In the north-east of Spain, the Pyrenees of Catalonia await families who love nature and the mountains. The high peaks, green valleys and rivers that have contributed to the formation of these exceptional landscapes are a playground for all those who wish to enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities. In the heart of these idyllic landscapes, people have also built architectural treasures throughout history, which are sure to be visited on a hiking trail. The Pyrenees of Catalonia have destinations with the "Mountain and nature tourism for families" label, which means that they are all adapted to welcome parents and their children. They offer a wide range of facilities and activities to make their stay a pleasant one. So for those of you who want to get away from it all, it's time to discover Catalonia's mountains, its fascinating landscapes, its outdoor activities, its heritage and its gastronomy. All these elements promise an unforgettable stay and you will not fail to repeat the experience.
Discover the Pyrenees of Catalonia in any season
There is no favourite season to visit the Pyrenees of Catalonia. Each season has its own atmosphere, with different possibilities of things to see and do. In winter, snow sports and activities such as skiing, snowboarding and sledging can be practised in one of the ten resorts in the area. Baqueira, Boí Taüll, Espot, Port del Comte, La Molina, Masella, Port Ainé, Tavascan, Vallter 2000 and Vall de Núria await winter sports enthusiasts, who also like to warm up in museums and enjoy good mountain cuisine. In spring, there is no lack of rafting, canoeing, canyoning and other water activities on the Noguera Pallaresa river, while summer is the ideal season for hiking on the short and long distance paths, all of which offer breathtaking views and direct contact with the fauna and flora. Not forgetting, of course, the cycle touring networks adapted to all profiles of mountain bike enthusiasts. Finally, in autumn, before the territory is covered in snow, the trees in the forests of the Catalan Pyrenees take on their most beautiful red hues to offer a show of great beauty. This is a good time to pick mushrooms, as well as to contemplate the most beautiful monuments in the area, such as the magnificent Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boí.
La Vall de Boí, between nature and architecture
While in winter the Boí Taüll ski resort delights those who like to slide along the highest peaks in the Pyrenees, the Vall de Boí destination awaits visitors in the summer to discover the valley on foot. With its peaks above 3,000 metres, the Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, the only national park in Catalonia, is a great place to immerse yourself in nature. You can go for a walk with your children along the Aigüestortes loop route, or enjoy some thrills on the way to Cavallers, a high mountain area with steep walls where you can go climbing. The National Park also has the largest concentration of lakes in the whole Pyrenean range. You can reach the estany of Sant Maurici, the estany Negre or the estany Gento and enjoy the shores to bask in the sun or relax with a good picnic. You should not forget to visit the splendid Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boí, with their incredible architecture and frescoes, all of which are listed by UNESCO.
The Valls d'Àneu and Pirineus Noguera Pallaresa: discovering the rural world with your family
The Valls d'Àneu is another destination in the Catalan Pyrenees that is ideal for family activities. There are around twenty small mountain villages, including the unmissable towns of Esterri d'Àneu, Alt Àneu, Espot and La Guinguet. In terms of nature, you can stroll through the Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park to photograph the lakes and admire the peaks of the Encantats. Together with the Alt Pirineu Natural Park, these are two favourite areas for activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, canoeing on the Torrassa reservoir, rafting and trekking. The Pyrenees-Noguera Pallaresa destination also boasts a generous and beautiful natural environment where you can take marked paths to admire some 1,500 plant species, as well as birds and mammals such as the chamois, the bearded vulture and the marmot. The Noguera Pallaresa also flows here, a paradise for lovers of canoeing and rafting, and is considered the best river in Europe for white water sports. Also for families, a visit to the Ecomuseum of the Valls d'Àneu, where you can learn more about the natural and cultural reality of the area, the Bear House in Isil, where you can learn more about the life of the bear and follow its footprints, and the Roseta de Gavàs, where you can take a guided tour of the only farm that makes cheese from goat's milk in Pallars Sobirà.
As for accommodation, families enjoy staying in hotels, country houses or campsites. Some of them have swimming pools with views of the mountains and offer a variety of activities and excursions to delight both young and old.
Berga, nature and culture on the agenda
In the centre of the Catalan Pyrenees, very close to Barcelona, Berga links the plain and the mountains. You can take the time to walk through the old town to reach the old Jewish quarter of Call, the Carrer Major and its modernist facades, before stopping to taste the local gastronomy: veal, chicken, capon with Catalan sauce. Then it's time for nature and the activities available in the Queralt mountains. Hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, there are many ways to enjoy the landscape and to exercise. For those who love water activities, we recommend a canoeing session on the Baells lake. The waters are turquoise and the view is magnificent, with lush nature and mountain peaks. To enjoy a cultural moment with your family, you should also visit the wonderful Cercs Mines Museum. The visit allows you to better understand the work of coal extraction that took place in the territory in the past. There are four highlights: the discovery of the permanent exhibition rooms, a visit to a miner's dwelling from the 1940s, a visit to a projection room and a train ride through the Sant Romà gallery, 500 metres underground. We dive into the heart of the life and work inside a mine.
The Pyrenees of Catalonia cannot be mentioned without mentioning the ski resort of La Molina, the oldest in Catalonia. It attracts many travellers in winter to enjoy the snow, but its offer is just as interesting in summer, with the provision of a renovated bike park for cycling activities. Segway, quad biking for children, inflatable structures, swimming pool, trampolines and other tyroliennes offer families fun and shared pleasures. Known as the "mother of all ski resorts", it is accessible by train from Barcelona, as are other resorts. Among them is Masella, neighbouring La Molina, with which it forms the Alp 2,500 area. Although it is closed in the summer, it is a delight for winter sports enthusiasts, with 74 km of pistes, from green to black.
A walk through the Vall de Camprodon
La Vall de Camprodon is located in the eastern part of the Ripollès region, not far from the border with France. Here you can discover a number of villages with a beautiful heritage. Llanars with the church of Sant Esteve de Llanars, built in the 12th century, Vilallonga de Ter and Setcases, which also have small historic districts and very old churches. In Sant Pau de Segúries, a walk along the Roman road of Capsacosta is not to be missed either, where the herds regularly pass by and where you can see the cobblestones of the road and elements related to its past construction. For excursions into nature, we can take advantage of the Ter and Freser Natural Park to go hiking or mountain biking and see its high mountain fauna, with chamois, marmots, mouflons, bearded vultures and golden eagles. Its flora is also very diverse, with flowering alpine meadows, black pine forests and high mountain pastures. It's also worth returning in winter to the popular Vallter 2000 ski resort, which offers 13 ski runs, a snow park, children's amusement parks and five freeride areas. With the kids, a trip to Molló Parc Aventura is guaranteed to put a smile on their face, as there is a safe park with a multitude of tree courses.
Close to Vall de Camprodon is Vall de Núria. As the resort is not accessible by car, it is best to take a hike or the cogwheel train from Ribes de Freser or Queralbs to reach it, the latter covering 12.5 km and climbing more than 1,000 metres. The views of the peaks are breathtaking. Once there, families can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities: hiking, horse or pony rides for the little ones, orienteering and canoeing on the Vall de Núria lake. There is also a leisure park and a cable car ride to the Alberg, the peak of the Àliga. The view of the valley and the surrounding peaks is spectacular.
A moment of escape at Vall d'en Bas-Les Preses
La Vall d'en Bas-Les Preses is another destination that is sure to appeal to families looking for wide open spaces and charming historic towns to stay in. The area is surrounded by ridges, depressions and peaks, and there is a green and fertile plain with streams flowing through it. Here and there you can also see ancient churches and visit old farmhouses. Not forgetting the villages perched on hilltops, such as Els Hostalets d'en Bas, Joanetes and El Mallol. And what about those peaceful villages where you can stay in rural houses, such as Sant Privat d'En Bas? One idea for discovering the treasures of the Vall d'En Bas is to download the "Bas de Màgia" application, which leads to the main sites of interest and invites you to solve riddles, children will love it!
The natural environment is also ideal for mountain biking and hiking on paths that reveal beautiful green and hilly views. Children also enjoy donkey rides, as well as stopping at the municipal picnic area of Els Pins, in the middle of a pine forest. You are then close to the Gurn gorge, where you can enjoy a canyoning session.