Vall de Nuria
With the Catalan Pyrenees just a stones throw away Barcelona offers you the beach on one side and fabulous excursions on the other. A great and easily accessible area is Vall de Nuria.
Ribes de Fresser
A short train ride to Ribes de Fresser, yes this is where the water comes from, and a pretty trip up the cremallera to Vall de Nuria will take you around two and a half hours in total. (November 2 to December 2 the cremallera is closed for maintenance) Once in Vall de Nuria there are many different excursions with varying levels of difficulty to choose from. If you would like to stay there they also have a huge hotel where you can find all your typical services from restaurants to spa. But if you are feeling a little more adventurous you can venture off for days into the peaks of the Pyrenees.
Visiting Como de Vaca
A nice hike from Vall de Nuria to the refuge Como de Vaca is called the "Engineers Road" or “Camino de los Enginyers.” A middle level hike, you will need to be prepared with boots and hiking gear. As the walk involves climbing up and down rock formations and crossing many streams and water falls, a light back pack is suggested. There is only one slightly scary part of the hike which is aided with a cable drilled into the rocks to act as a support and guide. The trail is well marked the entire way with red and white painted stripes and it is almost impossible to get lost. If you are planning on going all the way to Coma de Vaca, count on taking four or five hours to get there with stops and rests along the way. Starting from Vall de Nuria the hike is mainly level, short drops and the resulting climbs are all throughout but nothing over exerting. With the amazing views you have of the valley during the entire hike, you will barely notice those short climbs. From the moment you rise out of the Vall de Nuria you come upon beautiful panoramas of the entire valley towards Ribes and Vic. Soaring falcons, wild mountain goats and wild mountain sheep are abundant which can be quit a surprise to a city dweller used to the Barcelona wild life. Once you arrive near the refuge Como de Vaca you are at an altitude of around 2100 meters, which now means snow!
Como De Vaca Refuge
If you would like to use Como de Vaca as a base camp to explore more challenging climbs the refuge is a great way to do it. They offer shelter, a warm bed and meals all for a very reasonable price. In off season you must make reservations for them to open it up. If you prefer to pitch a tent there are many beautiful places where if you tread lightly you will not be noticed or disturbed by anyone. There are water sources everywhere so you don’t have to worry about that and with a small filter you can be sure you're not getting any little critters in your stomach. For more information about the refuge and Vall de Nuria go to their web sites http://www.comadevaca.com and http://www.valldenuria.com. These web sites are very helpful and will give you a nice idea of what the area is like and handy tips about the different hikes you can take.