Best hiking trails in Spain: Vall de Nuria
Vall de Nuria is my latest addition to my favorite hiking trails in Spain. Technically, Vall de nuria is the name of the valley in the Eastern Pyrenees. The hiking trail takes you from the village of Queralbs to the lookout and lake in Nuria.
What to expect on the Vall de Nuria hiking trail
The trail stretches over 7.22 km (4.5 miles) with a total elevation gain of 791m (2595 feet), meaning you’ll be walking uphill for roughly 3 and a half hours! That’s including water breaks, which you will need, trust me. Signage is great, once you’ve found the starting point, no way to get lost along the way.
It’s rated as moderate, probably because it’s fairly short and there no scramble at any point of this hike. But I’ve done hikes that were rated hard and easier than this one. As you’ll be walking on anything from gravel, lose rock to wet dirt to rocks, you’ll want to put on your hiking boots for good footing!
Vall de Nuria is famous for its natural beauty, so don’t expect to be the only person on this trail. Yet, for me, it’s one of the best hikes in Spain. The views make up for everything!
Why go hiking in Vall de Nuria?
Along the hiking trail from Queralbs to Nuria you’ll pass several waterfalls. Canyoneering is popular here too actually, if you’re up for the extra the thrill. And trail running! I’ve always admired the mental focus trail runners must have, not to trip on terrain like this.
Parts of the hike are switchbacks with views far into the valleys. You’ll walk over a historic stone bridge and cross a few smaller mountain streams. The water up here is as clear the water I have seen in Palamos, if you remember my post on that hike along the Costa Brava. The Camino de Ronda there is another one of the best hiking trails in Spain.
Along the sides of the mountains at times you’ll be hiking on stone paths, blending perfectly into the picturesque scenery. The final reward is the lookout over the damn and lake by the Nuria train station (the setting brings back memories of Lake Louise), the mountains and valleys around from 1956m (6417 feet) altitude.
The air is a little thinner up there. Bring some extra layers, as it gets chilly at the top. By the lake there is a large lawn and numerous picnic tables. A little bar serves snacks and drinks. If you have time to spare you can fish or rent a rowing boat.
How to get to Vall de Nuria from Barcelona
You can easily get to Vall de Nuria and back in a day on public transport. First, you want to take train R3 to Ribes de Freser. Depending on where you board the train in Barcelona, this is about a 2h15min ride. From Arc de Triumf it’s 2h17min to be exact 🙂
From Ribes you will take a little rack train called Cremallera up to Queralbs. Check out prices and times on their website. Exit the station into the village of Querabls and then follow the signs to Nuria, leading you up the mountain. If you want GPS guidance for his, this hiking trail is on wikiloc, called Querabls – Vall de Núria.
When you reach the Nuria station at the end of your hike, take the same Cremallera back down to Ribes. You’ll be descending along the trail you hiked up and get to reminisce of the huffing and puffing and views along the way. From Ribes you can take the R3 train back to Barcelona. It stops at Sagrera, Arc de Triumf, Catalunya and Sants station.
What to pack for your day hike in Vall de Nuria
Just the usual, really: extra layers, first aid kit, rain gear, food for your picnic and plenty of water, a charged phone or camera, money for the train, good hiking boots. For reference, here is my dayhike packing guide. Enjoy your hike!
Have you been to Vall de Nuria? What was your favorite hiking trail in Spain?