a perfect family holiday destination
Even if you are a beach person, when you have children, the mountains offer an alternative experience as a place to get away and enjoy activities, with the sensation of freedom that comes from being out in the open country. Here we recommend a valley, a little paradise full of stereotypical charm.
THE VALLEY OF CAMPRODON
This valley is brilliantly located: its just over 160 kms from Barcelona, making it a perfect weekend destination. At the heart of the valley lies Camprodon – a small village with a population of around 1000, dating back to 1118. It has the illustrious history of having been a fiefdom of catalán nobility. Its tourism friendly charms were discovered in the 20th century, thanks to Dr Robert, who was Barcelona’s mayor and a pioneer of Barcelona’s summer villa emigration. The frontier with France made the village especially important in the route taken by those exiled from the Spanish Civil War . To this day one comes across military shelters in those mountains and the remains of light weapons. There is small museum in the main street, Carrer Valencia, where they exhibit historic relics from this period, the property of the town’s citizens.
We could dedicate all 32 pages of this magazine to the charms of this town, but lets say that its true treasure is its people: they are authentic, uncomplicated, entrepreneurs and sports loving people, always friendly and tolerant with the city dwelling visitors. They have protected their land by avoiding speculative building projects , unlike other areas in the Catalan Pyrenees. Theirs is a thriving combination of a sense of history coupled with the dynamism of new techonology.
There are two villages that frame the Valley:
Setcases: a small, almost alpine settlement, with direct access to the ski slopes of Valter2000, where the Ter river starts and more than 900 footpaths and routes which criss cross the main peaks of the Eastern Pyrenees.
Mollo, the last Catalan village, just 5 kilometres from the frontier with France, with amazing views, and another hundred or so walking routes. It is also the beginning of the well known route of the Exiles who walked this path in terrible conditions, those thousands of people fleeing the 1936 war. The route has benches, signs and picnic areas with incredible views over the French-Catalan Pyrenees.
Less well known, but equally surprising are the pedanías like La Roca, Beget, Tregura, which appear on the footpaths, like little secrets held by the catalán folk, small stone settlements with difficult access, all of them washed over by the newly born waters of the Ter river, romanesque hermitages with high bell towers and sober cemetaries.
There is a large variety of accommodation: from the possibility of camping in designated areas (one cannot camp wherever one wants in Catalunya: it is forbidden), “casas rurales” (farmhouses) to hostels and hotels with spa facilities as well as sporting activities that are typical of the area , such as mountain biking, quad biking, horse riding and many child -friendly leisure activities. There are also houses for rent in sought after areas and well appointed apartments. Do note! The places tend to be small and there are no huge hotel complexes with online reservations. All the hotel and accommodation options are family businesses, which means you have a greater chance of getting to know the area better, but if you don’t book in advance there’s also a greater chance that you won’t get a room.
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