LLEIDA (Lérida), at the heart of a fertile plain in inland Catalunya, has a rich history. First a municipium under the Roman Empire and later the centre of a small Arab kingdom, it was reconquered by the Catalans and became the seat of a bishopric in 1149. Little of those periods survives in today’s city but there is one building of outstanding interest, the old cathedral, which is sufficient justification in itself to visit. Several interesting museums and a steep set of old-town streets will easily occupy any remaining time. Rooms are easy to come by, and the students at the local university fill the streets and bars on weekend evenings, including at the breezy Plaça de Sant Joan, in good-natured throngs.

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