In this tour you will thoroughly enjoy a full day around high mountains. In just two hours we will arrive in a radically different environment: from the urban bustle to the more comforting peacefulness of the mountain landscape. We will discover dreamy sceneries: high peaks, lush valleys, crystal clear streams, capriciously rugged rocks, and captivating villages.
The Pyrenees still represent nature in its pure state. Even with the construction of new residences the rustic ambiance of the stony houses with slate roofs has been preserved. In the Pyrenees will surprise you with not only its bucolic landscapes and charming villages, but also with an important artistic heritage. The Romanesque churches and monasteries spread around small towns and valleys are unique and are worthy of a visit. Most of the paintings and sculptures of these churches are among the most valuable pieces in the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.
Our departure is from Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona every Tuesday and Friday at 9:00am, we recommend being there about 15 minutes before. We will leave towards Ripoll, a medium-sized Catalan village lying at the foot of the Pyrenees range. Ripoll is considered “the cradle of Catalonia” especially for the influence of its important monastery, in which we are going to do a complete visit. This monastery was an important cultural center during the Middle Age outstanding for its elaborate and wide collection of manuscripts. Built in 879, it has suffered several destructions and modifications throughout history. The restoration of the last XIX century has returned the building to its former magnificence with a solid and elegant structure. It is truly impressive being in front of this magnificent Romanesque door arched entrance full of sculptures. Not surprisingly it has been considered “the stone Bible”. Biblical scenes, saints and rural life are interweaved with figures and ornamental items creating a unique sculptural composition.
About 12:00pm we will go to the Ribes de Freser railway station and take the rack railway up to Nuria Valley. The rack railway is the only possible transport to access the valley. This journey brings a continuous procession of spectacular views: breath-taking waterfalls and rugged landscape…it is also a magical experience the first moment you see the valley itself, just after a tunnel, a contrast between the rocky relief in the heights and the feeling of peace that the wide and beautiful picture of the Valley conveys.
Surrounded by high mountains reaching almost 3.000m and with an unquestioned natural wealth, Nuria is also well-known for being a pilgrimage place. Its sanctuary, with ancient roots, venerates the virgin of the same name, a beautiful Romanesque sculpture. Many couples who cannot have children come to pay respect to her, convinced that by following a curious ritual of putting their head inside a pot and ringing a bell, they will be granted by the fertility gift. We will arrive in Nuria about 13:30pm and we will have free time to enjoy multiple out-door activities. One of these activities included in the price of the ticket is for the cable car to go up on a near peak and have an excellent view of the valley. Nuria offers multiple open-air activities for visitors such as: horse riding routes, trekking, boat trip or canoeing in the lake, archery lessons, crazy golf, children park, and things of this nature. In winter it is an important ski resort. It was one of the first skiing slopes in Spain.
About 16:00pm we will take the rack railway and descend to the small town of Queralbs, a typical Pyrenean village. Its streets with traditional stone-houses testify to its rural life, especially cattle. Herds of cows and sheep are grazing in the huge surrounding fields. We will walk along winding streets and we will discover nice corners between its centenary stones until we get to the small Romanesque church of the XII century with notable arcaded porch with capitals. Inside the church there is a copy of a XIV century Gothic altarpiece, now exhibited in the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Before returning to Barcelona we will stop in the most typical bar in town and taste excellent local cheeses and “embutidos” made by small local producers, all accompanied by a suggested wine.
About 18:00pm we will go back to Barcelona, with 20:00pm being the planned arrival time in Plaza Catalunya.