Baix Emporda: Amazing Medieval Spain Bike Tour

July 18, 2023

baix emporda

Nestled between the deep blue Mediterranean Sea and the foothills of the Pyrenees lies Baix Emporda, an area full of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Like the rest of Catalunya, the Baix Emporda encompasses stunning medieval towns and stone villages scattered all across its territory. These hamlets remain much the same as they were centuries ago, giving the impression that you’ve traveled back to the middle ages. The region is a hidden gem, just brimming with personality.

Not to mention the exquisite local food — one of the things Spain is famous for.

Getting Around Baix Emporda

baix emporda

For part of our tour of Baix Emporda, we embarked on an approximately 18-mile e-bike tour along a rural route through the picturesque Catalan countryside. We passed ancient bridges and farmlands and biked through hilly cobblestone medieval villages.

Touring medieval villages from the seat of a bike gave me a different perspective than the Spain I had been accustomed to. The landscapes took my breath away while the narrow cobblestone streets took concentration to stay upright while gaping at the beauty.

After biking, we drove to some of the other historical towns which we then proceeded to explore on foot.

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In addition, we snorkeled in the chilly Medes Islands discovered the pristine beaches of Lloret de Mar, and explored coastal L’Estartit – Spain’s best-kept secret. You’ll want to read all about those places!

Here are ten must-see places in Baix Emporda.

1 Gualta


We started our tour in the village of Gualta where we were fitted out with our snazzy helmets and e-bikes in preparation for our 18-mile adventure.

daro bridge

Our route began with going past an ancient bridge before embarking on pathways through some seriously gorgeous countryside via a varied series of trails.

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Full transparency: I did wipe out at one point. It wasn’t my fault! And I wasn’t the only one. The packed dirt path suddenly turned to powder-soft beach-type sand, and you can imagine how my bike’s wheels took to that. The bike came to a screeching halt and I careened off my seat into the soft sand. Nothing hurt unless you count my pride, but honestly, I laughed and I now wish I had asked someone to take a photo for posterity.

2 Palau Sator

palau sator

Known as one of the three villages of the “Golden Triangle” (along with Peratallada (#4) and Pals (#5), Palau Sator is steeped in historical architecture.

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Palau Sator preserves its medieval charm as a fortified Medieval town; a 10th-century castle, an ancient wall, narrow streets, towers, fountains, and squares grace the ancient village.

3 Farm to Table

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One of the highlights of the bike tour was our surprise lunch. We began a somewhat strenuous peddle uphill. Huffing and puffing, I hoped whatever was at the top was worth it. It was.

In the middle of a grove of olive trees with a stunning landscape beyond, like an oasis we came upon tables set with variations of bread and other culinary delights created by Zaida Godoy and Jordi Dalmau from Mas Lazuli Hotel & Restaurant.

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The dense, crisp loaves were laid out in every shape and color and flavored with olive oil, nuts, raisins, fruits, and spinach – basically whatever the local harvest brings in.

We devoured the thickly sliced bread, slathered with oils and flavored mayonnaise, and washed down with local wines before mounting our bikes and continuing on our quest.

4 Peratallada


Pedestrian-only Peratallada (“carved stone”) is a picture-perfect medieval town with a great historical heritage. It is one of the most important medieval villages in Catalonia and has been designated a historical-artistic site and a Cultural Asset of National Interest because of its medieval architecture which appears to be immune to the passage of time.

baix emporda

Often compared to the historical French walled town of Carcassonne, Pertallada is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled alleys that meander through secret courtyards, beckoning all to explore.


The castle dates to 1065 A.D. and maintains its feudal appearance with walls and towers and is partly surrounded by the original moat.

5 Pals


The town of Pals dates back to the ninth century when the Moors founded it. The Gothic Quarter was one of the first to be restored after being declared an official Cultural Asset of National Importance in 1949.

The village of Pals is dotted with stone houses with balconies, medieval tombs, a 9th-century castle with ramparts and the magnificent Romanesque Torre de les Hores (clocktower) tower, Gothic Churches of Sant Pere and Sant Fructuós.


Pals also has the good fortune to have been built on a small hill overlooking the verdant surrounding countryside with its rice fields and views all the way to the sea.

6 Bisbal


The capital of Baix Emporda is La Bisbal d’Empordà. While it has a population of only 11,000, it has the highest per capita percentage of artists after Barcelona.


I loved climbing to the top of the town’s fortress, Castell Palau de la Bisbal d’Emporda, where I was treated to a stunning panoramic view of the town and the surrounding countryside.

Placa Major, the old market square is filled with lovely terraces and vendors selling produce and pastries.

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La Bisbal d’Empordà is known as being a center of ceramics production and even has an entire museum dedicated to the history of ceramics. So when I was invited to try my hand at “throwing pots,” I thought, “Why not?”

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Why not indeed! It was a lot of fun, but it was an epic fail. And yes, I am aware of what my flopped creation looked like.

7 Pubol


A Gothic-Renaissance fortification from the 11th century, “Le Chateau de Gala,” was once the center of the barony of Púbol and in 1969 became the residence and refuge of Gala Éluard Dalí, the surrealist painter Salvatore Dali’s lifelong partner.

In his attempt to make good on his promise to buy Gala a castle, Dali considered several castles in the region before finally deciding on the secluded and dilapidated Castle of Púbol. Dalí subsequently carried out the restoration according to his own peculiar taste, creating a new visual if quirky adaptation of the castle using fake architecture, romantic symbolism, and baroque textiles.

Gala spent every summer in the castle from 1971 to 1980. Dali spent some time there, too, but only after getting advance permission from Gala in writing.

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Dali’s car!

The tour of the castle is well worth a visit as the couple certainly left their very unique mark!

8 La Pera

la pera

La Pera is a municipality located in the west of the Baix Empordà region and is also made up of several towns: Púbol, Pedrinyà, and Riuràs. Like the other villages on this list, the medieval streets of La Pera are beautiful, especially the Pont del Tinell corner.

A highlight is the 14th-century Church of Sant Pere. While most of its treasures were destroyed during the Civil War, the 15th-century work of Bernat Martorell was rescued and is currently on display at the Girona Art Museum.

9 Monells


Monells is a small medieval village in the middle of the Gavarres Natural Park. It is a charming town, rich in history, which maintains its medieval essence.

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What is special about the town is that it was built inside an ancient castle of which only its walls have been preserved. The Rissec River divides the town into two distinctly different parts and the landscape from its bridges is magnificent.

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Toasting a great day with blogger Betsy of Passing Thru

We ate a delicious meal in the postcard-perfect arcaded town square.

10 Cruilles

mas masaller

We ended our time in medieval Baix Empora at the charming hamlet of Cruilles. The tiny town only has a few sights, namely the 11th-century Romanesque monastery of Sant Miquel de Cruilles, the Cruilles Tower, which is all that remains of its old castle, and the church of Santa Eulalia.

But our highlight was staying in the Mas Masaller bed and breakfast located within an ancient stone structure run by lovely Spanish hosts/chefs Marta and Joan. We had a veritable feast of homemade local cuisine at their giant rustic farmhouse table for the most festive dinner during our trip.

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And I loved my large room, decorated most charmingly with local antiques!

Click below to PIN so you can find the medieval villages in Baix Emporda again:

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Disclosure:  The author was honored to be the guest of Burricleta Centre Baix Emporda and Costa Brava Turisme during her stay in Baix Emporda, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer.

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and the southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

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