Prehistoric Monuments of the Catalan Pyrenees Mountains
Roca del Rumbau – Moors Rock
This is a set of prehistoric cave painitngs which have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
They can be found in Peramola district, of the Alt Urgell county in the Pyrenees mountains of Catalonia.
Set of paintings located in the municipal district of Peramola (L’Alt Urgell – Spain).
The paintings were only discovered in 1969, by a group of local people.
Megalithic Dolmen Route
This route begins at Organyà, which can be reached from La Seu d’Urgell by following the N-260 and C-14 towards Coll de Nargó. From Organyà you should take the road that runs to the west, towards Cabó, and almost immediately turn off to the left for Montanissell.
Straight ahead you will see the Santa Fe crag and on top of it, the hermitage of the same name.
To start the actual Dolmen Route you have to take a path that branches off to the right, leading to the top of a small hill.
On the right is the dolmen of Serrat de les Cobertrades; it’s the first of the 7 megaliths on the route. This first one is not in the best shape, but there is an excellent panoramic view of Organyà.
The path continues and gently winds through pretty fields and forests, until it branches off to the right and takes you to the dolmen of Colomera, which is in the middle of an oak grove, about 50 metres away. This is the best conserved example in both the Cabó valley and the county of Alt Urgell.
The rest of the walk is just as pleasant, fairly easy, and well signposted.
Once you’ve arrived in Cabó, it’s a good idea to take the path up to the left to visit the Romanesque hermitage of Sant Serni.
The end of the route will take you to Pujal, and the starting point just outside Organya.
For more details go to the Tourist Office in Organya, or any one of them in the county of Alt Urgell.
Catalonia Culture Routes
The Route of the Cathars – Cami del Bons Homes
The Camí dels Bons Homes, also known as The Route of the Good Men, or the Cathars Route, is a cultural way between the Sanctuary of Queralt in Berga, Alt Bergueda (Catalonia, Spain) and the castle of Montseguer (Ariège, France.)
This historic route lets you follow in the footsteps of the Cathars, a group of people who fled their homelands during the 12th to 14th centuries to escape the inquisition.
Their quest for freedom led them through high mountain passes of the Pyrenees. And as they fled their persecutors; they were forced to take shelter in the houses of sympathizers, or in precarious refuges along the way, until they were able to reach the welcoming lands of Catalonia.
This monumental trail allows you to follow the migration route of these courageous medieval men and women, experience history, and enjoy some truly stunning landscapes.
Most of the Cathar Route is classified as a Long Distance Trail (GR 107), that can be done on foot, mountain bike, or horse back.
However, there are variations and shorter sections of the trail, for example; the part that starts at Gósol and goes to the Sanctuary of the Miracle. This section follows along the GR 7.
You can also to choose to go by car and visit some of the villages where the Cathars lived in Catalonia.They can be found in the counties of Berguedà, Alt Urgell, Cerdanya, Solsonès, and Ariège, in France.
La ruta del Cister – The Cistercian Route (GR-175)
This route, which passes through the three counties of Alt Camp, Conca de Barberà, and Urgell, is one of the most important cultural tourist itineraries in Catalonia.
It is essentially a path which links three Cistercian monasteries together, but it is actually much more than that.
While following the route you can visit all kinds of cultural, architectural and natural sites.
The three monasteries are: Santes Creus, Poblet, and Vallbona de les Monges. They were founded in 1150, and together make up one of the most important examples of Cistercian settlement in Europe.
The monastery of Poblet, in Conca de Barberà, is the biggest inhabited Cistercian complex in Europe. It’s been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Vallboa de les Monges, in Urgell, has remarkably been home to a community of nuns, uninterrupted, for more than 800 years.
Santa Creus, in Alt Camp, is the only monastery on the route that is not currently lived in.
The monasteries are the principal attractions on the route, however, the journey in itself is well worth it.
It takes you through 65 towns and villages, all of which are awash with history, monuments, amazing architecture, gastronomy and traditions.
Along the route you’ll also find excellent rural tourism and great country accommodation.
Cistercians, also known as White Monks, formed a monastic order as a way to create reform in the Church and restore the image of the monk as someone devoted to prayer, hard work and caring for pilgrims.
What they sought was a renewal of absolute commitment to the norms laid out in the “Rules of St. Benedict.” These rules, made for communities of monks, were based on principles of austerity, self sufficiency, simplicity of life, meditation, and isolation.
Even the buildings themselves were built according to the guidelines of the Benedictine code.And to ensure solitude, they were set far away from any towns and villages.
Around the central monastic nucleus, a number of functional buildings were made, such as hospitals, chapels for nobles, or for monastery servants, and houses for artisans.
Surrounding areas of the monasteries were turned into crop fields and farms, out of which, the monks were able to sustain themselves and their community.
Unlike in the past, Cistercian monks actually worked the lands themselves. Their farming and livestock rearing skills grew over time, and their successes eventually spread, and led to great social and economic developments of in the areas that surrounded them.
Since its founding in 1098, fascinating history, myth and legend have surrounded the Cisctercian order. They have even been linked to stories of secret treasures, the Templar nights and even aliens.
The Cistercian Route foot can be done on foot, by mountain bike, or on horseback.
Here’s a list of some places along the route:
-The plains of the comarques (local districts) of L’Alt Camp and La Conca de Barberà.
-The upland areas of the pre-littoral ridges of Miramar, the hills around Prades, Comaverd andCogulló and the Tallat and Forès ridges.
-The Gaià and Francolí river valleys.
Facts and figures:
-Length of the main route: 104 km-Variants for mountain bike and horse riding: 26.5 km-Total time required to walk the whole route: 23 hours
Organization of the route:
Section 1: Santes Creus- PobletSection 2: Poblet – Vallbona de les MongesSection 3: Vallbona de les Monges – Santes Creus
For more information see the official website of the Cistercian Route.
Other Cultural Highlights of the Catalan Pyrenees Mountains
- M.A. Milions d’Anys (Millions of Years)
- This is a palaeontology exhibition. It includes several fossilized 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 works made by Picasso while he was staying in the village of Gósol, of the Catalan county Alt Bergueda.
- While you’re in Gósol, you should also check out the Castle, and have a walk around the old town centre.
- It was here that Picasso was said to have been inspired to begin painting in the Cubism style.
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.
Catalonia Pyrenees County and Village Guide: