In autumn 2013, Barcelona will welcome the 7th World Congress on Responsible Tourism. With this congress, Catalonia will be able to position itself as an exemplary accessible tourism destination and it will be a unique opportunity for the region to promote internationally its offer within this market segment.
As part of the overall project "Accessible Tourism - Tourism for Everyone", the Catalan Tourism Agency is working actively to identify and promote all accessible activities, services and facilities. The conference will be one of the key dates in the international calendar. This will be the culmination of Catalonia's efforts to adapt to an ever increasing number of people, standardising the diverse activities within the general tourism sector of Catalonia. With Tourism for Everyone, as a destination Catalonia contributes to the Declaration on Responsible Tourism signed in Cape Town in 2002. One of the features of this agreement is to make access easier for people with physical disabilities.
Catalonia Will Host the IGTM 2013, the Most Important Golf Trade Fair in the World
For the first time, The “Costa Daurada” will be the setting for the International Golf Travel Market, the largest golf trade fair in the world. The fair will be held this year between 11th and 14th November. The event has been organised by the Catalan Tourism Agency and the “Costa Daurada”, in partnership with Turespaña and private sector businesses.
IGTM 2013 will take place at the PortAventura Convention Centre and at the Lumine golfing complex. The fair will bring together 1400 golfing professionals from over 65 countries, 400 of which are tourist operators specialized in this market. This event will be a great opportunity for Catalonia to promote itself internationally as a golfing destination.
Buy Catalonia Active-Nature, between 3rd and 7th June
Between 3rd and 7th June, the Catalonia Tourism Agency will be organising 'Buy Catalonia Active-Nature’; an important networking day in which tour operators from across the globe will participate. They will be able to discover everything Catalonia has to offer for this segment of the tourism market.
The aim of the day is to bring together Catalan companies specialized in active and natural tourism and the main travel agents and tour operators from different markets. In this way, 'Buy Catalonia' will enable Catalan tourist representativeves to speak directly to the tour operators and inform them of what is on offer at the moment.
Catalonia, 60 Michelin Stars in 2013
Catalan restaurants have obtained a total of 60 stars, seven more than the previous year, according to the 2013 Michelin Guide. Catalonia continues to be one of the territories appearing most in this guide; it is also one of the leading gastronomic destinations of the world.
Topping the list of restaurants that have received 3 stars: Sant Pau, owned by Carmen Ruscalleda, on the Barcelona Coast and Celler de Can Roca, owned by Joan Roca, on the “Costa Brava”.
In addition, there are two other establishments that have obtained 2 Michelin stars for the first time; Enoteca (Hotel Arts Barcelona) and Moments (Hotel Mandarin Oriental Barcelona). These two restaurants take their place alongside the other five restaurants which have kept their two stars this year: Àbac (Barcelona), Can Fabes (Costa Barcelona), Mas Les Cols (Costa Brava), Lasarte (Hotel Condes de Barcelona) and Miramar (Costa Brava). Hence there are currently seven Catalan restaurants with two Michelin stars.
Finally, 40 more Catalan restaurants have recently obtained one Michelin star. Among them, six have been awarded a star for the first time: Les Magnòlies (Costa Brava), Dos Palillos (Barcelona), Els Brancs (Costa Brava), Lluerna (Barcelona Coast), Koi Shunka (Barcelona) and Nectari (Barcelona).
Catalonia Experiences Club, Discounted Offers
Catalonia Experiences Club is a new club created by the CTA, through which more than 240 tourist experiences can be accessed, each with a special discount. Via the blog "Catalonia, I like to share" (http://magradacompartir.catalunya.com/), Catalonia Experiences Club offers the best ideas with discounts of up to 20%, together with special prices for families and promotions, such as 2 for 1.
The Catalonia Experiences Club includes weekend getaways, mini-breaks, guided visits and activities for families all over Catalonia. Destinations can be searched for by product or even by type of discount.
The Number of Catalan Municipalities with the Destination for Sports Tourism (DST) Seal on the Increase
In terms of multisports, Cambrils and Salou, under the banner of excellence in football, are the latest towns to receive the certification of Destination for Sports Tourism (DST). They join 11 other DST certficates from the Catalonia Tourism Agency: Banyoles-Pla de l’Estany, Blanes, Calella, Castelldefels, Castelló d’Empúries-Empuriabrava, La Seu d’Urgell, Lloret de Mar, Santa Susanna, Sort, Val d’Aran and Amposta.
Over the past year, the CTA has been working towards a new definition of the DST model, permitting the promotion of sports tourism in a more precise and segmented way. The municipalities opting for this new certification will be able to do so in these three categories:
Become a sporting centre of excellence in one of these sports:
Mountain sports (including BTT, skiing, cycling, climbing and hiking).
Rowing and canoeing (in calm and white waters).
Become a European centre for a sport (by hosting international championships).
Become a multisports destination (hosting and offering more sports and sporting events).
Main DST Events
Vila de Blanes International Grand Prix, Beginning of January. www.cvblanes.cat
Cambrils Half Marathon, Cambrils. 3rd March.
Mediterranean International Cup, Lloret de Mar 26th to 31st March. www.micfootball.com/
International Trials for the European Triathlon Cup, Banyoles. 4th to 5th May.
Seniors Sports Meeting, Lloret de Mar and Blanes. 31 May to 3rd June. www.seniorsportsmeeting.es
Cambrils Triathlon, Cambrils. 9th June.
Spanish Rowing Championships, Banyoles. 5th to 7th July. www.banyoles.cat
4th International Stage 'Daniel Levavasseur' Fencing Championships, Amposta. July.
Free Fly Eurorecord Castelló d’Empúries-Empuriabrava. 14th to 19th September.
Half Challenge Barcelona Etu Championship, Calella. 19th May and Barcelona-MaresmeChallenge, Calella. 6th October. www.challenge-barcelona.es
RACC Catalonia-Costa Dorada Rally, Salou. 24th to 27th October. www.rallyracc.com
Christmas Boogie, Castelló d’Empúries-Empuriabrava. 25th December to January 2014.
Spanish Slalom Cup, Sort.
Spanish Freestyle Championships, Sort.
European Freestyle Cup, Sort.
Night time Rafting Open, Sort.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Platja d’Aro, in the Process of Obtaining a certificate of Specialisation for DST
Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Platja d'Aro are currently in the process of obtaining the DST certificate, which will guarantee they have a decent range of accommodation, restaurants and leisure options specifically designed for families. These two destinations will join the 13 in Catalonia which currently have this certification: Blanes, Calafell, Calella, Calonge-Sant Antoni, Cambrils, Lloret de Mar, Malgrat de Mar, Pineda de Mar, Roses, Salou, Santa Susanna, Torroella de Montgrí-l’Estartit and Vila-seca La Pineda Platja.
60% of tourists visiting Catalonia are families; for this reason, the Catalonia Tourism Agency has created the “Destination for Family Tourism” certificate. This one distinguishes locations specially suited for this high-demand segment. In order to gain this classification, the municipalities have to meet a number of strict requirements and pass an appraisal.
At the moment, all the certified destinations with the DST seal are located on the coast. Soon, though, the classification will also be applied to destinations further inland which already have everything needed for family tourism, such as Valls d'Àneu and Muntanyes de Prades.
The Catalonia Tourism Agency is putting into action a sponsorship programme aimed at businesses wanting to work in partnership on organised activities for the CTA, in key tactical areas. The programme is mainly addressed to businesses in the tourism sector (transport, accommodation, travel agents, leisure, food and drink, etc.). These share the same values as the Catalonia Tourism Agency (leadership, professionalism, innovation, dynamism, sustainability and efficiency) and wish to be associated with the "Catalonia" brand.
The CTA is providing an opportunity for companies to participate in an active way in certain promoting activities like workshops, fairs, trips and other activities for the end-user. Moreover, they can also have a greater presence within the channels provided by the CTA (tourism portal, social networks, and blogs) as well as support for communication activities for selected promotional accions. Also on offer there are some other great benefits: brand visibility, increased places at workshops, entry to presentations, or round-table places at trade fairs. The aim of all this is to increase the promotion of Catalonia as a key global tourism destination.
This initiative complements the CTA partnering scheme started last year. This scheme is aimed at creating a consortium of businesses and entities with an international reach and at generating resources for the promotion of tourism in Catalonia. Currently, those taking part include strategic partners of the CTA, such as Barcelona Football Club, the Circuit de Catalunya, Roca Village, PortAventura, Vueling, Iberia and Abertis Autopistas.
Catalunya Convention Bureau's Projects for 2013
The Catalunya Convention Bureau (CCB) has drawn up a programme entitled "Catalonia Conferences and Events". It identifies new destinations able to hold conventions and conferences with top-of-the-range facilities, with experience of organising events in this sector, all of which are accessible and well-connected. The network includes: Barcelona, Sitges, Castelldefels, Girona, Lloret de Mar, Tarragona, Reus, PortAventura and Lleida.
Linked with this, this year the Catalunya Convention Bureau will introduce a programme called "Ambassadors of Catalonia", which will allow potential subscribers to conferences and their organisations to increase the selection of Catalan destinations in this sector and generate new business opportunities.
The CCB will also be working on a project called "Catalunya Conventions, Incentives and Events" to classify and give some order to tourism products and services in Catalonia, directed at the corporate and events market. Its aim is to locate zones in the territory with spaces adapted specifically for corporate events, with sufficient accommodation and employee reward days.
It is also forecast that at the start of the second half of 2013 the first MICE Forum Catalonia will take place. The aim of this event is to be a meeting point for the whole corporate events sector in Catalonia. At the same time, it will provide a new platform for training, review and presentation of themes involving the sector.
After two years in operation and with 130 specialised companies affiliated, the CCB is trying to make itself more visible internationally through a network of Tourism Promotion Offices run by the CTA abroad. Specifically in key markets such as Germany, France, Scandinavia, Russia and the United Kingdom, while still working in other markets too. Additionally, work is also beginning to foster markets further afield, such as in the United States and South-East Asia.
Winter Tourism in Catalonia
This year, Catalonia's ski resorts have a solid range of new attractions. Among these are the extension of slopes and the optimisation of snow production systems designed to save energy.
With 16 resorts, both Alpine and Nordic skiing, Catalonia continues to be a pioneer in skiing and has positioned itself as the best place to ski in Spain. Baqueira Beret is currently the complex with the most skiable area in Spain, with a total of 1922 hectares. Also noteworthy are the connections between the ski stations of Lles de Cerdenya and Aransa, by means of the Pollineres circuit which provides 68 km of slopes. It also has a skiable area, for Nordic skiing, which is larger than anywhere else in Spain.
Besides Nordic and Alpine skiing activities on offer, the different winter centres in the Catalan Pyrenees offer a great range of additional skiing and après-ski activities, such as snow-shoe walking, horse trekking, quad biking, heliskiing and panoramic helicopter trips. Also on offer are gastronomic, cultural, health and well-being options.
As in previous years, the Catalan Pyrenees also hosts a number of international competitions. La Molina will host the World Ski Championships for the Disabled (18th to 27th February) and the Snow Surfing World Championships (16th and 17th March), while the Espot Esquí will host the Telemark World Championships (from 12th to 17th March).
www.catneu.net and www.catalunya.com
Catalan Cuisine World Heritage: 2014 UNESCO Candidate
The Catalan Culinary Foundation (CCF) is working, with the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya, to gain recognition from UNESCO for Catalan cuisine as part of World Heritage. To achieve this recognition, the CCF has drawn up a working plan which includes two key areas: scientific research and public awareness of the value of Catalan cuisine.
As for scientific research, work is being done to collate historical documentation related to traditional Catalan cuisine (from the 14th to the 21st centuries), using monographs, cookbooks and menus. As for the second area of work, the aim is to shed light on the richness of Catalan cuisine through an action plan that promotes gastronomic traditions and products from across the territory. The results and analysis of all these activities are presented in the UNESCO Dossier, which will include a collection of all the material contributing to candidates’ applications.
The CCF gives both businesses and private providers the opportunity to participate in the project. Anyone can sponsor a receipt or even a favourite dish. Establishments can participate in the project by making their own small contribution while companies can become partners helping to finance the scientific research and the promotional activities to present a strong and coherent application to UNESCO.
The Ignatius Way
The route, established by the Jesuits, begins at the house where Saint Ignatius was born, at the Loiola Basilica (in Guipúscoa) and ends at the cave of Manresa. The route, which is 650 km long, passes through five autonomous communities and is divided into 27 stages.
Running from the area around Lleida to central Catalonia, crossing the counties of Segrià, Pla d'Urgell, Segarra, Anoia and Bages, the route can be done on foot, by bike and on horseback. It allows people to enjoy a wealth of nature, landscapes and culture along the Ignatius Way, as it winds its way through Catalonia.
Barcelona, Mobile Phone World Capital until 2018
Barcelona will continue to be the international focal point for mobile communications. This year the Mobile World Congress, the most important mobile telephone convention in the world, will be held from 25th to 28th February at the Fira Gran Via (L'Hospitalet de Llobregat). The Catalan capital has hosted this convention since 2006 and will continue to do so until 2018.
Since the first time this convention was hosted in 2006, the number of attendees has quadrupled. In the last five years, the number of exhibitors has doubled.
In 2012, more than 1500 exhibitors attended and 67000 professionals arrived from 205 countries across the world. The fair has brought in 300 million euros for the city. As for media coverage, more than 3300 journalists have been accredited from 1500 media sources from 92 countries.
www.barcelonaturisme.cat - www.firabcn.es
From 19th to 21st November, EIBTM will return to Barcelona, strengthening the city's position as leader in the professional and events tourism sector.
Barcelona is one of the favourite destinations in Europe right now for hosting corporate meetings and events of all kinds: conventions, conferences, product launches and employee reward trips. The city is able to offer good infrastructure, accommodation and associated facilities of the highest level.
The Catalonia Tourism Agency is working in partnership with EIBTM through the Catalunya Convention Bureau, the promotion programme and marketing scheme to strengthen Catalonia's claim as a key destination for corporate events.
Barcelona has been hosting this event, which is the most important in the sector, since 2004. It will continue to do so until 2016.
www.barcelonaturisme.cat - www.firabcn.es
World Swimming Championships 2013
From 19th July to 4th August, Barcelona will host the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships. This is the most important event in this sport and one of the great sporting events of the international calendar.
Among the organisers and participants, the competition will bring together 14000 people, 2500 of them participants, from 185 countries. It is predicted that the televised events will be seen by 510.8 million people, in 209 countries.
This year will be the second time that the World Swimming Championships take place in Barcelona. The first time was in 2003. As in 2003, Palau Sant Jordi will again be the centre of all the sporting activity. This year the water polo events will be moved from Anella Olímpica de Montjüic to the Centre Esportiu Municipal Piscines Bernat Picornell, where the diving events will also take place. The Moll de la Fusta will be the setting for long distance events in open water, new this year to the competition.
www.barcelonaturisme.cat - www.firabcn.es
Costa Brava Tourism Board, Girona
The AVE Arrives in Girona
The AVE high-speed train service has just begun operating between Madrid-Barcelona-Girona-Figueres, linking up with the French TGV at Figueres-Vilafant. Improved transportation allows greater access to the tourist attractions of Girona and Figueres, and by extension, the Costa Brava and the Pirineu de Girona. Visitors come from the other autonomous communities and also from France, attracted by the culture, gastronomy and the natural attractions of the destinations.
Wine Tourism on the Costa Brava
In 2013, the Costa Brava is developing its tourist product further, including the DO Empordà Wine Route. The aim of this is to provide a solid tourist structure and quality for a segment of the market interested in wine and related tourism.
The Tourism Board and local authority of Girona are encouraging the development of wine tourism within the area of demarcation through inclusion in the national project "Wine Routes" by ACEVIN. Additionally, the partnership has been strengthened between the Regulating Body of the DO Empordà and wine and tourism businesses in the area.
From March, the Club Ruta del Vi DO Empordà's catalogue will be available with information on more than 50 businesses: 20 cellars to visit, accommodation and restaurants in the area, wine merchants; it will also contain information on establishments offering wine-therapy treatments, wine-gastronomy businesses, themed museums and travel agencies and reservation centres.
The Girona Convention Bureau is working in tandem with the Costa Brava Tourism Board to bring in increased numbers of tourists for businesses, conferences and conventions in the Girona area.
Costa Brava Cruise Ports
Costa Brava Cruise Ports is the new brand name designed to promote the ports of Roses and Palamós within the international cruise market. The creation of the brand and the web page are some of the strategic actions being taken as part of this project. It is aimed at boosting activities related to the cruise sector in the two ports, increasing the number of cruise liner tourists on the Costa Brava and incentivising economic dynamism in the territory.
Girona Gastronomic Forum 2013
The event in Girona has become an unmissable gastronomic event on the international stage. With a programme that this year has as its main theme the land as the basis of discourse and source of inspiration, the sessions at the Forum will turn people's gaze back towards the land (and the sea). It deals with aspects such as biodynamic and ecological agriculture, sustainable fishing, 0 Km products, home growing and reliable suppliers. Once again, prominence will be given to small producers.
Speakers at the event will include: Carme Ruscalleda, Raül Balam, Paco Pérez, Jordi Cruz, Xavier Pellicer, Ángel León, Francis Paniego, Jordi Garrido, Josean Martínez Alija, Rodrigo de la Calle, Artur Martínez, Oriol Rovira, Fina Puigdevall, Pere Planagumà, Nandu Jubany, Víctor Quintillà, Víctor Trochi, Isma Prados, Koldo Rodero, Javier Olleros, Ly Leap and Albert Raurich. As a special guest, the Forum will welcome the well-known Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio.
As for the brands "Forum Wine" and "Forum Sweet", the attendees will be able to enjoy sessions with sommeliers Josep Roca, Ferran Centelles, Cèsar Cànovas and Roger Viusà. The pastry and dessert chefs Jordi Roca and Xano Saguer and the 21Brix Collective will also be there hosting a session combining spectacle with sweet-styled creations. This year, the Forum will host for the first time the national finals of the prestigious World Chocolate Master prize.
Cultural Options in Girona
The Girona area hosts a rich variety of music festivals, ranging from classical music and opera to pop rock, via the Cantades Havaneres and Sardanes concerts (traditional Catalan folk music and dancing).
Among the events taking place, the larger ones include: International Festival of Peralada, International Music Festival of Torroella de Montgrí, International Festival of Porta Ferrada de Sant Feliu de Guíxols, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, Cadaqués Inteternational Music Festival, Cap Roig Gardens Festival, Sant Pere de Rodes Music Festival, Fugueres Acustic Festival, Banyoles (A)phonic festival, Vilaberta Schubert Festival, Isaac Albéniz Music Festival, Ripoll International Music Fetsival and the Llívia Music Festival. These are just some of the many events that make up the fifty organised across the region.
In addition to the musical offering, there will be the 58th Temps de Flors flower show. This exhibition includes flowers, monuments, patios and gardens across Girona (11th to 19th May) and a number of events declared of national importance within the Girona area. Among these are the well-known Sardana, the Giants, Carrefocs and the Cantades d'Havaneres festivals.
The cultural events up and down the Costa Brava and the Pirineu de Girona all demonstrate the very distinctive nature of Catalan culture, attracting visitors and tourists from across the world. The Cantades d'Havaneres at Calella de Palafrugell, the parade and the Dance of Death of the Virgin and the Enramades festival in Arbucies are good examples.
Lloret de Mar is a key destination in “sun and beach” tourism. This town offers more than 31,000 hotels rooms (9,000 of which are especially for families), activity programmes on its beaches and more than 50 kilometres following “Camins de Ronda”. All this and more is available in Lloret de Mar in 2013.
The municipality has been working for some years on new products which complement the 'sun and beach' holiday. Sports tourism has really taken off as a part of this. The projects over the past few years, with a large investment in the renewal and creation of sports facilities and other features such as climate, a good quality - price ratio of items such as hotels, and ease of accessibility, are critical to choosing towns to host these sporting events.
Besides sports, amongst the latest tourism initiatives in Lloret are the creation of "shopping and gastronomy" packages and "Lloret, 4 Seasons" with public-private options designed according to user profile (families, young people, seniors). The "Lloret Card" also allows unlimited access to all cultural events and commercial discounts, restaurants, leisure and theatre…
As for business tourism, the municipality along with the Lloret Convention Bureau has a range of top-quality products, offering two convention centres, more than 80 meeting rooms and 6500 specialist hotel rooms. This year, among the events to be held, Lloret will host the Mediterranean Maritime Heritage Forum (28th to 30th May). It will be the first time that this event has been marketed specifically in Moscow and Kiev.
Empuriabrava Wind Tunnel
Visitors to the Catalonia stand at Fitur will be able to take a virtual tour - from their computer or Ipad - and explore the new wind tunnel in Empuriabrava. The high-performance skydiving centre at Empuriabrava has just begun operating a Windoor Real Fly Wind Tunnel at Empuriabrava, which recreates the experience and sensations of skydivers when they are at 4000 metres.
The facility is designed for everyone, from professionals looking for a place to train all the way to sports fans and families (except for under-5s). The complex will also be able to host presentations, meetings and other kind of events.
With this new installation, Empuriabrava is strengthening its position as a world renowned skydiving destination.
Roses Bay Enters the Club of "the Most Beautiful Bays in the World"
The municipalities of Roses, Castelló d'Empúries, Sant Pere Pescador and L'Escala which make up Roses bay have become part of "the most beautiful bays in the world" club. This is backed by UNESCO, in recognition of the tourist, scenic and cultural value of this area.
Pirineu de Girona Promotional Video
The promotional tourism video for Pirineu de Girona, which is 2 minutes 22 seconds long, emphasises the natural, cultural, heritage and tourist attractions of this mountain destination. It mainly shows aerial views of the five ski resorts of Girona and of Besalú, Camprodon, Ripoll, Beget, Puigcerdà and the Volcano Zone Natural Park at Garrotxa. It also includes pictures of different types of tourist accommodation and restaurants in the region, and activities which can be done there, in winter as well as summer and autumn.
Youtube de la Costa Brava y el Pirineu de Girona
Calendar of Sports Events 2013
Intermón Oxfam- Trailwalker. Charity walk through the Green Ways of the Girona region. (20th and 21st April)
Costa Brava Xtrem Running. From Blanes to Portbou over the Girona coastal routes (10th, 11th and 12th May)
Windsurfing World Championship Grand Prize Catalonia-Costa Brava. Sant Pere Pescador (June)
World Sailing Championships (European class). L'Escala (July)
Bike Transpyr- Travessa dos Mars. Roses (July)
29th European Championships. Sant Pere Pescador (July)
38th Christmas Regata. Palamós (December)
Tarragona Tourism Board
49th RACC Catalonia-Costa Daurada Rally
From 24th to 27th October 2013, the roads of the “Costa Daurada” will see the 49th Catalonia-Costa Daurada Rally.
This year, car racing fans will have the opportunity to enjoy the penultimate trial of the World Rally Championships, with the participation of teams and drivers representing the sector.
The municipality of Salou will officially host the trial and PortAventura will welcome the support crews, course management and the press room.
In May PortAventura Will Unveil the Recent Changes to the Costa Caribe Aquatic Park
The Costa Caribe Aquatic Park project has had an extension of 14,000 m2 of new facilities, which will bring the total area up to 50,000 m2 in total.
Among the new attractions at the park, the free-fall slide is the highest in Europe, at 31 metres high - as high as a twelve-floor building. Those daring enough to go down the slide descend down a gradient of 55 degrees at a descent speed of 6 metres per second.
The park will have large green areas with more than 50 varieties of plants and palms planted. The setting will transport visitors to the Caribbean, from the pergolas through to the hammock zones and the food court.
Original Trips to Learn About the Wines of the Costa Dorada
The production of wine is a thousand-year old tradition on the Costa Dorada. There are three options for visitors:
ViNitCultura in the Nulles Cellar, a work by Cèsar Martinell and one of the best-known "cathedrals of wine". The world of wine is presented as a marriage of art, culture, nature and knowledge gained over generations. Included is a meal, another combination of wines and cavas from the Nulles winery with food produced by different restaurants across the region.
Dramatised Visits at the Falset-Marça Cooperative (Priorat). The Cooperative, which is a work by the architect Cèsar Martinell, a disciple of Gaudí, is one of the best known "cathedrals of wine". Dramatised visits are offered, as well as more conventional guided tours, in Catalan, Spanish, English, French and Italian. www.napbuf.net / www.etim.cat
Walk&Wine at the Mas Vicenç Cellars (Cabra del Camp). Get to know artisan wines, whilst at the same time taking a walk through the vineyards. www.masvicens.com
Routes for All Tastes, Discovering the Tarragona Region
The Tarragona region has refreshed and renewed its range of tourist products, enabling visitors to get to know new sites, spaces and attractions from across the region. In Cunit, four marked-out routes have been created to be followed on foot or by bike, suitable for the whole family. These allow visitors to enjoy the cultural and natural heritage of the municipality: Route by the Poblat Iber, Ruta de les Masies, Ruta de l’Avenc and South to North Cunit. www.turismecunit.cat
The municipality of Sarral also presents 5 routes of differing levels to be done on foot and/or by bike, allowing visitors to get to know the municipality's surrounding countryside. www.concadebarbera.cat
In the spring it is possible to follow a trail to see the cave paintings of the Prades Mountains, combined with a visit to the Rock Art Interpretation Centre. During the months of July and August, night time guided tours will be offered again. www.montblancmedieval.cat
In March, Mont-roig/Miami Beach will also offer visitors a network of routes, including themed routes, giving a better knowledge of the region. http://www.mont-roigmiami.cat/
In Reus, the "Hall of the Distinguished People" at the Pere Mata Institute, a work by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and recognised as one of the jewels of Catalan Modernism, will open its doors to visitors. There will be guided tours for groups (prior reservations needed). www.reus.cat/turisme
“The highest bell in Catalonia” route, in Valls (www.facebook.com/visitavalls), and Tortosa Temple (http://www.fanac.net/) are two original ideas that are being added to the range of attractions to visit in the Tarragona region.
Luis del Olmo Radio Museum in Roda de Berà
This new museum exhibits more than 160 pieces of radio equipment of different styles and from different eras. It was all collected by the journalist Luis del Olmo, who obtained and conserved the equipment during his long career. There are plans for the museum to be extended into another adjacent hall in the future. Visitors will be able to hear thousands of hours of the journalist's recordings.
Second Terres de l'Ebre Catboat
The Lo Roget is back in service, with capacity for 50 people. The boat operates tourist tours between Miravet and Ascó between Easter and All Saints. It is a modern replica of the river catboats that used to pass up and down the Ebro. It was a real commercial and cultural highway. Onboard there are audio guides available in Spanish, English, Russian and French.
This tourist card offers discounts for visiting different sites and attractions around the territory, as well as for the purchase of products. Included are accommodation and active tourism activities. The cards can be bought from tourist offices in Montblanc, L'Espluga and Poblet, at local authority offices and at participating establishments. http://www.cccb.net/
"Legends of Princesses and Warriors of Siurana" Guided Tours
The Cornudella de Montsant Tourist Board has created a new tourism product which includes historical guided tours, such as its castle, the last Muslim stronghold in Catalonia. These tours allow visitors to discover a fairytale village, one which holds secrets of attacks and conquests. In Catalan, Spanish and English. More information: Cornudella tourist office.
New Meeting Space: Mas de les Gralles
Mas de les Gralles is a country house dating from the last century, located in an area of vineyards and old estates in the Baix Penedès region. The house has been adapted to accommodate meetings. It has everything necessary for business meetings, work meetings, training seminars and other events. www.masdelesgralles.com
La Graiera Golf Cource (Calafell)
La Graiera golf course has refurbished all its facilities and now has a new club house. La Graiera has an 18-hole par 72 course, as well as a pitch and putt course. www.graiera.es
Castells del Baix Gaià Interpretation Centre
In 2013 there will be an extension and improvement to the current options on offer at the Castells del Baix Gaià Interpretation Centre. www.elcatllar.org
Glass and Wicker Workshops for School Groups in Vimbodí
These workshops for schools at the Vimbodí Museum and Glass Ovens bring together various elements in one place, including: historical aspects (the glass ovens which operated in the area from the nineteenth century), traditions (glass, Sargaire production, woodcutting and firemen skills), science (the artistic production of the pieces) and environment (recycling of glass as a raw material for the production of pieces in the museum). www.museudelvidre.cat / www.aventurina.com
Barcelona County Council
Wine Tourism in the Penedès Region
The Penedès region continues to broaden and improve the options available to tourists for wine tourism, something which is of great importance to the territory. This year, among the new tourism products on offer is the Miravinya. This includes five vine viewing points accessible on foot or with a vehicle allowing environmentally friendly enjoyment of the territory's attractions, and of the rich scenery of the Penedès.
During the first few months of the year, the Consortium of Tourism Promotion of the Alt Penedès portal www.enoturismepenedes.cat will become a platform for promotion and marketing. This site will be user-friendly, visual, dynamic and accessible, providing access to all the wine tourism on offer in the Penedès region, both in the public and private spheres. The site will be restructured and designed to market tourism products and packages in partnership with travel agencies.
Looking to spring-summer, there will be the inauguration of the Km 0 wine tourism welcome centre in the Penedès region, where visitors will be able to learn about everything on offer in the territory. This will be possible through an information and welcome zone, audiovisual facilities and personalised service. Furthermore, the centre will also have learning zones.
Events to note:
Vijazz Penedès www.vijazzpenedes.com
MOST International Film Festival on Wine and Cava www.mostfestival.cat
Castellers events days www.castellersdevilafranca.cat
Reopening of Cau Ferrat in Sitges
From June, the Cau Ferrat Museum will be open again to the public. The residence and office of Santiago Rusiñol has a large collection of paintings by the author and of the artists Casas, Utrillo, Clarasó, Mas i Fondevila, Regoyos, Zuloaga, Picasso, Pitchot and Anglada Camarasa. Also in the museum is a collection of iron working by Rusiñol (after whom the museum is named). There will also be ceramics, glass work, furniture and items collected by the author throughout his life.
From the start of 2013, Palau Marciel will be organising guided tours as part of the campaign undertaken by Sitges Heritage Consortium this winter and next spring. Using the same entrance ticket, visitors can access the Romantic Museum and the Stämpfli - Contemporary Art Foundation.
In sitges, Casa Bacardí offers visitors the opportunity to experience a trip into the history of the people and their relationship with Latin America and the Bacardí family. Visitors can learn more about the life of Don Facundo and the revolution that he brought about in the production of rum, 150 years ago. At the end of the tour, visitors have the opportunity to learn how to make their own BACARDÍ original cocktails.
www.museusdesitges.com and www.casabacardi.es
Moto and Formula 1 at the Circuit de Catalunya
The Circuit de Catalunya this year will welcome the Moto GP World Championships and the Santander Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix. From 10th to 12 May trials will take place for the Formula 1 World Championships. From 14th to 16th June the Aperol Grand Prix of Catalonia for Moto GP will take place.
The Picasso Route in Berguedà
This is a cultural trekking route that traces the path taken by the painter from Malaga from Guardiola de Berguedà to Gósol in spring 1906. He continued on foot for a further three months, all the way to Bellver de Cerdanya.
Staying with Berguedà, Diagonal TV in partnership with Televisió de Catalunya has produced a two-chapter miniseries "Olor de Colònia" (Fragrance of the Mills), an adaptation of the novel by Sílvia Alcàntara. The novel shows life among the textile mills of Llobregat in 1952. The series will be shown in 2013, and will be a good introduction to these places. Several of the filming locations can be visited, such as the Museum of the Vidal Colònia at Puig-reig, (the Torre de l'Amo de Viladomiu Nou, in Gironella; the Church Interpretation Centre at Cal Pons and the Cutural Route at L'Ametlla de Merola). More information: www.museucoloniavidal.org, www.parcfluvial.cat and www.berguedareserves.cat.
Baix Llobregat, Short Family Excursions close to Barcelona
The Baix Llobregat Tourism Consortium has produced vouchers for families, with new discounts and promotions, and a new route to discover: the Jujol de Sant Joan Despí itinerary.
Part of this promotion are the Güell-Cripta de Gaudí estate, the Catalonia Olympic Canal, the nature areas of the Llobregat Delta, the Sant Boi Museum, the Archeological Park of the Gavà Mines, the Caves of Salnitre de Collbató, Catalonia in Miniature, the museums of Esplugues and the Agbar Water Museum.
As well as the options for families, there are new offers for business tourism: the third edition of the Professional Guide for Meetings with new businesses and activities, strengthening "Baix Llobregat, Meetings & Events in Barcelona" as a product.
Anoia Sports Premium 2013
Anoia County Council and Igualada Council have published a catalogue entitled "Anoia Sports Premium 2013" with a calendar of the most important sports-tourism activities this year. These include the 17th European Balloon Festival (12th to 15th July).
The catalogue is one of the initiatives for the promotion of Anoia as an outdoors sports activities destination. This region offers a wide range of sports activities, for all levels and of the highest quality. Events such as these enable the development of tourism-related activities in the area.
New for Mataró:
130 years of the construction of Gaudí's nave. This is the first work by the architect and the only one in the Maresme region.
150 years of the first panoptic prison in Spain. Designed by Elíes Rogent.
120 years of the renovation of El Rengle market. Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch
New audio guides available in Russian in Mataró.
New routes and guided tours for groups by prior booking, in English and French.
Events in Calella
6th to 28th April 2013 Festimatge'13 Image Festival in Calella. www.fotofilmcalella.org
2nd, 3rd, 4th May 2013 European Festival of Choral Singing.
10th, 11th, 12th May 2013 Calella City of Giants.
Summer Nights programme (July/ August).
23rd to 27th October 2013 International Festival of Choral Singing.
A History of Pharmaceuticals Visit two of the oldest and best preserved chemists’ shops in Europe: Balvey Pharmacy in Cardedeu (http://www.museudecardedeu.cat/2012/02/13/la-farmacia-balvey-2/), dating from before 1660 and the Codine Pharmacy in Caldes de Montbio (1810) (http://www.farmaciacodina.com/Paginas/Historia.asp).
Roman site of Mons Observans. This site can now be visited as well as the Can Tacó mound between Montmeló and Montornès. (http://www.montmelo.es/es/Municipi/Equipaments.htm?id=6&pl=68).
Visit the modernist cellar at Can Roda, in Santa Maria de Martorelles DO Alella (http://www.cellercanroda.cat/ct/celler.html).
Lleida County Tourism Board
Lleida County Retains Its Position as Leader in Active and Adventure Sports Tourism
The start of spring brings with it better weather and the start of the "thaw". Lleida as one of the most iconic leaders in the tourism sector of the region kicks off the season with active and adventure sports tourism.
The Lleida area remains a leader in Spain for adventure sports and tourism. The region has a total of 171 companies that provide more than 50 different activities designed for people of all ages and profiles. The sector as a whole manages about 600,000 active tourism services, with an overall economic value of 62 million euros.
The adventure sports on offer are complemented by a large number of scenic and cultural attractions - these additional services are all of the highest quality. It should be mentioned that the recent improvements in transportation - Lleida Airport-Alguaire, High Speed train - have opened up the Lleida area to domestic and international tourism.
During spring-summer this year, the 50th Noguera Pallaresa International Rally will take place. The organisers of this event have designed it with this anniversary in mind. There will be a special programme of activities, such as canoeing, rafting, as well as gastronomic activities, tours and exhibitions.
Tourist Itineraries in the Lleida Region
The Alta Ribagorça County Council has created a new routes guide, with 21 entries. The Aigua route is one of the most important, set among the greenery of the Aigüestortes National Park and the Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, as far as Serra de Sant Gervàs and Faiada de Malpàs.
The Vall de Boí Tourism Board is also introducing new routes into their network of trails this year. In total, there will be 30 routes. Amongst these, the old rural trails and the newly introduced ones will be available to walkers. There are shorter routes for families and those used for the 2012 SkyGames.
The "Fifth Lake" and "In the Shadow of Montsec" are two of the newly introduced options for walkers in the area around Pallars Jussà. The "Fifth Lake" is an initiative of six rural lodges, suitable for the general public. It is set in the counties of Pallars, and has a clearly marked itinerary. Walkers will be able to discover the route, staying at these establishments. There will be no need to worry about transporting luggage, as all luggage is taken from lodge to lodge by the route organisers.
"In the Shadow of Montsec" runs through the Ribagorça area, to the Franja de Ponent, Pallars Jussà and La Noguera, from Benavarri to Balaguer, passing through Tremp and Congost de Mont-rebei.
This year will also see further work done on the Sió Castles route, a themed walk that follows the lines of the border that was created as part of the High March at the end of the 10th century and begun in the 9th century. The route follows historical and monumental scenery. From January, the Eix Transversal (C-25) which joins Cervera (La Sergarra) and Riudellots de la Selva (La Selva) will be in use again. It is expected that there will be an increase in visitors from central Catalonia and Girona.
www.pallarsjussa.net and www.lasegarra.org
Montsec, Candidate for UNESCO Tourist Destination
The Starlight Foundation has officially submitted its application for the Montsec Tourist Destination, which this year may receive definitive certification. This is dependent on international recognition of the link between the region's tourist project and maximum quality and safety.
Montsec has now shown "a high level of excellence", and could be "one of the pioneering world destinations, providing outstanding offers and products". It will form a great part of the tourism and cultural options already available in the region.
The Universe Observation Centre was opened in 2009 and at its central facility one can see workshops and a permanent exhibition. The Telesope Park is an outdoor area specially set aside for observing the sky, both at night and during the day. There are two structures with observation domes that contain automatic telescopes, a celostat for observing the Sun and a number of mobile telescopes.
Lastly, the Eye of Motsec opens it digital multimedia planetarium. This facility allows for the recreation of the sky as it was at any particular time in the past. Recreations of films showing the dome fully open are also available.
The collapsible planetarium dome (which is 12 metres in diameter) and a movable front wall make it a platform for direct observation of the skies above Montsec.
www.montsec.cat and www.parcastronomic.cat
The Ivars and Vila-Sana Ponds, A Paradise for Birdwatchers
The region of Plan d'Urgell contains the Ivars and Vila-Sana ponds which are key tourist attractions for the whole region. The ponds were opened in 2005, and now the Ivars and Vila-Sana Ponds Organisation are able to offer new tourist options for 2013.
Photographers and birdwatchers alike can find the perfect place here to watch the wildlife at different times of the year. They are able to observe and photograph birds and other animals which visit the ponds. During the spring, the organisation releases a number of Emys Orbicularis tortoises into the ponds. This particular species is at risk of extinction in Catalonia.
At present, the Ivars and Vila-Sana ponds are the biggest inland ponds of their kind in Catalonia. With the right equipment for birdwatching, up to 210 different species can be viewed. The surrounding area is ideal for walking, cycling and horse trekking. Very recently, visitors have also been able to take a boat ride, between March and October.
"Land of the Dinosaurs"
Coll de Nargó Council (Alt Urgell) is working to promote and market a new tourism project called "Land of the Dinosaurs". A number of municipalities are participating in this project, as well as Pallars Jussà and Berguedà, where remains from the Cretaceous period have been found.
The dinosaur museum at Coll de Nargó moved to a new building in July 2012. The museum will also soon have the Dinosfera centre, a museum specifically dedicated to dinosaurs. In addition to the old K-T Limit Hall, the educational area offers the possibility of seeing the oldest nest of Titanosaurus eggs in Europe.
As part of the project, each municipality where remains of the Cretaceous period have been found will specialise in its prehistoric heritage. The marketing proposal provides for joint marketing and promotion of the municipalities of Isona and Conca Dellà. In Pallars Jussà, this is based on dinosaurs and in Fumanya, in Berguedà, on fossils.
The "Land of the Dinosaurs" project also includes the creation of a small walking route between Coll de Nargó and Isona, called the Route of the Dinosaurs. This walk is integrated into the Network of Walking Routes of Catalonia.
The Catalonia Butterfly Museum, the only one of its kind in Spain, has opened new facilities in Pujalt, located in the municipality of Sort (Pallars Sobirà). The museum has three floors, covering a total surface area of over 500 m2. The exhibition rooms are on the ground floor. The first floor has an audiovisual hall, a temporary exhibit space and a schools workshop. On the second floor there is a laboratory and a specialised scientific library.
With more than 4000 examples on show, visitors can not only get to know all the species of butterflies in Catalonia and their biology, but also the details of their mimicry, sexual dimorphism, where they are found and when they are active. Visitors can also learn about how they interact with other insects, their symbiosis and adaptations to the environment.
The Catalonia Butterfly Museum also offers visitors guided and school tours, workshops where insects and butterflies can be observed and other educational activities. In the same municipality, a "Butterflies Walk" has been created. http://www.papallones.net
Anglesola now boasts the Cart Centre, a restored museum showing an interesting collection of carts and explaining their functions and how they are made. This cultural centre covers an area of almost 700 square metres and has an interesting collection of some fifty carts, carriages and harnesses. There are also over 2000 antique farm tools and farmingutensils which give an idea of the work done year-round by those working in the countryside. www.anglesola.cat
Castellar de la Ribera has opened a new museum called the Rural School Museum, showing rural schooling from the twentieth century to the present day. The museum is situated in a country house that, between 1926 and 1974, was the site of local rural school. There is a classroom which has remained intact and where students studied in the postwar era. Visitors can see the evolution of rural schooling from the twentieth century to the present day. The museum is included in the "Network of Memory Spaces of Catalonia". http://castellarribera.ddl.net
4th Gastronomy Fair: "Cooking with Black Truffles"
Until 31st March, as part of the 4th edition of cooking with black truffles, different restaurants located in the Alta Noguera and Baix Alt Urgell regions will be offering dishes, using "Truffles from the Barony of Rialb". The fair also provides an opportunity to buy fresh truffles and visit the fields where they are grown. One can also discover a mysterious world that very few people ever get to see. The aim of this gastronomy fair is to develop the area as a reference point within the culinary world and show off locally grown produce. www.segrerialb.cat
First Pallars Fishing Map
Pallars Sobirà county, together with the Pallaresa Group and Consortium of Fishermen from Alt Pallars, has brought out an informative map of fishing. The map is particularly successful because of its simplicity and informative nature. It shows all the possible places to fish in the area and the specifics of each site. Additionally, information on the acquisition of licences and further general information are also given. http://turisme.pallarssobira.cat/
Val d'Aran Tourism
Aran Nature Convention Bureau
Val d'Aran Tourism has designed a new pioneering platform for business and employee reward trips, all designed to promote the territory as a destination to get closer to nature. The aim of this project is to position the region as a leader in the business-tourism sector.
Aran Nature Convention Bureau was created to meet the needs of a specific audience and become a leader in the world of tourism, as a destination for conferences and employee reward trips.
Active and Nature Tourism in the Val d'Aran
Val d'Aran Tourism introduces the Aran Bike Park, a circuit specially designed for fans of downhill BTT biking. In this way, Val d'Aran is broadening its BTT offer with two itineraries for different levels, located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, including the Varicauva forest. The routes cross the areas around Vielha, Gausac and Aubèrt, finishing in Bassa d'Oles. In addition to this, in the summer months Val d'Aran offers the possibility of doing downhill BTT biking on the Blanhiblar route (Naut Aran). This includes access to the Blanhiblar chairlift, located in Pla de Beret.
In the municipality of Les, visitors can enjoy Naturaran, an adventure park set in nature, suitable for everyone. Split into various circuits according to level of difficulty, Naturaran offers visitors more than 200 games and tracks, which can also be used at night.
For animal lovers, the Aran Animals Visualisation Park is a new recreational-educational area that offers the chance to learn about local fauna and flora. The park is located in the municipality of Bossòst and has an interpretation centre, a shop and an education centre, a restaurant and picnicking area.
And although the project is still in the preparation phases, the Val d'Aran is trying to boost tourist access to Aneto. The route being looked at would begin at L'Artiga de Lin and would be supported by new tourist facilities, such as a shelter which takes its inspiration from the innovative design of those in use in the Austrian Alps.