Besalu is small enough to be visited on a day trip from Barcelona (or Girona) or it would be a great place to use as a base for a while to explore the rest of Catalonia. It’s an inland Catalan city not far from the French border and 1.5 hours north-east of Barcelona. If you are based there I’d recommend day trips to Figueres to visit the Dali Museum, Cadaques and Cap de Creus and the beautiful city of Girona. But if you’re just visiting Besalu for the day there’s plenty to see once you cross the Romanesque bridge into the old town.
Wander Around the Medieval Streets
The best way to see the city is to wander aimlessly around the narrow medieval streets where you can shop for locally made souvenirs or do a little cafe hopping.
The main square has a few cafes and restaurants where you might want to stop or you can visit the 11th century Church of Sant Pere.
Visit the Museum of Miniatures
I must admit I expected the Museum of Miniatures to be boring but I was so surprised to see incredibly detailed artwork the size of a pinhead. You needed to look through a microscope to see it! Some of the larger displays could be seen with a magnifying glass like this Spanish bullfight.
This miniature display of Pinocchio in a pistachio shell was also mind blowing. It’s tiny!
Enter the Medieval Synagogue
Besalu is also known for the remains of a medieval synagogue and a Jewish purification bath hidden below ground. This bath, known as a mikveh, is one of only a few medieval Jewish bathhouses in Europe. The synagogue is located down by the river. You might want to ask for directions because it’s not obvious where it is if you’re just walking around.
Try Locally Made Ratafia
Even on a day trip to Besalu you should have time to try Ratafia which is the local liqueur made from lemon peel and herbs. If you are in Besalu on the first Sunday in December you can take part in the Ratafia Festival where you can try the local specialty.
What would you recommend doing on a day trip from Barcelona to Besalu?