Although mostly renowned for its fabulous sun, sea and surf culture, Lloret de Mar, a premier resort on Spain's Costa Brava, actually has a fascinating and very important history for those who feel inclined to delve a little deeper than the bucket-and-spade beach brigade. |
The Making of the Indianos
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, a large number of locals from this region of Spain left the country to escape the poor rural farming culture and go in search of a new life. Many of them emigrated to Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela and went on to find great success in industries like ship building, banking, tobacco, food and textiles.
These successful (and consequently very rich) entrepreneurs became known as the ‘Indianos’, and although there were a great many of them, history has quietly closed the chapter on the many others who didn't strike it so lucky in South America.
The Prodigals Return
The Indianos who returned to the region went on to change the landscape of the economy forever. These nuevo riche brought with them the money, skills and desire to completely modernise the local architecture, education, trade and industry.
They built opulent houses, offices and palaces, founded schools and introduced running water to the surrounding countryside. Even in the smallest towns and villages, the Indianos' legacy can be seen in the grand architecture, monuments and plaques dedicated to their success.
With their newly-cultured cosmopolitan taste, the Indianos created a Neoclassical and Modernist style of architecture that reflected their affluence, complete with furniture imported from Paris and Barcelona, and grand tropical gardens. The key to their style was to be as high profile as possible, with their wealth displayed overtly and at every opportunity.
Sites to Visit
There are a number of important sites around Lloret de Mar that serve to keep the spirit and history of the Indianos alive.
Modernist Cemetery: The original town cemetery was refurbished by a number of wealthy families to reflect the Indianos' style, with wide avenues, elegant plantings and grand monuments and pantheons. Featuring the work of prominent architects and artists (including one of Gaudi's disciples), this is one of the most beautiful and important cemeteries in the country.
The Town Hall: The Neoclassic architecture of the town hall is typical of the grandeur the Indianos embodied so well. Opened in 1872, the ornate façade of the building is adorned with delicate terracotta decorations created by a prominent potter of the time and a centrepiece of the coat of arms of King Amadeo of Savoy alongside Lloret's own emblem.
Maritime Museum – Can Garriga: Situated right in the middle of the Old Town, this lovely building is one of the best examples of the architecture commissioned by the wealthy Indianos. Now home to the Maritime Museum, Can Garriga is as beautiful and opulent inside as it is outside.
How to Get There
From the UK, it's only a two hour flight to Barcelona Airport, which is the closest and most convenient. All the budget airlines fly regular scheduled routes into Spain, with some excellent deals available from easyJet, Ryanair, Monarch and British Airways from various UK airports.
The distance from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona is around 90km, so once you land at the airport, the fastest and most cost effective way to get the rest of the way is with a private or shared airport shuttle service. Shuttle Direct provides a convenient, fixed-price service from the airport to the resort, and then from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona Airport when it's time to leave. (The transfer time from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona is around an hour and 15 minutes, so make sure you leave enough time to catch your flight when booking.)
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for an affordable transfer from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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