Antarctica & Arctic
Snowshoe the valleys and forests of the remote Catalan Pyrenees; enjoy traditional cuisine and local hospitality.
a Destinations d > Spain & Portugal > Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees
7 nights accommodation, some meals, guided snowshoe walks, snowshoe and pole rental, tour leader.
20 Jan; 03 Feb; 10 & 17 Mar ‘19
The Catalan Pyrenees provide a dramatic setting for snowshoeing, far away from the more frequented routes. Spreading our stay over two traditional Spanish villages we experience beauty and heritage of the Pallars Sobira region. Walks through ancient forests, across valleys and through tiny forgotten villages are complemented by visits to local producers of wine, cheese and wool.
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Snowshoe the valleys and forests of Pallars Sobira
Learn about cheese and wool production, enjoy wine tasting
Visit and stay in remote mountain villages
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The trip begins in Rialp, a small village set at 725m altitude, with only 629 full time residents. The nearest evidence of visitors here is the Port Ainé ski resort about 14km away. (D)
A 10 minute transfer takes us to our start point in Roni for a day exploring the Santa Magdalena Valley. Crossing deep forests and ridges we admire some of the highest peaks of Catalonia.
The day finishes with a transfer back to our hotel (approx 20 mins), where our guide Miguel will give the group the chance to try some of the local produce, including cheese and sausages from the Pallars Sobirà region, all washed down with wine from the south of Catalonia.
Distance: 6km/ Elevation gain: 700m/ Duration: 5 hours including breaks. (B)(L)(D)
The scenic village of Farrera is just a 30 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.
After the walk we transfer to the village of Surp in the Assua Valley (30 mins) and visit cheese producer Clara Ferrando. She relocated from her home near Barcelona to set up a sustainable and traditional cheese production with her husband in 2007. We will of course have the opportunity to try some of her award-winning produce, accompanied with traditional wines of Catalonia. We then end the day with a 30 minute walk back to Rialp.
Distance: 8km/ Elevation gain: 550m/ Duration: 6 hours including breaks. (B)(L)(D)
For the third snowshoe walk of the week we explore the Esterri de Cardos Valley, half an hour's drive away. Again an area not well known to tourists, we enjoy dramatic landscapes on our way to Pla de Nequa 1978m. The trail crosses forests of birch, scots pines and dwarf mountain pines until we reach the peak 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 Nequa' here.
After our walk we transfer back to Rialp (30 mins) and visit a local not-for-profit association; who try to maintain the local tradition of woolwork and thus guarantee extra revenue for the local shepherds that sell it, as well as the craftspeople that produce the woolwork itself.
We finish with a 15 minute walk back to our hotel. (B)(L)(D)
After breakfast the rest of the day is free to relax, explore Rialp, visit Son, a Romanesque village, or head to the nearby ski resort. Rialp is also well connected to Sort and Esterri d’Àneu thanks to local bus lines.
There is an eco museum in Esterri d’Àneu, set up in 1994 to promote eco conservation in the area that could also be possible to visit.
Your leader will be able to advise you of your options of how best to spend your free day. (B)
This morning we drive 35 minutes to our next base, Valencia d'Aneu. After checking in and leaving the luggage, we head off to our starting point for today; Son, a nearby village at 1390m famous for its Romanesque bell tower.
On our way to the Fogueruix Pass at 2110m, we 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 Aiguestortes National Park. We will then descend via another route back down to the Planes de Son where we began.
Distance: 11.5km/ Elevation gain: 690m/ Duration: 6- 7 hours including breaks. (B)(L)(D)
The Aiguestortes National Park is known as much for its crystal clear lakes as for its snow-clad forests and mountains. This walk takes us to some of the most idyllic of these lakes as we make our way to the Sant Maurici lake.
There are two possible walks:
1. If the road between Espot and Sant Maurici lake is closed because there is too much snow, we will walk up to Sant Maurici and then back.
2. If the road is open, 4x4 vehicles will drive us to Sant Maurici lake. Our loop will start there. First we will pass the Amitges mountain hut into the Amitges cirque, the highest altitude we’ll achieve this week. This amphitheatre shaped valley sits just below the giant peaks of Montsaliente (2890m), Bassiero (2903m) and Amitges (2848m).
This area is loved by walkers and climbers, but is a gem known only to a few. The sight of these majestic mountains lying before and around us is certainly memorable.
A 15-25 minute drive, depending on which of these options above is possible, takes us back to the hotel for our last night.
Distance: 14.5km/ Elevation gain: 637m/ Duration: 7 hours including breaks (Espot – Sant Mauric – Espot)
Distance: 12.3km/ Elevation gain: 600m/ Duration: 5.5 hours including breaks (Sant Mauri loop) (B)(L)(D)
Our trip finishes today in Valencia d'Aneu. (B)
View the Terms & Conditions
9 Days / 8 Nights
Walk the pilgramage of St James as you follow along Spain's most celebrated pilgrimage route.
7 Days / 6 Nights
Walk along easy inland routes and pretty coastal paths on this walk that takes in Spain’s Catalan coast and countryside.
8 Days / 7 Nights
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