Besalú announced itself as a contender for the title of the most attractive little town the moment I caught the sight of it from across river Fluvià. It definitively has one of the most impressive approaches, highlighted by its famous bridge that dates from 12th century. My photographic skills do not properly convey the majesty of the perspective, but here are a few shots.
The gateway tower divides the curved bridge in two halves.
The river is shallow and not navigable. It offers a natural parkside extension to the medieval historic town.
The largest square of the village, Plaça Prat de Sant Pere, hosted a flee market on the day of my visit. Early in the day, it still felt open and spacious, vendor stalls notwithstanding.
The main church in town is located on this same square. Monestir de Sant Pere de Besalú was concecrated in 1003.
It certainly looks the age, both outside and inside.
Also on the main square is the delightful small museum of miniatures. It displays less than 50 exhibits in total, but each one is a masterpiece of such skill and detail that you will not want to step away.
The museum has three collections. The first are the miniatures shown above (1:12 scale). The second are mini-miniatures that require a magnifying glass to properly appreciate. They are in 1:100 to 1:500 scale range. Photographing through the magnifying glass is nearly one challenge too much for me, but I managed to capture a few reasonably well.
Finally, there is a collection of micro-miniatures, at 1:100,000 scale. They are literally creations that fit in an eye of a needle. Seeing them requires strong microscopes that make it practically impossible to photograph with standard equipment. I got this circus fly on the top of a pinhead, but no other workable shots.
Getting back to walking around Besalú, I have to say that main streets are slightly over-commercialized for my taste. Nonetheless, you get eye-pleasing views every few steps of the way.
The last shot above is of the lower part of town, by the river, that used to be a Jewish Quarter in medieval times. There are remains of a synagogue and a ritual bath, but they were not accessible during my visit.
Crediting more modern times, an art gallery announces itself with a Dalí-esque chair on the wall.
A charcuterie on main street has a small free museum of traditional kitchenware. I took a quick look.
Strangely enough for a town this pretty, there are some signs of neglect in the houses on main streets. This building has tourist shops on the ground level, but the upper floors seem abandoned.
Different perspectives of the bridge simply ask to be taken from various viewpoints along the river.
A postcard-pretty town, Besalú. It is well worth a dedicated day trip in any Catalan itinerary.