Outdoor Activities in and Around Barcelona

Information on the nature reserves of the Catalonia provinces and on hiking and mountaineering, mountain biking and other outdoor activities in the area...

Barcelona Province is situated in the Autonomous region of Catalonia. Catalonia has a wide variety of natural parks and mountains with facilities for all outdoor activities.

Below is information on:

Catalonia Nature Reserves

Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa

This volcanic park is one of Catalonia's oldest protected areas and is one of the most visited protected areas in the Iberian Peninsula. 65 percent of the park is forested, mostly by oak trees.

Activities in the area include cycling and mountain biking, guided visits, and walks and hiking on one of the ten marked trails.

Parc Natural del Delta del Ebre

The Ebre Delta is in the Southernmost part of Catalonia where the River Ebre and the Mediterranean meet. It is made up of rice fields, plains and sand dunes. The Ebre National Park (El Parc Natural del Delta de l'Ebre) was declared a nature reserve in 1983 after the local authorities and the local residents made a commitment to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife in parts of the Delta.

Covering 7,800 hectares, the park is divided into lagoons, islands and peninsulas.

The town of Amposta is considered a good starting point to visit the park, and a bicycle is recommended for getting around. There are a number of companies that rent bikes in the vicinity. Many routes are available and many companies offer guided tours around the area.

For those who want to go at their own pace, the local tourist office provides maps with itineraries. Another way to visit the delta is by boat, either up the river or around the mouth of the Ebre and the islands of Sant Antoni and Buda.

The RENFE train company runs regular services from Barcelona to L'Aldea-Amposta station. Tel: 902 240 202.

Cap de Creus Natural Park

The Creus Cape Peninsula is one of the largest natural protected reserves in Catalonia, covering nearly 14,000 hectares, and is the first marine and terrestrial park in the country.

There are three natural sites of national interest: Cap Gros-Cap de Creus to the North, Punta Falconera-Cap Norfeu to the South, and Serra de Rodes to the West. All islands and islets within the marine sector of the natural park are also considered sites of interest.

There are many hiking trails in the park and places to visit: villages, castles and archaeological sites.

  • For further information on the Cap de Creus National Park: Click here

National Park of Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici

This is one of the twelve Spanish national parks and the only one in Catalonia. It is situated in the extreme Northwest of Catalonia in the heart of the Pyrenees and has all the features of a high mountain area (maximum height 3,030 metres). It has a total area of over 40,000 hectares and has a rich natural cultural and architectural heritage.

Cycling and Mountain Biking in Catalonia

Spain is one of the most foremost cycling countries in Europe, where cycling is both a serious sport and a popular hobby. Catalonia's mountainous areas make it excellent for mountain biking. The variety of landscape types make it suitable for all levels of mountain bikers.

There are a number of BTT Centres in Catalonia (BTT is the Catalan term for a mountain bike).

A BTT Centre is where a natural space has been opened to mountain biking, with many kilometres of sign-posted itineraries. BTT centres offer reception points, providing information for each different route in different languages. They also offer services such as bike rental, parking and showers.

For information about clubs and competitions contact the Spanish Cycling Federation (Federación Espanola de Ciclismo):

Cycling in Barcelona

Barcelona has over a hundred kilometres of cycling routes, and Barcelona City Council promotes cycling as an alternative form of transport in the city. They have a website with information on getting around Barcelona by bike and a map of the cycling paths.

  • For further information from the Barcelona City Council: Click here

Hiking and Walking

The diversity of landscape (along with the great variety of flora and fauna) makes the region excellent for hikers. Spring and summer are the best seasons for hiking in the region: some paths can be dangerous in the winter.

The Pyrenees is a very popular hiking region. Official footpaths are mostly marked with red and white stripes painted on rocks and trees, and accompanied by arrows when the direction changes. The sign of two crossed lines indicates that you should not go in that direction. Paths that cross are shown by different colours.

The Costa Brava coastline is an extremely varied landscape, providing numerous trails and walking excursions.

Catalonia has a number of hiking trails known as senders de gran recorregut (GR), which are long routes and Senders de Petit Recorregut (PR), which are small routes. The Catalan Hiking Association (Associació Catalana de Senderisme) has a website with information on hiking trails, Catalan footpaths and rambling itineraries.

Further information

Mountaineering and Rock Climbing

These are very popular sports in Spain, which has some of the best areas in Europe outside the Alps. There are many climbing clubs in Spain. Information can be obtained from:

Via Ferrata

In Via Ferrata climbing, a rock face is permanently rigged with rungs and cables. This enhances safety in the climb and makes the sport accessible to the less experienced climber. Some companies in the Catalonia region provide Via Ferrata facilities.

Further Information

  • For comprehensive information on hiking, climbing, biking and riding, skiing and watersports see ePyrenees.com