Peratallada is one of the jewels of the Baix Empordà region. This fortified town has retained its original medieval structure; inside its walls, you can find the castle with its keep and the Roman church of Sant Esteve which presides over narrow alleyways and squares where time seems to have stood still. The old town centre is filled with shops and restaurants whose owners have made the most of the architectural beauty of the ancestral homes in which they have installed themselves. The moat which surrounds the town is particularly striking and is excavated from the underlying rock. The village is named after it: Piedra Tallada (‘Cut Stone’). The village of Canapost is located a mere 20 minutes’ walk from Peratallada and features a beautiful Roman temple, as well as a curious medieval necropolis.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 6 km (10 min by car, 30 min by bicycle).
Rising up between Mas de Torrent and the Mediterranean Sea is the medieval outline of Pals, a beautifully preserved and restored fortified enclave. All that remains of the castle is the Les Hores Tower, a fine example of Roman fortress towers. All over the town centre, one can also admire various Gothic buildings, such as the Cala Pruna House Museum of Underwater Archaeology, housed in a fortified medieval manor house with two towers, as well as the church of Sant Pere. From the uppermost part of Pals, one can enjoy a view over the plains of the Empordà and the Mas de Torrent estate towards the west; towards the east lie the rice paddies and the magnificent Playa de Pals beach which stretches all the way to the mouth of the river Ter with the Medes Islands Nature Reserve as a backdrop.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 3 km (5 min by car, 15 min by bicycle).
Cap de Creus
This nature park takes its name from the easternmost cape of the Iberian Peninsula. The last foothill regions of the Pyrenees make for an extremely abrupt coastline with deep waters, a plethora of islets, very high cliffs, rocky reefs stripped bare by erosion and the wind and hidden coves with crystal clear waters, many of them only accessible by sea. The powerful nature of Cap de Creus has inspired writers and artists alike to produce, sculptures, paintings and literature. Salvador Dali’s ‘The great masturbator’ is apparently inspired by a rock formation in Cala Cullaré. Its wild landscapes can be enjoyed by car or on foot, following the marked trails which lead to the lighthouse, to the Sant Pere de Rodes monastery or one of the many dolmens which populate the area.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 75 km (1h 30 min. by car).
The white facade of the church of Santa Maria overlooks the historic quarter of Cadaqués, which opens onto the rocky bay of the same name between the gulf of Rosas and Cap de Creus. This was the place where Salvador Dali’s family had their summer home. They moved to nearby Port Lligat in 1948. Cadaqués also attracted celebrities such as Federico García Lorca, Eugeni D'Ors,(who wrote about his summer stays in the village) Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Rafael Durancamps, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp. In the bay of Port Lligat, north of the village, is the Salvador Dalí House-Museum, surrounded by the beautiful landscapes that so captivated the artist.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 70 km. (1h 20 min by car).
Llafranc is a fishing village which has grown just enough for its little rocky bay to feature a small promenade, some pleasant terraces, little summer homes and cosy hotels with a family atmosphere. At the end of the beach we find the port, protected by the Mountain of San Sebastià, from where one you can join diving excursions to explore the rocky coastline and the Formigues Islands. Up on the mountain stands a lookout point, one of the most striking of the Mediterranean. At the summit lies the historical site of San Sebastià de la Guarda, made up of the remains of an Iberian village, a medieval watchtower, the chapel of San Sebastià and the old hospice which now houses El Far Hotel – Restaurant, perched on the cliffs 170m above sea-level.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 10 km (15 min by car).
Calella de Palafrugell
Calella de Palafrugell is located in a spectacular spot, nestled between rocks crowned by pine woods and crystal clear coves. The fishing village where Josep Pla used to spend his summers has stood the test of time and the whitewashed houses, boats on the beach and picture postcard looks all still remain. Its coves, promenade, terraces and restaurants make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Mas de Torrent. To the north, a coastal path with the sea on one side and pine trees on the other, leads to Llafranc, just 20 minute’ walk away. To the south, the coastal path takes us to the nearby cape of Cap Roig which is home to the Botanical garden, famous its annual music festival. Also internationally famous is the Cantada de Habaneras for which thousands of people gather every year on the beach to listen to these nostalgic melodies of Caribbean origin brought back to the Costa Brava.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 10 km (15 min. by car).
Ruins of Empuries
Founded in 575 BC by Greeks from Focea on the shores of the Gulf of Roses, the ancient city of Emporion represents one of Spain’s most important Greek-Roman archaeological sites. The distribution of the houses, their mosaics and ornamentation are still visible, as is the sewage system, the forum, an amphitheatre, a Basilica, and the remains of many other buildings. The star of the site, however, is the statue of Aesculapius, which dates back to 200 BC and was restored in 2008 to mark the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the date excavations started. To round off the tour, visitors are advised to stroll down the pedestrian walkway which follows the outline of the site between San Martí d’Empúries and L’Escala, to see the Gothic church of Sant Martí, the magnificent views on the Gulf of Roses, the historic pier from the 1st century BC. which can still be seen on the beach and, lastly, the seafaring town of l’Escala.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 25 km (35 min by car).
The greatest genius among the artists of the Empordà left behind a considerable heritage which is gathered in a triangle made up the following three locations: The Museum-Theatre of Figueres, the Museum-House of Port-Lligat and Gala’s castle in Púbol, which is the one closest to Mas de Torrent. The medieval castle of Púbol was a gift to Gala, where Dali was forbidden to visit unless invited. In various areas of the castle, Dali either created or commissioned pictorial decorations with a "trompe l'oeil". Gala passed away in Port-Lligat on 10 June 1982. Her last journey was to Púbol to be buried, driven in the Cadillac which to this day remains parked in the castle’s garage. After Gala’s death, Dali moved into the castle. It was during his times in Púbol, between June 1982 and August 1984 that the artist produced his final work.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: Púbol, 19 km (20 min. by car) / Figueres, 45 km (50 min.) / Port-Lligat, 70 km (1h 20 min.).
Girona and the Jewish Quarter
Girona maintains all of the charm of a major city without the crowds; the city is tailored for people to be able to enjoy every single one of its attractions, including its streets, its celebrations, cultural offering, restaurants, tourist facilities, events and festivals. The Old Town is one of Catalonia’s most evocative historical centres and features some elements which are unique in Europe: The Carolingian wall, the Jewish quarter known as Call Jueu, which is one of the best preserved in Europe, the Arabic Baths and the grandeur of the Gothic nave of the Cathedral, the widest in the world. Girona also boasts six interesting museums, including the Museum of Jewish History and the Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia which is housed in the old convent of Sant Pere de Galligants.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 40 km (40 min by car).
Begur and its coves
The hills of Begur rise towards the east, between Mas de Torrent and the Mediterranean. From the highest point there are views over the ruined castle of Begur with the village set on the slopes of the hillside. Amongst its characteristic features are the 16th century watchtowers, which served to warn of potential attacks by pirates, and the houses constructed by the so-called “Indianos”, Begur locals who travelled across the Atlantic to find fortune in the Americas and the Caribbean with a special affiliation with Cuba. The beaches and coves which surround Begur, nestled between pine forests and cliffs, are the epitome of what the Costa Brava is all about: Sa Riera, Aiguafreda, Sa Tuna, Platja Fonda, Fornells and Aiguablava. All year round there are delightful coastal walks to enjoy and in the summer there is the opportunity to cool off in the crystal clear waters.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 8 km (10 min by car).
Barcelona is an all-encompassing city thanks to its cultural importance, booming business and tourism activity. Its long and rich history is reflected in its architecture, starting with ancient Roman remains right, the way through to Norman Foster and Frank Ghery via the Gothic quarter and Gaudi’s modernist jewels, which were declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Its museums include the Picasso, Joan Miró, the MNAC and Casa Milá, with one of the most visited being the FC Barcelona museum. But the city’s major appeal lies in wandering ts streets, especially the axis formed by the Port Vell harbour, La Rambla, Plaza Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia. There you will find everything from tiny handcraft shops and tapas bars to the finest boutiques in the world and the most glamorous restaurants interspersed with ascinating landmarks such as Plaza Real, the Liceu Opera House, the Gothic Quarter or or the Boqueria Market.
Distance from Mas de Torrent: 115 km (1h 15 min.).