Where to stay
Plaça Bisbe Font, 1, Rupit
A charming stone inn with little wooden balconies and beautiful views . The 23 rooms with baths are simple but comfortable. The hotel restaurant serves dinner, important in the off-season, and also has a small bar with television and Internet service. Full board about $75 nightly; half board about $66; additional charge for long weekends, Easter, and August.
El Jardins de la Martana
Pont 2, Besalú
High-ceilinged rooms and long windows affording views of the countryside. Several common rooms have fireplaces and comfortable couches, and a quite sumptuous breakfast is served in a tiled room with arched windows overlooking the groomed gardens that give the hotel its name. From about $107 for a double in low season to about $115 in high season. About $8.50 for breakfast.
Where to eat
This is simple, good, and rustic Catalonian fare. Such dishes as duck stewed in red wine, paella with seafood, sausages, and roasted vegetables are robust and filling, good fuel for walks in the countryside. Entrees about $11 and under.
Restaurant Pont Vell
Pont Vell, 24, Besalú
It may be in a medieval village, but this restaurant is as ambitious as many in Barcelona. There's a Catalonian sensibility in many of the dishes such as asparagus with romesco sauce, fideuà (toasted noodles) with clam and lamb shoulder baked in the oven. But there are also dishes that show the playful side of modern Spanish cooking such as a pizza strewn with wild mushrooms and blood pudding sausage, and an excellent sweet and sour rabbit. Dinner averages about $51 .
What to do
Museu Nacional d'artde Catalunya Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, Barcelona
General ticket about $10, with discounts for groups, students, the unemployed, and children.
To whet your appetite for medieval Catalonia, first go to the hills of Montjuïc in Barcelona and view the Romanesque murals that were taken from country churches in the early 20th century to preserve them. The 21 exhibits range from tiny slivers of art or sculpture to soaring ceilings covered with jewel-like murals.