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