In Catalonia there is a host of small villages which have remained practically as they were 500 years ago. The houses are stone-built, with solidly-constructed doorways and charming windows. Some village houses but above all many isolated farmhouses are fortified. The cobbled streets are steep, winding and shady, giving these villages an air of days gone by, introspective and filled with memories, just as if time had stopped there for hundreds of years!

Perched atop a rocky hilltop, beside a dizzying cliff, set in a pass or enclosed in a glacial cirque, in Catalonia there is also a whole series of sanctuary chapels dedicated to the Virgin Mary (known as “Marian sanctuaries”). All of them have one thing in common, that according to their respective legends carved wooden statues of the Virgin Mary were found by some shepherd thanks to the help of an animal, often an ox, and these figures are worshipped there. Devotion to Our Lady has always been widespread among the people of these areas. Statues of this kind, carved according to a similar pattern, proliferated from the late 11th century, reaching their peak between the mid 12th and mid 13th centuries.  

The outing is tailored to suit you, alternating – as you prefer – visits to chapels with walks around little villages where time seems to stand still. Journeys by vehicle are combined with walks to take us to the chapels, where we can enjoy stunning views with much of the country lying at our feet. We will also stroll through steep, shady streets in villages which have withstood today’s pressure to become the same as everywhere else.  

Your guide is an expert in the history and art of the chapels and ancient villages who is also highly knowledgeable about the geography, flora, fauna, habitats and traditional and modern uses made by people of the land in the area you are about to discover.