Catalunya Circuit in Barcelona

The Barcelona Catalunya circuit has hosted a Grand Prix every year since it was first included on the MotoGP calendar in 1992. The annual visit to this venue is enjoyed by riders and fans alike. A superb track produces great racing.

Montmelo - The Circuit de Catalunya

The Catalunya circuit itself is divided into 3 tracks. The Circuit Nacional is a 3067 meter track used for the MotoGP race.

Drivers appreciate it for its shape: a few curves opening up into long straightaways that allow the MotoGP bikes to get into top gear. The famous turn called Elf is a challenge and really makes for lots of overtaking.

The area has a mild climate for all-season racing.

This is the home venue for many of the sport's biggest MotoGP stars including Marc Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Maverick Viñales, Dani Pedrosa and the Espargaró brothers Aleix and Pol. The Catalan GP usually falls in June, a great time of the year to visit this beautiful Mediterranean region. If you are coming it's well worth spending the week before the race exploring the area and sampling the delicious food!

What happened last year?

2017 Catalunya MotoGP Race

The Catalunya MotoGP race started with Pedrosa getting the hole-shot, followed by Lorenzo, who almost crashed into Danilo Petrucci, Octo Pramac Ducati Racing. Lorenzo got by Pedrosa with Márquez charging after them.

Maverick Viñales went off track at Turn 1, and Lorenzo's lead was short lived as Márquez and Pedrosa passed him. Dovizioso was getting by racers from his 7th grid start, passing Jonas Folger, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, then Lorenzo to go third.

Pedrosa was soon back leading and the battle was between him, Dovizioso and Márquez. On lap 17, Dovizioso made his move on Pedrosa and went on to win the race with Márquez taking second and Pedrosa third, Jorge Lorenzo fourth, Johann Zarco fifth, Jonas Folger sixth, Alvaro Bautista seventh, Valentino Rossi eighth from 13th on the grid, Hector Barbera ninth and Maverick Viñales tenth.

Now for a look around Catalonia

Barcelona the City

The city of Barcelona has become one of Europe's most visited destination since it hosted the Olympics in 1992, it has a rich local culture, a fantastic heritage and something to offer everyone.

Sunny and vibrant Barcelona offers stunning Mediterranean scenery combined with bustling urban energy. This flamboyant city is Spain's second largest city as well as the capital of the Catalan region.

The Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) is the old town, a delightful area of impossibly narrow streets, atmospheric alleyways, and quiet squares where locals gather to socialize. Street musicians are often found here playing classical Spanish guitar, adding to the magical ambience.

Outside the old town are broad, tree-lined avenues that lead to the beautiful beaches along the harbour. Barcelona's most lively thoroughfare is La Rambla, a tree-lined street with many shops and outdoor cafes. La Rambla is at the centre of the city's social life and buzzes with activity day and night. While strolling this avenue, don't miss the Palau Guell, a masterpiece of avant-garde architecture by Antoni Gaudi.

Other landmarks you should see, created by the celebrated architect are the Basilica de Sagrada Familia, a surreal place of spiritual worship, and the UNESCO listed Park Guell, a fantastical park featuring whimsical benches and fountains decorated with colourful ceramic fragments.

Barcelona has gourmet cuisine with 24 Michelin starred restaurants. For a delectable Catalan gastronomic experience, try one of Barcelona's finest restaurants.

The city is also famous for its culture and has more than 70 top-notch museums. Be sure to visit the Picasso Museum and National Museum of Catalan Art. the elegant Passeig de Gracia, a few steps away from Gaudi's Casa Batllo and a few blocks from the Casa Mila, the most famous mansion designed by Gaudi.

In Barcelona the Magic Fountain of Montjuic

It is a treat to witness magic Fountain of Montjuic. It is located near Plaza de Espana, in Barcelona. When it gets dark there is a light & sound show at every 30 minutes on weekends. You should visit the fountain when you're in Barcelona. An evening spent at the magic Fountain of Montjuic will be a memorable one for sure.

A Worthwhile Visit to Park Guell

Park Guell is a public park dedicated to Antoni Gaudi's architectures. It is a famous park with many gardens, pretty structures & amazing street performers and musicians around.

Apart from gardens, Park Guell's unique colonnades, mosaic ceilings & mosaic Salamander make the visit worth it. The most satisfying part of visiting Park Guell is the panoramic view of Barcelona city. You can see the entrance of the park, Barcelona skyline & finally, the fascinating Mediterranean Sea.

Beaches of Barcelona

Barcelona's beaches are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Barceloneta, Icaria & Marbella are the popular beaches of Barcelona. These beaches can be reached easily from the city centre in no time. You can also opt for adventure activities like Scuba diving or snorkelling.

In addition to the excitement and buzz of Barcelona, there is the beautiful architecture, landmarks, restaurants and bars and the wider Catalonia region has superb beaches, forests, mountains, and a highly agreeable Mediterranean climate.

With a strong regional identity, Catalan and Castilian Spanish is spoken by the locals in Barcelona, whilst in cities such as Girona, Reus and Tarragona there is more local Catalan culture, cuisine and tradition to discover.

Travelling and Exploring around Catalonia and Barcelona. There is plenty to see and do.

Catalonia has a great deal to offer, whether you head up the coast to the picturesque little towns, or into the countryside to areas such as the spectacular Vall de Nuria and the Medieval old villages of Baix Emporda. Also the many beautiful beaches dotted around the area of the Costa Brava. There is just so much to see and do around Barcelona that it is worth a staying for a few days before the Grand Prix.

Best Places to Visit around Catalonia

The Costa Brava

Stretching north east from the coves and beaches of Blanes to Catalonia's border with France, the Costa Brava is Spain's most beautiful coastline.

There are 2000 kilometres of coast, with ragged cliffs and idyllic beaches that make the area one of Europe's favourite seaside regions. Its pretty little whitewashed towns that have lured artists including Dali, Picasso, and Chagall.

The Monastery of Montserrat

This beautiful Benedictine monastery of Montserrat sits on top a rocky crag, surrounded by fantastically eroded cliffs. How they built this huge monastery here is a mystery!

Its history goes back to 1025, when it was founded at the site of the little mountain hermitage of Santa Maria de Montserrat. Pilgrims soon spread word of miracles performed here by the Virgin, and the monastery grew into an important place of pilgrimage.

The 12th-century carving of Our Lady of Montserrat, known as La Moreneta - the Dark One, is venerated here by the faithful, and Montserrat has become one of Spain's biggest tourist attractions. The famed boys' choir, the Escolania, is one of the oldest in Europe. There is also a museum of art and sacred treasures, and a funicular can take you up the mountain for sweeping views across the Catalan countryside.

Not far away is Girona

A sparkling gem of historic Catalonia, 103 kilometres from Barcelona this medieval walled city has a rich cultural heritage with diverse influences from the ancient Romans, Moorish-era Arabs, and Jews.

The Old Town was built on the right bank of the Onyar River with colourful houses flanking the waterside. Girona has two areas enclosed within ancient ramparts.

The Forca Vella outlines the original Roman city founded more than 2,000 year ago and the Medieval Quarter expanded the city in the 14th and 15th centuries.

These atmospheric quarters are filled with narrow pedestrian streets and impressive medieval buildings. The fortress-like Romanesque cathedral was built in the 11th century and updated through the 17th century. The facade is Baroque and the interior is Gothic. The massive nave is the widest medieval sanctuary in Europe. Among the artistic masterpieces displayed in the sanctuary is a Catalan textile of the Romanesque era called the Creation Tapestry. Other important religious monuments are the 12th-century Benedictine monastery de Sant Pere de Galligants; the Romanesque church of Sant Nicolau, now used as an exhibition room; and the medieval Gothic convent of Sant Domenech surrounded by beautiful gardens.

The main road of the Old Town is the Rambla de la Libertad, an arcaded pedestrian street lined with shops and pavement cafes. Another interesting area to explore is the Jewish Quarter - El Call, one of the best preserved in Spain. During the Middle Ages, this quarter had an important synagogue and centres of Kabbalist study.

The squares of Placa del Oli and the Placa del Vi have maintained their original ambience. Near the Jewish quarter, visitors can uncover the cultural legacy of the Moors. The Arab Baths, now housed in a Capuchin convent, feature a pavilion of Islamic-style columns topped with an octagonal cupola.

Seaside City of Tarragona

Tarragona is a beautiful seaside city that seems to have it all: sunshine, beaches, and interesting historic monuments.

A hundred kilometres from Barcelona, this port town on the Costa Daurada is a worthwhile excursion or an alternative base to explore Catalonia. It's worth spending a few days here.

Most of the city overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, and the spectacular Playa del Milagro beach is within walking distance from the historic centre of town.

History enthusiasts will be enthralled by UNESCO listed ancient Roman buildings found all over Tarragona, especially the incredibly well-preserved second century Roman amphitheatre.

The city also has a charming Romanesque-era cathedral and medieval streets. For a delicious seafood meal, stroll over to El Serrallo - the old fishing village that has an atmospheric Old World ambience.

Beaches of the delightful Sitges town

Along the Mediterranean Sea, just 42 kilometres from Barcelona is Sitges which lures visitors in search of golden beaches and pampered seaside relaxation.

The town has a "Blue Flag" beach with calm waters ideal for swimming. A yacht marina and golf courses add to the resort ambience.

Sitges also offers culture; its historic centre has two lovely churches, the Iglesia de Sant Bartomeu and the Iglesia de Santa Tecla. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Spanish Modernist monuments were built throughout the town. An excellent example of this avant-garde Modernist architecture is the Cau Ferrat where famous Spanish author and artist Santiago Rusinol lived. His home and art studio became a gathering place that attracted many artists and intellectuals, giving the town a Bohemian atmosphere.

For those who appreciate gourmet cuisine, Sitges has much to offer. The town has an abundance of renowned restaurants.

The Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres

Famous for its association with Salvador Dali, the traditional Catalan town of Figueres lies in a quiet river plain of the Girona province 140 kilometres from Barcelona. The town's main tourist attraction is the Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum, which is devoted to the work of the Surrealist genius. Housed in the 19th-century Municipal Theatre, the museum presents all aspects of Dali's art and displays some of his greatest masterpieces of painting.

With its expansive assortment, the collection shows the artist's full range of creative expression. The museum also has a film library, which contains a collection of audiovisual content that was created by Salvador Dali. During the month of August, the museum has night time openings from 10pm until 1am for a magical atmosphere that adds to the Surrealist experience. Throughout the year, the museum hosts special events and festivals.

Cadaques and Cap de Creus Natural Park

Near the Cap de Creus Natural Park, Cadaques is a beautiful spot on the Costa Brava coastline 170 kilometres from Barcelona. With its whitewashed houses hugging a sheltered bay, the historic quarter of Cadaques has a distinct Mediterranean seaport ambience. The village has charmed artists for decades and still offers a vibrant cultural scene, with many art galleries and museums. Cap de Creus Natural Park has a wonderful unspoiled beach in a protected cove surrounded by pine trees, one of a number where you can swim in the crystal-clear turquoise waters along this protected strip of coast. The rugged and rocky shoreline of Cap de Creus Natural Park is also a great place for hiking and nature walks. The beautiful coastal town of Roses, nearby, began as an ancient Greek colony, and its impressive Renaissance citadel overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.

Monasterio de Santa Maria de Poblet

The UNESCO listed monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet is 141 kilometres from Barcelona in a beautiful setting. This remarkable monument was founded in the 12th century for Cistercian monks, and the order still uses this space for their spiritual worship. Inside the monastery's church are the tombs of the Kings of Aragon. The entire monastery complex is an impressive sight surrounded by a serene landscape. The complex has two museums: the Poblet museum housed in the 14th-century Palace of King Martin that displays Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque religious art; and the Restoration Museum that illustrates the restoration work of the monastery.

Medieval Town of Vic

Vic is a quaint medieval town in a peaceful setting along the banks of the Meder River, 72 kilometres from Barcelona. The town has two historic quarters: the area around Castillo de Montcada and around the cathedral. You can go inside the cathedral to admire the murals by Josep Maria Sert.

The town of Vic has an impressive artistic heritage, which can be further discovered at the Episcopal Museum. This museum displays masterpieces of religious painting and sculpture from the Romanesque and medieval periods.

Those seeking a break from sightseeing should head to the Plaza Mayor for a snack at one of the cafes with a pleasant outdoor terrace. For those seeking a pampering overnight stay, the luxurious Parador Vic-Sau is the perfect choice. Surrounded by idyllic gardens, this Catalan country house was converted to an upscale hotel with an excellent gourmet restaurant.

Beautiful Medieval Town Besalu

A picture perfect medieval town, Besalu is a quaint jumble of cobblestone streets and quiet squares that reveal impressive historic buildings. The town has an atmospheric old Sephardic quarter with medieval Jewish baths that were used for ritual ablutions.

Several fascinating ancient Christian monuments are found in Besalu including the 10th-century Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere, the 10th-century chapel of Santa Maria, the 13th-century Romanesque church of Sant Vicenc, and the 17th-century church of Sant Julia.

Another remnant of the town's past is the Viejo Bridge built in the 11th century and renovated in the 14th century. Besalu is 133 kilometres from Barcelona in a lovely area of Catalonia, near La Garrotxa Nature Reserve in the rolling hills of the Pyrenees.

Olot Town and the Pyrenees Foothills

Olot is in the beautiful Pyrenees foothills 112 kilometres from Barcelona. It has a relaxed atmosphere and a vibrant cultural life. The town has many fascinating art galleries, and the Regional Museum boasts an excellent collection of Modernist paintings. Be sure to see the 18th-century parish church of Sant Esteve, with its marvellous Baroque altarpiece.

Pleasant tree-lined avenues, quaint outdoor cafes, and old aristocratic mansions give the town an elegant ambience. Nature lovers will enjoy an excursion from Olot to the Parque Natural de la Garrotxa to discover an amazing rugged landscape formed by volcanoes.

Here you can enjoy a relaxing escape to a peaceful country town in La Seu d'Urgell. It lies in a stunning natural setting with the Catalan mountains and Andorra Pyrenees as a backdrop. This picturesque historic town is in the Lleida province, 173 kilometres from Barcelona and 88 kilometres away from the Aiguestortes I Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. The most interesting site is the Italian-influenced Romanesque cathedral, built in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Other important monuments are the 11th-century Romanesque church of Sant Miquel, the 15th-century Ayuntamiento (City Hall) and the convent of Sant Domingo that has been converted into a Parador de Turismo hotel.

The Romanesque Monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll

This magnificent Romanesque monastery was an important monastic centre in Catalonia during the Middle Ages. Dating from the 12th century, the complex includes a church with an extraordinary portico depicting biblical scenes and a peaceful cloister designed to inspire spiritual contemplation. Another noteworthy religious monument of Ripoll is the 12th-century Iglesia de Sant Pere featuring pre-Romanesque architectural elements. The church now houses the town's ethnographic museum. In the 19th century with the arrival of the railway, Ripoll became a bustling commercial town with a booming textile industry. Ripoll lies 109 kilometres from Barcelona.

Ancient history of Banyoles

This idyllic retreat in nature is just 18 kilometres from Girona and 121 kilometres from Barcelona, near La Garrotxa Nature Reserve. Surrounded by the green rolling hills of the Sierra Rocacorba, the town is nestled between two rivers on the shores of Lake Banyoles.

Banyoles has an ancient history and an important textile industry since the 13th century. In the town's quaint old centre are several interesting religious monuments: the 14th-century church of Santa Maria del Turers and the Neoclassical monastery of Sant Esteve. Other important landmarks are the Pia Almoina, a medieval mansion built in the 14th century that houses an Archaeology Museum, and the Llotja del Tint, a 15th-century building that was used for dyeing textiles.

A highlight of visiting Banyoles is the beautiful lake with a six kilometres perimeter. It's a wonderful place to relax, take nature walks, cycle, or go boating. Tourists may rent small boats for rowing, kayaking, or canoeing. Fishing is another popular pastime, with rewarding catches to be found in the pristine waters.

Embalse de Talarn Town

Eight kilometres north of Tremp is the Embalse de Talarn, a large lake formed by a dam that supplies a hydroelectric station. One of the largest bodies of freshwater in Catalonia, the lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery, with many pine trees and secluded coves. Fishing, bird watching, boating, sailing, and camping are all popular things to do here, and sign-posted hiking, moto trailing and 4x4 trails also weave through the rugged terrain.

Time to try out the local cuisine!

In Catalonia the quality local meat cooked 'a la parrilla' and Mediterranean seafood dishes are easy to find. Locals eat lunch between 2pm and 4pm and dinner only really gets going after 9pm, so keep it in mind if you are looking to soak up the atmosphere.

Barcelona city centre itself is where you will have the biggest choice of local and international restaurants, whether you are looking for typical Catalan or Spanish dishes or Japanese. The city has boomed over the past two decades and caters for everyone, with pretty much every kind of cuisine available.

Fish and seafood Catalan dishes

Esqueixada de bacalla

The main ingredient in this dish is cod (bacalla), a widely eaten fish here in Catalonia. The chef will season and salt the cod and shred it to get the proper consistency. Then he will add some chopped tomatoes, red peppers and onions plus black olives and a healthy drop of olive oil and, voila, it's an amazing refreshing dish.

Arros negre

The chef will use the squid's "ink" to flavour this recipe. It is very popular around the coast of Spain. But a black dish?

In the North of Catalonia you can have this dish served with black rice cooked in the same pot as paella. Squid is the man ingredient, together with the rice. A good arros negre is always served with allioli, a homemade garlic mayonnaise.

Tasty Fideua

This is another popular dish, which is widely eaten around the Catalan coast. Very similar to a seafood paella but made with noodles instead of rice. The chef will add Monkfish, squid and prawns and cook it in a fish and shellfish stock. The waiter will serve fideua in a spectacular way and will bring it on the flat paella dish it is cooked in.

Bacalla amb samfaina

Another fish dish which is popular around Catalonia. The chef will salt the cod and cook it in a tomato sauce. The accompaniment is a sauce made with vegetables, onion, garlic and tomatoes very similar to the Castilian pisto or the French ratatouille. If you like, vegetables and fish, try this original combination and don't forget the bread to soak it all up.

Mandonguilles amb sipia

A superb flavoursome Catalan creation. Here the chef will make some fresh meat balls and cook them with cuttlefish in a rich gravy sauce. Very tasty and unique. This combination of meat and seafood is very common in Catalonia and is known as 'mar I muntanya', meaning, sea and mountain. Pollastre amb llagosta is another variety, definitely the kings of Catalan "surf & turf".

Flavoursome Canelons

Cannelloni is considered a typical Barcelona dish. The chef will stew some meat and then wrap it in tubes of pasta. He will then top the cannelloni with a bechamel sauce. There are different variations and Canelons d'anec, duck cannelloni, is one not to be missed.

Faves a la Catalana

This popular dish is made mainly with fava beans, stock and a small bit of botifarra negra, a Catalan blood pudding. The chef will cook it in an earthen ware dish and serve with either a Catalan fresh salad or local vegetables. This is a filling, tasty and hearty dish.

Delicious Fricando

For this delicious meal, the chef will slice some veal and cook it in a rich sauce with seasonal mushrooms and serve with a Catalan fresh salad. This is a great way for food lovers to taste traditional Catalan food in Barcelona.

Sweet and savoury Anec amb peres

This is a dish that demonstrates the way Catalans mix sweet and savoury beautifully. Your chef will slice pieces of duck, then slowly cook it in a special Catalan sauce and it is served with peeled pears! This is a very special deliciously tasty dish, which you really must try.

Traditional Tasty Catalan Paella

No trip to Barcelona would be complete without a Catalan paella! Here the chef will prepare a variety of seafood's, add peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions. An alternative is to have it made with beans and meat instead of fish and rice.

'Crema Catalana', the famous local dessert

An original tasty Catalan dish, the 'ocrema Catalana'! Your chef will make a creamy vanilla custard with caramelised sugar topping and blow torched the top until it forms a glassy crust, similar to "creme brulee." It is basically the same- the Catalans will tell you they created theirs first, the French argue that they did. Either way, once you crack the crunchy top layer with your spoon, you'll enjoy this lovely desert!

You can't have delicious food without something to drink

One of the great local tipples is a nice glass of Cava, a sparkling white wine which is comparable in quality to Champagne. There are plenty of good beers and wines to sample too!

Catalan Beers una cervezita.

Catalonia produces some fine local beers. The most common of these cervezas is Moritz. Glops is another local brew made in the Catalan region. Rosita is brewed south of Barcelona in Tarragona.

Estrella is the main sponsor of the Marc VDS Team in MotoGP and Moto2. With Franco Morbidelli Tom Lüthi Álex Márquez and

So, out of loyalty we drank quite a bit of it whilst in the Tavernas!

Other Catalan Craft Beers are made by the local breweries of Barcelona; Ratpenat Cervesers, Almogaver, Companyia Cervesera Montseny, Ca l'Arenys, Marina Cervesa Artesana, and Masia Agullons, Almogaver.

Catalan wines

The area has a long winemaking tradition and was the birthplace of Catalan sparkling wine. There is a lot to love about a cool glass of delightfully clean and refreshing cava. Unsurprisingly, the very drinkable cava goes well with practically anything.

Catalan wines tend to be full bodied and high in alcohol, due to the grape varieties and the region's warm weather conditions. These include Clos Mogador, Mas d'en Gil, Vall Llach, Genium Celler, Scala Dei, Alvaro Palacios, Can Blau, Joan d'Anguera, Portal del Montsant, Celler Pinol, Edetaria, Clos Pons, Mas Blanch I Jove, Mas Foraster, Marques de Gelida and Pares Balta.

Interesting to know

Barcelona is twinned (sister cities) with 23 other towns and cities around the world including Athens, Boston, Dublin, Istanbul, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco and Shanghai.

The city's famous 'Las Ramblas' avenue, is made up of five separate shorter avenues which flow as one street: Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Caputxins and Rambla de Santa Monica.

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- Roland Potter