Charming towns in Catalonia: a route through the most beautiful villages

We visited the 18 Catalan towns spread throughout the territory that have the Poble amb Encant seal

Cristina Torra
5 min
One of the streets of Peratallada

BarcelonaCobbled streets, slate roofs, fishermen's houses or villages that preserve their authenticity. These are some of the ingredients that charming towns have. Small towns that captivate us as soon as we arrive and drag us to their essence. Corners full of history that tell us about our past. Villages where everything seems to be set up expressly to take a photo. Surely places like Cadaqués, Calella de Palafrugell, Mura, Bagergue, Besalú, Miravet, Beget or Tavertet come to mind. But did you know that only some of them have the Poble amb Encant brand accredited by the Generalitat?

They are towns with less than 2,500 inhabitants that have at least two cultural assets of national interest (BCIN), a good tourist infrastructure and a homogeneous architectural aesthetic. These are some of the requirements that the Catalan Tourism Agency takes into account when declaring a Charming Town. Currently, there are 18 and they are true gems that you should visit at least once in your life. Do we discover them?



A town in the Pyrenees with a World Heritage Romanesque church. This center of the Boí Valley falls in love as soon as you step into it. Unlike its neighbors, it has a typical riverside villa appearance. Exposed stone, wood and slate roofs are the main characteristics of the area's architecture. Some qualities that make it a very picturesque and charming town.

The church of Barruera.


The Romanesque church of Sant Cristòfol and the medieval bridge are the most outstanding elements of this town in Ripollès where time seems to have stopped. With cobbled streets and rural character, it preserves, almost intact, the medieval structure. Don't leave without crossing the medieval bridge and taking a hiking route.

The Beget church and the surroundings of the town.


This small group of fishermen that tourists take in the summer catches; for its white houses, for its vaults, for its little boats stranded in the sand and for its beaches. It is a corner that has managed to maintain its seafaring essence and traditional architecture.


Castellar de n'Hug

One of its main attractions is that very close to the center you can see the source of the Llobregat River. But in this little town in Berguedà you will also find the elements of traditional architecture: stone, wood and tiles. Closely linked to the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park, it takes some of the routes between forests and high mountain meadows, habitat of species such as fox, chamois, deer and birds of prey.



Completely delimited by the medieval wall, this town in Conca de Barberà preserves a circular structure, following the contour lines, with the castle in the highest area. Walking through it is a delight, as is getting to some of the deserted areas within the area: Sabellà del Abdiat, Saladern and Torlanda.



It is the town that best represents the idiosyncrasy of the Boí Valley, both for the preservation of the Romanesque with the church of the Nativity and the hermitage of Sant Quirc (both World Heritage Sites) and for the urban structure of the core. Staggered houses, balconies with side planks, large balcony windows and the typical exposed stone construction with slate roofs are the elements that are not lacking in this area of the Pyrenees.



With origins in the 10th century, this small village in Berguedà was abandoned in the 19th century. In the sixties a group of hikers recovered some houses. Now it is a charming town with a square where the church stands out, on one side, and a stately house known as the Castell, on the other. In its surroundings you should get lost in the Ferial de los Reyes, an impressive flat land of ancient oaks, and in the bucolic Atalaya waterfall, spectacular after some good rains.



The castle, very well preserved, is one of the jewels of this small town in La Noguera. But it is not its only attraction. Here you will find public lighting that still preserves traditional street lamps and stone-paved streets that make the town a postcard to be framed.



Isolated thanks to the orography of the Sant Llorenç del Munt and L'Obac Natural Park, this town in Bages is a medieval jewel that has been preserved almost intact over time. A picturesque town in which the Romanesque church of Sant Martí stands out, with an enviable viewpoint, and surroundings that surprise with the Mura caves and the Balma mountain, a 12th century farmhouse embedded in the rock.



It is one of the essential towns on the Costa Brava. With a recovered Gothic core that once again has all its splendor after a good restoration, the highlights include the church of Sant Pere, the medieval wall and the bell tower, known as the Torre de les Hores. Be sure to go up if you want spectacular views of the Empordà plain and the surrounding rice fields.

A corner of the town of Pals.


The closed town of Peramea is a small town in Pallars located very close to Lake Montcortès. Calle Mayor and Calle dels Arcs preserve the porches that frame the stone buildings with wooden finishes. With a medieval structure, at the top of the town is the church of San Cristóbal, located just below the location of the old castle. If you go, you will have some good views of the area!



The Romanesque church of Sant Miquel and the cave paintings of the Moorish cave are two heritage elements that you should visit if you go to Peramola. This center of Alt Urgell will amaze you with its medieval charm, present in the remains of its wall, the arcades of the narrow houses and the stone windows. Furthermore, it has a privileged location: it is located in the Segre valley and at the foot of the first mountains of the Pre-Pyrenees, from where you can take unique excursions.



Another of the jewels of the Costa Brava. Built on a rock, it was one of the most important medieval centers in Catalonia. Although surrounded by walls and a moat, it perfectly preserves its medieval architecture. The porticoed square, the castle-palace and also its gastronomic offer complete more than enough reasons to visit it.

Aerial view of Peratallada.


Known as the Red Village due to the color of its houses, its historic center is already a good excuse to visit it. But the Prades mountains hide an enviable natural environment for hikers. Some essential ones are the Roca Foradada and the Abellera hermitage. Did you know that it is also an ideal place for astronomical observation? Prades has a sky considered to be of high quality.



The suspension bridge is one of the icons of Rupit. This town in Collsacabra (Osona) seems straight out of a story. Cobbled streets, stone houses and a castle at its highest point are the ingredients that make it up. All of this, wrapped in an exceptional environment with cliffs, waterfalls and spectacular viewpoints. It's too late to find out!


Santa Pau

Between the dormant volcanoes Santa Margarita and Croscat, Santa Pau stands out for its very marked medieval physiognomy. Observe the medieval windows that are preserved in the houses of Firal dels Bous, the main square completely porched...; Get lost in the cobbled streets, and let yourself be seduced by the volcanic landscape that surrounds it. This town in La Garrotxa is part of the Jordà beech forest, one of the most spectacular forests in Catalonia.



If you are looking to disconnect and enjoy a fascinating landscape, visit this small town in Priorat located on a limestone cliff with views of the Siurana River. Its historical charm lies in the fact that it was the last Muslim stronghold in Catalonia. From there you can take excursions to wineries in the region and also canoeing in the reservoir.



The jewels in the crown are the Romanesque churches of San Clemente and Santa María, both from the 12th century and declared World Heritage Sites. But the natural environment of this town of Vall de Boí does not fall short. This Pyrenean town boasts of enjoying the landscapes of the only national park in Catalonia: the Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. You have to do one of their hiking proposals.

The church of San Clemente de Taüll and the town next to it.