Vic: A Medieval City in Catalonia

Vic makes a great day trip from Barcelona as it’s so easy to get to and is full of interesting things to see and do.

I first visited Vic in December for the medieval market and vowed to return to see it in a more present-day state. It was certainly different this time round. The narrow streets and small squares that were once jam-packed with stalls and people dressed up in medieval costume, were now completely empty. However, it was nice to see it so peaceful and gave me more time to concentrate on the buildings and city itself.

What to do in Vic

Vic Market

You can visit Vic market every Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The main square is transformed into a hive of activity. You’ll find an endless amount of clothing, food, and even live chickens to purchase. It has a lively and bustling atmosphere with both tourists and locals alike enjoying the sights and sounds of the market.

IMG_5066aIMG_5110a IMG_5111aIf you happen to stray from the market you will immediately find a complete contrast to the hubbub behind you. With nothing but the streets and buildings to keep you company as you make your way around the maze of narrow lanes to the river. And despite the dilapidated and long abandoned leather works by the riverside it is well worth a look.

IMG_5165aOther places of interest

The Cathedral inside was painted by Josep Maria Sert, a famous painter in Catalonia. His tomb is also located in the cathedral and, in great contrast to his rich paintings, is very simple and hidden away in the courtyard.

IMG_5233aRight next to the Cathedral is the Episcopal Museum which boasts some of the best pieces of medieval art in the world. It is a must for anyone interested in history, art, art history and the history of art.

IMG_5248aAnother important historical monument in Vic is the Roman temple dating from the 2nd century. Believe it or not it was previously hidden inside a castle owned by the Veguers family. It was then discovered in 1882 and found in incredible condition. The entrance and columns you see today have been reconstructed.

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Delicious Catalan Sausages

Warning – this is not for veggie-lovers. Vic is famously known for its sausage and a visit to Casa Riera Ordeix is highly recommended! It is the only place in Vic which still makes sausages by hand, whereas other places use industrial methods.

IMG_5198aOn the tour, you are explained how the sausage is made from start to finish. They have used the same method since 1852.

The meat is selected according to the type of sausage being produced. Female pigs are used for certain sausages including the salchichón de Vic (Vic sausage) and the male pigs are used for others such as the fuet, a long thin sausage. The meat is prepared and mixed with a blend of sea salt and black pepper. Then it is stuffed into natural casings. Now the fun begins. The sausages are hung up to dry. It is very important in the drying process to control the temperature and humidity. This is done by simply opening and closing the windows. The sausages are also rotated around the room as those located closer to the window tend to dry quicker. It certainly takes a lot of work, but the end result is worth it.

IMG_5216-1aDrying the meat can take six months depending on the weather and temperature during the curing period. This is why climate change is making it more difficult with the traditional method. Summer is starting sooner and so they often have to take the sausages downstairs a lot earlier than before to maintain cooler conditions. However, they are determined to continue to keep this traditional method alive that has been going for 6 generations!

After feeling pretty hungry from all the talk about sausages, you can finally taste some at the end of the tour. A range of different sausages are spread out including fuet and llonganissa. And you are also given an opportunity to buy the product which makes a great gift or souvenir.

Places to eat in Vic

Cal’U – In this palatial setting you would think that the prices would be astronomical and one to avoid. However, for a truly delicious three course lunch you can eat for €25. It is a bit more expensive than the regular Menu del día but in my opinion completely worth it!

Other places which come recommended and I shall have to try the next time I go are; Casino de Vic, Cal Veguer and El Jardinet.

How to get to Vic from Barcelona

It is very easy to get to Vic by train from Barcelona and only takes about one hour and 15 minutes. By car it takes just an hour from Barcelona.

IMG_5250aIf you are able to visit Vic in December, you cannot miss the fantastic medieval market. You will find the whole town completely packed with people, a variety of seasonal stalls and is a lot of fun for all ages.

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