10 walled towns to travel to the Middle Ages

We propose a route through fortified towns that will allow you to enter the era of the feudal lords.

Cristina Torra
5 min
A general view of Peratallada, in the Empordà

BarcelonaThe wall is the common element that defines the calls closed villas. It is surely a relatively new term to refer to fortified villas, cities or towns and that many centers of houses and cobbled streets have adopted to attract the attention of those who want to visit them. Peratallada, Montfalcó Murallat, Batea or Guimerà would surely appear on any list of closed Catalan towns. But the truth is that "a closed town is still a closed town with walls", as defined by Jordi Bolós, professor of medieval history at the University of Lleida. And here would come small towns, large cities or medium-sized towns, such as the current regional capitals. That is why medieval Barcelona would be a closed town as well as the city of Granollers from the 14th century or the small Pyrenean town of Peramea in the year 1352.

We find three major typologies of closed towns, depending on the element from which were created: “We can say that there are fortified towns, which are fortified around a castle; ecclesiastical towns, which are built around a sacred space, such as a church or a monastery, which at a certain point is decided to protect with a wall; and the new villas, those that are built with a wall from the beginning,” explains Bolòs.

What era are they from? Well, we are also in a fairly long period of time. "In the 11th century is when the consolidation of the towns that were born in relation to castles and churches takes place, but in the 12th and 13th centuries, new towns are created ordered by a king or feudal lord for economic reasons or control of the territory" , details Bolòs. And it makes perfect sense: “On the one hand, in the 11th century the conquest of Catalunya Nova was taking place and it had to be protected with fortified towns. On the other hand, in the 14th century, what was known as the War of the Two Peters took place, between the king of the Catalan-Aragonese crown, Pedro the Ceremonious, and the king of the Kingdom of Castile, Pedro the Cruel, a moment in which there will be the construction of many new villas and others were fortified,” adds the professor. We propose to transport you to these times through 10 fortified villages that we have chosen throughout the territory based on two premises: the good degree of conservation and the different typologies. Grab your camera, put on some good slippers and head out to explore these 10 gated villas.



At the foot of the Prades mountains, this medieval ducal village is one of the best preserved in the Principality. Legend says that Sant Jordi killed the dragon in front of its walls. Going around them is essential, but we also recommend that you wander through its cobbled streets, go to the Plaza Mayor and have a vermouth and visit the Sant Jordi portal, where there is a mosaic commemorating the legend. If you take one of the guided tours from the tourist office, you will have the opportunity to climb one of the towers of the wall.

The wall that surrounds the town of Montblanc.


The famous Tamarit castle, in Tarragona, is an enclave with a fortification next to the sea. Documented from the 11th century, it was first a closed town that protected the parish church, the abbey and the houses of the lords, known as the archbishop's castle and the Catalan castle. In the 12th century, the lords of Claramunt built a Romanesque castle, and in the 14th century it was used for coastal surveillance to prevent attacks by pirates and the castle and the closed town were surrounded with a wall taking advantage of the rocks on the further flank. exposed in the sea. The interior cannot be visited, since it is private and is rented for celebrations and weddings, but admiring it from the beach already justifies the visit.

The Tamarit castle next to the beach.


The wall and defense tower that are currently preserved in this town in Urgell are surely from the 16th century, but the church and castle that are at the top of the old town are documented from the 9th and 10th centuries. What is most surprising of this old closed town is the variety of arches and covered spaces found in the streets of the historic center. The most emblematic streets are Major street, de la Cendra street, de la Capella street and de les Costetes street. On the outskirts are the ruins of the Gothic church of the Vallsanta Convent, a wonder now a very photogenic light patio.

An aerial view of Guimerà and its surroundings.

Montfalcó Murallat

Small but charming, this nucleus of La Segarra has been preserved intact over time. It is an exceptional example of a closed town, declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. Stroll through the alleys with porches until you reach the church of Sant Pere and you will have some exceptional visits to the region.



Surrounded by mountains, it is located in the middle of the Llaberia mountain range, one of the wildest and most unknown mountain ranges in southern Catalonia. It is dominated by the remains of the castle and the defense towers that in the past formed the closed town. Don't miss the Capet tower, which still preserves the portal that served as an access door and which for a time was used as a prison. Pratdip has stunning natural environments, offering hiking trails to spectacular viewpoints.

An image of Pratdip and the mountains around him.


Authenticity is what you will find if you visit this small town in Terra Alta. With a historic center that is constantly being rehabilitated and very well preserved, it is a gem that you can visit through a downloadable audio guide. The Plaza de la Vila, the Calle Mayor with arcades and the different portals that are still preserved are some of the places that cannot be missed.



We are not revealing any secrets if we say that this little town in Baix Empordà is one of the best preserved medieval centers in Catalonia. Declared a Historic-Artistic Complex and Cultural Asset of National Interest, it maintains its medieval urban distribution. From the Plaza Mayor, with its unique porches, to the network of narrow streets, a visit to Peratallada is essential. Don't miss the keep or the castle-palace.

A street in Peratallada.

San Llorenç de la Muga

This jewel in the interior of Alt Empordà is also one of the best preserved medieval towns in the country. You can walk through the three portals and discover the Romanesque church and the different towers, which can still be visited. Outside the walls, don't miss the castle, documented in the 13th century, or the watchtower, and explore the mountainous surroundings of this charming small town.

A detail of San Lorenzo de la Muga.


The urban layout of this closed town dates back to the 13th century and is preserved almost intact. It is an example of a medieval walled town in the Pyrenees, some also known as force. In this case, it is articulated around a central street with houses on both sides, which close the urban area with the rear walls, which at the same time act as a wall. Here you should visit the Closes Villas Interpretation Center, which will allow you to better understand these villas. Not far away is also the Romanesque monastery of Sant Pere del Burgal.



In Baix Pallars, Peramea is another example of a closed town in the Pyrenees. Declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest, it is a must-see place for its well-preserved urban framework. You will find a castle, porched streets, a prison, access portals, stately homes and the church, among others. If you want to combine the heritage visit with a bit of nature, don't miss Montcortès lake . You will love it!