Located just one hour away from Barcelona by AVE (High-speed rail), Lleida is idyllically situated on the River Segre. The City is nestled amongst two emblematic hills and has enough charm to wet the appetite of any city loving explorer. Its surrounding region, the province of Lleida, also boasts some of the finest scenery in Catalonia. Stretching from the dramatic mountain landscapes of the Pyrenees in the north to the fertile plains of its southern region, Lleida has all you could want from a weekend break. So whether you are after a calm city break, a nature ramble, or a trip to one of the many fine vineyards the region has to offer, let me point you in the right direction.
In recent history, the city of Lleida has become one of the most popular destinations in Spain but it’s earliest recorded settlements date back as far as 600BC when the area was populated by an Iberian tribe known as the Ilergetes. Throughout it’s rich and vibrant history the city has been home to the Romans, the Visigoths, and the Moors, and traces of these periods can still be found today as you walk around the city.
La Seu Vella
Start your weekend in Lleida with a visit to Catedral de Santa Maria de La Seu Vella. This former Gothic Cathedral was turned into a military citadel by King Philip V and today it serves as the city’s most defining monument, an enchanting Cathedral nestled inside of a military fortress. With its octagonal bell tower that reaches 60.00 meters up, it is a perfect landmark for your orientation. After walking amongst the old castle walls why not take a stroll through the gardens, and imagine Lleida as it might have been in ancient times.
Banks of the River Segue
From the hill of Seu Vella take a stroll down to the banks of the river. Where you will find some of the city’s most emblematic and majestic buildings. Also located on the banks is Parc dels Camps Elisis, a beautiful park with French gardens, a musical bandstand, and a theatre cafe. This is the perfect spot in which to admire the splendor of La Seu Vella.
When peace and relaxation have been fully achieved, head on to the city’s Main street where you will find a wealth of shopping opportunities, and perhaps more importantly, plenty of options for sampling local cuisine. Amongst Carrer Major’s terraced bars and vibrant cafes, you will find Museu d’Art Jaume Morera de Lleida, a bastion of modern and contemporary art in this historic city.
Culture and Modernism
For the culturally intrigued, Lleida boasts a number of galleries, museums, and modernist buildings. With its impressive exhibition spaces, La Panera Visual arts center is a great place to find innovative and technologically striking works. For those interested in history, head to Museu de Lleida where you will discover key artifacts that trace right back through the city’s historical roots, leaving you with a tangible feel of the city through the ages. For modernist splendor head to the Escorxador Municipal Theatre, designed by Francesc de Paula Morera i Gatell back in the early 20th century. Also along Carrer Major you will find Casa Magí Llorens, with its striking corner facade and floral balconies it provides an incredible example of modernist architecture.
Wineries and Gastronomy
There are over 43 wineries in the region of Lleida, some are located close to the city and others are situated in the Pyrenees to the north. You can explore many of them by taking the famous Lleida Wine route, for more information head first to the Lleida Wine Route Association’s website. If you fancy trying a simple tipple in the center of the city, why not check out Bodega Rovira (Carrer Segrià, 24). This traditional bar, full of Catalan flair and vibrancy, is a wonderful place to try some local wines. The region also boasts an impressive range of local gastronomic delicacies, do not leave town without trying the famed Cargols! For traditional Catalan cuisine head to LaHuerta located right in the center of town on Avinguda de Tortosa, 7
Beyond the city
The province is packed with real gems; surrounded by charming villages and rich rural delights, a trip outside of the city is well worth it. Head to Vall de Boi to discover Romanesque churches and high mountain ranges. The natural beauty of Parque Nacional de Aigüestrotes will leave you longing for more weekends in which to explore this fascinating region!