Monserrat / Arán Valley Route
MONSERRAT/ARÁN VALLEY ROUTE (RUTA DE MONSERRAT AL VALLE DE ARAN)
This route could well be sub-titled ‘the best of Northern Catalonia’: from the unique setting of the Parador at Vic-Sau the route continues through beautiful rural landscapes through Cardona, up into the Pyrenees and almost to the border with Andorra. The last two nights are spent in Vielha, above the glorious Arán Valley.
Suggested access airports: Girona/Barcelona/Reus
7 NIGHT ITINERARY
First and Second Nights: Parador de VIC-SAU
This Parador allows you to enjoy the silence and calm of a truly unique spot, surrounded by mountains and with stunning views of Sau Lake. From the Parador, it is possible to take several walking routes through the area. A must-see is San Pere de Casserres Monastery. Casserres is a former castle (there are records of a church dedicated to Sant Pere already in the 10th century) of the viscounts of Osona-Cardona, who founded the monastery around 1005. The nearby town of Vic offers interesting sights such as the Vic Episcopal Museum, the cathedral bell tower and crypt, Queralt Bridge, Montcada Castle, Sant Sixt Church and the Albergueria (once a hospital for the poor). The streets of the old quarter beg to be explored. Another possibility is nearby Barcelona, not to be overlooked during your trip.
Important: This Parador mainly has double-bedded rooms on this route.
Third Night: Parador de Cardona
Cardona Castle sits on a small hill, a fortress which contains the remarkable Sant Vicenç Collegiate Church, a perfect example of Catalan Romanesque architecture. Also of interest are the remains of the viscount’s castle (12th-13th centuries), now home to the Parador, and the medieval Minyona Tower. Salt Mountain (Montaña de Sal), which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also an interesting visit, together with the Paperer (1899) and La Costa (1879) factories, with an original oblique dam over the Cardener.
Fourth and Fifth Nights: Parador de SEU D’URGELL
In Seu you can explore Santa Maria d'Urgell Cathedral and the Diocesan Museum. Another must-see is Canonges Street, with its arcades and shops. The Segre Olympic Park in Seu is just the place for sports and recreation, offering activities such as pirogue canoeing and rafting in facilities which were used for the 1992 Olympic Games, and which are still vibrant and busy today. The Cadí-Moixero Nature Reserve offers unsurpassed beauty, allowing you to discover this region’s natural spaces on foot. You can also take advantage of your time at the Parador to visit nearby Andorra and enjoy a day’s shopping. Another option is the water park at Caldea, the largest thermal leisure centre in southern Europe, with 25,000 square metres for you to relax and enjoy in while also benefiting your health.
Sixth and Seventh Nights: Parador de VIELHA
Along our journey from Seu to Vielha you will discover the real beauty of the Pyrenees. In the Arán Valley, we recommend the Romanesque Route, letting you explore towns like Bossòst, with its Era Mair de Diu dera Purificación Church; Salardú, with Sant Andrèu Church; and Arties, with Santa Maria Church. Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurice National Park is so incredibly beautiful and majestic that it is definitely worth a visit. Another must is the spa at the Parador itself, allowing you even more rest and relaxation during your trip.