The origin of the city was the castle of Besalú which is already documented in the tenth century, built on top of a hill where there are the remains of the church of Santa Maria, in the Middle Ages. The current layout of the city does not respond faithfully to its original state but broadly enabling the reading of the development of the Middle Ages with the existence of important buildings: the bridge, the Jewish baths, the church of Sant Pere de Besalú and Sant Julià, the former pilgrim hospital, Casa Cornellà, the church of St. Vincent and the Gothic room of the Palace of the royal court. At Besalú you can see the architectural and urban structure quite consistent with the medieval past. Besalú monumental importance is given primarily for its great value set for his unit, which is determined as one of the most important and singular medieval Catalonia.

Besalú began to gain importance as the capital of an independent county following the death of Wilfred the Hairy (902), a condition that was lost in die Bernard III childless; as a result, the county of Besalú went to the house of Barcelona.

During the Aragonese Crusade, seeing itself forced to withdraw from the Emporda, and distrusting the Coll de Panissars Philip III of France tried to take the route from Besalú, sending an advance of 400 knights and 2000 servants to take the city where it was believed that Peter the Great. After a first assault Croatian Asbert Mediona, the governor of the city did open the door here to let sixty knights who were captured immediately out the front of the garrison who defeated the besiegers, forcing them to withdrawal.

During the War of armanyaguesos, 1390, was attacked by mercenary companies of John III of Armagnac and defended by Bernat IV of Cabrera.

In 1966 it was declared "Conjunt National Historic-Artistic" for its great architectural value.

Currently, Besalú is a major tourist attraction in the province of Girona and Catalonia and is especially suitable for family holidays. Apart from its own attractiveness, Besalú is located in a geographic position ideal for visiting the rest of the central part of the province of Girona and is a few minutes driving from cities like Figueres, Olot, Banyoles, and the city itself Girona.