Outstanding nature, amazing architecture, time-honored traditions, fascinating folklore, and fiery festivals are all the order of the day in beautiful Alt Bergueda.
The northern part of this Catalonia Pyrenees county, which is in the province of Barcelona, is recognized for its impressive Romanesque architecture, unique medieval murals, grand gardens designed by Gaudí, and its fantastic festival called La Patum. Which, understandably, has been declared a `Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity´ by UNESCO.
This district of the Catalonia Pyrenees is full of forests of Scots pine, oak, beech and fir. Littered with lush valleys, and pretty villages steeped in ancient and fascinating history.
Alt Bergueda was traditionally an agricultural and cattle ranching based community, but now focuses more on agro-cultural and rural tourism.
Nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park, the largest of its kind in Catalonia, or the mountain of Pedraforca.There are lots of great opportunities for trekking, rafting, birding or just plain relaxing.
Alt Bergueda Villages:
Berga is the biggest city, and the capital of the county of Alt Bergueda. History and tradition take center stage here.
And, other than its beautiful scenery, excellent ski resort, and rich historical heritage, the town of Berga boasts one of the most fascinating festivals in Spain; La Patum.
Acknowledged as a ‘Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage´ by UNESCO, this ritualistic festival, passed down for centuries, sees the streets of Berga fill with theatrical performances, parades and pyrotechnics.
Dramatic sounds of heavy drums, stirring songs from medieval times, and electrifying energy reverberate through the streets.Thousands of Catalans, compelled by the harmony and rhythm of this ancient music; sing, jump and dance in unison.
The fun spills from the plazas onto the old cobble stone streets, as festival goers group together and follow enormous effigies through the old town.
The intoxicating sights and sounds of this dramatic music, and huge synchronized movement of people is positively powerful. The atmosphere; overwhelming and spellbinding, meditative and majestic, solemn and celebratory.
La Patum of Berga is a spectacular festival, undoubtedly unique and truly an unforgettable experience.
The two important churches of Berga are; Sant Quirze de Pedret (built in 983), and the Santuari of Queralt, from which the Route of the Cathars (Cami de bon Homes) begins.
- La Patum Festival
- The Ski resort of Rasos de Peguera(14km from Beraga)
- The Cathar’s Route (The route of good men)
- Sant Quirze de Pedret
- This church is an excellent example of pre-Romanesque architecture, and dates back to the year 983. There’s also an interesting Gothic bridge of the same name nearby.
- Santuari of Queralt (Cathar Route starts here)
- This Sanctuary dominates the town of Berga and the surrounding area. It’s known as the balcony of Catalonia as it’s precariously perched on the top of a hill, and awards the visitor with some breathtaking views.
- La Iglesia (church) de ‘San Joan’
- In Plaça de Sant Joan (San Juan Plaza)
- Palau dels Peguera(Palacio de los Peguera
- Plaça de Sant Joan (San Juan Plaza)
- Berga weekly street market
- Every Saturday at Passeig de la Indústria de Berga. (Otherwise known as “El Vall”)
- Berga Bolet: Mushroom festival
- Takes place in the first weekend of October.
- Berga Interpretation Centre
- Espai d’Interpretació de Berga
- C/dels Àngels 7Open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 8 pm. Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 8 pm.
- Circus Museum- Col·lecció del circ
- Plaça del Doctor Saló, 6Open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 8.30 pm.
- Nature Interpretation Centre of Berguedà
- Plaça del Doctor Saló, 6Open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 8.30
- La Patum House
- This is a museum for the famous Patum festival of Berga. Open Saturdays and Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 8.30 pm.
- Serra de Queralt– (Berga, Capolat, Castellar del Riu)
- The mountain slopes on which Queralt sanctuary is set. Marvellous views, craggy mountains, with many paths that run along both the northern and the southern face.
- Processions climbing up from Berga to Queralt used to be a regular event. There are two good paths, one on the southern side and the other on the northern side. Each has its own chapel.
- It is also a protected nature park that is closest to Berga, the capital of the Alt Bergueda region.
- This area is made up of the Serra de Queralt and the Serra dels Lladres. Its highest point is the peak of Campllong, 1,589 meters. It has been declared as a Nature Spot of Interest due to its unique geological landscape of sheer rock walls.
- Berga Resort- The Mountain and Wellness Center
- Sport, health, thermal, and Spa center.
- -in close proximity to 20 ski resorts, and the Cadí – Moixeró natural park.- Just a one hour drive from Barcelona, Andorra, and France.- Lots of pretty villages around to visit on day-trips.- Great accommodation choices: fully equipped wooden bungalows, mobile-homes and chalets.- Open all year round and has over 5.000 m2 of indoor sporting installations.- aesthetic, dietetic and physiotherapy services available as well.www.bergaresort.com
Highlights of the old town center
- Molí de la Sal (Molino de la Sal- Old Salt Mill)
- Plaça de Sant Pere (Plaza de San Pedro)
- Eglèsia de Santa Eulàlia (Church of Santa Eulália)
- Plaça de Sant Pere (Plaza de San Pedro)
- This is where one of the most important celebrations of the festival “la Patum” takes place.
- Portal de Santa Magdalena (1376).
- Capella de la Pietat (Capilla de la Piedad)-Chapel
- Font de la Rata (Fuente de la Rata)- Fountain
- Plaça Maragall- medieval plaza
- Sant Francesc (San Francisco)
Baga is located in the north of the Alt Bergueda county, and is considered to be the historical capital of the region.The reason is that Baga is the only village in the Catalonia Pyrenees which has managed to preserve its medieval urban structure.
Apart from this wonderful old town center, Baga benefits from its beautiful natural surroundings, ski resort and famous festivals.
Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park, and themountain of Pedraforca (Pedraforca massif, are great places for nature lovers, hikers or climbers.
The mountain park, which is the largest of its kind in Catalonia, actually covers the three Catalonia Pyrenees counties of; L’Alt Urgell, El Berguedà and La Cerdanya.
The area has also beendeclared a `Special Protection Area for Birds´(SPAB) by the European Union, and is known for its remarkable geological diversity, flora and fauna.
- Ski resort- Coll de Pal
- Court of Forment
- Small Palace Square and town crier house.
- Palace of Pinós
- The Medieval and Cathar Study Center and the Bagà tourist information are located inside this building.
- Spices square
- Galceran of Pinos square, or arched square.
- Solanell house
- Portella towe
- Saint Stephan’s church (13-14th century)
- The village bridge (15-16th century)
- Sanctuary of Paller– about 3 kilometers from Bagà
- Bagà weekly street market-(mercat de Bagà)
- In Plaça (Plaza) Porxada de Bagà, every Wednesday.
- Monastery of Sant Llorenç prop Bagà
- – Church and Monastery built by monks in the late 9th century.- Situated to the North of the village of Guardiola de Berguedà, in the Valley of Brocà, in a beautiful natural setting, located on a plateau on the eastern face of the Serra de Gisclareny.
- Medieval and Cathar Centre– (Centre Medieval i dels Càtars)
- – Located in the ancient Palau (Palace) de Pinós in Bagà. – There is a permanent exhibition here about the Cathars and the Medieval era of the town of Bagà.
- Cadí Moixeró Natural Park– (Parc Natural del Cadí Moixeró)
- -Covers the villages of: Bagà, Gisclareny, Castellar de n’Hug, Gósol, Guardiola de Berguedà, Saldes and Vallcebre.
- Massif of Pedraforca
Castellar de N’Hug
Castellar de N’Hug is located in the most northern part of the province of Barcelona, and has been classified by the Ministry of tourism as one of the most beuatuful villages in Spain.
It’s an archetypal example of a rural Catalonia Pyrenees mountain town and is set amongst some beautiful, and lush natural surroundings.
The old city center has some wonderful, well-preserved examples of Catalan Romanesque architecture, charming cobble-stone streets, and typical, traditional stone houses.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the arts flourished Catalonia, and especially in Castellar de N’Hug. The evidence, of which, has been left in the form of many splendid Romanesque buildings in the region.
Head to the old historic center to see the church of Santa María de N’Hug, built in the 11th century. Or take a little trip just outside of town to visit the Catalonian Romanesque architectural gems of San Joan de Cornudell, or Sant Vicenç de Rus. The later is a temple that dates back to the 12th century and has some interesting, original mural paintings.
This area of Alt Bergueda is also characterised by its centuries-old farming tradition, and the best example, that it lives on today, is that of the International Shepherd Dogs Contest.
This competition takes place on the last Sunday in August, and measures the skill of these traditional animals, and their keepers, through a series of timed tests and circuits.
Castellar de N’Hug Highlights
- Iglesia (Church) de Santa Maria
- Located in la plaza de la Generalitat, in the town center. (11th century, Romanesque)
- Catalonia Museum of Transport
- Museu Ciment- Asland Cement Museum
- At Clot del Moro, is a beautiful example of Modernist architecture. It was the first cement factory in Catalonia.
- Sant Vicenç de Rus
- 12th century church with Gothic and Romanesque mural paintings.
- Museu del pastor (Shepherds Museum)
- This museum deals with everything that pertains to sheep and shepherds.
- Alt Llobregat Tourist Railway -Tren del Ciment (Cement Train)
- This is a little tourist train that follows the old cement line, and links the village of La Pobla de Lillet with the village of Castellar de n’Hug.
- The ride takes about 20 minutes, and you get to see some special sights of the area. Such as; the Artigas Gardens, designed by Antoni Gaudi, and the Asland Cement Museum in the former cement factory.
- Fiesta mayor (Village Festival) September 29th.
Other interesting places to visit in Alt Bergueda
- Jardins Artigas (Gaudi’s Garden)
- The Artigas Gardens were designed and planned by Antoni Gaudí in 1905, and are located in the nearby village of La Pobla de Lillet.
- Fountains, benches, rails and bridges over the Llobregat river, demonstrate that this master had a passion for nature as well as architecture.
- La Pobla de Lillet also has a nice little street market every Saturday. Plus, a monastery built in the 9th century, called Santa Maria de Lillet.
- It is located on the route from la Pobla de Lillet to Campdevànol. Visitors can ask for the key to the monastery from la Pobla de Lillet’s tourist information office.
- M.A. Milions d’Anys (Millions of Years)
- This is an exhibition of palaeontology. Including several fossilised remains (bones, eggs, footprints, excrement, plant species, etc.)
- They come from the main fossil beds in the Catalonia Pyrenees, and especially Alt Berguedà, which has provided over 3,000 dinosaur footprints from the Upper Cretaceous period (about 65 million years ago).It’s located in the village of Vallcebre.
- Municipal Museum of Gósol (Picasso Room)This museum contains a decent collection of copies of compositions made by Picasso while he was staying in the village of Gósol, Alt Bergueda.
- While you’re in Gósol, you should also check out the Castle, and have a walk around the old town center.
Tree adventure parks of Alt Bergueda:
- Borredà Parc Aventura
- Tree Adventure park for children and adults, in the village of Borredà.www.borredaparcaventura.com
- Parc de Palomera- Adventure park
- Has nature trails, forest routes, an acrobatic park and a snow park. Mostly for children.www.parcdepalomera.com