The Serra del Montseny, a towering granite mountain range with lushly forested slopes, looms southwest of Girona. On the west of the range, 34km southwest of Olot and easily accessible as a day-trip from Barcelona, is the amiable, well-preserved town of Vic. Vic is considered one of the more quintessential Catalan centres, both because the locals have especially strong Catalan pride, and also because it’s near the Ripoll area, cradle of Catalan history. Vic was once the capital of an Iberian tribe, and in the second century became a Roman settlement – you’ll spy various Roman remains, including parts of a temple, scattered around town.
Vic also hosted a prosperous medieval market, and the town has a yearly Mercat Medieval de Vic (vicfires.cat) in its old quarter in early December, celebrating its medieval past. Vic is defined by its elegant, enormous Plaça Mayor, ringed by historic, porticoed buildings, which features a colourful food market twice a week (Tues & Sat) – and if there’s one thing to buy, it’s Vic’s famous sausages (llonganissa or fuet), which are heralded throughout Catalunya and perfect for tossing into the suitcase to bring home.