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High Pyrenees of Catalonia 45

Walking the High Pyrenees of Catalonia

Overview

The Spanish Catalan Pyrenees are a hiker’s paradise, offering dramatic and unspoiled landscapes dotted with quaint stone villages clustered around old churches. This is a great walking region, enjoying the warmest climate of all the Pyrenean range, and our Walking the High Pyrenees of Catalonia route is designed to combine some superb mountain walking with welcoming accommodations, where you will discover the delicious Catalan cuisine with its tasty sausages and cured meats, fresh trout from the rivers, and robust wines from the coastal plains.

Our route takes you into one of the loveliest regions of the Catalan Pyrenees, an area largely unknown to outsiders that nevertheless boasts great scenic beauty and picturesque villages. As you walk from village to village, you discover two distinct landscapes – the mighty peaks of the Pyrenees with spectacular views of the range from Puigmal to Mount Canigou and the warm, wooded hills of the Garrotxa towards the Mediterranean.

Watch eagles soar above as you walk along the ancient paths, and look out too for griffon vultures, choughs, wild boar, chamois and fire salamanders.

  • Walking in one of the loveliest regions of the Catalan Pyrenees
  • The picturesque villages
  • The delicious Catalan cuisine – fresh trout from the rivers, and robust wines from the coastal plains
  • Spotting booted eagles, griffon vultures, beautiful Chamois and wild boar
  • The ancient monastery of Nuria

Click to view map


Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Camprodon

Arrive at Ripoll by train from Barcelona or by bus from Girona, you will then be transferred by one of our guides to the charming mountain village of Camprodon, which lies at the confluence of the rivers Ter and Ritort. Camprodon has a lovely centre with a  beautiful 12th-century footbridge. Once there, you will have a welcome meeting. Take your time exploring the alleys and squares and enjoying the local produce, including delicious sausages and cured cheese from the local shop.

Day 2: Camprodon – Molló | 11 km

Start your trip with a great walk into the high Garrotxa, initially taking you up through lush pastureland. You will then make a descent through woodland and valleys, passing abandoned and sometimes renovated farmhouses and finally arriving at the village of Molló with a beautiful Romanesque church from the XII century.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 4 hours
  • Overnight in Mollo (Hotel Calitxo or similar)

Day 3: Molló – Setcases | 13 km

Today you have a spectacular walk over two mountain passes with impressive panoramic views: to the West, the dramatic Pyrenean peaks, and to the East, the warm, wooded hills of the Garrotxa. You start with a long, moderate climb up the Fembra Morte Pass (1,728 m), you will remain high up as you continue to the Lliens pass (1,864 m) (a good picnic spot). You will continue across the northern flank of the Puig de les Agudes before descending through some beautiful scenery to the village of Setcases.

  • Walking for the day: 13 km, 5-6 hours
  • Overnight in Setcases (Hotel La Coma or similar)

Day 4: Rest day | Optional circular walks or climb of Bastiments Peak

Free day, today you can spend some time in the village and its surroundings or explore the area in more depth on a longer hike up the valley. Why not climb one of the mountain passes or even the Bastiments peak (2,883 m) with its unrivalled mountain views. On clear days you can even see the blue waters of the Mediterranean from there.

  • Walking for the day: optional circular walks of different grading
  • Overnight in Setcases (Hotel La Coma or similar)

Day 5: Setcases – La Roca – Camprodon | 14 km

A picturesque route leads high above the valley, with sweeping panoramic views in clear weather. You will pass the astonishing village of La Roca, which seemingly clings to the rock on which it is built, then onward to Camprodon.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 4-5 hours
  • Overnight in Camprodon (Hotel Mas de Xaxas or similar)

Day 6: Abella – Ribes de Freser | 16 km

Today you will have a short transfer (10 minutes) to the mountain village of Abella, you will then have a spectacular gradual ascent through a wild valley up the Collada Verda Pass (1,606 m) from where you descend along undulating paths and tracks to Ribes de Freser.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 5-6 hours
  • Overnight in Ribes de Freser (Hotel Els Caçadors or similar)

Day 7: Núria | Queralbs | 8 km

Free day to enjoy this lovely village or to take the cog train up to Núria. There is time to climb above the monastery to admire the breathtaking views surrounded by 3,000 m peaks and to do some circular walks. There is an optional walk down through the valley to Queralbs.

  • Walking for the day:  8 km, 3-4 hours
  • Overnight in Ribes de Freser (Hotel Els Caçadors or similar)

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

You can either take a train from Ribes de Freser to Barcelona or if you are travelling to Girona you can take the bus from Ripoll. Optional transfer from Ribes de Freser to Ripoll bus station can be booked at a small extra charge.

What to Expect

Accommodation

On this walking holiday, you will be staying in charming family-run guesthouses and small hotels. 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

*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

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required) and requires a good level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades).

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 the route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from March until October. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

In this part of the range, winds blow from the humid Atlantic north, creating cooler, cloudier and wetter conditions on the French side. The southern-facing Spanish side, where our walking takes place, sits in the rain shadow and enjoys a much better climate, usually dry and sunny during the summer, although during July and August, thunderstorms often develop late in the day. The best months to come are from early June to mid-July, when the conditions are typically most stable, temperatures are pleasant, and most snow has usually melted from the highest parts of our trails. Late July and August are hot, although cool at night. September is cooler and increasingly wetter, while October can be quite wet and is usually the limit since soon snow will begin to fall at higher elevations.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Barcelona (BCN) and Girona (GRO).

By train or bus
  • Once you arrive at Barcelona airport you would need to take the shuttle train to Barcelona Sants train station (approx 20 mins), then change trains and take a train (approx 2 hrs) to Ripoll. You can find the train times here. You will then be transferred from Ripoll to your accommodation in Camprodon.
  • If travelling from Girona you can take a bus from Girona to Ripoll, you can see the bus times here or by using the Omio planner above.
  • At the end of the holiday, you can take the train from Ribes de Freser back to Barcelona or take the optional private transfer to Ripoll to take the bus back to Girona.
  • The train journey from London to Girona takes about 10 hours (see more details).

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in charming family-run guesthouses and small hotels with breakfast included
  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (electronic copy + one printed copy per party)
  • Welcome meeting, including information about local history, culture, traditions, restaurants, shops, local attractions, etc.
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • Private transfer Ripoll train station – Camprodon (Day 1)
  • Private transfer to Abella on Day 6
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Ferry, train and bus tickets not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
  • Private transfer Ribes de Feser – Ripoll on Day 8 (if travelling to Girona)
  • Private transfers from Ribes to Freser to Girona Centre/Airport or Barcelona Centre/Airport
  • Half-board option (add 5 dinners – not available on Days 1&5)

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