A memorable multi-day photography trip to rural Catalonia
In our opinion, Rural Catalonia offers the photographer some of the most spectacular scenery found anywhere in Europe. Visitors to Barcelona will undoubtedly be in awe at this amazing city and the sheer scope of photo opportunities on offer, however for the adventurous photographer, venture out of the city and you will find picturesque medieval villages, stunning mountainous landscapes, rocky coastal regions and other areas of natural beauty in relatively close proximity to the city. Full of quaint towns and villages frozen in time, the rich history, photogenic scenery and a proud people, Catalonia is a dream destination for the travel, nature and landscape photographer.
With almost 20 years of experience running photography tours and workshops in this region, we have shaped an itinerary to give photography enthusiasts a truly memorable photographic experience. So with a unique insiders view on the area combined with years of knowledge in the photography industry, your concerns and anxieties in visiting the region can be set aside. We believe that we know what our guests want, even if they don’t! The rural Catalonia tour can be combined with our Barcelona photography tours and customised photo tours in other regions of Catalonia, such as Montserrat, Sitges, the Costa Brava and Pyrenees mountains to give the travel photographer a truly rewarding photographic vacation.
This 3 day private photography trip consists of guiding and tuition by a professional photographer that will drive you in a private vehicle from Barcelona to each location, charming accommodation in a beautiful valley within the Garrotxa Natural Park and authentic local cuisine. This tour is also beneficial to non-photographers, so spouses or friends joining will also be able to take advantage of the beautiful locations, rich history and great food but without having to get up before dawn!
Our trip starts when collecting our guests from their hotel in Barcelona. Here we head north for 1 hour until we reach our first destination – Girona. With a rich cultural heritage, and influences of a Roman, Jewish and Moorish presence, the Old Town of Girona has an idyllic setting on the banks of the Onyar river and climbs up the hill until reaching the Roman retaining walls, built over 2,000 years ago. As you ascend the hill, views over the countryside appear and the Pyrenees mountains lie beyond. Photographers can enjoy the reflections of the colourful houses that line the river, the atmospheric narrow streets and stairways of the Old Jewish Quarter, an 11th century Romanesque Cathedral with a Baroque facade, and the original Arab Baths. Before leaving Girona, we can enjoy some lunch and some people watching in the open plaza.
Continuing on our journey arrives to the picturesque lake of Banyoles, located in the region of Pla de l’Estany. Here we take a short stroll along the shore to photograph some of the old boat houses, known as Pesqueres that date back to the mid-nineteenth century, and the rowing boats amongst the reeds. From Banyoles we continue to our rural hotel in the Vall de Bianya, our base for exploring the areas within the extinct volcanic national park of La Garrotxa. This charming, family run converted farmhouse is an absolute delight, and really feels like a home away from home. After settling in and perhaps enjoying the beautiful hotel spa, we head out to our final destination for some shooting during the golden hour & blue hour.
Our last location for the day is also one of our personal favourites. The enchanting medieval village of Besalu is full of character and atmosphere. So we like to take advantage of it’s cobblestone streets, Romanesque churches and the iconic bridge by photographing it in the best light available. During golden hour the ancient stones reflect a golden glow. Between the magic hour and blue hour, we will enjoy an early dinner in one of our favourite restaurants, serving authentic cuisine from local products sourced in the surrounding area. Due to the highly fertile volcanic soil, everything from vegetables to haricot beans to meat is of the finest quality in this area, and we are confident that you will be pleasantly surprised. After dinner, we will get out the tripods to capture the town with some low-light photography, and practice capturing movement with slow shutter speeds when the sky turns electric blue. After our day of exploring with our cameras comes to an end, we will head back to our hotel for a well-earned rest.
Our 2nd day starts early, as we head out of Bianya after breakfast to arrive to our first location to make use of the beautiful light. Santa Pau is a tiny village located in the heart of the Garrotxa National Park, and is one of Spain’s most beautiful gems. Centred around a 13th century Plaza, this sleepy little village has authentic arcaded stone buildings and cobbled streets that seem to have been stuck in time. Here we will spend some time photographing this picturesque village and the valley below before arriving to the enchanted forest of la Fajeda d’en Jorda. A little known forest to most, it is one of Catalonia’s most important areas of natural beauty. Beech trees rise 20 meters out of solidified lava, huge boulders of volcanic rock lie scattered about with a network of exposed roots covering them. la Fajeda looks like the setting from the movie “Sleepy Hollow”, and will be an excellent location for landscape photography.
Continuing on our journey, we will arrive to the town of Olot, the capital city of the comarca of Garrotxa. Known for its cultural activity and art movements, Olot has some beautiful buildings created in the Baroque and Modernist styles that had a strong influence on urban planning. This will be a good opportunity for some architectural photography, and we will also capture 2 of the most important Art Nouveau buildings at the Firal [market place]. Olot has one of our favourite restaurants in Catalonia, and we will enjoy a great lunch of the local volcanic cuisine before continuing to our next destination on the itinerary.
In the early afternoon we arrive to the photogenic town of Castellfolit de la Roca. Perched precariously 50 meters on the edge of a cliff, this town is a spectacular sight and was built upon basalt cliffs formed by the superimposition of two lava flows. Before entering Castellfolit, we can photograph panoramic views of the town in it’s natural surroundings to include context. Entering the Old Town, you will wander the narrow streets until reaching the clock tower. Here we can ascend to the top to capture stunning views over the town, the river and vertical drop-off, before heading back to our hotel. In the evening we will enjoy a freshly prepared dinner at the farmhouse before doing a critique of your selected images taken to date. This will be a good opportunity to see which images stand out and why, and we will also go over some personalised retouching and editing techniques to do justice to your favourite images taken so far.
On our last day we can wander the grounds of the farmhouse at dawn. As it is located in a valley, there is often a bank of fog covering the area – ideal for adding atmosphere to landscape shots. After enjoying breakfast, we bid our hosts farewell, leave our accommodation and head towards the married towns of Rupit and Pruit. With historic architecture dating back to the year 968, a rustic atmosphere awaits you, with stone buildings, narrow streets and steps carved out of rock. The whole area looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. Lucky visitors will be able to photograph eagles and vultures swooping down from the surrounding woodland. When visiting the area between winter and summer, you will be able to photograph the Sallent waterfall, and this area in particular is especially beautiful during the fall.
Our next stop is the town of Vic, an important Catalan town with a rich culture, long history and renowned for its gastronomy. Architecture is diverse here, from Romanic, to Gothic, to Baroque & Modernist, renovations have been achieved over the years and have maintained a town of historical diversity. The remarkable Roman Temple for example, was unearthed in the 18th century and reconstructed according to records of how it would have originally been built. Likewise, The Sant Pere Cathedral was created in it’s original Romanesque style, yet other elements were created and added over the centuries to create an interesting result. The historic Old Town in particular offers the most photo opportunities, and we will spend time wandering the Gothic quarters before heading to the abandoned tanneries neighbourhood. With it’s cured meats widely regarded as the best in the region, including fuet, botifarra and bull negre amongst others, we will sample some of these local dishes at one of our favourite authentic restaurants before we head back to Barcelona and transfer you to your hotel.
Please feel free to contact us with any queries or questions you may have regarding our 3 day rural Catalonia photo trip. We would love to hear from you!