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  • Writer's pictureNigel Perrin

Hiking Catalunya in November

Autumn has been here for a while....First the Poplars, then the Birch, but this week in November it's all about the Chestnuts and Beech trees. Today (18 November 2023) we went hiking the Sierra de Corb near to Les Preses in the low Pyrenees in Catalunya and it was a riot of colour.

Panoramic view from Puig Rodó in Catalunya
The view from the top...

The "Sierra de Corb" means "Crow Saw" in English. The reference to Sierra means the ridge to the right of the picture above and below which we walked along today. We didn't see any crows.....

A picture of the Corb Ridge in the low Pyrenees in Catalunya
Sierra de Corb

Les Preses is a small town / large village in the Vall d'en Bas area of the low Pyrenees and this region is a Mecca for hikers. There are hundreds of signposted hikes here and there's something for everyone. Today, we walked along the top of this ridge and then descended down the cliff on the left side to return to the parking in Les Preses. First of all though, there's a climb to get to the top....Although not technically difficult, it was a climb and I'll feel it tomorrow.

Panoramic view from the summit of Puig Rodó overlooking the town of Lot and the Pyrenees  mountains in the background
The Mirador at Puig Rodó with the town of Olot in the background

The route that we followed is here on Wikiloc. I'm using the "Royal We" today as I had the day to myself as Mrs Perrin and the kids were at a ladies lunch in Banyoles. I think that they saw my post from last week and the gorgeous photos from Puig Clara and decided to do it for themselves. They didn't invite me though... oh no. I'll remember this.

The view from the mirador of Puig Rodó with the Croscat Volcano and Fageda d'en Jordá in the distance.
The view from Puig Rodó and the volcano of Croscat .

This area of Catalunya is called Garrotxa and is famous for the volcanoes that dot the landscape. Croscat is the small hill in the middle distance with the centre missing. Today's climb took us to the top of Volcá Racó. There are dozens of dormant volcanoes here.... the last eruption was about 11,000 years ago, but the area is still geologically active.

A beautiful view from the top of the Sierra de Corb trail
The view from the trail along the top of the Sierra de Corb

This walk today is about 15km and is perfect for hikes all through the year. Situated on the north side of the cingles, it offers shade in the summer, gorgeous views of the Pyrenees covered in snow in the winter and a lovely walk through the forest when the leaves are changing colour in autumn. I have no idea about Spring. Probably very nice as well. I would guess that the route will be covered with snowdrops, but don't hold me to that.

Photo of Almejas fungi growing on a fallen log
Autumn is here and Almejas fungi.

The route is rated as Moderate, but to be honest, most of it is pretty easy. It was a little steep at the beginning, but the only difficult part was half way round and the descent down the Cingles. There was another way down which was signposted. I presume that it was a little easier than the route that I followed, but I wouldn't take my 5 year old on this walk and "Moderate" was about right.

A photo of the hermitage of Sant Martí del Corb situated in a beech forest with reflections in a stone water container.
Sant Martí del Corb

On the way back to Les Preses, we pass the Sanctuary of Sant Martí del Corb situated in the Beech forest.

A sunny autumnal picture of Sant Miguel del Corb in the Beech forests of the Sierra de Corb.
Sant Miguel del Corb

A little further on and you'll come to the little church of Sant Miguel del Corb. A perfect place for a picnic and stunning views of the Sierra de Corb ridge. From here, it's a 20 minute walk back to Les Preses and the car.

BUT ! as I was here, and I finished the hike a little earlier than expected, you get a two-for-one. Just down the road (as we were returning back home), there is the wood of Les Roques Encadenas.

 a view of the rocks at les roques encantades
Easter Island Head

Here in Catalunya, we have our very own Easter Island head..... This wood is near to the Sanctuary of El Far and is a short 20 minute walk from the road at the Coll de Condreu. I first took my daughters here 5 years ago and it has been a bit of a family tradition to visit once a year. Although situated on then top of a ridge with a vertiginous deadly drop on one side, it's actually a pretty safe place to bring the kids. Loads of rocks and hidey-holes to explore and in the autumn the forest is a riot of colour.

There are a few information boards dotted here and there explaining the history of the rocks and all about the fairies and giants that used to live here. It's a super little place to bring the kids for a picnic.

A picture of the rocks amongst the Beech forest in Autumn
Les Roques Encandenas

For the hike, you'll need suncream and water even in the winter months, although on this walk, there are quite a lot of natural fonts / springs along the way and at the top of the hill, there is a cafe bar restaurant called "Área recreative de Xenacs". If you're really lazy you can drive here.... At Les Roques Encadenas, there is a restaurant and rest area at the Coll de Condreu where you start the walk and also there is a restaurant at the Sanctuary del Far with gorgeous views over Catalunya towards the sea in the very, very, very far distance. A great place for Sundowners.

Once back at Casa Cal Domino, plop the kids into bed, annoy your friends with gorgeous photos of your day out on Instagram and don't forget to have a bottle of Cava cooling in the fridge for a wallow in the Jacuzzi.

Prices (2023) based on a family of 6 are from just €2550 (€60pppd) for full private use of the Villa and its amenities (heated infinity pool*, heated Jacuzzi, sauna), all utility bills (gas, water, electricity), pool and house towels, bed linen, natural gas central heating with log fireplace for the winter months, CCTV entry, alarm and large safe for your valuables, our huge welcome pack (local meats, Cava, white and red wine, beers, cakes, croissants, bread, eggs, milk, tea and coffees, all cleaning materials and a large fruit basket), all taxes and final cleaning. A visit to Les Planes is free.....

*heated from May to mid October to 26-28ºC.

For other free activities here in Catalunya close to the Villa, see our blog , visit us on Instagram , Facebook or Tumblr

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