10 excellent reasons to go hiking in Catalonia
Walking is the easiest way to get to know a place, to take in all the details, to discover the landscape at every step. In Catalonia there are many routes for all kinds of walkers.
From the highest peaks of the Catalan Pyrenees to the beaches of the Costa Daurada and the Terres de l’Ebre, ramblers can choose from an endless number of routes in a region with a long tradition of hiking. There are many reasons to come hiking in Catalonia, but here are 10 big ones.
1. A diversity of landscapes for going hiking
At just over 32,000 km2 in area Catalonia may seem small, yet it is huge in terms of natural wealth and diversity. From peaks over 3,000 metres high to the most out-of-the-way and secluded beaches, there are countless unique landscapes where you can enjoy nature on foot.
2. Paths by the sea
Set between the sea and the land, coastal paths are the best option for exploring our maritime landscapes on foot and getting to isolated spots along the coast. These routes run along the Catalan coastline and allow you to admire breathtaking coves and cliffs.
3. More than 30% of Catalonia is protected and sustainable
With more than 30% of its territory protected, Catalonia is the driving force behind a model of tourism that is responsible, environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive and accessibleA kind of tourism which provides visitors with added-value options and ensures that travellers help to conserve the territory. Catalonia was the first destination as a whole to earn Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification worldwide. Furthermore, seven of Catalonia’s natural parks have been accredited under the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism which certifies their commitment to applying the principles of sustainable tourism.
4. 15 natural parks and one national park
Catalonia’s natural parks are natural areas of outstanding beauty and places which encourage you to connect with nature. Each one has its own special charm. Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, the only one in Catalonia, is home to almost 200 lakes surrounded by sheer cliffs and abundant plants and wildlife. Very different is the landscape of La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, featuring over 40 craters, and the Delta de l’Ebre Natural Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the largest aquatic habitat in Catalonia.
5. Great cultural and culinary wealth
Catalonia is home to extensive and invaluable cultural heritage which can be explored by walking around Romanesque churches, monasteries, castles, archaeological ensembles, prehistoric sites, mediaeval villages and along ancient Roman roads. Moreover, its culinary riches make it a pleasure to sit down at the table and savour its dishes after a day on the trail. Catalonia’s cuisine is founded on quality local produce and inspires internationally renowned chefs.
6. The Catalan Pyrenees, icon of the high mountains
In the Catalan Pyrenees you can breathe nature in its purest form. There you will find mountains with peaks of up to 3,000 metres, easily reached and accessible, and a large number of lakes, forests and lush meadows. These are areas as yet untouched by humans. Their natural surroundings of outstanding beauty make them into places where you can get away from it all and rediscover inner peace and quiet.
7. Emblematic summits
These legendary peaks afford spectacular views over the region and have become mountain landmarks for Catalans and visitors alike. The Pica d’Estats, the highest peak in Catalonia, Pedraforca, with its twin fork-shaped peaks known to mountaineers from all over the world, and Puigmal, Besiberri Sud and Tuc de Molières are just some of the most emblematic.
8. Hiking options for all
In Catalonia every hiker has a wide range of trails to choose from. There are half-day excursions, full-day routes, two or three-day hikes and, for the more experienced hikers, long-distance itineraries that take a week or more. The possibilities are endless as there are 9,000 km of paths and trails across the territory.
9. Quality facilities made for hikers
Hotels, country B&Bs, hostels, campsites… Each with its own personality, in Catalonia there is accommodation to suit all tastes, providing quality venues tailored to the needs of hikers. Rest and relaxation after a ramble are always assured.
10. Mediterranean climate
The Mediterranean climate features hot summers and mild winters. Our geographical variety means that in the Catalan Pyrenees temperatures are cooler on average, while in the inland regions of the Terres de Lleida it is hotter in July and August. Rainfall is highest between May and June.