Travel to see Spring Flowers

May 14, 2015 12 Comments »

spring flowers spain poppies
Photo by Pete Heck

It’s the first thing I noticed as I drove from the Barcelona airport towards Costa Brava, a sea of red set against the green hillsides.  I was quite tired from the overnight flight, but as my blurry red-eye flight vision processed what I was seeing, I realized that it was fields of red poppies, reminding me it was spring in Spain! I adore spring in Spain – all of the flowers start popping out their heads, and it brings back fond memories of walking the Camino de Santiago in spring a few years ago.

Spring seemed to get a late start everywhere – including Europe.  But now, as I drove through the countryside, it was clear that it was in full bloom.  I know that typically, the Netherlands gets the big billing for spring flowers in Europe.  However, as usual, I like the lesser known places to travel – so Catalonia, Spain, was the perfect place for me to be to see Spring flowers without the massive crowds.  Plus, I was able to explore a new area to me – the Girona Pyrenees.

Catalonia food and where to find it in the Pyrenees

You can go to see flowers in a botanical garden, but I prefer to simply encounter them in nature. I spent the last week surrounded by flowers; hunting for them, eating them, photographing them, and even learning to appreciate them as art.  It started in the Pyrenees, where hiking led me to new varieties of high-altitude blooms that were just starting to break through the winter ground and show their colorful face.  Then, I found myself down on my hands and knees hunting for wild orchids in Garrotxa. 

The blooms also showed up on my plate in fresh salads in Ripoll, a sweet fresh taste promoting the idea of ‘eating in season.’ Hearty orange blooms were spotted on the rugged coastal rocks of Cap de Creus, adding color to the otherwise rocky coast.  And finally, in Girona, blooms served as artists’ muses at the Girona Flower Festival.  The old medieval city had artistic displays of flowers in every little alley and church.  It was spectacular to wander around the cobblestone streets of old, seeing such a modern contrast of flowers as art.

This is a perfect time of year to be in Spain’s Costa Brava and Pyrenees region.  The crowds are minimal, the temperature is just right, and the flowers are blooming!

spring flowers spain
High-altitude flowers near Lake Malniu in Cerdanya
Spring Flowers Spain
Flowers frame the Cathedral in Beget
Spring flowers spain
Daisies in Garrotxa
Girona flower festival
A flower arrangement at Girona’s Flower Festival
orchids spain
Finding orchids in the wild in Garrotxa. You have to look carefully as they are tiny!
spring flowers spain
Red Poppies!
spring flowers spain
Purple blooms in the Vall de Nuria a high altitude valley in Ripoll.
edible flowers spain
Edible flowers from Can Jepet in the town of Setcases, Ripoll
Spring flowers
Flowers frame a home near Beget
spring flowers costa brava
Orange blooms on Cap de Creus in Costa Brava
Flowers as art
Flower art display in Girona’s Flower Festival
spring flowers spain
Purple blooms on Cap de Creus
photographing flowers
Flower paparazzi! As we hunted for wild orchids, we even had a national news crew following us around taking photos. This guy was taking photos of me taking photos of orchids!
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Flowers on the bridge in the medieval town of Beget in Garrotxa
selfie spring flowers spain poppies
My in my field of poppies. Photo by Pete Heck

Disclosure: I was a guest of Costa Brava tourism during my time in the area, however all opinions are my own.

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