Vilanova i la Geltrú is a historic and picturesque coastal town with a rich cultural heritage. It has a unique blend of traditional charm and modern amenities, making it an appealing destination for both locals and visitors. In this article, we will discover Vilanova i La Geltrú and the best things to do in this coastal city of Catalonia, Spain.
What to expect from Vilanova i La Geltrú
Even the real Vilanova is more complex than that, for tourists we can explain the town among three different neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character. Barri Marítim, or the maritime quarter, with its old fishermen’s houses; the historic center of Vilanova i la Geltrú with noble houses at Art Nouveau and the medieval quarter of La Geltrú, with its narrow streets and a quaint atmosphere. These three parts of the town showcase the town’s history and preserve its architectural heritage.
Vilanova i la Geltrú has a strong maritime tradition, and fishing has played a significant role in its history. In the center, the local market, Mercat de Sant Antoni, is a vibrant place where you can find fresh seafood and other local products. In addition to its maritime heritage, Vilanova i la Geltrú is also known for its cultural and artistic scene.
The town hosts various festivals, including the Festa Major, a week-long celebration filled with parades, concerts, and traditional dances. Besides that, the town’s coastal location provides ample opportunities for enjoying the beach and engaging in water activities, where visitors can relax, swim, or take a leisurely walk along the shore.
What to do in Vilanova i La Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú is known for its beautiful beaches. Vilanova i La Geltrú has eight beaches which are El far, Ribes Roges, Platja d’Andarró, Platja de la República, Sant Gervasi, Aiguadolç, Platja Llarga i Ibersol. It is possible to spend a day relaxing on the golden sands of the two most popular ones, Platja de Ribes Roges and Platja del Far. You can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or taking a leisurely stroll along the shore.
Platja de Ribes Roges
Probably the best beach of Vilanova i La Geltrú and the one where I spent my childhood. It offers golden sand, clear blue waters, and a serene atmosphere. With its picturesque views and pleasant surroundings, it’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying a relaxing day by the Mediterranean Sea. Nowadays, it counts with three beach bars, (Es: chiringuitos) Ibiza Chiringuito, Playeros i Havana Blue on service from 1st of May to 30th September.
Platja del Far
The beach of Far de Sant Cristòfol is located in a residential area surrounding the lighthouse of Sant Cristòfol, which guides sailors along the Costa de Barcelona and Costa Daurada. It is also near the 14th-century hermitage of Sant Cristòfol, which was acquired by Eugeni d’Ors in 1944. He established the Far Academy there, where he gathered artists, philosophers, and writers of the time.
Barri Marítim offers a picturesque setting with its narrow streets, colorful houses, and a vibrant maritime atmosphere. The area is known for its fishing traditions, seafood restaurants, and a relaxing seaside promenade for strolling and enjoying the coastal views.
Torre Blava – Espai Guinovart
The tower was built in the last third of the 19th century as a defensive structure to protect the neighborhood from potential attacks, whether by sea or land. It is the only remaining tower of the three that once stood along the coastline. Throughout the 20th century, the tower has served various purposes, from a café-restaurant to a tourist information office. In the year 2000, Josep Guinovart transformed the old watchtower on the Passeig Marítim into a space dedicated to honoring the Mediterranean Sea and its people. The ticket entrace is 2 euros or 5 if you want to combine with Espai El Far.
Espai El Far
The Far Space is a museum facility dedicated to preserving and showcasing the valuable maritime heritage of Vilanova i la Geltrú. It is a museum where visitors can learn about the seafaring people, discover marine curiosities, rediscover old images of Vilanova’s beach, and also enjoy the views of the Mediterranean Sea from the gardens. It offers three exhibitions including the old personal museum of the owner of famous Carpa Juanita.
This is the old seafront of Vilanova. It has changed a lot along the years but there remain some of the most beautiful maritime façades of the town. It is full of bars and restaurants where everybody can find an appropiate place to enjoy life.
The old center of Vilanova i la Geltrú is a well-preserved medieval architecture, narrow streets, and charming squares. The best thing to do in this quarter is to walk and discover the old bars and cafés.
Plaça de la Vila
This is the main square, where you can see the Town Hall. It is a lively and bustling square in the heart of the city. Surrounded by historic buildings and cafes, it serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors, hosting events, markets, and social activities throughout the year.
La Rambla de Vilanova
The Rambla of Vilanova i la Geltrú is a vibrant boulevard in the city center. Lined with trees, shops, and restaurants, it offers a lively atmosphere and is a popular spot for strolling, socializing, and enjoying outdoor cafes. The Rambla is known for its charming character and hosts various events and cultural activities.
Museu del Ferrocarril de Catalunya
The Railway Museum of Catalonia, located in Vilanova i la Geltrú, showcases the region’s history of railways and is a popular attraction for train enthusiasts.
Train enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the Railway Museum of Catalonia. This museum showcases a collection of historic locomotives, carriages, and other railway artifacts. You can even take a ride on a vintage train and learn about the history of railways in Catalonia.
Libray-Museum Víctor Balaguer
The historic library-museum Víctor Balaguer Cultural is cultural treasure featuring diverse collections of art, sculptures, manuscripts, and books.
La Geltrú Neighborhood
Explore the Geltrú neighborhood, known for its traditional fishermen’s houses and narrow streets. Visit the local market, Mercat de Sant Antoni, where you can find fresh produce, seafood, and other local products.
Castle of La Geltrú
The Castle of Geltrú is a former castle built in the Gothic style between the 12th and 15th centuries. It was later restored in a historicist style in the 20th century. Currently, it serves as the headquarters for the Comarcal Archive of the Garraf region in Barcelona, Spain. Located within the old nucleus of Geltrú, in the municipality of Vilanova i la Geltrú, it is situated near the parish church of Santa Maria de la Geltrú.
Traditions, Festivals and Events
Vilanova i la Geltrú hosts several festivals and events throughout the year. One of the most famous is the Festa Major, a week-long celebration featuring parades, concerts, fireworks, and traditional dances. Carnaval of Vilanova is also celeable for its colorful parades, lively music, extravagant costumes, and joyful celebrations with traditional groups (comparses) throwing sweets to each other at a symbolic war. In summer, there are plenty of music festivals till very late night almost every weekend. Check the local event calendar to see if there are any festivals happening during your visit.
Indulge in the local cuisine of Vilanova i la Geltrú. Sample fresh seafood dishes like paella and suquet de peix (fish stew), along with local and traditional Catalan dishes like xató. Visit the local restaurants and bars to experience the flavors of the region.
Our favourite restaurants in Vilanova i la Geltrú
- La Gambarrada: A beachfront restaurant known for its seafood dishes and Mediterranean cuisine.
- Arrosseria Restaurant Le Coq & La Mer: Offers a wide variety of fresh seafood and traditional Catalan dishes in a charming setting. In La Rambla at the perfect location.
- La fabrica: A family-run restaurant serving traditional Catalan cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. The best for rices and paellas in town.
- Chai Indian Cuisine: This is not the classic local touristy place but the food is excellent and the prices reasonable. Excellent choice to skip seafood.
- Kyoka: The best Asian ever. Menu or buffer at excellent quality.
Where to stay in the place
Vilanova i la Geltrú offers a range of hotels, from budget options to more luxurious establishments. Some popular hotels are:
- Hotel Atenea Park: Only 50 meters far from the beach. It has all you need in every apartment to make your stay confortables. One of the most successful and good value for your money.
- Hotel Solvi: A classic chic. Solvi Hotel offers rooms with satellite TV, private bathroom and a private balcony on the seafront of Vilanova i la Geltrú. It is worth for a romantic stay. The restaurant is one of the classics as well.
- Hotel Cèsar: It has the perfect Mediterranean vibe you should not miss. The location is excellent ans the price is reasonable for the money.
Bed and Breakfasts and Campings
There are several charming bed and breakfasts in Vilanova i la Geltrú that offer a cozy and personalized experience. Casa La Remunta and Villa Catalana are examples of B&Bs in the area. Many vacation rental options are available in Vilanova i la Geltrú, including apartments and villas. Websites like Hotellook or Booking.com provide a variety of choices to suit different preferences and budgets. If you prefer camping, there are campgrounds in and around Vilanova i la Geltrú, such as Camping Vilanova Park.
How to get to Vilanova i la geltrú
The nearest major airport is Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN), located approximately 35 kilometers northeast of Vilanova i la Geltrú. From the airport, you can take a taxi, use ride-sharing services, or catch a train to Vilanova i la Geltrú.
Vilanova i la Geltrú has its own train station, which is well-connected to Barcelona and other nearby cities. Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, operates regular train services to and from Vilanova i la Geltrú. You can check the schedules and purchase tickets online or at the train station.
Vilanova i la Geltrú is easily accessible by car via the C-32 or AP-7 highways. The town is located approximately 45 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, and the drive takes about 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. You can rent a car easily to get to Vilanova by clicking here.
Several bus companies provide regular services to Vilanova i la Geltrú from Barcelona and other neighboring towns. Check the websites or visit the bus terminals in Barcelona for schedules and ticket information.
Vilanova i la Geltrú has a marina, making it possible to arrive by boat if you have access to private or charter vessels. The marina offers mooring facilities and services for boats.
Enjoy our discounts in Vilanova i la Geltrú
Useful information about Vilanova i la Geltrú
How far is Vilanova i la Geltrú from Barcelona?
Vilanova i la Geltrú is located approximately 45 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, making it about a 45-minute drive depending on traffic conditions.
Is Vilanova i la Geltrú safe?
Vilanova i la Geltrú is generally considered a safe city. Like any other place, it is advisable to exercise normal precautions and be aware of your surroundings while visiting.
When is the best time to visit Vilanova i la Geltrú?
The best time to visit Vilanova i la Geltrú is during the summer months (June to September) when the weather is warm and ideal for enjoying the beaches and outdoor activities.
Best experiences in Vilanova i la geltru
Vilanova i la Geltru has everything a visitor needs to have a great experience. Its natural beauty draws visitors from around the world- along with its numerous important sites and cultural heritage. As far as things to do in the place go, there are plenty of activities available for visitors.
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