It’s true. The bit about finding this ancient village that too accidentally, one sunny day on a planned trip to Girona. Little did I realize that a day away from Barcelona would give me 2 beautiful experiences! And Peratallada was very much my shining star.
BEAUTIFUL PERATALLADA, WHERE DO I BEGIN!!
This is a story that I stumbled upon one magical day, when I was doing what I’m sure, you love to do too. With an open map in hand (in my case a colorful physical one), I was looking for places that locals love to remember. On that afternoon when sitting in the coffee shop and after having missed a train back to Barcelona, I just wanted to be surprised. I had started to feel the sugar rush with my all time favorite choco donuts, when I asked the lady at the counter to tell me a ‘place that was a well-kept secret’ and a few hours away.
The question tickled her enough to pick up a napkin and draw the coastline with dots for landmarks and a big star for Peratallada. It was barely an hour by road, she said. Truth be told, with the next fast train scheduled to arrive after a bit of time, it didn’t matter any more when I got back to Barcelona. So I just jumped into a taxi right outside the train station, fixed the drop rate for a smooth & safe ride at some 75 Euros and took off to discover a lovely new tale.
“AND ABOVE ALL, WATCH WITH GLITTERING EYES THE WHOLE WORLD AROUND YOU
BECAUSE THE GREATEST SECRETS ARE ALWAYS HIDDEN IN THE MOST UNLIKELY PLACES.
THOSE WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN MAGIC WILL NEVER FIND IT”
~ Roald Dahl
STREETS OF DESIRE
At just one glimpse as you step in, you feel like a dream sequence…a surreal world has revealed itself. It’s like a fantasy that entices you with a castle, with low arches that hide a pretty home, stubborn vines that languidly wrap themselves around reddish-beige walls, with narrow quiet empty streets…a true beauty, Peratallada is so mesmerizingly a time preserved village. What else did I expect! And it’s all of 21 sq km. Quaint, small & rested.
But in times of yore it was one of the best fortified villages, had a 13th century castle (renovated in parts recently) & a church to make the residents feel protected. It’s unusual when you walk through the uneven streets with plant patterned walls and suddenly find yourself all alone. The perfect moment to steal a kiss, sing aloud, dance to your rhythm and whirl like the dervishes do when they wish to feel liberated. I couldn’t have asked for a better surprise.
Amble along and these pathways of solitude suddenly burst into cafes & squares where you can make friends with the sun, while sipping your favorite wine or in my case hot chocolate for hours.
A surprising find here was the Church of San Esteban that was outside the village. Strange isn’t it? The whispers around tell a story of a fallout between the priest & the castle ruler. It led me to think aloud, ‘One can banish the priest outside the walls but well, the divine is everywhere isn’t it’?
(It’s a Romanesque church & while I would have loved to step in, it was closed at the time I visited)
WHAT IS NEARBY?
∝ Beaches of Costa Brava. Just 50 km from the village, is the hang out place for those who can’t resist the waters
∝ Another medieval and pretty village called Pals (5 km from Peratallada)
∝ A short drive gets you to Girona, more famously known for some of its locations seen in Game of Thrones, Season 6. This city retains some Roman ruins, has the El Pont de Ferro (a colorful bridge brought to life by Gustave Eiffel) and an old Jewish quarter from long long ago.
STAY & TRAVEL
You can stay in Girona and travel to this village as well as to Pals. Hire a car or take a taxi. (Charges are 60-65 Euros from Girona Train Station to Peratallada)
A part of the Peratallada castle is now a luxury hotel, which I am sure makes for a great travel through time. There are smaller hotels too tucked within what seem like homes.
May-June is when to go there, because colors of every thing around are in their most vibrant avatar
The first weekend of October is when they have a festival to take you back to the medieval times. It brings back all that happened then with costumes, performances & street shops mimicking their daily life.
I hope the pictures & the experience I carried back have captivated you. And walking like lovers do on these streets, am sure makes it even more of an unforgettable story. You will undeniably leave with a heavy heart and totally indulged senses.
Have you been seduced by any place that evoked such emotions? Am all ears.