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Catalonia: Beyond Barcelona

Skiing at Baqueira-Beret

Skiing at Baqueira-Beret

While Barcelona is no doubt a popular destination on the Mediterranean coast, but head into Catalonia’s hinterland, and you’ll discover that there’s a lot more to this coastal city. For starters, there’s the prestigious ski resort of Baqueira-Beret in Val d’Aran, as well as the breathtaking canyon of Congost de Montrebei. Skiing, hiking, mountain biking and rafting are some great ways to explore Catalonia’s varied landscape.

The best way to explore Catalonia is to start from the mountains and work your way down to the coast. Come in late winter/early spring, and you may be able to squeeze in skiing, hiking, rafting, mountain biking and rock climbing.

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Vall de Boi

In the mountains of Val d’Aran, the prestigious ski resort of Baqueira-Beret offers a wide variety of runs to cater to every level of skier. Nearby is Vall de Boi, famous for its collection of UNESCO-listed Romanesque churches with the murals. At Aiguestortes National Park, you may be able to spot a chamois or two on a snowshoe hike.

Snowshoeing at Aiguestortes National Park

Snowshoeing at Aiguestortes National Park

Further down the mountain, the Noguera Pallaresa river is just about ideal for a spot of rafting. If water isn’t your thing, then an hour’s drive away is the magnificent Congost de Montrebei, which offers excellent hiking. At night, you can even enjoy the night sky – the area is a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, where you can learn about astronomy at Parc Astronomic Montsec.

Congost de Montrebei

Congost de Montrebei

As you head towards the coast, you can even join in a winery or cava tour at Penedes (where Torres winery is located). Before heading into Barcelona proper, every visitor should drop by Montserrat – probably Catalonia’s most famous church. While the monastery can get crowded, take the funicular to the upper reaches of Montserrat and you’ll find plenty of hiking trails, as well as rock climbing routes to explore.

View of Montserrat monastery

View of Montserrat monastery

Check out this short video of what Catalonia has to offer:

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