What to see in Terrassa
What to visit in Terrassa
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Roman city of Égara became one of Catalonia’s principal economic driving forces. At one time, there were more than 40 factories in the city, the majority related to the textile sector. Most of the Modernist buildings dating back to that period are still standing today.
Terrassa, situated some 35 kilometres outside Barcelona, is the capital of the Vallés Occidental region, which it shares with Sabadell. The municipality boasts a rich built heritage and an interesting range of cultural options. In fact, the town hosts a series of concerts, fairs and exhibitions throughout the year.
What to see in Terrassa
Due to its rich history, visiting Terrassa is like taking a journey back in time. However, the city has managed to combine both past and present. Proof can be found in the Modernist buildings that today house museums and cultural centres, or the conservation of many of the chimneys from the former factories.
1. Vallparadís Park
Stretching out for 3.5 kilometres, this is one of Catalonia’s largest city parks. It runs through the city from north to south and is divided into various spaces, including a municipal swimming pool and a miniature train line. It is an ideal spot for visiting in Terrassa and enjoying a peaceful stroll, as it is far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. Cartuja Castle
This 12th century castle is a great place to visit in Terrassa and is located in the centre of the city at the top of Vallparadís Park. In the 14th century, it ceased to be a stately home and was converted into a residence for monks. Today it houses the main facilities of the Terrassa Museum.
3. Seu d’Ègara
Still in the park, just a short distance from the castle, visitors will find this medieval site that has been declared a National Monument. It is made up of three churches: San Pedro, Santa María and San Miguel.
La Seu conserves remains and the architectural styles of all the civilisations that have settled in this area throughout history. During the visit, you can admire exhibits from the days of the Iberians, as well as Roman columns and mosaics, Gothic altarpieces and the only Visigoth paintings in Europe.
4. Historic Quarter
One of the must-see places when visiting Terrassa is its historic quarter with its fascinating streets and buildings.
- Espíritu Santo Cathedral: built in the Late Gothic style, inside visitors can admire the outstanding Modernist chapel.
- El Palau Tower: standing in the old square known as Plaza Vella, this tower is all that remains of the former 12th century Palace-Castle. The square is full of street cafés, making it one of the liveliest spots in the city.
- City Hall: a Neo-gothic style building designed by the architect Lluís Muncunill.
- Alegre de Sagrera House-Museum: the former home of the textile manufacturer Joaquim de Sagrera that still conserves the original murals and stained glass windows. Here, visitors can learn about the life of the bourgeoisie in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
- La Independencia Market: one of the city’s historic buildings that today houses Terrassa’s municipal market.
- Principal Theatre: another of the buildings that forms part of the city’s historical heritage.
5. Masía Freixa
One of the finest sites to see in Terrassa is this building in the style of Gaudí designed by the architect Muncunill. The owner, Josep Freixa, decided to convert his textile factory into a second home. The interior still contains the original furniture from the dining room and study. Today, this masía houses the Municipal Tourism Service and Catalonia’s Industrial Tourism Network.
Visitors can enjoy a walk around the building in San Jordi Park, which also features a Modernist design. This open space includes a picnic area and amphitheatre.
6. Catalonia National Museum of Science and Technology
The museum, housed in a former textile factory, not only stands out for its Modernist architecture, but also for its exhibitions, not to be missed if you are visiting Terrassa. One of them includes historical exhibits related to industrialisation and also provides an insight into the production of wool. Another exhibition describes the origin of the universe and includes an experience in the planetarium.
7. Textile Museum and Documentation Centre
Terrassa was a major centre for textile production and therefore a visit to the museum dedicated to this activity is a must. The museum not only describes the history of this industry, but is also home to a large collection of textile items from various countries.
What to see near Terrassa
Choosing a hotel close to the main roads in and out of the city makes it easy to visit other cities such as Barcelona and Sabadell as well as places not to be missed near Terrassa such as the Miniature Catalonia theme park and Güell Industrial Colony (both located half an hour outside the city).
Terrassa also boasts a spectacular natural setting, with attractions such as the Montserrat Massif and the Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac Nature Park. Hiking lovers will find various routes that will enable them to discover part of Catalonia’s Romanesque heritage.