Wide sandy beaches and the turquoise Mediterranean, small bays surrounded by steep cliffs, picturesque sailing boats and countless pine trees… For most people the epitome of Catalonia. It is easily forgotten that the interior of the Spanish region houses its own treasures. One of them: the charming small town Vic.
Vic – at the Comarca Osana
Situated about 70 km to the north of Barcelona, the town with its 40.000 inhabitants finds itself surrounded by the beautiful nature of the Comarca Osona. Vic couldn’t be more picturesque, even if it tried. On the outside of town walls, surrounded by trees, one can find the ancient stone bridge Pont de Queralt. If something dates back to the 11th century and is that well preserved, it just has to be impressive! Up until 1274 the only way from Barcelona into the town led over the Romanesque arch bridge – after that, the king of that time decided to divert the old road; the new one led through the “Malloles“ gate. Named after a family of counts who lived in the town centre, the beautiful bridge was even displayed on the back of a five peseta note issued in 1954.
The city center of Vic
Passing by the baroque Església dels Dolors, we continue our way towards the city centre; soon we reach Vic’s outstanding Cathedral. The Romanesque bell tower is the tallest of its kind in Catalonia and presents, together with the Pont de Queralt, Vic’s most important landmarks. The crypt and the remains of the Santa Maria church date back to the Romanesque era as well, the rest was built in a Gothic and neoclassical style. On the other side of the church square lies the famous Episcopal Museum which was inaugurated in 1891. The building’s modern look misleads, though…inside it holds one of Europe’s best collections of medieval art including masterpieces of painting and sculpture from the Catalan Romanesque and Gothic periods.
Roman temple in Vic
A few steps further, the next historical treasure awaits us: the impressive Roman temple. The temple is the only remaining building of the city of Auso, as Vic was called in Roman times. Today it is regularly used to host exhibitions and cultural events.
Plaça Major – marketplace
Through colorful streets in the typical Mediterranean style we find our way to the big Plaça Major – the town’s main square. The surrounding buildings are all from different eras. Particularly impressive: the Catalan modernism. Walking around the Plaça Major certainly feels like a travel through time.
It is also remarkable that all of the surrounding houses on the square were built with arcades in order to withstand the inclement weather; the arcades had to be high enough to accommodate a man on horseback – isn’t that clever?
Small towns like Vic are often underestimated
Catalonia’s interior and above all small towns like Vic are easily underestimated – even by me.
But it’s these small, hidden places that have a lot to offer: historically interesting sights, beautiful nature right on the doorstep and a great deal of small-town-charm!