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5 of the best walks for your Catalonia holiday

Spain pyrenees amazing view of valley in national park aiguestortes in spain

1. Aigüestortes National Park. Let's start in the heart of the Pyrenees and grand old Aigüestortes, tucked up by the French border. There's no doubt, this is one of Spain's greatest hiking destinations.

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Spain pyrenees aigues tortes high mountain lake jaime lahoz

Aigüestortes is a precious tapestry of wildflower meadows, swift waterfalls and glacial lakes, where the emblematic black pines and sheer granite peaks are mirrored in the still waters.

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Spain pyrenees catalonia aiguestortes summer waterfall c diego pura

The park's name translates as 'Twisted Waters' - an evocative nod towards the lakes, streams, rivers and waterfalls which bring an effervescence to the forested peaks.

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Spain pyrenees catalonia aiguestortes summer roses lake c diego pura

Come here in late spring and summer and the park is flourishing, with the sun often shining and alpenrose rhododendrons and wildflowers adding splashes of colour to the landscape.

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Spain Catalonia Aiguestortes chris bladon 105

Autumn brings its own charms too - even on a rainy day the colours of the leaves are spectacular. In fact throughout Catalonia, this is a very photogenic time of the year to visit.

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Getting into the park also has a bit of frontier adventure about it. From little Espot, you park up and then pile into an old Land Rover Defender for a bumpy ride up into the high mountains.

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Spain catalonia pyrenees aiguestortes hikers towards negre c pura aventura

There are then several walks you could do, depending on your interests and energy levels. We'll offer our favourites as part of a driving holiday, be it focused on the Pyrenees or on Catalonia.

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Spain catalonia cadi moixero chris bladon 3

2. Cadí Moixeró Natural Park. Driving between the high mountains of the Pyrenees and the low forests of the foothills, Cadí Moixeró is a great place to get out and stretch your legs.

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There's an easy 7.5km circular route which showcases the natural beauty of this transitional area; lush green pastures, forested mountain ranges and pine woods layered with birdsong.

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As any walk through the woods will tell you, the park is alive with birdlife. There are also significant numbers of ibexes here, and various butterfly species, including the Adonis blue.

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The gentle clang of a cowbell difts in and out of earshot. It's never been scientifically proven, but cowbells are up there with running water and rustling leaves as the best soundtrack to a good walk.

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Spain pyrenees cadi moixero c chris bladon1

A walk in Cadí Moixeró is best incorporated into a Catalonia driving holiday, of which we have various examples online. Each can be enjoyed as shown, or made longer or shorter to suit you.

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Spain catalonia garrotxa ventos sant jordi lookout

3. La Garrotxa Natural Park. In a region of world famous names - Barcelona, Costa Brava, the Pyrenees - Garrotxa more than holds its own with its physical, cultural and culinary richness.

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Spain catalonia picnic el ventos copyright Thomas Power Pura Aventura

This is an area defined by its food and its extinct volcanic peaks, now covered in thick forests of beech and oak. Of those 40 cones, one harbours something rather special, more on which soon.

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Spain catalonia La Garrotxa from Mas Can Batlle Chris Bladon 91

Through the simple act of walking, Garrotxa can also be enjoyed for its more 'everyday' beauty, for its cereal fields, shady forests, colourful meadows and stout rural architecture.

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Spain catalonia girona garrotxa santa pau flag

Encountered along our exclusive 16km linear walk, the medieval stone village of Santa Pau is a picture-perfect spot to stop for a coffee or linger over lunch in the square.

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Spain catalonia La Garrotxa from Mas Can Batlle Chris Bladon 136

Then again, how often do you have the chance to eat your lunch next to a Romanesque chapel in the crater of an extinct volcano? Well worth the 2.5km detour to climb up here, surely?

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Spain catalonia inn to inn la rectoria de sant miquel exterior

We designed this walk to bring together two of our favourite B&Bs in Spain. If you're walking this on our Inn to Inn, you begin the day at Goretti and Roy's converted rectory farmhouse...

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Spain catalonia La Garrotxa from Mas Can Batlle Chris Bladon 1

... and then end it sitting in the garden of Albert and Christina's beautiful farmhouse B&B, cool drink in hand, greenery all around and the sound of the waterfall gushing closeby.

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Photogenic Girona

4. Girona to Madremanya. There aren't many cities that you can start a walk at the front door of your hotel, without getting tangled in a web of flyovers, suburban streets and industrial estates...

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But Girona is certainly one of them. You just cross the river, walk up the cobbled streets to the cathedral and carry on out into the hills beyond. Easy. Simple. And beautiful too.

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Spain catalonia girona empurda arriving to madremanya

The old pilgrim path out of the city climbs through a Mediterranean forest of cork and holm oaks, bringing into focus some wonderful views out to the Pyrenees at the top.

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Spain catalonia walking emporda pals village copyright Thomas Power Pura Aventura

From the top, you walk down through pine forest and out onto the plains of the Empordá region, cultivated with olive groves and vineyards since the Greeks and Romans first found these shores.

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Spain catalonia girona empurda locals madremanya

At the end of the route is little Madremanya, a fantastic example of the medieval architecture of this area. It's a walk of 17km in total, so you'll have earned a delicious homecooked dinner.

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Spain catalonia empurda madremanya hotel raco c raco

Along with the Garrotxa hike, this walk is from our Girona to Costa Brava Inn to Inn. You'll have easy-to-follow walking notes, a GPS device, luggage transfers and all day to enjoy the walk.

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Spain catalonia pyrenees cap de creus hike c pura aventura

5. Cap de Creus. From the high mountains to the foothills and across the sunny plains, we come to the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, where the Pyrenees sink into the Mediterranean.

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Tucked up in the northern corner of the Costa Brava, this region will forever be synonymous with Salvador Dalí, who was inspired by the Mediterranean colour palette and quality of light.

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There are various walks around the headland, but for something special, we suggest you take an electric taxi from Cadaqués up to the cape and walk back to your hotel along the coast.

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From the rocky coves and wind-eroded rock formations, you'll pass tiny beaches, stately olive groves and small vineyards before coming to Dalí's former home in Port Lligat, which you can visit.

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Spain catalonia cadaques c pura aventura

Your base for this area will be the fishing village of Cadaqués, a place many of us in the office dream of escaping to when the winds blow and the heavens open in Brighton.

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Cadaqués is an ideal place to end a driving holiday. To finish on a high, how about we take you on a sunset boat ride along the coast, followed by dinner in the town's best seafood restaurant?

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Spain catalonia beer and shrimps cadaquez c diego pura

So now it's over to you. Take a look at our Catalonia holidays and tell us which one you like best, or if it's easier just let us know what you're looking for using this travel planner form.

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Spain pyrenees amazing view of valley in national park aiguestortes in spain
Spain pyrenees aigues tortes high mountain lake jaime lahoz
Spain pyrenees catalonia aiguestortes summer waterfall c diego pura
Spain pyrenees catalonia aiguestortes summer roses lake c diego pura
Spain Catalonia Aiguestortes chris bladon 105
Spain Catalonia Aiguestortes chris bladon 177
Spain catalonia pyrenees aiguestortes hikers towards negre c pura aventura
Spain catalonia cadi moixero chris bladon 3
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Spain pyrenees cadi moixero c chris bladon1
Spain catalonia garrotxa ventos sant jordi lookout
Spain catalonia picnic el ventos copyright Thomas Power Pura Aventura
Spain catalonia La Garrotxa from Mas Can Batlle Chris Bladon 91
Spain catalonia girona garrotxa santa pau flag
Spain catalonia La Garrotxa from Mas Can Batlle Chris Bladon 136
Spain catalonia inn to inn la rectoria de sant miquel exterior
Spain catalonia La Garrotxa from Mas Can Batlle Chris Bladon 1
Photogenic Girona
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Spain catalonia girona empurda arriving to madremanya
Spain catalonia walking emporda pals village copyright Thomas Power Pura Aventura
Spain catalonia girona empurda locals madremanya
Spain catalonia empurda madremanya hotel raco c raco
Spain catalonia pyrenees cap de creus hike c pura aventura
Spain catalonia cap de creus chris bladon 4
Spain catalonia port lligat 8
Spain catalonia port lligat 4
Spain catalonia cadaques c pura aventura
Spain catalonia cap de creus sunrise chris bladon 104
Spain catalonia beer and shrimps cadaquez c diego pura

Catalonia holds an astonishing wealth of natural beauty for anyone who loves exploring on foot. In these photos you are going to see volcanic peaks covered in beech forests, Pyrenees mountains reflected in glacial lagoons and quiet sea coves lapped by the azure waters of the Costa Brava. Walking notes and luggage transfers make the going easy when needed, and our local hosts are there to spoil you, share the region's culinary treasures and rest you up in their beautiful B&Bs when each day is done.

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