Are you hesitating between organizing a sea or mountain holiday? If so, why not choose a destination that combines both options? For example, Barcelona city and its surroundings. Besides having 3,1 miles (5 km) worth of urban beaches in its municipal area and magnificent coastal towns in its province, it also allows you to enjoy mountain ranges and natural landscapes that would take anybody’s breath away.
In fact, apart from the Collserola mountain range, which is the largest green lung in the metropolitan area, the province of Barcelona has other beautiful mountain systems, such as the Serralada de la Marina, the Montnegre, the Parc Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac, the Montseny massif, the Guilleries, the Castelltallat mountain range, the famous Montserrat mountain, the Pre-Pyrenees … In addition to its undoubtable charm, these areas are ideal to enjoy stimulating hiking routes near Barcelona. However, if you want to combine the most photogenic landscapes with the charm of rural architecture, we invite you to discover the most beautiful mountain villages near Barcelona.
All of them are at a safe distance from our beach hotel in Barcelona, so they can be an excellent choice for a one-day break. Take a look at our suggestions and choose yours!
Although we already wrote about Bagà in our post dedicated to the medieval villages of Barcelona, its touristic and scenic interest, as well as its geographical location means we are bound to talk about it again. Located in the Bastareny river valley and at an altitude of 2,578 feet (786 m), this village in the Berguedà region will captivate you. Among its main architectural claims, it is worth mentioning the church of Sant Esteve, built in Gothic style during the XIV century, the arched square of Galceran de Pinós, the tower of La Portella, and the village bridge. It is also important to spend some time visiting the Medieval and Cathar Centers, which host the only permanent exhibition on Catharism in Catalonia. Nor should we lose sight of the fact that this town is one of the stops within the Camí dels Bons Homes, a route that recreates the passage of this Christian current’s followers through Catalan lands. On the other hand, as it is in the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park and very close to ski resorts such as La Molina, Masella or Coll de Pal, Bagà receives numerous visits from mountain and winter sports lovers (and by mushroom seekers in autumn).
CASTELLAR DE N’HUG
If you are a nature lover, a trip to Castellar de N’Hug from Barcelona (62 miles, 100 km), also in the Berguedà, will be a safe bet. Its greatest attraction is the indescribable Llobregat fountains, which feed on snow and rain. It is also a good idea to spend some time visiting the church of Santa Maria de Castellar de N’Hug, with a Romanesque design and a unique bell tower; the church of Sant Vicenç de Rus, from the eleventh century, and the old Asland cement factory, a modernist factory directed by the industrialist Eusebi Güell —one of the greatest promoters of Gaudí’s art in Barcelona— and which nowadays accommodates the Museum of the Cement. Are you passionate about pastries? Go to the bakeries in town, where you can buy delicious giant croissants.
We could not forget about one of the great tourist attractions in the heart of Catalonia: Montseny, in the Vallès Oriental region, at 1,732 feet (528 m) and located in the southern sector of the Montseny massif, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. This municipality of just 320 inhabitants is a real paradise for hiking enthusiasts, as it attracts hikers, mountaineers – something which is explained due to its proximity to the Matagalls and Les Agudes peaks, about 5,577 feet (1,700 m) – and families who want to witness the traditional fairs and festivals that are held here. Other places to visit are the hermitage of San Marçal de Montseny, the Sant Martí and Sant Julià churches, three small Romanesque buildings. Visit the monumental tree that presides the center of the town and the megalithic stone known as the Estela de la Cama or Sitja del Llop (‘Wolf’s Lair’), in the Pla de la Calma too.
We now travel to the region of Bages, in central Catalonia, to pay attention to another picturesque village that has already appeared on our blog: Mura. Located in the Natural Park of Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac and at 1,490 feet (454 m) above sea level, time seems to have stopped in this charming mountain town. Among its tourist attractions, we must mention the church of Sant Martí, a Romanesque building from the 11th and 12th centuries and embellished with a spectacular portal, and the Camil Antonietti promenade, full of attractive vaults. In the outskirts, you can cool off in any of the 70 fountains that surround the town, or the curious 18th century vats that testify to the importance of wine in the area. Outside the old town, the Molí del Mig house-museum awaits you, located in an 11th century mill that was in operation until the 20th century and was used as a flour, oil, wine and electricity mill. We advise you to also walk to the Puig de la Balma, a 12th century farmhouse built on a rock.
Despite not being as touristy as the previous ones, Pontons (453 inhabitants) is another mountain town in Barcelona that should be visited. Located in the north-western part of the Alt Penedès region, it is very close to the municipalities of Torrelles de Foix and La Llacuna, and the municipal districts of Montmell, Querol and Aiguamúrcia, where the spectacular Santes Creus monastery opens its doors. Within the municipality of Pontons, you must visit the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Magdalena. Although it was rebuilt in the 13th century, it still retains one of its original facades. Next, take a close look at the old castle of Pontons, which was integrated into a farmhouse in the seventeenth century. The chapel of Sant Joan de la Muntanya was the worshipping building of the new castle, whose origins go back to the eleventh century. Of Romanesque style, it has a single vaulted nave and a semicircular apse embellished with Lombard arches.
Let’s go back to Berguedà, where the village of Saldes rises, 3.986 feet (1,215 m) high. Most people who visit this town are trekking enthusiasts, since the area is surrounded by several mountain trails for all levels of difficulty. Saldes also offers the newcomer samples of monumental heritage, such as the church of Sant Martí, Romanesque and with an image of the Mare de Déu del Gresolet; the castle and the vestiges of the old monastery of Sant Sebastià de Sull. However, their biggest claims are its natural landscapes. Do not hesitate to visit the Gresolet viewpoint, also called Pedraforca viewpoint (8,021 feet, 2,445 m), a mountain whose singular profile is one of the icons of the region; the Parc de Palomera and the Parc Natural del Cadí-Moixeró.
We end our journey through the mountain villages near Barcelona, 64 miles (103 km) away from the capital. This final stop is the mountain town of Tavertet, belonging to the region of Osona and bordering in its northern area with the natural region of Collsacabra, and to the south, with the Guilleries.The secular isolation of this small town —it did not have a road until well into the second half of the 20th century— as well as the wonderful forest and ravine landscapes that surround it, give it a unique magnetism. Its urban core was formed until fairly recently by only three streets, which are named by their situation: Carrer de Dalt (Top Street), Carrer del Mig (Middle Street) and Carrer d’Avall (Bottom Street). Many of its beautiful 19th century stone houses, which coexist with more recent ones, have also been maintained.In the immediate vicinity, the torrents that descend from the Collsacabra give way to incredible waterfalls, such as the Noguer and the Molí Bernat. Further on, the Cua de Cavall, in the torrent of the Sima, and the Sallent jump, near Rupit both stand out. By the way: did you know that Tavertet was the place of residence of the philosopher and theologian Raimon Panikkar during his last years of life?
We hope you have been seduced by this list of mountain villages near Barcelona. And if you know of any other option that we have left in the pipeline, do not forget to complete it with your recommendations. We look forward to your suggestions!