Calella is a village in the county of Maresme. It is known as the tourist capital of the Costa del Maresme and is characterized by being a cosmopolitan and cheerful city with a typical Mediterranean climate. Calella is a city with almost 700 years of history. It has been, and still is today, a city open to the sea and the mountains, jealous of its history, of a past rich in facts and always open to Catalanness, which has become, over the years, a community. recipient of newcomers from many countries, culturally different, but with great personal and collective wealth. 50 km from Barcelona and Girona, its geographical location, as well as the communication routes, become a key factor in carrying out all kinds of excursions and activities. This fact makes it an ideal tourist destination.
The configuration of its urban fabric, with a large pedestrian and commercial area —as well as the disposition of 15 places, pleasant green spaces and a great offer of accommodation, make of Calella one of the most important tourist destinations of the country. An offer of nearly three kilometers in length of beaches and more than 180,000 m2 of clean golden sand, intensely blue waters, and natural areas — such as Parc Dalmau, Passeig de Manel Puigvert, Passeig de Garbí, El Far or Les Torretes—, make Calella a dynamic, modern and welcoming city, which allows the visitor to enjoy a destination with its own uniqueness.
For some years now, an ambitious process has been set in motion: to become a city of reference in sports, health, cultural and family tourism. The population’s clear commitment to sport and culture is demonstrated in a wide range of sports, cultural, artistic, leisure and family activities promoted by the City Council, as well as in the wide variety of facilities and disciplines. sports that can be practiced in the city.
Since January 2016, Calella has had the Tourism Museum, a unique museum proposal in the world that aims to show in an attractive, educational and participatory way, the history of tourism and its socio-cultural and economic effects globally. The city of Calella welcomes approximately 250,000 tourists a year, coming from Europe, mainly British and German.
From the 1st century BC, the progressive process of Romanization gave rise to numerous villas in the lower areas of the coast, connected by the Roman road that led to Barcino. These were agricultural mansions dedicated to the production of wheat, oil or wine. In Calella, the remains of a Roman villa that could be dated between the 1st and 1st centuries AD have been excavated in the hospital sector.
Apart from this, there is no other remarkable historical reference of the term throughout the first millennium of our era. After the Arab occupation, from the ninth century, the term was part of an extensive demarcation that went from Caldetes to Tordera. From the 11th century onwards, the existence of the Capaspre neighborhood is documented, integrated into the parish of Pineda, under the stately dependence of the castle of Montpalau. It consisted of a small number of farmhouses located at the top of the stream, with a defense tower and a couple of chapels, dedicated to Sant Quirze and Sant Elm.
The place name of Calella has been documented since the beginning of the 12th century. From then on, away from the Saracen danger, some residents of Capaspre built the first fishermen’s houses near the mouth of the stream.
There are two key dates that condition the birth of the grouped nucleus of Calella. The first is in 1327, when the king granted the privilege of holding a weekly market; and the other in 1338, when Viscount Bernat II of Cabrera, lord of Montpalau, granted a charter of settlement and franchises to the inhabitants of “all the villages in the place of Calella”, for which he established a collective personality under the name of ‘University of Calella in the municipality of Montpalau. This document sets the limits of the population (from the current Carrer de Romaní to the stream and from the sea to the Roser mountain). The privileges of the settlement charter, reaffirmed by the Cabreras in 1429, and the development of fishing, favored population growth and urban growth. From 1400 the mayor of Montpalau resided in the town,
The modern age
According to the census of 1497, the town of Calella had 35 inhabited houses, plus 9 homes in the neighborhoods of Capaspre and Vallderoure. During the 16th century, the town formed its urban fabric centered on the Plaza, where the market was held, and the streets of the Church, Jovara, de Mar (Bartrina), Batlle and La Clota, also known as the neighborhood of ‘in Salvador, for the large number of plots that this family owned there.
From that time several houses are conserved, many of them fortified by the danger that supposed the incursions of the Turkish and berberiscos privateers. In 1525, the pope authorized the creation of the parish of Calella, independent of Pineda, and three years later work began on the parish church. During the construction, the people of Calella received the sacraments in the chapel of Sant Elm, dedicated from the 19th century to Sant Quirze and Santa Julita. In 1564 the new church was consecrated and in 1599 the Cabreras granted new privileges by establishing the final organization of the municipal council, represented by juries and councilors, renewable annually, and dividing the inhabitants into three classes: affluent, artisans and day laborers.
After a long period of stagnation due to the wars and epidemics that ravaged the country during the seventeenth century, from 1714, after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, the town began a continuous process of growth and economic strength., going from 768 inhabitants in 1718 to 2,637 in 1787. At the same time, the traditional agricultural and fishing activities were expanded with the construction of ships and the production of lace or rands. The last third of the century, thanks to the liberalization of trade with the American colonies, was the golden age of overseas trade, which contributed decisively to the industrial development of the whole region. Emigration to new markets and the enrichment of many traders – the Americans- favored, with his return many years later, the economic development of the town.
According to the traveler Francisco de Zamora, who visited the region in 1790, Calella had about 550 houses, a fleet of 5 four-ton boats and 60 fishing boats; there were 370 men enrolled as seafarers and the making of laces employed nearly a thousand women. The traditional knitwear industry also developed at that time. In 1767 the first loom had arrived and in 1790 there were already more than 200, dedicated to the manufacture of silk and cotton socks.
Towards the middle of the 18th century the church collapsed, rebuilt shortly afterwards and enlarged from 1785. By the end of the century, many new streets had been added to the original core, while the major axes of development were the Church Street and Jovara Street.
Despite the wars and revolutions, industrial (textile) activity and transatlantic trade maintained their production. From 1854 the construction of large boats and fishing boats began. On August 1, 1861, the train officially arrived in Calella, although it had been stopping at a temporary stop since 1859. The population began a period of growth from 3500 inhabitants in 1860 to 4316 in 1900. The cause of this growth was the installation of the first steam-powered factories, which offset the upheaval of maritime trade caused by the loss of the colonies.
The first decades of the twentieth century were a time of splendor for Calella’s industry, which was cut short by the civil war. The decline of the textile sector went hand in hand with the spectacular development of tourism, especially from the 1960s onwards. This process is clearly reflected in demographics: strong growth between 1900 and 1930, stagnation between 1930 and 1960, and spectacular growth during the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1970s and until the mid-1990s, it was a very important tourist destination for Central European tourism (German, Dutch, Danish, English, French), and so it was popularly known as Calella dels Alemanys, as its population tripled during the high tourist season (which coincides with the end of spring, summer and the beginning of autumn). Currently, the variety of tourism has expanded, receiving visitors from virtually every country in Europe.
Trade is a very important economic factor in Calella. Its most central streets make up a large shopping center with a very varied offer and a rich mixed commercial with more than 1000 shops and services. The attraction of this shopping center lies in the combination of modernity of most of its shops with more traditional and original establishments. Centennial shops, local shops, high-quality shops and establishments with prestigious brands stand out, all of which generate a very important economic dynamism for the municipality. Calella also has the municipal market, open from Tuesday to Saturday, and a weekly market that is held on Saturdays, right in front of the municipal market. There remains an agricultural sector dedicated to strawberries. Of note is the association of wholesale fruit and vegetable companies and harvesters (UMAC).
The sectors that stand out with the most establishments are those of accessories for the person, services, food and catering, with a great gastronomic offer. The traders of Calella participate in a very active way in the dynamic agenda of activities and events of the municipality. The most outstanding commercial revitalization activities are La Botiga al Carrer, Calella is in Fashion, the Christmas Fair, children’s activities and street music, among others.
The service sector and specifically the tourism sector is clearly the engine of the municipality’s economy.Calella has been a tourist destination since the first tourists discovered the city, when the people of Calella lived on fishing and the countryside, first, and the textile industry, later. Over the years, tourism has become the engine of the city’s economy. To the natural elements such as the sun and the beach, attractions have been added such as sports tourism, which is one in which the main reason for the trip is the practice of some kind of sport or physical activity and the visit of the city for witness ‘in situ’ a competition or a sporting event, family tourism and cultural tourisml.
In recent years, Calella City Council has made a commitment to the organization of sporting and cultural events with an international dimension to position the municipality internationally as a destination for family and sports tourism. Since 2009 Calella has enjoyed the distinction of Sports Tourism Destination (DTE) for the promotion and marketing of its tourist offer related to the multi-sport offer, and in 2014 the Catalan Tourism Agency awarded Calella is the Family Tourism Destination certification, a certification that is granted to destinations that have a certified offer of accommodation, restaurants, and leisure and leisure establishments aimed at children.
Despite the spectacular transformation of the municipality from the sixties, Calella retains, in large part, the urban structure of its original core and the checkered layout of its first extension, described by the traveler Zamora in 1790, when he described the city as ” the funniest town we have seen on our trip, for the straightness and width of its streets, the regularity of its buildings, the cleanliness and cleanliness of the houses and streets… ”.
Very little remains of the population of the area before the birth of the town. Only Mas Salvador testifies to the importance of agriculture in the municipality’s economy for many centuries.
The most interesting part of the city is without a doubt the surroundings of Plaça de la Vila, where the market that gave rise to the subsequent urban growth was held from the 14th century. It is worth noting the various Gothic houses, which largely retain their original structure and decorative elements of the sixteenth century: vaulted portals, canopy windows with carved shields and remains of defensive matacans. Some of them have been carefully restored, while others need urgent renovation. In any case, this set of buildings is the most valuable part of the architectural heritage of Calella and an effort should be made to claim its importance, both from an artistic and historical point of view.
Within the same sector is the chapel of Sant Quirze i Santa Julita, from the 16th century, and not far away is the parish church of Santa Maria i Sant Nicolau, an 18th-century Baroque work that preserves the magnificent reliefs of Jean de Tours, from the altar of the original 16th century temple.
The Museum-Archive of Calella is housed in a 17th century house and is a good example of the tradition and work of various local artists. Of particular interest is the documentary collection preserved in the Historical Archive, nourished by the contribution of various families from Calella, with parchments that date back to the 11th century and that allow us to trace the history of the city from its origins.
The 18th and 19th centuries have left their mark on the religious foundations of the Capuchins and Lestonnac and on the emblematic ruins of the ancient optical communication towers.
And finally, the architecture of the twentieth century is expressed with its different aesthetic languages in a number of buildings at the beginning of the century, in the works of the former municipal architect, Jeroni Martorell, and especially in the huge complex of the old Llobet-Guri factory, part of which is currently municipally owned.
All this constitutes a remarkable patrimonial set, generally little known and divulged, with elements of an interest that goes beyond the strictly local frame.
Parish Church of Santa Maria i Sant Nicolau
In 1525 Calella obtained from Pope Clement VII the bull that granted him the right to become an independent parish. The construction of the new temple was entrusted to the Barcelona master builder Pere Suarís in 1539. Later the work was entrusted to the builder Antoni Mateu, but his untimely death forced him to hire the famous sculptor and master builder Jean de Tours. who died in Calella in 1563 leaving the work unfinished. Finally, the masters Joan Soler, from Calella, and Perris Rohat, a Frenchman living in Mataró, were commissioned to complete the temple. The new church was consecrated in 1564.
The Baroque-style façade by Jean de Tours consists of a 16th-century stone altarpiece in the Plateresque style, with the heads of the twelve apostles. In the niche is Sant Nicolau de Bari, under whose name, together with that of Santa Maria, the parish was consecrated.
Chapel of Sant Quirze and Santa Julita
At the end of the 14th century Calella had a chapel dedicated to Sant Elm, near the beach, which was converted into a parish in 1528, while the new church of Santa Maria i Sant Nicolau was being built. In March 1820, the patrons of Calella, Sant Quirze and Santa Julita, were welcomed in the chapel of Sant Elm due to the collapse of the hermitage located in the Capaspre stream, changing its name.
Can Galceran (can Giol)
Began its construction in 1430, it was enlarged in later dates through various land purchases, and the whole can be considered a work of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It was the manor house of the Monet Ballester lineage (15th century) and later Galceran (17th century). The elements to highlight are the round-pointed portal, the Renaissance windows, the talking shield (a galceran, shrub) and the matacán on the main door. The classic sgraffito imitating ashlars is very deteriorated.
Can Salvador de Plaça
Splendid house with a gabled roof, built in the 14th century. This house can be considered as one of the first to form the current town of Calella around the market. Its most outstanding elements are its Renaissance portal, the decoration of the windows and the defensive matacán on the corner of Bartrina Street, the street that faced the sea. It is currently the headquarters of the Municipal Library.
Can Bartrina Manor
House of the Coma de Capaspre, with shield on the door, and also of the Bataller and later of the Prim, notaries of Barcelona. Its unique elements are the portal, the windows, its classic sgraffito and the defensive tower to protect the façade, with stone corners and crowned with a matacán of which only the corbels that supported it remain. The whole, together with the defense tower, was completed in the 16th century.
It used to be the home of the Pla family, which was linked to the Basart family at the beginning of the 18th century. The house is in Baroque style and part of the façade preserves the sgraffito with geometric motifs.
It is one of the most characteristic symbols of the city. It is located at the top of Capaspre, in the same place where an ancient medieval tower had been erected. It was inaugurated in 1859, with a lantern of olive oil light. The lighthouse housed the lighthouse keeper’s house on the ground floor, and both the lantern and the building have undergone several modifications over time. Since 2011 it has housed the Calella Lighthouse Interpretation Center, where the lighthouse’s communication relations with its surroundings are explained.
In the middle of the 19th century, two towers were built at the top of Capaspre, one for civilian use and the other for military use, intended for the transmission of optical signals using the optical telegraphy system.
Works by the architect Jeroni Martorell Terrats:
Dalmau Park Extensive green area located in the city center, designed in the late 20s of the twentieth century from the purchase of land on the estate of Can Pelayo by the City Council, then chaired by Jaume Dalmau. It is a unique place to walk and enjoy nature, with a botanical itinerary and places like the Font dels Lleons or the Pati de l’Ós. It annually hosts the Sardana Gathering and various cultural and festive events. An Anti-Aircraft Shelter was built inside the Park in 1937 to protect the population from the bombings of the Civil War.
Paseo de Manuel Puigvert Parallel to the beach, this tree-lined promenade with centuries-old banana trees stretches, which has become one of the city’s icons. Mayor Manuel Puigvert (1843-1913) beautified this environment, transforming it into a place of leisure and social relations, an ideal space to enjoy the shade and the sea breeze of the hot summer afternoons. Jeroni Martorell had a magnificent balustrade decorated with lanterns, cups and steps. The Passeig hosts, among many other activities, the Calella and Alt Maresme Fair and the Ironman sporting event.
Municipal market Noucentista style building built in 1927 in the old Plaça de l’Hostal (or del Rei). It consists of a single nave of 15×24 meters, and a porch on the main façade of Carrer Sant Joan. Next to it is a water tower similar to that of the slaughterhouse. The market had an annex of covered porches on the other side of the road, of the same style, now gone.
Old Costa i Fornaguera library The building, which follows the Noucentista style of the market and the slaughterhouse, was designed as a school group and was inaugurated in 1923, under the mayoralty of Narcís Baronet. Later, in 1931, the popular library was installed on the first floor. The ground floor is divided into two wings around a central courtyard, while the main entrance to the façade consists of a porch with classical columns supporting semicircular arches. It is currently the headquarters of the municipal nursery El Carrilet.
Old municipal slaughterhouse Noucentista construction, contemporary with the market and the library, inaugurated in 1927. Originally it had annexed constructions for the corrals, cold rooms or the house of the watchman. A water tower was also built next to it.
Museum of Tourism
The Calella Tourism Museum was born as a unique museum proposal in the world that aims to show in an attractive, didactic and participatory way the history of tourism and its socio-cultural and economic effects at a global level. The visit to the Museum of Tourism (MUTUR) proposes a walk through the history of tourism, counting from the routes of the first travelers and explorers to the present time of the sector. In addition, through the tour of the different spaces of the MUTUR, the visitor will be part of an emotional approach to all that the journey represents in terms of the discovery of new ways of doing and thinking and the enrichment of travel.
The Museu del Turisme is part of the Cultural Heritage of Catalonia, a destination that in 2015 received 16.7 million foreign tourists. The Catalan destination is already one of the main tourist destinations in Europe and is working to be one of the benchmarks of quality tourism worldwide. The equipment arises from the need to create and give value to tourism and heritage, consolidate a reference center for research and dissemination of the tourism sector, promote the culture of tourism and create a center for citizen activity, thought and conceived with a vocation for public service and as a reference pedagogical center.
Museum-Municipal Archive of Calella Josep Maria Codina Bagué.
It is located in a large house of the XVl and XVll centuries that over the years has been used for various purposes. Since 1979 it has been the headquarters of the Museum-Archive. This is a local multidisciplinary museum that researches, preserves and disseminates the different aspects of the city’s heritage. Collections of various themes are on display, highlighting, among others, those dedicated to the textile past, the overseas trade, the Gallart Art Gallery, the Barri Pharmacy and the pillowcases.
Lighthouse Interpretation Center.
Around the figure of the Calella Lighthouse, the center aims to explain the communication relations of this evers its environment from three points of view: maritime communications for its intrinsic functionality of orientation to boats, the terrestrial communications through the optical telegraphy that we can contemplate in the Turrets, touching the Lighthouse, and the urban communication, with the city, through the bells of the church and the diverse bell towers.
In Calella, during the Civil War, three shelters were built, the Roser, the Park and the Farm, which protected the population from aerial bombardment. The Park shelter was built following the model of a water mine, with a main gallery that can be visited and three transversal galleries. The visit inside the refuge is complemented by explanatory panels, specific museography and a documentary with the testimony of people from Calella who suffered during the War.
Festivals and traditions
Festivals are one of the consequences of being good hosts: those who come to Calella want to repeat. Year after year they bring us inspiration and new influences, which enrich the city and broaden the horizons. They are cultural events with a great social component. Thanks to international programming, we meet up with friends from Stuttgart, Canberra and Timbuktu every season. We listen to their stories and infect them with our cheerful spirit. The eclecticism that characterizes the people of Calella is matched by the types of festivals that visit us. From the most melodic choral singing to jazz and rock and roll, the programming is as varied as the people of Calella.
Sardana Gathering: the first Sunday in June. It has been celebrated since 1926.
Small festival: June 16, in honor of St. Quirze and St. Julita.
Minerva Festival: September 23rd
Fira de Calella i l’Alt Maresme: the fair, held in September, aims to be a sample of Catalan products and traditions
Beer Festival (Oktoberfest): trying to emulate the German tradition, during the month of October a large tent hosts bands from all over and offers a culinary sample of products from that country.
Carnival parade of the Alt Maresme
Health Week: “For your health Link”
European Choral Singing Festival
Moments of Flowers
Calella Film Festival
Summer Nights Festival in Calella
International Folklore Festival “Alegria”
Calella Folk Festival
Amateur Theater Competition
Calella Rockfest Festival
International Festival “Sing to the Sea”
Calella is in fashion
International Folklore Days of Catalonia
Fair for the Elderly
Calella Film Festival
In Calella, food is a pleasure in addition to food. The gastronomic tradition, which we share with other peoples of the Mediterranean coast, is usually accompanied by their rituals. In other words, the people of Calella do not settle for what to eat, but we value very much how to eat it.
Going out for tapas is to break the week and find yourself among Calellans and newcomers, sitting or standing, traveling through the palate and stories. Bars are the core of Calella’s social life. Places to share daily breaks with friends, acquaintances and greetings. On terraces or at the bar, in the city or on the beach, drinking tapas means enjoying talks and smiles in the meeting spaces that best reflect the local spirit.
The people of Calella that thinking about rice smells of the sea, family, bar and friends. The rice gives rise to conversations, starts smiles and raises glasses, with wines from the region or good beers. Their recipe is tradition and ways of making and each variant brings the best ingredients in the area. It is a dish that combines sea and mountains with the essence of the Mediterranean diet. A prelude to the most cherished dream: the nap under the palm tree.
Discovering a place is never complete without a visit to its taverns. There you can take the pulse over time. The touch of wood, wine barrels or the aromas of freshly cut hams are just as they were a hundred years ago. At the bar, on the stools or on the terraces, our wineries offer their own tasting that surprises all palates. The hours are shortened between painted walls and wine jugs.
Fish is the favorite product of Calella’s gastronomy. We are very clear about that. If we talk about fish cooking, the recipes of the grandmothers have endured over time and are still valid on the palates. The guests of honor have been known for a long time: St. Peter’s rooster, bream, sea bream, sea bass or cod. And if we talk about bastina the denied allioli comes to mind. As an essential dish, however, sonsos and grilled prawns paired with a white house courtesy of our neighbors in Alella. Sure right.
In Calella, neither bicycles nor terraces are for summer only. For more than 300 days a year the sun shines on one of our favorite moments. Lunch vermouth, perhaps one of the most distinctive features of our lifestyle, is as simple as it is comforting. An aperitif that, in a street, in a square or on the beach, always looks for a common denominator: sun, sun and sun. For those who prefer cane, the ritual is the same: find a corner to enjoy the break that whets the appetite for the main meal.
Calella is a land of passage that, very often, becomes welcoming. Newcomers from all over the world have established their residence in Calella and, with them, new flavors have spread to our palates. From sushi to Pad Thai and from guacamole to vacuum, to the most universal proposals, such as Italian or Chinese cuisine, we have a journey through the gastronomic world that is like traveling without leaving Calella. A cultural privilege as well as culinary.
The meat makes you think of embers, people and meetings, in summer and winter, in the fresh air or on the edge of the fire. The aroma of the oak perfuming the meat is reminiscent of traditional fields and shepherds. Between dishes and pots, the recipes that have passed from parents to children are kept jealous: pork feet in a casserole, baked lamb, veal with mushrooms, snails or the quintessential local recipe, grilled sausage with beans. And all, always, with bread with tomato, culinary heritage, or a good allioli, with lots of garlic and lots of oil. Bon Appetit.
The Mediterranean mood is comfortable with the moon. Spring, summer, autumn or winter, when night falls the people of Calella show off our innate ability to dance. Both in bars and clubs and at different festivals, the offer covers all tastes. Jazz, chill-out, habaneras or rock and roll, one thing is clear, the rhythm never stops. In summer, the music and the ensembles are accompanied by a very special feeling: the touch of the hot sand under your bare feet on the beach.
If you want to enjoy the tranquility in coves and small beaches, the Platja de les Roques has a privileged and exclusive environment, surrounded by rocks becomes a magnificent cove of transparent water where you can also enjoy a good lunch at the foot of the sand. As a couple, alone or in a group, if you want tranquility, emotions or just a moment of relaxation with the breaking of the waves in your ear, in Calella, this is your beach.
South of the city center, in the summers of the Montnegre Natural Park and in an area of great natural beauty, these small coves of clean and transparent waters surrounded by pines and cliffs, invite you to swim and relax at any time of the day. Beach with coves of great natural and scenic beauty with four coves popularly called: Rocapins, La Vinyeta, Cala d’en Pere and Roca Grossa.