This is an article about Vic, the heart of Central Catalonia, and the reasons why to visit the town.
Vic is located in the proper middle of Catalonia, halfway between the sea and the Pyrenees and only seventy kilometers from Barcelona. Vic is a demographic, administrative and services center of Osona region and the surrounding geographical area.
Let’s see our 10 reasons why you should not miss a visit to this town:
1. Urban vibe in the inner countryside
The long history of Vic is present all over the streets and the squares of the historic center. The cathedral churches and the other historical buildings that formed part of the ancient bishopric’s allodium were founded in the 11th century in the lower part of the historical center, close to the river.
This heritage coexists in harmony with the new urban growth, which shows the dynamism of a cosmopolitan city. Vic can be a vivid city, very young because of the consolidation of the University of Vic. The city is the location for markets and regional conferences and the growth of industrial area has brought jobs to town. Therefore, the city has been sustainably widened, combining new and old in a nice way.
2. An excellent route along the history of the city
The historical center of the city has a signposted route that allows visiting thirty buildings of historical, architectural or artistic interest, on a path provided by VICTURISME.
That route includes the Roman Temple, the 14th century walls; the Cathedral, Queralt Bridge, the main square Plaça del Mercadal and the Town Hall. This fascinating route is also a great way to visit the city’s art galleries and museums, as well as the Episcopal Museum of Vic, which boasts one of the best collections of Romanesque and Gothic art in Europe.
3. A stunning Major Square
Plaça del Mercadal is an unpaved square which remains covered with dirt. The buildings that currently surround the square do not keep any architectural uniformity, so you can see from Renaissance to Baroque facades. Under them, there are arcaded galleries with high ceilings designed in old times to help on the passage of horse riders.
Don’t miss to have a drink in any of the terraces around the square. That would be a very nice experience and the best way to catch the local vibe. In one of the corners, there is a tiny sculpture about a local character, El Merma, which is a popular meeting point.
4. An awesome rediscovered Roman Temple
The Roman Temple, dating back to the beginning of the 1st century, is Vic’s most important historical monument.
The Roman Temple remained unknown for centuries since it was surrounded by and formed part of the Castle of Montcada family, which was built at the end of the 11th century. The walls of the Roman Temple were part of the interior courtyard of the castle and were recovered in 1882 on the demolition of the old building. During history the building has had different uses. It has been the residence of the Veguer (local chief magistrate) of Vic, it has been the headquarters of Cúria Reial (judicial headquarters of the city), city granary and even a prison.
5. A Jewish Quarter
At the end of the 13th century, these and other nearby streets, which have now disappeared, some Jewish families had their homes. It is known that there was a synagogue and a school and that they had a very intense activity as lenders, although they never came to form a very strong community.
6. Eclecticism in upon the history
In Rambla del Hospital and Rambla del Carme, the outskirts of the medieval town, the visitor can find a bridge in between the medieval town and the modern part of the city. There is possible to spot a diversity of styles in elegant old houses from 19th and early 20th century.
Vic as an important hub city in the center of Catalonia had its own industrial oligarchy and wealthy people of liberal professions. Those were modern and decided to build their houses in innovative styles at its moment. We can find modernism, neoclassic and just eclectic style. My tip is just to look around; some of them include the construction date on the façade.
7. Unbelievable sausages
This is not even a Vic pride but a Catalan gift from God. Fuet, llonganissa, secallona, somalla, espetec… are some of the names of traditional dried meat sausages you shouldn’t miss. Vic is known as the capital of many of those Catalan sausages.
In the old town there are plenty of old school shops where you can buy them. You can also taste some in any of the bars or restaurants around. We recommend to eat them with pa amb tomaquet, Catalan styled slices of bread with tomato. You won’t regret that.
8. Culture in capital letters
The rich cultural heritage of the city of Vic is manifested in its museums, especially the Episcopal Museum of Vic, which has one of the best collections of Romanesque and Gothic art in Europe, and the Museum of Leather Artistry, dedicated to the decorative and applied arts of leather.
In addition, in recent years Vic has become an essential place to visit to learn about the work of Josep M. Sert (1874-1945). This artist developed a pictorial work for which he was considered the best muralist of the 1930s.
9. Popular markets
Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in the Mercadal Square (Plaça Major) de Vic, which dates back to the 9th century, and currently occupies its entire surface with stalls where all kinds of products are sold. In December you can find stalls in Rambla del Carme for Christmas stuff.
Catalan open-air markets are loud but organized. Visiting one you will be able to get in the local popular culture.
10. A trip to a deep feeling: the Catalan independence movement
Vic is one of the hearts of the Catalan independence movement. Even we don’t support on Besides the Obvious any political movement or idea, we consider that it’s part of the local identity since, in town, is a very supported ideology, and therefore part of its culture.
In Vic, there is a dense concentration of flags and banners. Even in the Mercadal Square, nowadays you can spot many banners hanging on the walls with the faces of those Catalan leaders that are currently in prison, and some others that have escaped from the Spanish justice to the exile in foreign countries. We don’t support either the use of the public space for political matters or purposes. But since the flags and the banners are already there, we believe in the right of the visitor to watch around personally and make their own opinion about a controversy that is still much alive in some places.