Into the valley
Getting to the Nuria Valley
There are only two ways to get to the heart of the Nuria Valley, high in the Spanish Pyrenees and isolated from much of the region. The first is to walk. The second is on an antiquated train, along the ridges above valleys and through mountain tunnels. Coming out of the last tunnel, the light shines in through the window and, across a lake at eye level, the destination is revealed. It is an enchanting way to arrive.
Not that the walk is unpleasant. It can take a few hours uphill (shorter downhill) and follows the valley up almost a thousand metres. The path sometimes feels as though it’s on a cliff ledge; sometimes it comes down into the valley and crosses the river; and often it leads you to viewpoints that look out across the stunning landscapes of Catalonia.
The Nuria Valley
The Nuria Valley is a popular day trip for the local Spanish. The train drops you off at the resort which has restaurants, shops and other facilities. From there, a ski lift can take you further up the mountain… or you can rely on your feet. During summer, families often just stay in the valley, eating by the lake and enjoying the atmosphere. The more adventurous use the valley as a jumping-off point for hikes back down to the towns or off into higher mountain ground.
In winter, the hills around the resort become ski fields, with 10 different tracks (including two black ones).
Nuria Valley Accommodation
One of the things I like most about the Nuria Valley is the choice of accommodation. In front of the lake and caressed by the surrounding mountains, is the official hotel. It has 65 rooms and 12 apartments, with total capacity of about 200 people. It’s a comfortable and well-maintained hotel with the luxury of tranquillity. Prices are somewhere between 50 and 100 euro a night (with your choice of meals included).
But if that is too expensive for your travel budget, there’s another option. At the top of ski lift, just a few minutes away from the luxury hotel, is a youth hostel. It’s an older building but well-maintained. There’s something fun about having to get a gondola up to the front door, though, and it has its own amazing views out across the valley. Prices start at about 18 euro a night.
There aren’t many places on the European tourist trail that you can’t get to by car. So it’s the isolation that makes the Nuria Valley so special. The journey in is as memorable as the time spent there. And the time spent there is so flexible but so carefree that it’s easy to forget the rest of the world exists.
Whether it’s summer or winter, there’s something for everyone in this sanctuary of the Pyrenees.
* You can find out more about visiting the Nuria Valley on the official website here.
Time Travel Turtle was a guest of the Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona tourism board but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.