Visiting Barcelona but in a need to chill out a bit? Take a day trip to Vall de Núria and enjoy the refreshing views of Catalan Pyrenees with your family.
Vall de Núria is surrounded by peaks of almost 3,000 meters high, on one of the highest points of Ribes Valley and in the Eastern Pyrenees. ¿Wondering how to get there with small kids? the answer is taking the iconic rack railway. Covering 12.5 km, the rack railway takes you up to Vall de Núria through breath-taking landscapes.
Vall the Núria it’s worth exploring all year round. In the summer months, lots of people put on their trekking shoes and go up to the valley from Queralbs, the nearest town (where you can also take the rack railway). In the valley, a lake, a resort a monastery and many services are awaiting you.
You can row a boat, jump into the adventure at play park, enjoy a cup of coffee, a snack or some lunch in the restaurants and terraces spread around the valley or lead your kids in a pony tour adventure through the valley. There’s no time to waste while in Núria.
Vall de Núria sanctuary and hermitage
The Sanctuary at Vall de Núria is also worth visiting. Built at almost 2000 meters high legend says that its cross, bell and pot are a path to fertility. There´s a cross in the sanctuary where couples that wanted to have children badly but could not for unknown reasons would pray before the cross, place their head in a pot and ring the bell. That would grant them the gift of fertility. This tradition continues to our days and you will probably see some couples following this tradition on your visit.
Next to the lake you can also visit a small hermitage, dedicated to Saint Gils.
All services and activities in one single place
Feeling hungry? There are six places where to eat from the most casual lunch such in Caseta del Llac or Terrassa dels pastors serving hamburgers, snacks, hot dogs, sandwiches and salads to some grilled meat or local menu at the hotel restaurant. There’s also a picnic area.
If you fancy buying a souvenir or some local delicatessen heat to the shop where you will find memories, sportswear, food, bakery…
If visiting in fall, spring or summer, enjoy outdoor activities in the valley and its surrounding areas. Some of the proposed activities at Vall de Núria include a minigolf with 10 holes, sailing the lake in a rowboat or kayak, practice archery with wooden targets or even take an archery lesson. Horseback rides are available for kids over 9 years old and adults, while the younger generation can enjoy a ride with a pony (an activity aimed to those from 2 to 8 years old) or delight themselves at the outdoor farm.
There are also several trekking itineraries with a starting point at Vall de Núria, you can go accompanied by a mountain guide or do them by yourself.
If you are visiting with kids they will not miss the play park, one for the most fun activities in Vall de Núria. It´s designed for children and families and it features mountain karts, scooters circuit, a sensory pool, elastic beds, a slack line, zip line and rock climbing among others.
Those of you who love winter sports will be glad to learn that Vall de Núria is also a ski resort. You can go down green, blue, red and even black slopes, and the playpark is open with sledging slopes, rock climbing for children and zip lines to keep the family entertained.
Staying the night
With so much going on at Vall de Núria you may want to stay a bit longer. No worries, in the valley you will find accommodation. There´s a three-star hotel with rooms, suits and apartments for couples and families and, during the summer months, there’s a camping area where you can stay up to two nights.
How to get to Vall de Núria
Getting to Vall de Núria from Barcelona is easy and you have several options. If you are hiring a car you can drive up to Ribes de Freser (1st stop of the rack railway to Vall de Núria) or Queralbs (2nd stop of the rack railway). From Queralbs, if you are travelling with older kids or teenagers you may want to walk up to Vall de Núria. It takes between 3 and 4 hours.
The second option, if you are not planning to drive, is to take the train from Barcelona to Ribes de Freser (RENFE) and then jump up to the rack railway up to Vall de Núria. Sometimes there are promotions that include both tickets in one. Check it out at the counter when buying your ticket or on RENFE website (although only available in Spanish).
Going from Barcelona (Plaça Catalunya) to Ribes de Freser will take you between two hours and two and a half, then you will need to add about 35 minutes in the rack railway. Check out the prices for the rack railway on Vall de Núria official website. The first train departs about 7am and costs 9 euros single way. The last train to Barcelona from Ribes de Freser leaves at 19:43.