaded and surrounded by baroque buildings and in which an important medieval market is celebrated.

4.- Gombrén

Stand out for him Mataplana Castle, place of troubadour culture in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and whose function was not defensive, but residential. Next to the castle is a chapel and a neighborhood which became inhabited by five families until the fourteenth century.

According to legend, here resided the count Artau de Pallars, often identified as the count Arnau, whose legend is closely linked to the castle.

Sant Pere de Besalú @ Photo: Tourist Board Costa Brava Girona

5.- Besalú

Nestled in the Great Romanesque Route of Girona, this town located already in the region of theGarrotxa, it retains magnificent examples of the coexistence between the Jewish and Christian cultures and a great medieval historical center where you can visit some of its most characteristic monuments: the medieval bridge, the Royal Curia, he Sant Julià hospital, the Llibertat square, the Cornellá House or any of its Romanesque churches, such as the Sant Pere monastery wave of San Viçent.

Its origin is located in the Besalú Castle (X century).

Ripoll Monastery in Ripollés @Photo: Tourist Board Costa Brava Girona


How to get: It can be easily reached by car from Barcelona or Girona.

Best time: Although all seasons have their charm, we recommend spring and autumn to see the flowering and the change of leaf.

What to bring: Sunglasses, sunscreen, photo camera.

Do not miss… Camprodón bridge, overlooking the snowy peaks of the Girona Pyrenees.

* With this article I welcome Doris Casares as a contributor to Travel Guides. Journalist, communicator, blogger and traveler, she is editor and socialmedia of the blog and member of the Travel Inspirers travel blog group.