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Sant Miquel del Fai

The medieval abbey of Sant Miquel del Fai, 50 km from Barcelona, contains the only romanesque chapel in Catalonia to have been built inside a grotto. The gravity-defying ensemble, which nestles among the rocks, is imbued with mystical beauty.

The abbey of Sant Miquel del Fai stands in a leafy valley, the vall del Tenes, among rocky outcrops and waterfalls which are more than 100 m high. The visit begins in the unusual square in front of the Abbey which is cut into the mountainside. The square affords views of the small lakes formed by rainwater and melting ice. The gothic-style Priory House (15th century) stands on the other side of the square, and is now used as an exhibition gallery and restaurant. The terrace boasts wonderful views of the entire valley.

As you go along the rocky gallery which used to be part of the cloister, you come to the romanesque chapel of Sant Miquel (10th century). Built inside a grotto, next to a waterfall. The site was once used for pagan worship. A flight of steps leads to the cave of Sant Miquel, where the calcareous rocks have formed stalagmites and stalactites. The path continues to a small lake hidden among the rocks, passes below a spectacular waterfall, and ends at the chapel of Sant Martí (10th century) which stands in the middle of an esplanade. At the end of the tour, you'll be given a helmet to visit the mysterious cave of "Les Tosques".

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