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10 nature getaways in Catalonia in 2016

These experiences will bring you closer to the varied natural world in Catalonia

El Parque Natural del Montseny, Reserva de la Biosfera

Beautiful coves and beaches, tall mountains and uniquely sculptured mountain ranges, wide rivers that turn into deltas when they reach the sea, freshwater streams, endless natural parks, lakes, dormant volcanoes and loads of fun. Nature is ever-present in Catalonia in its multiple forms, and if you want to immerse yourself in it and explore it, you've got a thousand and one options to choose from. Here we recommend a selection of experiences to get you closer to the natural world, and always with the due respect it commands.

Multi-activities in the Núria Valley
© FGC
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Multi-activities in the Núria Valley

Get ready for a perfect outdoor weekend, especially when travelling with small children. Located in the Ripollès region and in the heart of the Pyrenees, the Núria Valley is a truly magical place. Getting there is in adventure in itself, as you can only do so either via a long trek, or a spectacularly steep rack railway. Once in the valley, as well as the mandatory visit to the sanctuary, there are plenty of activities to do, such as going to a play park, playing mini-golf, sailing and canoeing on a lake, doing an orienteering circuit and more. You can purchase a pack, which includes accommodation, and that way fully enjoy the mountain and all of the activities on offer.

Four cycle routes around natural parks
© Maurici Montané
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Four cycle routes around natural parks

Perfect for those who love natural parks and getting around on two wheels. This experience combines both, and offers four routes, with varying difficulty levels through the Serra de Monstant, Cadí-Moixeró, the High Pyrenees and the Delta de l'Ebre. You'll see breathtaking landscapes, and feel the wind in your hair and fresh air in your lungs – always surrounded by nature, which is remarkable and constantly changing.

Hiking in Pallars
© Alejandra Ribas
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Hiking in Pallars

Do you love walking in the mountains or through forests, but tend to worry a bit about getting lost or taking the wrong path? In the Pallars Jussà region, an area of magnificent landscapes, you can go on a guided hiking tour, where you're in the hands of great connoisseurs of the land who take you to some fairy-tale locations and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about geology, biodiversity and the history of the local area. The medieval castle of Mur, the Mont-rebei gorge, and the Manyanet Valley are just a few of the features of this region that they guide you to and around.

Vía Verdes between Els Ports and the Delta
© Mariano Cebolla
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Vía Verdes between Els Ports and the Delta

A few of the old abandoned train lines around Catalonia have been converted into Vías Verdes (literally 'Green Tracks'), and these are the perfect stretches of path to cycle or walk along. The Vía Verde in the Zafán Valley connects two very different National Parks that are near each other: Els Ports and the Delta de l'Ebre, in southern Catalonia. If you choose this experience, you can take part in a guided itinerary during which there'll be plenty of activities to do along the way.

Montseny with Saint Bernards
© Hotel Sant Bernat
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Montseny with Saint Bernards

Montseny National Park has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The diversity of its flora – as well as its fauna, although more difficult to observe – is a mosaic of Mediterranean and Central European landscapes, which make it a truly fascinating and idyllic place. There are many ways to enjoy the Montseny, but wouldn't it be fun to explore in the company of Saint Bernard dogs in an activity organised by a company with the same name?

An astronomical experience in Montsec
© Cablepress
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An astronomical experience in Montsec

The universe that surrounds us has been observed by humans since the dawn of time. Today we use magnifying lenses that allow us to get closer to the planets, stars and constellations that are millions of miles away. If you're fascinated by astronomy, in Montsec you'll find the perfect conditions to gaze into infinity. At the Montsec Astronomical Park they have all the instruments needed to discover the universe, day or night, as well as many other recommended activities, such the 3D digital multimedia planetarium.

MónNatura, the essence of the Delta
© Mariano Cebolla
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MónNatura, the essence of the Delta

If you spend a few days in the Ebre Delta – something we recommend you do at least once in your life – don't miss out on experiencing MónNatura, an exhibition space located in the La Tancada lagoon, and which bases its collection on three main themes: salt, birds and traditional fishing methods. MónNatura is located where the old salt mines once stood and includes a plethora of fun and educational activities that will help you to discover the importance of this area.

A study centre on the world of bees
© Mel Muria
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A study centre on the world of bees

Do you like honey? What do you know about bees? In El Perelló, a region in the Baix Ebre, you can visit Muria, Agricultural Interpretation Centre, a modern space that offers a journey through the world of honey and bees, and which boasts some of the most advanced technologies making the explanations clear, educational and fun. Watching some impressive videos or seeing how honey-making machines work, are just a couple of the attractive features of the visit.

Valls d'Àneu: Lakes and guaranteed fun
© Lluís Carro
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Valls d'Àneu: Lakes and guaranteed fun

Discover the fascinating Aigües Tortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, with over 200 lakes, and go rafting, canoeing or kayaking in a river, horse-riding and BTT, sleep in a cabin and more. In short, spend two intense days of in-depth foray into the tall mountains of this Pyrenean territory with this recommended experience, perfect for nature lovers and those who want to do adventure sports.

Climbing the legendary Pedraforca
© Servicios Editoriales Georama
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Climbing the legendary Pedraforca

In Catalonia there are several well-known and much-loved mountain peaks: Pedraforca, in the Berguedà region, is one of them. In order to reach its 2,406 metres, you need to be relatively fit, but not excessively, especially if you go up with a mountain guide who can help you at all times. So if you want to climb Pedraforca and see some impressive views from the top, then sign up for this experience which also includes a night's stay in the pretty village of Castellar de n'Hug, where the Llobregat river begins.

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