Catalonia’s Tren dels Llacs literally means ‘Train of Lakes’. The line first opened in 1924, connecting the city of Lleida with Balaguer, and was extended in 1951 to reach all the way to La Pobla de Segur. The whole journey covers approximately 89 kilometres and takes one hour and 50 minutes to complete. The route takes passengers through some of the most stunning parts of western Catalonia, crossing 31 bridges over lakes, weaving through mountain ranges and down into verdant valleys. Here’s our pick of 10 of the most beautiful spots on the Tren dels Llacs.
Begin your journey in the city of Lleida Pyrenees, the capital of southern Catalonia. One of the first views you’ll see is the Old Cathedral of Lleida, also known as the Castle of Lleida, towering above the city. From here, the tracks begin to follow the river northwards.
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The medieval walled city of Balaguer
The train tracks follow the river all the way to the magnificent medieval walled city of Balaguer. The newer part of the city is not as interesting, but look out towards the cathedral and you’ll just be able to make out the old city walls. If you want to start your journey on the Tren dels Llacs from here, you can also do so.
Sant Llorenç de Montgai
Passing the city, the train crosses a bridge over the river and veers away into the mountainous surroundings before reaching the Sant Llorenç de Montgai Resevoir, and the village of the same name on its shores. This picture-postcard village comprises an array of ice-cream coloured houses in vanilla, lemon and orange and offers spectacular lakeside views.
Pantano de Camarasa
The tracks move away from the river after Sant Llorenç de Montgai until they meet the vast Pantano de Camarasa reservoir, which carves its way between huge rock formations. Look up to see the vast rock plateau and down to the sparkling water below.
Baronia de Sant Oïsme
The train follows the twists and turns of the river for many miles until it reaches Baronia de Sant Oïsme, a rock peninsula, which juts out into the river on the opposite side of the tracks. The turret of the old castle sits atop the rocks.
Soon you’ll reach the charming medieval town of Àger. Inhabited since the Neolithic era, there is evidence of its Visigothic, Roman and Moorish past. You can also see the vestiges of the old castle here, high above the turquoise waters.
Montsec Mountain Range
Here the river narrows, and the tracks pass through the dramatic Serra del Montsec mountain range. From your carriage windows you’ll be able to see the towering rocky pinnacles above you and the lush valley hugging the sides of the river below.
The train follows the edge of the small river, winding through lush rolling countryside, until you arrive at the next beauty spot – Terradets Lake, stretching from the Conca de Tremp plain all the way to the Terradets canyon. Dotted with picturesque villages, the lake is popular for water sports and fishing.
The train passes the small town of Tremp, sitting at 468 metres above the river basin, and framed by rolling peaks. Not far from here lies the Valley of the Vultures, home to many pairs of wild vultures, so keep your eyes on the sky for this part of the journey.
La Pobla de Segur
From Temp, the train line follows the shores of the vast Reservoir of Sant Antoni, before coming to an end in the town of La Pobla de Segur, surrounded by the soaring mountains, valleys and the lakes of the La Vall Alta de Serradell-Terreta-Serra de Sant Gervàs. You can also buy your ticket to board the Tren dels Lllacs here if you want to take the journey in the opposite direction.
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