The beautiful county of the Maresme stretches along the coast, north of Barcelona. Long, sandy beaches, pine woods, villages on the coast and nestling among the mountains as protection from pirates, and modernista mansions where the well-to-do classes used to spend the summer.
The Maresme is a coastal county, 50 km long and 10 km wide, which stretches from Montgat (Romanesque church of Sant Martí -11th century) to Malgrat de Mar. The capital of the county is Mataró. Over the past hundred years, the Maresme has become one of the favourite places to live for the people of Barcelona, due to its proximity to Barcelona, mild climate, the variety of its beaches, pine woods and old fishing villages.
Sheltered from the northerly winds by the Coastal Mountain Range, which is the site of the Parc del Montnegre i el Corredor, the county has been an important centre for agriculture based on wine-growing (wines from Alella), horticulture and market gardens. For centuries, the villages on the coast devoted themselves to fishing. However, to escape pirate attacks, they moved to the mountainsides: Premià de Dalt/Premià de Mar; Vilassar de Dalt/Vilassar de mar; Arenys de Munt/Arenys de Mar. The main fishing port is Arenys de Mar where the fish auction is held every afternoon. The main modernista buildings are to be found in Mataró, Argentona, Canet de Mar and Caldes d'Estrac (which also has an important thermal spa).
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