When people think of Catalonia, they usually associate the region with Barcelona and the beautiful sights and attractions of the capital city. But what many don’t realize is that outside of the city, there are some beautiful natural areas waiting to be discovered. Within a few hours from Barcelona, there are several mountain ranges in Catalonia worth visiting. In fact, some of the most popular outdoor sports in Catalonia include hiking, rock climbing, and skiing in the surrounding mountains. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure outside the city, here are some of Catalonia’s best mountains to discover.
Related article: Enjoy great food with mountain views in Barcelona
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Catalonia’s most emblematic mountain doubles as a spiritual center at the Santa María de Montserrat Abbey. Two million people visit this spectacular mountain every year for both religious and recreational reasons. The spectacular surrounding landscape and natural beauty set the scene perfectly to show off Montserrat’s cultural and historic heritage. The original sanctuary dates back to 888 and Montserrat has been a protected natural park since 1987. The wildlife and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape from the mountaintop are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and visitors who want to explore the rest of this mountain range.
Height: 1,236m (4,055 ft)
Location: Montserrat, 08691, Barcelona; drive there via road BP-1121 to Monistrol de Montserrat
This mountain range is a summer and winter destination for hiking and skiing. Ski resorts in the Pyrenees have been in business since the 1930s and are quite popular among tourists and locals alike. The mountain slopes are not only picturesque but also easy to ski around. The impressive National Park of the Pyrenees is home to the stunning Aiguestortes I Estany de Sant Maurici and multiple water sources including hundreds of lakes, rivers, and springs. The park is recognized as natural heritage of Catalonia with its numerous trails and mountain lodges for people who want to stay overnight in the area. In the north, the Aran Valley (Valle de’Aran) is another paradise for mountain sport lovers.
Height: 3,404m (11,168 ft)
Location: Along the Spain/France border; drive there via A-2 and N-260.
This is a small yet impressive mountain near the town of Torroella de Montgrí in Costa Brava. The Montgrí Massif is topped by a surviving fortress in the center, the Montgrí Castle, a 13th-century building that stands as a former post of Medieval Spain to stop any possible invasion. The surrounding vegetation consists mostly of low Mediterranean rock scrub with pine and oak as ancient vineyards that were abandoned in the 19th century can also be seen from the top.
Height: 311m (1,020 ft)
Location: Outside Torroella de Montgrí; via AP-7 and C-31.
Related article: The Natural Side of Barcelona, Collserola Mountains
In the Pre-Pyrenees, or the mountainous range before the Pyrenees, the Pedraforca is not connected to any other adjacent mountains or ridges and is a very rare type of mountain. The mountain is formed by two parallel ridges and a neck, plus an upper ridge which is where the Pedraforca’s peak sits at 2,506 meters above sea level. To get this isolated beauty, travel along highway C-16 and drive towards Guardiola de Berguedà before turning left to Saldes, the village just below the mountain.
Catalonia’s mountains call the attention of millions of hikers, tourists, locals, and sports lovers year after year. Not far from the cosmopolitan capital of Barcelona, all of these ranges are great places for outdoor lovers to trek, explore, and relax in nature.
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