Spain Hiking ? Pyrenees & Costa Brava

Trip Length 9 Days
Group Size 4-12
Activity level
Starting from
$4,699 for REI Members
$5,199 for non-members
Departures May 2020-Oct 2020

Blue seas, blue skies, rugged mountains and medieval villages; this 9-day adventure is not to be missed.

Considered one of the finest jewels of Catalonia, Spain?s Costa Brava and the nearby massifs of the mighty Pyrenees combine dramatic beauty, proud history and dynamic culture. Craggy peaks plunge down to meet the restless blue waters of the Mediterranean, and ancient footpaths connect cliffs to secluded coves. Our trip takes us to three of Catalonia?s most iconic areas: the high Pyrenees, beautiful Girona and the crystal waters of Costa Brava.

We begin in Vall de Bo�, the heart of the high Pyrenees, famous for its UNESCO World Heritage collection of Romanesque churches and a gateway to the granite and glacial lake-filled Aig�estortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. Explore the distinct topography of extinct volcanoes in Girona?s La Garrotxa Natural Park. Finally, we reach the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the wildest section of Costa Brava. Coastal trails in rocky headlands await us at Cap de Creus, where the treeless landscape stands in striking contrast to the deep blue seaside. We cap our adventure off in dynamic, thriving Barcelona, having experienced the best of Catalonia.

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Trip Highlights

  • Hike the high mountains of the Catalan Pyrenees and the rugged Mediterranean coastline
  • Stay in Vall de Bo� with its medieval villages and Romanesque churches
  • Discover the fascinating volcanic zone of the Garrotxa Territory
  • Enjoy aquamarine seas, secluded coves, and the rocky cliffs of Costa Brava
  • Delight in fresh Catalan cuisine with its sea and mountain specialties

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. You should be capable of hiking up to 8 miles (up to 6 hours) most days on uneven, rocky terrain with some hilly or steep sections. Terrain varies greatly over the course of the trip. Aiguestortes National Park includes mountain trails in mixed forest and alpine meadows, boulder fields, or ancient paved paths and dirt forestry tracks. The middle section (La Garrotxa) features easier terrain with hikes on forestry tracks and ancient, sometimes paved (old stone) paths. The final three days mostly feature a mix of rocky and sandy coastal trails.?

  • Hiking

What's Included

Hotel accommodations based on double occupancy for eight nights; group arrival transfer from Barcelona airport to Taull on Day 1; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary; wine with included dinners; guide/leadership; luggage transportation; all transportation as noted in the itinerary.

Accommodations

Hotels, 8 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Barcelona and transfer to Ta�ll in the Pyrenees

Our trip begins in Barcelona, Spain with a 10am group rendezvous at the city airport. Following introductions we transfer to the picturesque stone-built village of Ta�ll (4,885'), set in the heart of the Vall de Bo�. The narrow, steep-sided valley is the gateway to Aig�estortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, an area so remote that the Moorish Conquest of Spain did not penetrate this part of the Pyrenees. The valley boasts the densest concentration of Romanesque architecture in Europe with nine UNESCO World Heritage Romanesque churches. Vall de Bo� is also home to the highest ski resort in the Pyrenees, and is famous for its medicinal waters. We enjoy a short hike this afternoon to stretch our legs and visit one of the valley's 12th century churches. Overnight in Ta�ll. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 2.4 miles, 1.5 hours; elevation gain: 835'; Driving: 4 hours.

Day 2

Hike in Aig�estortes and Lake Sant Maurici National Park

Our hike is in Aig�estortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, the crown jewel of Catalonia?s protected areas and one of only two national parks in the Spanish Pyrenees. The area's glacial origins are evident in the labyrinth of meandering streams and 200 plus lakes. The park's name, Aig�estortes, means "twisted waters" in the local dialect. Our trail passes through alpine meadows with winding streams and grazing cows, climbs among granite slabs and rushing waterfalls until we reach a mountain hut situated near a glacial lake. After taking time to enjoy the views we return to our hotel in Ta�ll. All meals included.

Hiking: 6 miles, 5.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 2362; Driving: 40 minutes.

Day 3

Hike the San Nicolau Valley to a mountain lake, transfer to Santa Pau?

We return to Aigu�stortes to revel in the natural beauty of the park. Our hike takes us through the San Nicolau Valley to a mountain lake (6513'), nestled amongst black pines and the high, rocky peaks of Cap de Crabes (8891'), Pic del Portarr� (8970') and Agulla del Portarr� (8776'). Following a picnic lunch with spectacular views, we return to our hotel in the Vall de Boi to collect our luggage, then transfer to the walled 14th century medieval village of Santa Pau. Set in the Parque Natural de la Garrotxa, this area boasts an extraordinary topography of extinct volcanoes. All meals included.

Hiking: 6.3 miles, 4.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1309'; Driving: 5 hours.

Day 4

Hike on extinct volcanoes and lava flows dotted with Romanesque churches

A local guide walks with us to explain the unusual geology and geography of the La Garrotxa region. Much-beloved by Catalan hikers, it is the best example of volcanic landscape in Spain, featuring 40 volcanic cones and more than 20 lava flows. Today's adventure offers a pleasing mix of mostly gentle trails and varied scenery. We hike in an unusual, lush beech forest that has grown on the undulating terrain of a lava flow. We also visit two of the area's most famous volcanoes: Santa Margarida with a 15th century hermitage situated in the center of its crater, and the fascinating Croscat, the youngest and highest volcano in the Iberian Peninsula. A former quarry inside the walls of the cinder cone has exposed its internal structure. Overnight in Santa Pau. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 8 miles, 6 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1653'/1014'.

Day 5

Tour the Salvador Dali museum and arrive in our seaside base of Cadaqu�s

We transfer to Cap de Creus Natural Park on the Mediterranean Coast, the most easterly point of the Iberian Peninsula. This point is known as the Costa Brava "wild" or "rough coast", due to its rugged character. En route to the coast, we stop for a tour of the Salvador Dal� Theatre-Museum in Figueres. There is free time for lunch on your own, and to take a stroll through the Placa Gala i Salvador Dal� to see more of the artist's creative sculptures. Our afternoon hike takes us to the magnificent 10th century Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes set at over 1,700' above sea level. The next three nights are spent in Cadaqu�s, a charming seaside village that was home to Dal� for much of his life. Breakfast and dinner included

Hiking: 2.6 miles, 2 hours; elevation gain/loss: 803'/639'; Driving: 2 hours.

Day 6

Hike in Cap de Creus Natural Park along the wild coastline

Our hike on coastal trails brings us to the promontory and lighthouse at Cap de Creus, which is set in a marine and terrestrial nature reserve. The views of the wild coastline with its high cliffs, hidden coves and scattered islets make it a hiker's paradise. There may be time to swim at one of the area's remote beaches. Following lunch, we transfer to Port Lligat, a small fishing community where Dal� created a home and studio. Set in a unique block of fishermen's dwellings, Dal�'s home is now a museum that provides a glimpse into his inspirations and lifestyle. A short seaside hike returns us to our hotel for the evening. All meals included.

Hiking: 6.7 miles, 4 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1656'/1752'.

Day 7

Hike from Cadaqu�s to the Faro Calanans with free time in the afternoon

For our final hike, we follow a coastal trail from Cadaqu�s to the Faro Calanans, one of the few lighthouses in Spain that is only accessible by foot or boat. Along the way, we enjoy spectacular views of the blue sea and small bays. We return to Cadaqu�s with free time for lunch and dinner, and to wander the village's picturesque cobblestone streets. You may wish to visit Esglesia de Santa Maria, a magnificent church that dominates the landscape and offers incredible views over the bay. Breakfast included.

Hiking: 6.5 miles, 3.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 860'.?

Day 8

Walking tour of Barcelona and dinner of tasty Catal�n cuisine

In the morning, we transfer to our hotel in Barcelona. Lunch is on your own, then we take a guided tour of some of the city's notable sights including the Gothic Quarter, the famous street Las Ramblas, and the facades of Antonio Gaudi's Casa Mil� (also called La Pedrera) and Casa Batll�. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore on your own before we regroup for dinner. Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum are highly recommended for sightseeing on your own. Breakfast and dinner included.

Driving: 3 hours; Walking: 2 miles (2 hours).

Day 9

Adios to our traveling companions as our trip ends in Barcelona

Our tour concludes with breakfast. Transfer on your own to Barcelona's airport, or continue your explorations of this marvelous region of Spain. Breakfast included.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.