Costa Brava, Barcelona, Dalí, Gaudí: the cornerstones of Spain’s Catalonia region are enough to make it one of the country’s most popular and mesmerizing destinations.

Located in Spain’s northeastern extremity, the autonomous Catalonia of today is cradled by the Pyrénées Mountains to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and Spain’s Aragon and Valencia communities to the west and south. And while its Spanish history dates back to the 15th century—when King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile married to unite their realms—many castellanos today think of themselves as removed from the rest of the nation.

This independent mindedness and fierce cultural pride is on display throughout Catalonia—through its evidently Mediterranean tradition, its hostile FC Barcelona football rivalry with Real Madrid, its singular Catalonian language, and its layered cosmopolitanism stemming from its long history of international commerce. Today, the castellano fight for independence is far from over and perhaps at its most heightened in modern history.

Apart from its cultural heritage, Catalonia also stands apart from the rest of Spain for its wealth of natural and man-made splendors. The Pyrénées peaks tower over verdant vineyards, rocky coves and grand castles straddle the sandy beaches, archaeological sites and ancient churches freckle the remote valleys, and stunning feats of Gothic architecture congregate in the ephemeral capital of Barcelona.

Barcelona is no doubt the political and economic hub of Catalonia, as well as its Gothic crown jewel. The second largest city in Spain and the seventh most populated urban area in the entire European Union, Barcelona offers travelers Mediterranean climates coupled with some of the most iconic sights in the world, from the Gothic Quarter to the many architectural designs of Antoni Gaudí.

Also well-known are Catalonia’s ample beaches of Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, with their romantic coves and renowned luxury resorts. Yet while the Spanish coasts are popular sights for their natural beauty, travelers would be remiss to forget about the medieval architecture and Jewish history awaiting them in Girona and Besalú, the hiking trails and ski slopes beckoning in the Pyrénées, the many UNESCO protected ruins found in Tarragona and Lleida, the unusual rock formations of Montserrat, or the surreal Salvador Dalí ‘theatre-museum’ on display in Figueres.

No matter the destination in Catalonia, travelers are guaranteed an experience unique to the region and full of cultural, natural, and architectural grandeur. Contact your Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant today to beginning planning your journey to Catalonia.