Europe’s Next Hiking Destination: Catalonia
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is known for its art, architecture, and culinary delights. The nearby white sandy beaches attract visitors from around the world. But Catalonia has a secret the average tourist doesn’t know – its vast number of hiking trails streaking through the natural beauty and cultural history of one of Spain’s most unique and famously autonomous regions. Whether looking for challenging multi-day hikes through mountain peaks or less strenuous walks through history, Catalonia has plenty of accessible trails for hikers of all levels. Fortunately, the region also has welcoming mountain huts and famous Catalan cuisine to satisfy all your needs. Don’t wait any longer to explore this hiking mecca.
St. James Way – Pilgrims of the 21st Century
Hiking the pilgrimage path to Santiago de Compostela has become very popular over the last decade, with many starting their journeys in St. Jean Pied de Port in France and Roncesvalles in Spain. Catalonia offers the opportunity to start to the famed route in the Pyrenees Mountains, following the route some medieval pilgrims used to cross from France to Spain using the Coll de Panissars pass in the municipality of La Jonquera. Now, the former Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, which legend suggests was built to hide the remains of Saint Peter, provides a historic starting point for hikers seeking to follow the Jacobean era route through Catalonia. Along with its interesting history, the monastery offers a stunning view of the bay of Llançà and the Mediterranean to inspire the long journey to Santiago de Compostela. Recently renovated with signposts throughout, the trail winds through historic villages and cities, like Girona, Vic and Manresa, where the original pilgrims passed through and sought refuge. The spring and fall seasons offer cool nights and warm days that are perfect for the 15-day hike over the 241-mile trail..