Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Villages of the Catalan Pyrenees Self-Guided Walking Holiday
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Highlights

  • Walking in the unspoiled heart of the Catalan Pyrenees
  • Quaint mountain villages - Camprodon, Setcases and Ribes de Freser
  • Enjoy hearty Catalan mountain food - delicious sausages and cured meats
  • Spotting booted eagles, griffon vultures, beautiful Chamois and wild boar
  • Travelling by rack train to the ancient monastery of Nuria

The Catalan Pyrenees are a walker’s paradise, offering unspoiled mountains, quaint villages, Romanesque churches, and the warmest climate of the Pyrenean range.

Enjoy fantastic mountain walks through the warm, wooded hills of the Garrotxa and the dramatic final peaks of the Pyrenees, areas where the red and yellow Catalan flag flies proudly. Explore pretty villages featuring stone houses, cobbled streets and alleyways. And watch out for booted eagles, griffon vultures and the beautiful chamois.

At the end of a wonderful day’s walking, enjoy a warm welcome from your cosy mountain hotel before tucking into a hearty Catalan dish of sausages or cured meats, accompanied by a delicious glass of wine.

Day 1: Arrive Camprodon

Travel by train from Barcelona, or by bus from Girona, to the town of Ripoll (approx. 2 hours) where you will be collected and transferred to the charming mountain village of Camprodon.


Wander around the lovely centre with its 12th century footbridge and many alleys and squares, and enjoy the local specialities of delicious sausages and cured meats.


Overnight: Camprodon


Day 2: Camprodon to Molló

Begin your day by walking into the High Garrotxa. Your route will take you along the GR11 crossing meadows and lush valleys. Then descend through woodland, passing abandoned farmhouses to arrive at the village of Molló, with its beautiful 12th century Romanesque church.


Walk: 17km, 4-5 hours, 530m Ascent, 350m Descent


Overnight: Molló


Day 3: Molló to Setcases

A spectacular walk over two mountain passes lies ahead of you today. Take in impressive panoramic views—to the West, the dramatic Pyrenean peaks, and to the East, the warm, wooded hills of the Garrotxa.  A slow, steady climb takes you up the Fembra Morte Pass (1728m). Continue to the Lliens Pass (1864m), a great picnic spot, before continuing across the northern flank of the Puig de les Agudes. Finally descend to the pretty village of Setcases.


Walk: 12km, 6 hours, 658m Ascent, 579m Descent


Overnight: Setcases


Day 4: Free Day in Setcases

Spend today taking in the picturesque village of Setcases with its stone houses and cobbled alleyways. Or you can choose to take a longer walk and climb one of the many surrounding mountain passes, or even the Bastiments peak at 2883m. On a clear day it is possible to see the Mediterranean from here.


Walk: Up to 15km, 3-4 hours, 400m Ascent/Descent


Overnight: Setcases


Day 5: Setcases to Camprodon

A short route leads you high above the valley today, with fantastic panoramic views. Pass the village of La Roca, which is spectacularly perched on top of a steep cliff. Then continue to Camprodon.


Walk: 12.4km, 3-4 hours, 269m Ascent, 592m Descent


Overnight: Camprodon


Day 6: Camprodon to Ribes de Freser

A spectacular, gradual ascent up through a wild valley brings you to the Collada Verda Pass (1606m), passing some beautiful mountain villages along the way.  Descend on undulating paths to the mountain village of Ribes de Freser.


Walk: 23km, 6-7 hours, 742m Ascent, 761m Descent


Overnight: Ribes de Freser


Day 7: Free Day in Ribes de Freser

We highly recommend taking the rack train up the Val de Nuria today (payable locally, approx €22). The best way to visit the Núria valley, this wonderful railway line covers a distance of 12km and an incline of over 1000 metres. On arrival visit the Núria monastery, an ancient place of pilgrimage and important cultural centre in the middle ages.


There are plenty of beautiful walks around the monastery, or you can take an optional walk down the valley to Queralbs.


Walk: Up to 13km, 3-4 hours, 152m Ascent, 932m Descent


Overnight: Ribes de Freser


Day 8: Onward Travel

Take a train from Ribes de Freser to Barcelona, or if you are heading to Girona, we can arrange an optional transfer to Ripoll from where you can take the bus to Girona.


Additional Nights and Extensions

We recommend adding additional nights in either Girona or Barcelona to the start or end of your tour. Girona is a bit of an untapped treasure of a city with an abundance of museums, galleries and Gothic churches as well as some of the best restaurants Catalonia has to offer.  And then of course you have Barcelona with its fantastic architecture, beautiful medieval quarters and vibrant nightlife.


We can also arrange extra nights at any of the overnight stops on your walk.  You may also like to combine this walk with one of our walking holidays in the Costa Brava, for a combination of the mountains and the sea!

Accommodation

7 nights accommodation is included in hand-picked cosy mountain hotels of a 2-3* standard.


We have carefully selected charming mountain hotels in fantastic locations, which all offer great food and a warm welcome. Here you’ll see a selection of the properties we normally use, however they are subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

Single rooms are available and a single supplement is payable. Unfortunately this trip is not available to solo walkers due to the remote nature of some of the walks.


Meals

7 breakfasts are included. Packed lunches are available from your accommodation (order the night before) or you can stop on the way. Dinners are not included as standard but are available either at your overnight accommodation or close by. If you prefer you can choose to upgrade to half board to have your dinner included.



 

 

 



Hotel Sant Roc - Camprodon



Hotel Sant Roc - Camprodon

A family hotel in the heart of Camprodon with incredibly helpful owners, and views over the square. Rooms are comfortable and cosy, and the restaurant serves tasty Catalan specialities.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel La Coma - Setcases



Hotel La Coma - Setcases

A beautiful boutique hotel surrounded by the mountains, forests and rivers. It has a spa, sauna and Jacuzzi to soothe tired bones!


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Cacadors - Ribes de Freser



Hotel Cacadors - Ribes de Freser

A family run hotel in an ideal location for exploring the Nuria valley. Their Moon Lodge and terrace is the perfect place to relax and gaze at the stars, with a cosy fireplace, solarium and Jacuzzi with views of the mountains.


 

 

 

Availability

You can start your walk on any date between the middle of April and middle of October, subject to availability. 


Time of Year

We recommend the spring months of April and May when the temperatures are cooler and flowers in bloom, or September which is also very pleasant for walking. The months of July and August can get very hot.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

Single rooms are available and a single supplement is payable. Unfortunately this trip is not available to solo walkers due to the remote nature of some of the walks.


Grade & Terrain

The walk is graded overall as moderate-strenuous. You will be walking on good paths  for between 4-8 hours a day. There are some steeper sections, and ascents of up to 750m. On the free day in Setcases, the optional walk up the Bastiments Peak would be graded as strenuous and should only be attempted by experienced walkers. We do not recommend this walk for anybody who suffers from vertigo due to some of the paths having quite sheer drop offs.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

We will provide you with detailed route notes and the paths are well-defined and easy to follow so you shouldn’t have any problems finding your way. The trails are a mixture of farm tracks and mountain trails.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred for you each day so that you don't need to worry about carrying them and can simply walk with a day pack.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, there is the option to be accommodated at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere we will advise you of this before confirming your booking


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. 

Getting to Camprodon

By Air: The closest airport is Barcelona. On arrival at the airport, take the shuttle train to Barcelona Sants train station (20mins), then transfer on to another train to Ripoll (2 hours). You will be collected from Ripoll and transferred to your accommodation in Camprodon.


You can also fly to Girona Airport, and take a bus to Ripoll with Teisa buses.


Getting from Ribes de Freser

By Train to Barcelona: You can take the train from Ribes de Freser back to Barcelona. View times at the Renfe website.


By Bus to Girona: If you are travelling back to Girona, we can arrange a transfer to take you back to Ripoll, from where you take the bus back to Girona.

Included

  • 7 Nights in 2-3 star hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Daily baggage transfers
  • Transfer from Ripoll to Camprodon
  • Route notes and maps
  • 24/7 telephone support from our office and local partners in Spain

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Ripoll and from Ribes de Freser
  • Lunches and Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Private transfer from Ribes de Freser to Ripoll
  • Single room supplement/s if required
  • Half Board Supplement

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular and the accommodations do get booked up quickly.

How fit do I need to be?

The walk is graded overall as moderate-strenuous. You will be walking on good paths  for between 4-8 hours a day. There are some steeper sections, and ascents of up to 750m. On the free day in Setcases, the optional walk up the Bastiments Peak would be graded as strenuous and should only be attempted by experienced walkers.

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, waterproof clothes and a day pack.

Catalan Villages

5

My wife and I did the Catalan Villages holiday at the end of June/beginning of July 2019. It is a great holiday with some spectacular walking. You get up to over 2000mtrs. I can recommend it. In addition to the marvellous scenery and walking I would be surprised if you did not see golden eagles and griffon vultures. There are also chamois and marmots, although we did not see the latter. When we did the holiday, we found the route notes rather poor, often confusing and on several occasions quite misleading and totally incorrect. I trust that the mistakes have now been rectified based on my feedback. If you can use a map and compass you will be fine. A word of caution: locals in the area all seem to take their holidays at the end of June/beginning of July. We soon learned the Catalan word 'tancat' = closed. Even the few establishments that are open for lunch are often closed in the evening. On one occasion, in Camprodon, we had to be satisfied with a baguette for dinner. Even two of the hotels we stayed at were closed for meals in the evening, in Camprodon and Ribes de Freser. You are probably better going on this holiday before the second half of June or after the second week of July. Accommodation is generally excellent with just one exception, Ribes de Freser, at the Hotel Cacadors. Local food is generally very good and the people are friendly and helpful. We can highly recommend drinking local red wine Catalan style, i.e. frio (cold). It is most refreshing. Also, sparkling (agua con gas) Catalan Vichy water is the best ever. We found few people in restaurants and bars who spoke English. In restaurants the menu is, occasionally, only in Catalan. This is a nuisance when you have spent years learning Castillian Spanish. Everywhere you go nationalism is in your face. Catalan flags, posters and yellow tassels tied to fences in support of impression Catalan politicians. It would appear that no one dares fly the Spanish flag.

Peter

Bournemouth

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A wonderful walk through Catalan

5

We did the walk four days straight through skipping the day of rest in Setcases. We are experienced hikers from the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest (USA) so to us the rating of Moderate to Strenuous was a higher rating than we feel applied to us. However we were glad that we brought our trekking poles. This walking vacation was planned without a hitch. We found the directions to be very clear and the route markings easy to follow. All of our accommodations were comfortable and the arrangements about accommodations, bag transfer and transportation were perfectly in order. We highly recommend Catalan Adventures as your walking vacation company.

Hobbit

Seattle, Washington

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an unforgettable tour of the Pyrenees

5

The Villages of the Pyrenees was a beautiful and breathtaking tour. We removed the day of rest in Setcases and were still happy with the pace of the tour. Both Macs Adventure and Catalan Adventure were great companies to work with. The instructions were clear, the markings on the trail easy to follow and the hotel accommodations nice. Everything went smoothly.

Hobbit

Redmond Washington

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Loved the hikes and villages in the Catalan Pyrenees!

5

We planned this trip with another couple as an extension to our Walking the Coast of Catalonia tour. We loved the mountains and villages we encountered on our daily hikes. The accommodations, food and people were wonderful. The small, yet beautiful villages were welcoming and hospitable. Steve & Maria, our in-country contacts, were professional, friendly and informative regarding our routes and choices. They made sure we were taken care of upon arrival as well as for our transfer to the coastal walking tour. We had a great time!

Linda & Steve

Sacramento, CA

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Strenuous Walk Not For Everyone

3

This walk is not for anyone unaccustomed to mountain hiking with severe elevation gains. MA rates it as "moderate to strenuous" and, although there are moderate parts, it is much more strenuous than moderate. I am an experienced hiker from the eastern US, where I just don't have the chance for much mountain training. This trip was too much for me, and I had to abort the walk from Camprodon to Ribes de Freser, taking the taxi instead. I feel a better structure for this walk, making it more doable and enjoyable for people like me, is to delete the Camprodon to Ribes de Freser 23k walk (and possibly the Setcases to Camprodon portion, too) and transport directly to Ribes de Freser. Furthermore, I would plan a 2 or 3 day stay there because the Vall de Nuria is NOT to be missed and provides PLENTY of walks all over that area. I liked it so much that I would consider going back just for that alone. The accommodation (Hotel Els Cacadores) is perfect for this, only a few steps from the rack train up to Vall de Nuria and a great place to stay.

Ben

Near Philadelphia, PA, US

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Walk the Catalan Pyrenees from village to village

4

Over all very well organised and very friendly contacts with hotel staff. We would not only recommend this hike to our friends but can't wait to do another one with Macsadventure. We added a few side walks to the hike. Especially on first day ( to the Coll d'Arres, well worth it) and last day ( from the Nuria ski resort) as well as on our rest day in Setcases, which ended up being a full day hike In the valley. The Tracks around Set asked are very poorly marked but it was all well worth it in the end. On second last day, make sure you follow the guide's written instructions to the letter: ie ignore the cross mark when it says so. We didn't and missed the track entirely Apart from that, which was entirely our fault, everything went smoothly. Just one little thing: the advertised jacuzi in Setcases was beautiful but they made us pay an extra 13 euro per day to use it. We thought it was a little pricy especially since they hadn't warned us that it was not included in the price of the room. Having said that, it was worth every penny after a long day walk! And the hotel owners were very nice and obviously work hard all year long so we were happy to give them the extra money.

Florence

Australia

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An enjoyable trip

4

A good trip, well organised by Macs and Catalan Adventures (CA) who did all the groundwork. The week contained two "rest days", one of which had a suggested activity, and Camprodon - probably the poorest of the generally excellent hotels - was visited twice. These two facts suggest to me that there's not really enough in the area to justify a week's trip: I had hoped for something a wee bit more demanding, but I accept that I should have picked up on this: the title of the holiday and the itinerary should have been clues! The scenery is rural, rather than dramatic: no towering snow-covered peaks or glistening glaciers, though there is lots of skiing in the winter. I have a good knowledge of French and reasonable Spanish, so I found the Catalan very interesting. The villages were picturesque and generally almost deserted (holiday homes?). The organisation went well: CA contacted me on my arrival in Barcelona to enquire about train times and I had one or two informative texts whilst out there. So: don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the trip and would use both Mac and CA again:this is not my first Macs trip and I hope it's not my last!

Doug Morrison

inverness

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Excellent organisation!

5

Well organised, easy to get in touch with. Great routes, easy to follow maps, beautiful views.

Bryony

London

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Villages of the Catalan Pyrenees

4.5 8

87.5

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