About a half hour from Girona and two hours from Barcelona, with a population of just 2,400, Besalú is one of the most beautiful (and best known) of the bunch, whose mediaeval flavour starts with its 12th-century Romanesque bridge over the Fluvià River into the old town (pictured here=, but wandering its narrow cobblestone lanes will take you to landmarks like the Miqve (Jewish baths and synagogue), the Church of Sant Vicenç, and the Sant Pau Monastery, along with a Miniatures Museum. You can book guided tours in English through the local tourist office; ride horses in the lovely surrounding countryside; and there are also a number of fine restaurants as well as inns/bed and breakfasts for overnighting.

David Paul Appell


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