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Review: Parc Nacional de Aiguestortes

City/Town/Region/Island

Espot, Catalonia, Spain

Heavenly hiking

  • By SilverTraveller ginnyb

    3 reviews

  • July 2016
  • Husband

24 people found this review helpful

Are you wanting a walking/hiking holiday with a bit more ‘bite’ to it? Then look no further than Espot, in the Spanish Pyrenees! In the winter, a ski resort, but summer brings walkers of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities to amble, stride, stroll or hike along the many and varied tracks that lead from the village.

Inspired, we booked 4 nights at the Hotel Surat in Espot, from which to head out on a different hike each day. This three star hotel is family owned and most staff spoke good English and were very helpful with information regarding the best walks etc. The place is immaculately clean and our room, at the front of the building, with a lovely terrace and comfy bed, was perfect.

We woke to a perfect, clear, sunny day and after an excellent breakfast, set off on our first hike. We decided to catch one of the National Park ‘taxis’, in fact very substantial Landrover Defenders’, to the highest point in the Park, Agulles d’Amitges, 2,638m and hike back down to Espot. The taxi ride took around forty minutes and was, in parts, extremely hair-raising, with the track narrowing to around the width of the truck, a graidant verging on perpendicular and sheer drops to one side! Not for the faint hearted, although our driver was clearly not fazed as these guys do the trip many times a day. We were dropped off well above the snow line, and made our way to the first amazing view, the lake (Estany) d’Amitges. It truly seemed as if we were on top of the world, with the beautiful lake surrounded by snow capped peaks, seemingly within touching distance. In face we were a long way short of the peaks! We began our descent and it would be true to say there was an ‘Oh Wow!’, or ’that’s incredible!’ view round every bend in the mountain! The scenery, combined with the wonderful wild flowers of every description and colour, made the trek down to the next lake, Estany de Ratera, a sheer delight. The going was quite tough in places and a decent pair of walking boots, walking poles and lots of water, were a necessity, as the temperature was around 30 degrees, even at that height. After Estany de Ratera came Cascada de Ratera, a stunning waterfall dropping 100m into Estany de St Maurici, our final destination.

We reached Estany de St Maurici after 2hrs 45 minutes of walking through incredible scenery. We could have carried on for a further 2 hours, and walked back to Espot, but we chose the lightweight option and caught a Landrover back to the village.

We finished our amazing day with dinner at Joaquim restaurant in the village and both agreed that this was one of the most stunning walks we have ever had the good fortune to attempt.

24 people found this review helpful

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Other Members' Thoughts - 8 Comment(s)

  • ginnyb
    over 3 years ago
    Thank you for your lovely comments, sallyD!
  • sallyD
    over 3 years ago
    Great feature and very inspiring - getting my walking boots and poles ready!
  • ginnyb
    over 3 years ago
    Hi travellingcat!
    If you want a truly stunning experience of nature at it's best - look no further than Parc Nacional de Aig├╝estortes!
  • travellingcat
    over 3 years ago
    Sounds fantastic! I must look into this
  • ginnyb
    over 3 years ago
    I totally agree about the OS maps! But having said that, the maps we bought in Espot were extremely detailed, so had the signage in the National Park not been as good as it was, we'd have been happy to hike using the map.
  • ESW
    over 3 years ago
    Thank you, that is helpful. I always like to have a map too, but our OS maps spoil you and very often maps from other countries aren't as good.
  • ginnyb
    over 3 years ago
    Yes, we had a map, but the routes are all very clearly signposted, with different colours for each route. We prefer to take maps, but in this case, just following the waymarkers would have been fine.
  • ESW
    over 3 years ago
    I have enjoyed reading your review. I wish everyone gave as much detail as this....

    Did you have a map of the area and were paths clearly signed? Did you have any problems with route finding?