Placa Major

Whether you’re a tourist or an expat, a short trip in Spain usually involves a seaside town or bustling city. Although Catalonia has some truly breathtaking seaside gems, there are many wonderful mountain, and national park regions.

Ski resorts, nature hikes, mountain biking, and historic towns, are just a few possibilities that offer another type of vacation experience.

Recently, we visited an ancient city of approximately 45,000 called Vic. Rich with history, architecture, shops, restaurants, and many walking trails, Vic is a perfect choice for an autumn day trip or short stay.

Vic is located about an hour’s drive (70 km) northwest from Placa Catalunya. Although there are many great nature walking trails nearby we ran out of time. However, on our next visit, we will walk one of the 2-3 km trails first and then visit the town.

We made our way to the Placa Major where there was a busy Saturday market in progress. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, artisan jams and sauces, specialty mushrooms, and local vendors including a health food store shown above. Aside from food, there was a huge selection of clothing, houseware, and accessory vendors.

These markets are very common throughout Spain and usually, sell the same products with a few changes most likely due to demand. For instance, I have never seen a mushroom vendor before, but have seen flowers and herbs or wooden bowls and vases at other markets.

Vic is definitely a place for history and architectural enthusiasts. With its ancient origins, tumultuous past, museums, architecture, and ruin sites; a true history buff could spend days here.

Episcopal Museum of Vic

Of course, none of our trips would be complete if we didn’t stop at a few vegan or vegetarian establishments. Although Vic does not have a fully vegan restaurant, they do have around 5 or 6 that are flexitarian. These restaurants have extensive vegan and vegetarian menus but also include some fish and chicken.

We visited Agape and La Reciclaria. Two great places within a short distance of each other. If you have time, I highly recommend both.

Agape restaurant

features daily menus with multiple choices of starters, mains, and desserts for under 20 euros. As well, you can purchase items a la carte in large or small quantities. There is a good size dining area; however, at the moment, it is takeout only.

We chose a mushroom tart, curried seitan spring rolls, and a squash/chocolate slice for dessert. This would be an excellent place to cater a special event, wedding or family party. The food was delicious, creative, and beautifully presented. On the day we visited, the owner had been busy at work since 4 am, making these fantastic dishes and cakes.

Aside from fresh daily offerings, the restaurant also sells food products and a good selection of health and cooking-related books.

La Reciclaria restaurant

is such a great space with so much to see. From the eclectic tables, and chairs to the indoor treehouse, everywhere you look offers pleasant views of whimsy and creativity. The staff was super friendly and attentive and the menu had many clearly marked vegan options.

However, our toddler could not sit still so we weren’t able to stay very long. We will try again on our next visit to Vic and from what I could see this place would be perfect for lunch or even dessert and coffee.

We have visited Vic a few times and I always leave wanting to see more. There is definitely a vibe here. Shadowy cobblestone lanes weaving in and out, seeming at one minute to lead nowhere and the next moment easily towards the Placa Major.

The shops especially for kids are magical, with the most whimsical unique toys, and the restaurants and cafes are robust serving recipes and fare they have made through the ages. I think most of Catalonia’s small cities, large towns have a lot of character and confidence. No shrinking violets or indecisive city planning here.

Maybe it’s the long history or the importance of cultural identity but I always feel like I’m visiting someone else’s well-planned, well-maintained life with no need for me to do or say anything. Just relax and enjoy the fruits of hundreds of years of effort.

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