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Guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

Alt Pirineu natural park

The Catalan Pyrenees provide a dramatic setting for snowshoeing holidays, far away from the more frequented routes. Spreading our stay over one traditional Catalan village we experience the beauty and tranquillity of the Pallars Sobira region, as well as its cultural heritage. Walks through ancient forests, across valleys and through tiny forgotten villages are complemented by visits to local producers of cheese and wool. All this surrounded by soaring peaks and extraordinary views in the company of an expert local mountain guide.

 

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

 

We have chosen Pallars Sobira, an area of the highest Catalan Pyrenees, because of its beauty and solitude. The woods are so deserted they seem almost abandoned.

In the company of our local mountain guide we journey from Barcelona to Rialp. This pretty small village will be our base camp for all our stunning snowshoe walks in the Alt Pirineu natural park. One of our snowshoe hikes is the majestic Aigüestortes National Park.

If you want to experience complete silence, broken only by the sound of snow crunching underfoot as you walk, then this is the trip for you.

This is a 5 day trip

1st day - Arrive in the Pyrenees & Santa Magdalena valley

Miguel will pick you up in Barcelona at 9 am. If you are unable to meet the group in Barcelona, these snowshoeing holidays will begin in Rialp, a small village in the Alt Pirineu natural park set at 730m altitude, with only 670 full time residents.

After 4.5-hour drive, we arrive at the hotel in Rialp where we leave our luggage. Then, we drive to Roni, a small village set at 1080m altitude, with only 50 full time residents. The nearest evidence of visitors here is the Port Ainé ski resort about 14km away.

Starting at Roni, we make a continuous ascent across deep forests to the ridge of the Serra del Llus range. There we will visit some bunkers built and used during the Spanish Civil War.

Distance: 8km ‐ Elevation gain: 405m ‐ Duration: 4 hours, including breaks

roni-pallars-sobira-catalan-pyrenees
roni-pallars-sobira-catalan-pyrenees

2nd day - Explore the La Coma Valley, crossing remote villages and through the deep forests of Les Bordes de Burg; visit local cheese producer

The scenic village of Farrera is just a 25 minute transfer and is a great location to begin our walk. Today our route takes us through the La Coma Valley. Here we find numerous ‘bordes’, or shepherd’s huts, used to keep cattle and store feed.

Traversing first deep forests, we pass through two small villages ‐ Farrera and Burg, both of which have fewer than 100 inhabitants. This insight into a traditional way of life in the remote countryside is what makes this walk memorable.

Distance: 7.6km ‐ Elevation gain: 566m ‐ Duration: 5.75 hours, including breaks

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees
guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

After the walk we transfer to the village of Tirvia to visit the rhomboidal gravestones built around the time that the Cathar Perfect Bélibaste was arrested in the 14th century. To read more about Catharism, click here.

We also visit houses in Tirvia, including one with shrapnel marks on its façade, and another one where injured soldiers were treated. Tirvia was in the front line during the Spanish Civil War. It was completelly destroyed, and then rebuilt.

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees
guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

After our visit to Tirvia we transfer to Surp in the Assua Valley and visit cheese producer Clara Ferrando, who left her home near Barcelona to set up this sustainable and traditional cheese production in 2007. We will of course have the opportunity to try some of her award‐winning produce, accompanied with traditional wines of Catalonia. We end the day with a 15 minute transfer back to Rialp.

3rd day - Pla de Nequa

For the third snowshoe walk of the week we explore the Cardós Valley, half an hour drive away. Again an area not well known to tourists, we enjoy dramatic landscapes on our way to Pla de Nequa at 1978m. The trail crosses forests of birch, scots pines and dwarf mountain pines until we reach the Pla itself and enjoy the panoramic views over the whole valley and its surrounds.

Local folklore has it that this was the site of sabbath celebrations by witches during the Middle Ages. As such a well known Catalan writer based his novel ‘The witches of Pla Negua’ here.

Distance: 12.3km ‐ Elevation gain: 782m ‐ Duration: 6.8 hours including breaks.

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees
guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

After our walk we transfer to Rialp (30 mins) and visit a local not‐for‐profit association (Obrador Xisqueta) trying to maintain the local tradition of woolwork and thus guarantee extra revenue for the local shepherds who sell it, as well as the craftspeople who produce the woolwork itself. We haven’t included this visit in the price, because sometimes Obrador Xisqueta has no staff available to lead a visit.

We finish with a transfer back for our Hotel in Rialp.

4th day - Aiguestortes National park: Son Valley and Fogueruix pass (2110m) - Wine tasting at the hotel

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees
guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

After breakfast we head off to Planes de Son, our starting point today, passing by Son, a village at 1390m famous for its Romanesque bell tower.

On our way to the Fogueruix Pass at 2110m, we get into the Aiguestortes national park and can stop at the Pla de la Font mountain hut and crane our necks at some of the highest peaks in the area that tower above us. The pass itself lies between the Son Valley and the Espot valley. We descend via another route back down to the Planes de Son

Distance: 11.5km ‐ Elevation gain: 695m ‐ Duration: 7 hours including breaks.

The day finishes at Rialp, where our guide Miguel will give the group the chance to try some of the local produce, including cheese and sausages from the Pallars Sobira region, all washed down with wine from the south of Catalonia.

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

5th day - Circular walk across Port-Ainé forest and Orri peak summit (2439m).

Today, our circular walk will take us to the summit of Torreta de l’Orri (2439m), a peak located at the top of the Port-Ainé ski resort. It represents the highest point we will reach during the tour and from here we will be rewarded by breathtaking views of Catalonia, and of the other peaks of the Pyrenees.

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees - Port Aine

After having taken some moments to admire the beauty of the area we will follow a crest line to then continue into a dwarf-mountain pine forest called Duc.

Distance: 14.5km/ Elevation gain: 480m/ Duration: 7 hours including breaks

After the walk we transfer back to Barcelona where we arrive in the evening.

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

ACCOMODATION

We stay in Rialp, a village in the valley, next to La Noguera Pallaresa river. It has the ideal facilities for excellent and comfortable snowshoeing holidays.

Hotel Victor

guided snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees

Our accommodation for the tour is Hotel Victor in Rialp. This family‐run charming hotel was founded in 1903 and has been recently restored. All rooms are en suite and very comfortable. There is free Wi‐Fi access in the hotel. Meals are prepared using local produce giving a great insight into the traditions of the area.

Victor’s cuisine is very popular, so much that it has become the main reason for many people to come and visit the area.

Single supplements are available on request.

NOTES

  • Included:
    • Full-board en-suite accommodation: 4 nights in Hotel Victor.
    • Meals: 5 picnic lunches, 4 breakfasts and 4 dinners. Wine is included with the dinner.
    • Snowshoes and poles.
    • Park fees as appropriate
    • All road transfers in country
    • Accident insurance while in the wilderness
    • Qualified English-speaking local mountain guide
    • All scheduled non-walking activities except Obrador Xisqueta

 

  • Excluded:
    • Flights
    • Personal equipment
    • Travel insurance
    • Meals and drinks not indicated in ‘Included’

 

  • The guide has the right to change the itinerary at any time if deemed necessary to guarantee the security of the group
  • Walking gear & equipment – I send you a list when you book
  • If you can drive to Rialp on your vehicle, contact us by completing the form at the end of this page. We can arrange a meeting at Rialp. You will also get a discount.

AVAILABILITY

Still available places for these trips:

  • December 22 2018
  • January 12 2019
  • February 23 2019
  • March 16 2019

 

Bespoke trips? Let me know the dates that best suit you and/or the changes you would like to do on the trip on the form at the end of this page!

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