Spain: Birds & Art in Catalonia: Apr 14—22, 2016
A Birds, Nature & Culture Tour
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Sagrada Família— Photo: Rick Wright
Barcelona, one of the great cities of the Mediterranean and of Europe, is our base for a relaxed exploration of Catalonia’s uniquely vibrant natural and cultural landscapes.
Iberia’s distinctive flora and fauna and its geographic isolation from the rest of Europe can make it seem a world apart, virtually a miniature continent unto itself. Catalonia, occupying the northeasternmost corner of the peninsula, is the most biologically diverse region in all of Portugal and Spain. Within a hundred miles of the capital, Barcelona, birders can experience freshwater wetlands and the open Mediterranean, coastal scrub and the subalpine forests of the Pyrenees, and the steppe-like fields of eastern Spain. This is the land of such beauties as European Bee-eaters and Red-legged Partridges, where almost 400 bird species have been recorded in a compact area the size of Maryland. Catalonia is still the only geographic unit in Europe where a single party has recorded more than 200 species in a single day.
Aiguamolls Natural Park, Catalonia, Spain— Photo: Rick Wright
Our own pace will be more relaxed—largely because we know that even in this so bird-rich region there’s more to life than just birding. We’ll be combining our excursions into Catalonia’s natural history with experiences of one of the richest cultural landscapes Europe can offer, from Greek and Roman ruins to secluded medieval churches and the idiosyncratic and bizarrely beautiful art nouveau architecture of the modernistes. Barcelona’s museums exhibit paintings and sculptures by Dalí, Miró, and Picasso, and the wonders of Catalan food and wine ensure that the body is as well-nourished as the soul.
This leisurely tour, based at a single hotel with no changes, gives us a chance to discover a country through its culture and its cuisine, at the same time as we get to know the resident and migrant birds of a very special corner of Europe.
Accommodations and cuisine very good; birding and sightseeing mixed on most days, often simultaneously at a single site; perfect for birders and their non-birding spouses, partners, and traveling companions; warm, generally dry weather.