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Spanish Pyrenees: Vall de Boí and Aigüestortes National Park  The Natural Adventure Company 9

Spanish Pyrenees: Vall de Boí and Aigüestortes National Park

Overview

The western parts of the Catalan Pyrenees are hiding a true unspoilt natural gem – Vall de Boí, an open valley that is the gateway to the rugged granite mountains of the Aigüestortes National Park. Both places are a genuine hiking paradise. In the valley, you walk through meadows and Mediterranean woods, from one beautiful Romanesque church to another. From the valley, you walk along alpine meadows up into the mountains, where glaciers have carved deep bowls in the granite mountains during the ice age which are still filled with clear waters. Welcoming family-run hotels, good restaurants and a vintage SPA resort will help you recharge every day. An overnight stay in the mountain hut of Ventosa i Calvell will only make your mountain experience absolutely satisfying.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Barruera

You travel on your own to the Vall de Boi, by either private (rental) car or public bus and/or train from Barcelona via the nearby town of El Pont de Suert. From there we can arrange a taxi to Barruera for you. If you arrive early, you can relax in one of the bars in this small village or do some lunch shopping for tomorrow. Dinner is included tonight – a set menu of typical Catalan dishes in the small restaurant of Farré d’Avall.

Day 2: Barruera – Durro – Boí – Taüll I 8-14 km

The day starts with a climb from the valley to the higher mountain village of Durro. Here you can decide to make an extra loop high over the flanks of the valley. On your way, you will pass by the chapel of Sant Quirc de Durro, situated on a beautiful viewpoint, where the annual bonfire is lit during the Fallas festivities. Then you continue via Durro across the panoramic Camí del Pago to the village of Boí, where you can visit the Romanesque church of Sant Joan plus the National Park Visitors’ centre. After a short final ascent, you reach the village of Taüll, where the most beautiful of all Romanesque churches can be seen – the Sant Climent with its impressive bell tower. Don´t miss a superb video presentation during which the Romanesque frescos are “painted” in front of your eyes and come alive. The original frescos were removed a century ago and taken to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) in Barcelona to prevent illegal trade.

  • Walking for the day: 8 km, 4-5 hours, ↑740 m ↓360 mwith the extra loop – 14 km, 6-7 hours, ↑965 m ↓570 m
  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel in Taüll (Hotel El Rantiner or similar)

Day 3: Täull Circular Walk I 6-11 km

From Taüll you do a circular walk across the high ridge above the village; the so-called “Pala de Taüll”. Your first stop is the top of the peak Tossalet de Creuetes (1921 m) from where you have a splendid view over the valley of Boí. If you feel like walking more, follow the path further alongside the ridge and through an alpine pine forest with wonderful flowers and many birds. The endpoint is the former pasture area “Casesnoves” where you have a beautiful view across the heart of the National Park – the Aigüestortes Valley with the lakes of Estany Llebreta and Estany Llong. Then you walk back to Taüll via the same path. 

  • Walking for the day: longer option – 11 km, 5-6 hours, ↑850 m ↓850 mshorter option – 6 km, 3 hours, ↑400 m ↓400 m
  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel in Taüll (Hotel El Rantiner or similar)

Day 4: Taüll – Aigüestortes ValleyCaldes de Boi I 14 km

After breakfast, a taxi will take you to the entrance of the National Park where a meandering river (Aigues Tortes) cuts its way through a bucolic alpine valley. There you start a steep but shady walk through a pine wood to a series of glacier lakes called Dellui which are absolutely lovely for a picnic, you may be lucky and see the marmots leaving their shelters and showing themselves. During the descent, you will traverse a scree slope with huge boulders and then descend through an open wood of black pines and alpine roses with dark pink flowers. After a drink at the refuge Estany Llong, you return to the start of the walk. Finally, the taxi takes you to the hotel in Caldes de Boi, for a well-deserved relax in the outdoor pools or indoor SPA circuit.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 5-6 hours, ↑675 m ↓675 m
  • Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Caldes de Boi (Hotel Manantial or similar)

Day 5: Caldes de Boi – Refuge Ventosa i Calvell I 5.5 km

In this stage of the trip, you will experience an overnight stay in a typical Spanish mountain hut. After breakfast, a taxi will drive you to the Cavallers dam. With some basic luggage in your rucksack (the rest of the luggage can stay in the hotel), you start a beautiful walk, first along the Cavallers reservoir and then gradually ascending through an increasingly rocky and barren mountain landscape to the Ventosa i Calvell hut, where you will spend the night at 2215 m altitude.

Day 6: Ventosa i Calvell Circular Walk I 17 km

After breakfast, you pick up the packed lunch prepared for you. Because the walk back to Caldes de Boí is short, we offer you an alpine hike through the impressive mountain world of Aigüestortes. You walk through a rugged granite landscape along the glacier lakes of Travessani and Estany de Monges to the mountain pass Port de Rius (2475 m) and then along the Estany de Mangades to the Port de Colomèrs, from where you look out over the beautiful Cirque de Colomers on the north side of the National Park. Then you descend via the same path as yesterday to the reservoir of Cavallers and continue down through the valley to the hotel. 

  • Walking for the day: morning walk – 8.5 km, 4 hours, ↑655 m ↓655 m; afternoon return route – 9 km, 4 hours, ↑130 m ↓875 m
  • Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Caldes de Boi (Hotel Manantial or similar)

Day 7: Caldes de Boi – Barruera / Departure I 9 km

If you have parked your (rental) car in Barruera or just want to spend another day of walking and visiting Romanesque churches, you can follow a beautiful riverside path from Caldes de Boi to Barruera. Halfway you can have a drink in Erill la Vall and visit the Romanesque church Santa Eulalia, with a replica of the wooden sculpture “Descent from the Cross”. End of tour, no overnight is included but can be booked on request.

  • Walking for the day: 9 km, 3 hours, ↑130 m ↓550 m  

What to Expect

Accommodation

On the Spanish Pyrenees: Vall de Boí and Aigüestortes National Park tour you will be staying at charming hotels in en-suite rooms as detailed in the itinerary. There is only one overnight in a mountain hut in a dormitory (max 9 people) with bunk beds and shared facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

  • Hotel Farré d´Aval (Barruera), is a family-owned hotel in a traditional building with two outdoor terraces with views to the town and to the mountains. Hotel Palazio is located at 1281m of altitude in the very heart of the National Park of Ordesa & Monte Perdido.
  • Hotel El Rantiner (Taüll) is a cosy family-owned hotel, opened in 2002, with great views to the churches of Taüll. There is no restaurant at the hotel, only a café.
  • Hotel Manantial (Caldes de Boi) is an emblematic hotel with typical mountain architecture, offering maximum comfort. The Thermal Center can be accessed from the hotel without having to go outside. An ideal hotel to enjoy healthily and family stays with the Boí Valley at your fingertips to savour its culture, its people and its excellent cuisine.
  • Refuge Ventosa i Calvell is a typical Spanish mountain hut. Sleeping facilities are a bunkbed as wide as the rooftop. You only need to take a sheet with you, and we recommend some earplugs. The facilities are shared, but there are hot showers. At dinner (included) you are seated at large tables and will enjoy the same set menu and maybe a nice chat with the other guests.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

6 breakfasts, 4 dinners and 2 packed lunches are included. When not included, packed lunches can be bought in the villages or ordered directly at your accommodation from the night before. Hotel El Rantiner does not have a restaurant, but nearby there are several restaurants that you can walk to and have your dinner.

Difficulty & terrain

Moderate day walks are interspersed with some more demanding sections, 4-6 hours on average on hilly to mountainous areas using well kept sometimes stony paths. Good level of fitness and some hiking experience is required (read more about difficulty grades). The paths are well marked and easy to follow. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from the beginning of June until mid-October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season. In general, the climate is typically Pyrenean – alpine cold climate and variable in function of the altitude and orientation, oscillating between the continental sub-Mediterranean zones in the lower parts Boreal-Alpine climate in the highlands. Average temperatures in La Vall de Boi and the Aigüestortes Park vary greatly. The best time to visit is between May and mid-October. The hottest months are August (26.4°C), July (26.1°C), and then June (24.2°C), September (23.4°C) and October (20.2°C). The wind is usually calm. The lowest chances for rain are in September and October. There may still be snow in the area near the refuge in June.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended arrival and departure airports for this tour are Barcelona and Girona.

By train or bus

Arrival and departure Barruera
From Barcelona, you can take the bus to the nearby town of El Pont de Suert, from where you can either take a taxi to Barruera or book a private transfer with us. Several buses per day take between 4 and 5.5 hrs to get from Barcelona Nord to El Pont de Suert; PLUS a direct connection from Barcelona airport at 15.15 h (once per day; all busses operated by ALSA; www.alsa.es). Or use the Omio travel planner above. You can also book a private transfer from Barruera to El Pont de Suert.

Inclusions

Included

  • Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. Please note that the info pack is emailed to you before departure and no printed documents are mailed or provided on-site
  • 5 nights in comfortable hotels in ensuite rooms
  • 1 night in a mountain hut in a dorm with shared facilities
  • 6 breakfasts, 4 dinners and 2 packed lunches (on days 5&6)
  • Private transfers on day 4 and day 5
  • Transfer from Caldes de Boí to Barruera on day 7
  • Luggage transfer on day 2 and day 4
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Flights, airport transfers and other public transport
  • Lunches and 3 dinners
  • Private transfer to and from Pont de Suert on days 1 and 7
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Local tourist taxes (payable on the spot)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Options, extras and supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the way
  • Private transfers from Pont de Suert bus station on day 1 and back on day 7

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