Catalonia consists of four Provinces: Barcelona, Gerona (Girona), Lerida (Lleida) and Tarragona
Catalonia has the second largest population of the fifteen regions in mainland Spain. Catalonia has three distinct landscapes from the high sierras of the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean coast and the central lowlands. The coastline has two distinct profiles, the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada. The former has cliffs and deep coves; especially further north where the mountains reach the sea and the latter provides long, wide and gentle beaches. The best known beaches are to be found at: L¨Illa Roja at Begur, Waikiki, Altafulla, La Savinosa, La Mora in Tarragona and L¨Home Mort at Sitges.
The Pyrenees provides an excellent location for winter sports, especially skiing and snowboarding. The best known resorts are Baqueira Beret, Boi Taull, La Molina, Masella, Port Aine, Port del Comte, Rasos de Peguera, Super Espot, Vall de Nuria y Vallter 2000. Hill walking, climbing, mountain-biking and canoeing is popular in the summer. On the coast, water sports such as windsurfing, sailing, diving or rafting, canoeing and rowing is popular on a wide variety of rivers.
Catalonia on the one hand has a very marked culture and language of its own but at the same time it is one of the most cosmopolitan places in Spain, thanks to its long tradition of international commerce.
Barcelona: Catalonia's capital is located on the coast of the Mediterranean. Among its most outstanding sights are the Gothic Quarter and the works of architect Antoni Gaudi.
Costa Brava: Certainly one of the most famous Spanish coasts, stretching from the north of Barcelona over the province of Girona. It is of great natural beauty, with steep cliffs and romantic small coves.
Girona: A beautiful historic city with the old Jewish Quarter among its major sights and is the birthplace of the great painter Salvador Dali. Its main attraction is of course the museum dedicated to the artist, showing a collection of some of his finest works.
Costa Dorada: The Golden Coast, stretching from south of Costa Brava to Tarragona, offers apart from its great beaches and beautiful landscapes towns of outstanding beauty, such as Arenys del Mar, Sitges (with the highly interesting museum of Cau Ferrat) and Castelldefels.
Tarragona: An important city of the Roman Empire, monuments to be found here are the aqueducts, an amphitheatre and the Tomb of the Scipios, located on the coast. Close to Tarragona there are the monasteries Santes Creus and Santa Maria de Poblet, both of historic and artistic interest.
Lleida: Is a mountainous area located inland. A main attraction here is its cathedral, "Seo", built between 12th and 15th century.
Food and Cuisine of the Region:
Local cooking is varied, embracing sweet and savoury combinations - fish stews, snails and classic sauces like the spicy romanesco, prepared from red peppers, tomatoes and chillies. In addition, the famous Vic cooked and cured sausages such as the white butifarra the finely textured llangonisseta and the long dry fuet can be found. Other typical dishes using local Spanish foods include: amanida - the local salad, suquet - a delicious fish and seafood stew, butifarra amb mongetes - black sausage with white haricot beans and crema catalana - a rich egg custard. The local cheese is the tasty Mató cheese.