Hiking the Vall de Núria, Pyrenees

Vall de Núria, Pyrenees, Spain

I knew I would like The Vall de Núria (Valley of Núria in English) as soon as I heard that the only way to get there was by rack railway or by foot. No roads=bliss/joy/nature (take your pick of adjectives). What I didn’t realize was how much I would like it.

The Vall de Núria is stunning! And this is coming from a girl who grew up near the Rocky Mountains in Canada, so believe me, I know my mountains!

Train to the Vall de Núria in the Pyrenees, Spain

There are so many hiking trails to choose from but when Simon, also an avid hiker from Wild About Travel, suggested that we hike the Old Road (Pel pont de Cremal) back down instead of taking the train, I didn’t hesitate. The scenery of the Vall de Núria is gorgeous but in my opinion is experienced much better while hiking than by train. Isabelle of Diaro de a bordo soon joined us. She had done it before but was eager to do it again. We grabbed a quick bite at the self-service restaurant (I would recommend bringing your own lunch) and were off.

Hiking the The Vall de Núria in the Pyrenees, Spain

There are three variations to the Old Road, but we choose the classic version.  It follows the valley for 7.7 km to the town of Queralbs where we were to catch the train and meet up with the rest of our group.  As we did the descent from Vall de Núria to Queralbs it was easy hiking and took us about 2:30 hours, faster than the 3:20 hours recommended hiking time.

Hiking the Old Road from Vall de Núria to Queralbs in the Pyrenees, Catalonia, Spain

The ascent (which we didn’t do) would have been more challenging.  It’s over 900m of elevation gain. The official recommended hiking time for the ascent is 3:45, but it could be done faster if you were hiking at a steady pace.
Laurel and Isabelle hiking the Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees, Catalonia, Spain

Hiking the Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees, Catalonia, Spain

Waterfall and bridge in the Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees, Catalonia, Spain

I LOVED hiking the Old Road from Vall de Núria to Queralbs! There were views the ENTIRE way. It was well signed.  Everything you could want in a hike…except that now I want to experience it in winter… and do more hiking in the Pyrenees!

Know Before You Go to Vall de Núria to Queralbs

  • Accommodation is available at Vall de Núria.
  • Vall de Núria is a ski resort in winter (I’m sure it would be even more beautiful when blanketed in snow)
  • You can catch the rack railway to Vall de Núria from one of 3 places: Ribes-Enlaac, Ribes-Vila or Queralbs
  • There are numerous hiking trails starting at Vall de Núria (I could have easily spent several days here)
  • A 1 day package including a return trip on the rack railway, a cable car ride to a peak and a self-service lunch is available for 41.35€.
  • One way train tickets are also available.
  • Vall de Núria is located just over 100km NW of Girona.
  • Check the Vall de Núria official website for train times and hiking maps.
  • See Vall de Núria on Google Maps.

Thank you to the Costa Brava Tourism Board for their hospitality.  As always all opinions expressed are my own.  I fell in love with Vall de Núria completely on my own.

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.



  1. Zhu October 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    You and your crazy hiking trips…! I have to discover more mountain destinations in the future, the scenery is different but lovely.

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:41 am - Reply

      @Zhu – This one wasn’t crazy (really) and since we only did it going down, it was easy, but the views were incredible.

  2. Jennifer October 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I wish I would have brought my sneakers so I could have hiked with you! Vall de Nuria was gorgeous. Did you see on their Facebook page, they posted a picture and they already have snow?

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:40 am - Reply

      @Jennifer – I wish you could have come too. I’ll have to check out their FB page, I haven’t seen the photo with snow, but it must be incredible.

  3. Leigh October 20, 2012 at 2:57 am - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to hike in the Pyrenees. Lucky you with so much at your fingertips. One day yet Laurel we’ll pull off a hike together. This one does sound lovely. I find it interesting how they mark the trails in hours and not miles in Europe. After a while I actually got used to it and liked it.

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

      @Leigh – Yes, we definitely do have to do a hike together. I find the markers funny as well, but I like it too since they account for elevation, which the km signs don’t.

    • Calogero Mira November 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      And very nice railway!

      • Laurel November 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm - Reply

        @Calogero – Very true!

      • Laurel November 20, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

        @Calogero Mira – Agreed, we took the train on the way up and it was a beautiful journey.

  4. Laurence October 20, 2012 at 7:43 am - Reply

    This, I suspect, was the best way to spend the day up in the Nuria Valley – hiking. Such gorgeous scenery 😀

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

      @Laurence – Agreed, it was a perfect day!

  5. Josie October 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    What a great hike. I love the edge-of-the-mountain trails that look like they’ve been groomed with hand-placed rocks. Conrad and I will definitely look this up!
    Thanks for the great pics, too! Wishing you happy and safe travels.

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

      @Josie – Completely agree. I highlyg recommend it. Safe travels to you as well.

  6. Lisa October 21, 2012 at 12:34 am - Reply

    Now that looks like an incredible place to hike – your photos are beautiful!!

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

      @Lisa – Thank you and most definitely. I hope to have the opportunity to do more hiking there.

  7. Sophie October 21, 2012 at 2:14 am - Reply

    Looks very pretty, Laurel. Probably the better day trip of the two, that.

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

      @Sophie – It was definitely the right day trip for me. Give me mountains and I’m happy 🙂

  8. Andrea October 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    It was snowing when I was there so we didn’t do too much walking around but they were enchanting nonetheless

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

      @Andrea – I would love to visit the Pyrenees in winter, I can imagine how enchanting it would be.

  9. D.J. - The World of Deej October 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Great stuff…I had no idea the Pyrenees were so rugged!

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

      @D.J. – Me neither, I was seriously impressed!

  10. Madaboutravel October 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Well done Laurel!!!! Vall de Nuria is one of Catalonia’s most beautiful valleys and hiking (up or down, doesn’t matter the direction) is one of the best ways of discovering it 😉

    Glad you liked it

    • Laurel October 22, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

      @MadaboutTravel – Thank you and I agree, hiking is definitely the best way to discover Vall de Nuria. I hope to come back and explore the area more.

  11. Angela October 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Looks like a lovely experience surrounded by a wonderful scenery!

  12. Cherina October 24, 2012 at 8:24 am - Reply

    I love hiking in the Pyrenees! Last time I was there we battled through knee-deep snow in one section – it was so beautiful. Looks like a great hike, Laurel. It would be great to arrange a bit of hiking with you when I am in Europe next year if you are keen?

  13. Martin Stanford October 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Laurel,

    If you enjoyed the Vall de Núria, you should really try and check out the Ordesa Canyon in the Spanish Pyrenees (Huesca province), and the surrounding mountains. Utterly spectacular, and not a road in sight.

    Great to see all the love for the Pyrenees out there. Truly one of Europe’s hidden gems.

    MountainBug Adventure holidays

    • Laurel October 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      @Martin – Thanks for the recommendation, I would love to do more hiking in the Pyrenees and it’s always good to have some recommendations. Agree that the Pyrenees are one of Europe’s hidden gems, the Alps get all the attention, but the Pyrenees are incredible.

  14. Ali October 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Looks gorgeous! I love mountain scenery, although I know I couldn’t handle as much hiking as you. Glad you had a good time!

  15. Natasha von Geldern October 30, 2012 at 4:56 am - Reply

    I’ve been hiking in the Pyrenees once and would LOVE to get back and do more – this one looks a good candidate!

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  17. Abby October 31, 2012 at 5:50 am - Reply

    You’ve been on the MOVE, girl!! Gorgeous. I’d love to see you again!

  18. Italian Notes November 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photos. I’m starting to share some of your fascination with mountains.

    • Laurel November 20, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

      @italian Notes – Yeah, another convert! 🙂

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  20. Brandon Elijah Scott February 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Spain should be my next spot, can’t wait!

    • Laurel February 11, 2013 at 9:52 am - Reply

      @Brandon – Can’t recommend Spain enough. I was there 5 times last year and will be going back in April.

  21. Backpacking Panda March 11, 2017 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Hey Laurel!
    We’re going to visit Barcelona for a week in May, would you recommend a day trip or an overnight trip from Barcelona to Vall de Nuria?


    • Laurel March 12, 2017 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      While you could do it in as a long day, highly recommend an overnight trip, it’s so gorgeous. If you don’t stay in Vall de Nuria, then I recommend Girona which is closer and a great city.

  22. silvia junaidi August 12, 2017 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Hi, can i reach vall de nuria from barcelona? Is it possible if i visit vall de nuria only for 1 day, arrive at morning and back to barcelona at noon/nite?

    • Laurel October 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      It’s possible but it would be a long day. I’d recommend staying in Girona instead.

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