Hiking beyond Barcelona offers a wealth of scenic trails and natural wonders within reach of the city. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely walk, there are plenty of options to suit all levels of ability. Here are some of the best trails and natural sites to explore around Barcelona:
Montserrat is a spectacular mountain range located near Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is famous for its unique serrated appearance, which inspired its name, meaning “saw mountain” in Catalan. Montserrat is a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and tourists due to its stunning landscape and cultural importance.
The mountain is home to the Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery, a significant religious site that has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries. The monastery is nestled on the mountainside at an altitude of around 720 meters (2,362 feet) and houses the revered statue of the Black Madonna, also known as La Moreneta.
There are numerous hiking trails in Montserrat to suit all levels of hikers. Some of the most popular trails include:
- Sant Jeroni Trail: This trail takes you to the highest peak of Montserrat at 1,236 meters (4,055 feet). The hike takes around 4-5 hours round-trip, offering spectacular views of the surrounding area.
- Montserrat Monastery to Santa Cova: This 2-3 hour hike takes you to the Santa Cova Chapel, a sacred cave where the Black Madonna statue was believed to be found. The trail offers stunning views of the mountain and the monastery.
- Via Crucis: A shorter, easier trail that follows the Stations of the Cross, leading to a viewpoint with panoramic views of the monastery and surrounding landscape.
- Funicular de Sant Joan: A more leisurely option is to take the Sant Joan Funicular to a higher elevation, then follow the trails and viewpoints around the mountain.
To reach Montserrat from Barcelona, you can take a train from Plaça Espanya station to the Montserrat-Aeri station or the Monistrol de Montserrat station. From there, you can either take the cable car (Aeri de Montserrat) or the rack railway (Cremallera de Montserrat) to reach the monastery. Alternatively, you can drive or join an organized tour.
When visiting Montserrat, ensure you wear appropriate footwear, bring water and snacks, and check the weather conditions before setting off on your hike.
Parc Natural de Collserola is a vast natural park located on the outskirts of Barcelona, covering over 8,000 hectares of protected land. It is considered the green lung of the city and provides a tranquil escape from the urban hustle and bustle. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including oak and pine forests, as well as numerous trails suitable for hikers, walkers, and cyclists.
Some popular trails and points of interest in Parc Natural de Collserola include:
- Carretera de les Aigües: This relatively flat and wide trail is popular among hikers, runners, and cyclists. It stretches for around 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and offers stunning panoramic views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea.
- Tibidabo: One of the highest points in the park, Tibidabo offers breathtaking views of the city below. A popular destination within the park, Tibidabo is home to the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, a beautiful church, and the Tibidabo Amusement Park.
- Vallvidrera Reservoir: This picturesque reservoir, surrounded by lush forests, is an ideal spot for picnics and birdwatching. There are various trails around the reservoir for leisurely walks or more challenging hikes.
- Sant Medir: This trail takes you through the Serra de Collserola hills to the hermitage of Sant Medir. The route is approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) and offers a peaceful, forested environment.
- Collserola Tower: Designed by architect Sir Norman Foster, this telecommunications tower offers an observation deck at 115 meters (377 feet), providing spectacular views of the surrounding area.
To reach Parc Natural de Collserola from Barcelona, you can take the FGC train from Plaça Catalunya station to Baixador de Vallvidrera or Les Planes. Alternatively, you can access the park via a short car or bike ride from the city center.
When visiting the park, remember to wear appropriate footwear, bring water and snacks, and respect the park’s rules to preserve its natural beauty.
Parc Natural del Montseny is a beautiful natural park situated about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Barcelona. The park covers approximately 30,120 hectares and is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its exceptional biodiversity and unique landscape. Montseny features a diverse range of ecosystems, including Mediterranean forests, alpine meadows, and rivers, making it an excellent destination for nature lovers.
The park is home to several hiking trails, catering to various levels of difficulty. Some popular routes and points of interest in Parc Natural del Montseny include:
- Turo de l’Home: This is the highest peak in Montseny, reaching 1,712 meters (5,617 feet). The hike to the summit is moderately difficult and takes about 4-5 hours round-trip. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Les Agudes: Another popular peak in Montseny, Les Agudes reaches 1,703 meters (5,587 feet). The hike is of moderate difficulty and offers fantastic views from the summit.
- Santa Fe de Montseny: This is a popular starting point for many hikes within the park. Santa Fe de Montseny is a small village with a visitor center, providing useful information about the park and its trails.
- Castanyer de Can Cuc: This trail leads you to an ancient, monumental chestnut tree, estimated to be over 700 years old. The hike is relatively easy, making it suitable for families and casual hikers.
- Riera de Gualba Trail: This is a pleasant, family-friendly trail that follows the Gualba river, leading to the Gorg de Gualba, a beautiful waterfall and pool where you can take a refreshing dip during the warmer months.
To reach Parc Natural del Montseny from Barcelona, you can take the R3 Rodalies train from Sants station to Figaró or Sant Martí Sacalm. From there, you may need to take a taxi or bus to your desired starting point within the park. Alternatively, you can drive, which takes around 1.5 hours.
When visiting the park, be sure to wear appropriate footwear, carry water and snacks, and check the weather conditions before setting off on your hike.
Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa is a unique natural park located in the province of Girona, about 115 km (71 miles) north of Barcelona. The park spans over 12,000 hectares and is characterized by its volcanic landscape, featuring more than 40 volcanic cones, numerous lava flows, and various basalt cliffs. The diverse terrain and lush vegetation make it a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
Some notable trails and points of interest in Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa include:
- Fageda d’en Jordà: This enchanting beech forest grows on a lava flow from the Croscat volcano. It offers several well-marked trails, with the most popular being a 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) loop that showcases the unique combination of forest and volcanic features.
- Volcà de Santa Margarida: This trail leads to the Santa Margarida crater, which has a diameter of around 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) and a depth of 150 meters (492 feet). Inside the crater lies the hermitage of Santa Margarida, a small church built in the 13th century.
- Volcà del Croscat: The Croscat volcano is the youngest and tallest volcano in the park. It features a unique, open face that provides a fascinating glimpse into the volcano’s inner structure. The trail around the volcano is approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) long.
- Olot: This charming town is located within the park and serves as a perfect base for exploring the surrounding volcanic landscapes. Olot is known for its modernist architecture, lively market, and the nearby Montsacopa volcano.
- Medieval town of Santa Pau: Nestled in the heart of the park, Santa Pau is a picturesque medieval village known for its narrow streets, stone houses, and a 13th-century castle. It’s an ideal place to relax and enjoy the local gastronomy after a day of hiking.
To reach Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa from Barcelona, you can take a direct bus from the city (2.5 hours) or drive (1.5 hours). Public transportation within the park is limited, so renting a car is the most convenient option for exploring the area.
When visiting the park, be sure to wear appropriate footwear, bring water and snacks, and check the weather conditions before setting off on your hike.
The Costa Brava Coastal Path, also known as Cami de Ronda, is a network of interconnected coastal trails that stretch along the Costa Brava coastline in Catalonia, Spain. The trails offer stunning views of the Mediterranean, hidden coves, pristine beaches, and picturesque fishing villages, making it an ideal destination for hikers and nature lovers alike. The total length of the Cami de Ronda is approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles), but it can be divided into smaller sections for more manageable day hikes.
Some popular starting points and sections of the Cami de Ronda include:
- Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc: This 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) section is an easy, family-friendly walk that takes you along the coast between two charming villages, passing by the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens and offering stunning views of the Mediterranean.
- Llafranc to Tamariu: This 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) section is slightly more challenging, featuring a rocky coastline, secluded coves, and pine forests. It takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete.
- Platja d’Aro to S’Agaró: This 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) walk takes you along a beautiful stretch of coastline, passing by the luxurious S’Agaró residential area and offering breathtaking views of the sea.
- Tossa de Mar to Lloret de Mar: This 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) section is more challenging, with steep ascents and descents, but it rewards you with incredible views and access to hidden beaches along the way.
- Cap de Creus: Located in the northern part of Costa Brava, this trail offers a more rugged and remote hiking experience. The paths here take you through the Cap de Creus Natural Park, featuring unique rock formations, secluded coves, and the famous Salvador Dalí House-Museum in Portlligat.
To reach the Costa Brava from Barcelona, you can take a train or bus to nearby towns such as Girona or Blanes and then take a local bus to your desired starting point. Alternatively, you can drive or join an organized tour.
When hiking the Cami de Ronda, be sure to wear appropriate footwear, carry water and snacks, and check the weather conditions before setting off. Keep in mind that some sections of the path may be more challenging or inaccessible during high tides or rough sea conditions.
Parc Natural dels Ports is a magnificent natural park located in the southern part of Catalonia, close to the border with the Valencian Community and Aragon. Covering an area of approximately 60,000 hectares, the park is characterized by its unique limestone cliffs, deep gorges, and dense forests. The diverse landscape and remote location make it an ideal destination for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts seeking solitude and adventure.
Some popular trails and points of interest in Parc Natural dels Ports include:
- Estrets d’Arnes: This stunning trail takes you through the Estrets d’Arnes, a narrow gorge carved by the Algars River. The route is approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) long and offers a mix of rugged terrain, lush vegetation, and impressive rock formations.
- Mont Caro: The highest peak in the park, Mont Caro reaches an elevation of 1,447 meters (4,747 feet). The hike to the summit is challenging but rewards you with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) long and takes around 4-5 hours to complete.
- Barranc de la Galera: This trail follows the Galera ravine, leading you through a series of caves, rock formations, and waterfalls. The route is approximately 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) long and requires some scrambling and climbing in certain sections.
- La Vall Figuera: This relatively easy trail takes you through the picturesque Figuera Valley, offering lush vegetation, small waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife. The route is approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) long and takes around 3-4 hours to complete.
- Roques de Benet: These impressive rock formations are a popular destination for rock climbers and hikers alike. The trail to Roques de Benet is approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
To reach Parc Natural dels Ports from Barcelona, you can take a train to Tortosa or drive, which takes around 2.5 hours. Public transportation within the park is limited, so renting a car or joining an organized tour is the most convenient option for exploring the area.
When visiting the park, be sure to wear appropriate footwear, bring water and snacks, and check the weather conditions before setting off on your hike. Note that some trails may require a permit, so it’s essential to check with the park authorities before embarking on your adventure.
Parc Natural de la Serra de Montsant is a captivating natural park located in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. Established in 2002, the park spans over 9,300 hectares and is characterized by its distinctive Montsant mountain range, with unique limestone cliffs, dense forests, and striking rock formations. The park is known for its rich biodiversity, cultural heritage, and numerous hiking trails, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
Some popular trails and points of interest in Parc Natural de la Serra de Montsant include:
- El Grau dels Barrots: This trail takes you through a narrow passage carved into the limestone cliffs, offering an exciting and challenging experience. The route is approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) long and takes around 3-4 hours to complete.
- La Morera de Montsant: This picturesque village is a popular starting point for various hikes in the park. The village is home to a visitor center, which provides valuable information about the park and its trails.
- Ermita de Sant Bartomeu: This short, family-friendly trail takes you to the hermitage of Sant Bartomeu, a small 17th-century chapel perched on the side of the mountain. The trail is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long and offers beautiful views of the surrounding area.
- La Roca Corbatera: The highest point in the park, La Roca Corbatera, reaches an elevation of 1,163 meters (3,815 feet). The hike to the summit is moderately challenging and offers panoramic views of the park and the nearby Priorat wine region.
- Circular trail of Siurana: This picturesque trail takes you around the village of Siurana, located on a cliff overlooking the Montsant River. The route is approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) long and offers stunning views of the river, the village, and the surrounding landscape.
To reach Parc Natural de la Serra de Montsant from Barcelona, you can take a train or bus to nearby towns such as Reus, Tarragona, or Falset, and then take a local bus or taxi to your desired starting point within the park. Alternatively, you can drive, which takes around 2 hours.
When visiting the park, be sure to wear appropriate footwear, carry water and snacks, and check the weather conditions before setting off on your hike. It is also important to respect the park’s rules and regulations to preserve its natural beauty and cultural heritage.