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Catalonia is rightly proud of one of its greatest treasures – it’s spectacular natural and national parks. These areas are criss-crossed with some of the region’s finest hiking trails

Volcanoes, lavas and ancient lakes

Garrotxa

Distance: 9.76km Time: 3hrs Difficulty: Easy

This circuit starts at Les Fonts de Sant Roc, a series of natural drinking fountains, in Olot ‘the city of volcanoes’ and its highlight is the steep ascent and descent of the volcano El Racó. The route also takes in the fertile fields of the Vall d’en Bas, that produce wheat, kidney beans, potatoes, turnips, onions, truffles, endives and chestnuts, staples of the region’s ‘volcanic cuisine’, and the marshy woodland of La Moixina.

Best for: ever-changing landscapes.

 

Setau Sagèth

Val d’Aran

Distance: 103km Time: 5 days Difficulty: Challenging

The Setau Sagèth is a circular route that begins and ends in Vielha in the Aran Valley with some 9,100m of vertical. Signposted clockwise, it crosses three high mountain passes, and is a journey into the history of the Aran Valley through villages, riversides and hills that have been trodden by miners, shepherds and traders. With some long, steep ascents, this is very much a route for physically fit hikers. The big lakes of Mar and Tort de Riusare are exceptionally beautiful..

Best for: experienced mountain trekkers.

 

Estels del Sud (Southern Stars)

Ports Massif

Distance: 104km Time: 5 days Difficulty: Hard

Enjoy five days of hiking in the Tortosa-Beceite Nature Reserve, inland from the coast between Barcelona and Valencia. The Parc Natural dels Ports is one of the most beautiful and surprising mountain areas in Catalonia, featuring wild nature and stunning scenery. The Southern Stars circuit allows you to travel this range through five stages – in either direction – overnighting at the Estels del Sud lodgings.

Best for: authentic mountain hospitality.

 

Cavalls de Vent

Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park

Distance: 82km Time: 5-7 days Difficulty: Hard

An unforgettable hiking experience that gets you really close to nature. The Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park is a mountain area in the Pyrenees, close to the French and Andorran borders. It includes a large variety of mountain landscapes, forest ecosystems, rocky areas, Alpine meadows, rivers and waterfalls and a rich flora and fauna, including Mediterranean, alpine and Euro-Siberian species. You stay overnight at the various participating mountain huts.

Best for: nature lovers.

 

Carros de Foc

Aigüestortes i Llac de Sant Maurici National Park

Distance: 55km Time: 5-7 days Difficulty: Challenging
The greatest classic of the Pyrenees, the Carros de Foc  is a spectacular high-mountain circuit connecting 9 mountain refuges inside the boundaries of the Aigüestortes i Llac de Sant Maurici National Park. You can start at any of the refuges, and walk clockwise or anti-clockwise. For €20 you can also buy a special card called a Forfait. This can be stamped in each of the refuges and entitles you to an exclusive cap and a route map.

Best for: long-distance walkers.

 

Els 3 Monts

Montseny to Montserrat

Distance: 105.5km Time: 6 days Difficulty: Moderate

The 3 mountains is a low-mountain route, through natural parks and Montserrat. Divided into six stages, all of them 45 minutes away from Barcelona, this is a route that can easily be tackled from the city. The start is in the Natural Park of Montseny, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978, with its mosaic of natural landscapes. The rugged and wild Natural Park of Sant Llorenç del Munt and l’Obac, is full of myths and legends, while Montserrat is a cultural and spiritual symbol of Catalonia.

Best for: combining with a city break

 

Visit catalunya.com for more information.