Outdoor Activities on the Costa Brava

Outdoor activities on the Costa Brava: from the diving waters off the coastal cliffs of the Mediterranean, to hiking and skiing in the hills of the Pyrenees...

Below is information on:

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.

  • Garrotxa Tourism Information
    At: Passeig de Barcelona, 1, 17800 Olot
    Tel: 972 260 141 
    Fax: 972 260 056
  • For further information on Catalonia’s Volcano Park, see the website of the Ministry of the Environment: Click here

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 Natural Sites of National 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 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 in the area, contact the Spanish Cycling Federation (Federación Espanola de Ciclismo).

Hiking and Walking

The diversity of landscape (along with the great variety of flora and fauna) along the Costa Brava makes the region excellent for hikers. There are numerous trails and walking excursions. Spring and summer are the best seasons for hiking in the region, as 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.

Vall de Ribes (Valley of Ribes): Favoured hiking areas include the Vall de Ribes in the north west of the Ripollès area where there are facilities and areas for trekking, canyoning and skiing

  • For details of each trail (duration and elevation): Click here (some links in English, others in Catalan)

La Cerdanya is a very peaceful area of nature on the northern Spanish/French border with extensive facilities for hikers.

  • To search the trekking and BTT routes: Click here

Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James): one of the routes of this famous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, starts on the Costa Brava in Port de la Selva. The Catalonian part of the route crosses the Cerdanya area and finishes in Alcarràs, on the border with Aragon. The route then continues across Spain to Galicia.

  • For more information on the Way of St. James: Click here

Hiking associations

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 short routes. The Catalan Hiking Association (Associació Catalana de Senderisme) has a website in English, with information on hiking trails, Catalan footpaths and rambling itineraries.

The Spanish Mountain Sports Federation promotes hiking, climbing and other mountain sports in Spain.

Mountaineering and Rock Climbing

Rock climbing and mountaineering 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 on clubs, schools and competitions can be obtained from the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation. They also offer information on mountain refuges available in Spain.

Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata are paths equipped with permanent rungs and cables on the most-difficult sections. 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.

Related Information

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