Sant Joan de les Abadesses

A town that breathes history.
Sant Joan de les Abadesses lies at the centre of a valley in the Pre-Pyrenees that is covered with pastures, crossed by the River Ter and surrounded by mountains and forests. It is an excellent viewpoint over the Cavallera range and its most emblematic peak, Mount Taga. Its old town is home to buildings, streets and vestiges of city walls that bear witness to its medieval past.
Sant Joan de les Abadesses is rich in culture and its history is closely linked to the monastery of Sant Joan. Take a stroll around and experience first-hand the history of a land that was of utmost importance during the period in which the Catalan nation was shaped. Welcome to Sant Joan de les Abadesses!

El municipi de Sant Joan de les Abadesses

  • Origins

    Although signs have been found that the area of Sant Joan de les Abadesses was inhabited in the Lower Palaeolithic, the town itself was not established until the monastery was founded in 887 by Wilfred the Hairy to repopulate the lands that had been left empty after the Saracen occupation.

  • Did you know that…?

    Joan Maragall (1860–1911) wrote some of his best poems, such as El comte Arnau (Count Arnau), Goigs a la Verge de Núria (Ode to the Virgin of Núria) and La vaca cega (The Blind Cow), during his sojourns at Sant Joan de les Abadesses.

  • The Monastery

    The Monastery

    “The monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses – Catalonia’s first to be built for a community of nuns – was founded in the 9th century by Wilfred the Hairy and its first abbess was his daughter Emma. It is one of the most important monuments of the Catalan Romanesque.
    It is home to the sculpture The Descent from the Cross (1251, also known as the Holy Mystery), the Gothic cloister, the Gothic altarpiece of Saint Mary the White, the tomb of the Blessed Miró and the Baroque chapel of Els Dolors.”

  • El Palau de l'Abadia

    El Palau de l'Abadia

    The abbatial palace was built in the 14th century and has been declared a cultural asset of national interest. It encompasses the Tourist Information Office; the Myth of Count Arnau Interpretation Centre, which introduces visitors to the magic surrounding the figure of the count; the Espai Art l’Abadia, which offers a regular programme of exhibitions by contemporary creators; and the permanent exhibitions «Romànic, una volta pel Ripollès» (A Romanesque Tour of El Ripollès) and «Ramon Oliveras. Lutier. Passió per un ofici» (Ramon Oliveras. Luthier. For the Love of the Art).

  • The Old Town

    The Old Town

    The layout of the old town, a site of cultural and historical interest, is one of a Roman city with parallel and perpendicular streets and a main square, the Plaça Major, at its centre. You can also see vestiges of the medieval city wall that completely surrounded it.

  • The Old Bridge

    The Old Bridge

    The bases of the bridge date back to 1138. At the end of the Spanish Civil War it was blown up with dynamite and in 1976 it was faithfully reconstructed with its Gothic vault and small Romanesque arches.

  • Sant Pol

    Sant Pol

    The church of Sant Pol dates back to the 12th century. Its Romanesque ruins allow visitors to see how churches were constructed in that period.

  • Chapel of Sant Antoni

    Chapel of Sant Antoni

    The chapel of Sant Antoni de Pàdua is located atop a 1,040-metre high hill with magnificent views of the valley of Sant Joan de les Abadesses. The current building was erected in 1852, but the chapel is known to have existed as far back as 1635.

  • El Molí Petit ecomoseum

    El Molí Petit ecomoseum

    This watermill and river ecosystem interpretation centre is located in the small flour mill that belonged to the monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses. For further information and visits: Alt Ter Environmental Education Centre

More information

Other towns

  • Toses


    On the banks of the River Rigat in one of the outermost areas of El Ripollès lies the municipality ...

  • Gombrèn


    A land of traditions and the origin of the legend of Comte Arnau. Stroll through the places that forged the...

  • Planoles


    Nestled in a privileged location in the Pyrenean Rigat valley lies Planoles, a charming little village which invites you to...