Living in Barcelona has an innumerable list of pros, and a very small list of cons, as one can anticipate with living in any major city. For me, one of my biggest qualms with living in a city – even when enjoying a lovely loft – is the wonderfully illuminated streets prevent me from seeing the stars at night.
Can you believe I’m even complaining about not being able to see stars? This goes to show how magnificent the quality of life is here in this diverse city. However, I need my outdoorsy nature fix at least once a month, and this past month I was determined to camp out and see some stars before the cold evicts the straggling remnants of summer and warm weather.
After a little Googling and researching stargazing in Spain, I literally found a park just for looking at stars. I introduce you all to Montsec. The place is incredibly beautiful, full of terrain you might find in Arizona, just a two and a half hour car ride from Barcelona.
If you have been dying to see just how geographically-diverse Catalonia is firsthand, ShBarcelona advises you to check out this park for your outdoor cravings.
Related article: Hiking Trails near Barcelona
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Noguera Ribagorçana-Montrebei National Park
How to get there
Unfortunately, the only way to get exactly to this remote location is by car. There is a train that can take you to the greater Lleida area from Sants Station, and from Lleida you can take a Renfe to Puente de Montana in the direction of Pont de Rei.
This will leave you about 7-8 kilometers short of the park, Noguera Ribagorçana-Montrebei, in Àger, Lleida, right on the border of Catalonia and Aragon.
Here I have completed the Google Maps search, and this route will lead you directly to the park!
Related article: Campsites near Barcelona
Hiking, camping, observatory
There are three campsites within the general vicinity of this site, but there is only one in Àger: Càmping Bungalows de la Vall d’Àger, a beautiful campsite where you need to make a reservation in advance.
If you do not want to camp in a bungalow nor a campsite, you could always do what I did and bring a tent, gear, and pitch a tent for the night in the area. I’m not sure on the legalities of pitching a tent wherever. I was only there for one night and it was perfect.
There is the calm of the river nearby, the stars are absolutely immaculate, and the fog in the morning on the water is both ominous and enchanting.
This special place is ideal for camping and and hiking because of its general remoteness, there aren’t hundreds of tourists infesting the park and ruining its natural beauty. Noguera Ribagorçana-Montrebei also has wonderful park rangers, who are both friendly and informative.
The entrance into the park (when I went in 2015) was 5 euros, however, you can park outside of the entrance on the road and just begin your hike from there. I recommend completing the full hike within the park, as the view is unlike anything you have ever seen before.
You can also check out the Parc Astronómic Montsec & Centre d’Obersvació de l’Univers to really get to know the stars. This observatory is just by the national park, and there are two options for tours: daytime and nighttime. The nocturnal tour was only two euros more expensive, and was completely worth it.
What trips into nature have you taken from the city of Barcelona?