Catalunya is home to one of the most visited cities in the world, however, many miss out on the spectacular natural wonders the rest of the region has to offer. With several national parks, cascading waterfalls and nature trails, Catalunya boasts some of the most stunning scenery around! Get back to nature and check out the list below to see some of the best areas for walking in the countryside.
Montseny is home to one of the most stunning national parks, with epic mountains and an array of wildlife. Its distinctive climate provides an interesting variety of flora and fauna, giving you the chance to spot rare flowers or woodland animals such as badgers, shrews and even wild boars! There are a variety of trails within the park, where you can journey through the forest passing Romanesque temples, small churches or the spectacular medieval Montsoriu Castle. The park’s size may require some pre-planning, however, there are multiple information points dotted around to guide you through the vast landscapes. After a long hike, why not end the day at one of Montseny’s local restaurants where you can find food sourced from the park itself?
For more information, visit the Montseny Tourist Board
Montserrat is a mountain and national park situated closed to Barcelona. The rocky spikes can be seen from a distance, inspiring the name that translates from Catalan as ‘Saw Mountain.’ Among its peaks, a Benedictine Abbey is prominently positioned, where many have reported sightings of the Virgin Mary. You can wander towards the Holy Grotto to witness the location of the sightings, or take a cable car to the summit to hike among rare rock formations. The mountain boasts a blend of sacredness and natural awe and hence attracts a number of pilgrims, hikers and tourists to marvel at its monasteries and panoramic views. Be sure to take comfortable shoes and a camera to capture Catalunya from above!
Find more details on the Montserrat Visitors Website
La Mussara is the highest mountain of its range, showcasing impressive panoramas of Tarragona below. Its unique history attracts many hikers wanting to observe the ruins of the legendary ghost town once nestled within the mountain. The town, also known as La Mussara, is believed to have been abandoned during the mid-twentieth century for unknown reasons. Some believe that insects invaded the town killing off or evacuating dwellers of the mountain, whereas some claim the town was doomed or cursed. Over the years, visitors have reported spooky glimpses of UFOs or ghosts, giving the mountain an eerie edge. Many flock to the mountain to walk along cliffs amongst old, deserted structures lost in time. La Mussara offers hikers the chance to admire the Catalan scenery by day, and embark on a ghost trail by nightfall!
Click here for more information about visiting La Mussara!
Tavertet is a hiker’s paradise, with majestic cliffs, surging waterfalls and flourishing forests. Scramble to the mirador overlooking the grand reservoir beneath, or follow the footpaths that meander around grand waterfalls and caves. Explore old abandoned grottos or the ruins of stone houses and walls. The magnificence and rivaling scenery of Tavertet also attracted Catalan thinker, Raimon Panikkar, giving the area a true sense of local importance. Prepare to jump over water and scuttle across rocks to explore the unique depths, corners, nooks and crannies of Tavertet.
Find more details about the area here!
One of Catalunya’s less known landscapes involves volcanic fields snuggled amongst forestry. Garrotxa Natural Park encompasses over forty volcanoes that are now inactive, where you can venture into craters and preserved volcanic cones. Spoiling its hikers, the park hosts many other attractions such as Juvinyà Medieval Castle, Basalt Cliff Viewpoint, Olot old town and many more. Garrotxa park is a dream come true for those in need of a good hike, with multiple walking routes and facilities for its visitors. Walk in volcanic craters without leaving the province of Catalunya!
Find out more information about walking routes in the park here!
The Torrent de Cabana is a stream flowing through seven gorges, where waterfalls and lagoons formulate along the path. Known as the ‘route of seven gorges,’ this trail holds high competition for the most stunning nature walks in Catalunya. Located in the province of Girona, hikers can pass through mountains, pausing for swims in some of the natural pools along the way. Each gorge is individually named and signposted along the way, making this walk simple and enjoyable. Mirroring the exotic and tropical images of a Thai lagoon, feel yourself escaping in no further than Catalunya’s backyard!
Find out more information about the route of the seven gorges here!
This charming town dates back to the tenth century, filled with medieval streets and structures. Located nearby, the forest offers a magical and unique experience for hikers, with its mysterious sculptures within the ‘Labyrinth of Magic.’ The sculptor Climint Olm created several unique pieces of art with messages of spirituality and humanism, carved in stone and buried within a maze for trekkers to pass by and interpret. Olm lived among the mountains with his work for years, but had to leave his unusual exhibition incomplete, reportedly due to a family feud and health issues. His work still leaves much to awe at, giving this hike a unique edge with spiritual character. A definite must for hikers with a passion for art, philosophy or mystery!
Buried at the border of Catalunya and Aragon, the majestic Noguera river flows through Mont-Rebei, dividing the two regions. A path dangled alongside cliffs allows the adventurous to witness spectacular views of the canyon overlooking crystal blue water. Hikes are not for the timid as some parts do not have railings and the majority is located high up, however the rewards are worth it. Tunnel through caves and cross hanging bridges as you make your way along this natural wonder.
Visit the tourist information website for more details about hiking routes.