In the Bages county in the centre of Catalonia there is a hotel that has been converted from a former school, and in the Noguera county in the west there is a monestary that has been renovated for the same purpose. In both places the visitor can enjoy a comfortable stay within walls replete with history.
Is in the centre of the town of Cardona and offers charming facilites. Its well-equiped and generously proportioned rooms are set in a historic building that was once a religious school. The town of Cardona is overshadowed by the castle above, which also dominates the whole valley of the river Cardener.
On one side is the church of Sant Vicenç, a magnificent example of Romanic architecture. Another tourist attraction in the town are the salt mines, which are now in disuse but are a point of interest for visitors. All of this and the villages of the Bages county can be accessed by means of paths and tracks that are suitable for bicycles.
Silvia Rovira, Spanish BTT champion who knows the area well, can offer several different routes to clients of the hotel. Cardona is 100 kilometres from Barcelona and is well-connected by motorway and main roads.
Monastery of Les Avellanes
This monastey is in the municipality of Os de Balaguer, in the county of La Noguera. It is an abbey from the twelth century that has been converted into a hotel. It is in a rural setting and has a rich heritage. It offers traditional cuisine accompanied by good wine made by the monks themselves.
The visitor can also enjoy woodland, gardens and vines from which Costers del Segre appelation wine is made. The monastery has a hotel, and the former monks’ dining room is now a living room for guests, and the old kitchen is now a saloon where visitors can have coffee and use the internet. It is a unique place to stay and it is all too easy to relax here.
The interior of the monastery houses a restaurant that looks onto the Romanic cloister. It is called El Claustre, and from its stoves come the best dishes from the traditional cuisine of the county. Close to the monastery is a range of hills called the Serra del Montsec, home to the Centre d’Observació de l’Univers and the historical village of Àger.
The Monasterio de Les Avellanes
is 150 km from Barcelona and 35 minutes from Lleida, where there is an AVE fast train station and an airport.
Photo by: Jordi Bonet.