Serra de Monestirs
Distance: 65km Time: 6 days Difficulty: Moderate
Discover the medieval birthplace of Catalonia. The Serra of the Monasteries is a self-guided walking route in Catalonia’s interior, that reaches its highest point at the 2,040m summit of El Taga, one of the most popular peaks of Ripollès and Catalonia. Above all, the route highlights the monasteries of Ripoll, Sant Joan de les Abadesses and Camprodon, standing at the foot of the Cavallera Serra.
Best for: history and nature lovers.
The Cirstercian Route
Distance: 105 km Time: 5 days Difficulty: Modest
This famous route, combining landscapes, gastronomy, art, history and tradition links the three Cistercian monasteries of Santes Creus, Vallbona de les Monges and Poblet, all founded in Catalonia during the 12th century. Santes Creus is the resting place of ancient kings; Vallbona de les Monges has been run by a female religious community for more than 850 years; and Poblet still houses a monastic community.
Best for: architecture and religious history.
Saint James Way
Costa Brava/Terres de Lleida
Distance: 470km Time: 16 days Difficulty: Tough
The monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, which overlooks the Mediterranean, is a magnificent starting point for hikers seeking to follow the Catalan section of the Camino de Santiago. The route has been signposted to connect a long list of villages, towns and cities – marked by history and by the passing of the pilgrims themselves – including Girona, Vic and Manresa. There are 16 stages, plus four variants.
Best for: modern-day pilgrims
Camí dels Bons Homes
Distance: 189km Time: 9 days Difficulty: Challenging
The Way of Good Men follows the GR107 between France and Catalonia honouring the escape route over the mountains followed in the 13th century by the Cathars, an ascetic offshoot of the Catholic Church. A thought-provoking hike in the footprints of a brutal history, ‘the way’ is a serene succession of idyllic meadows, mountain landscapes and quiet valleys. You also visit the town of Gosol, former home of Picasso.
Best for: hikers with a passion for the past.
The Route of the Hermit
Distance: 105km Time: 5 days Difficulty: Medium
This circuit through through Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park is a quiet path of refuges and hermitages, rather than grand monasteries. The route, which climbs from 800m to around 2,500m, makes use of paths through the old counties of Berga, Urgell and Ripoll. Through wooded valleys and alpine peaks, it uncovers around 20 historical monuments, temples and Romanesque hermitages.
Best for: Families and ‘beginners’
Visit catalunya.com for more information.