Hiking Gémena lakes: Full route

Hiking Gémena lakes: Full route


Dreaming of a day hike that takes you to incredible lakes and landscapes? The Gémena lakes route is ideal.

It is located in Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is located in the north of Catalonia, in Spain, in the Pyrenees region.

As a child I used to come to a summer camp near to Caldes de Boí, and when I was a teenager I attended again as a summer camp leader. The hikes around the area are quite familiar to me and I feel like I belong in those mountains. Today I’m going to be talking about the full hike route to go to Gémena Lakes.

Views from Gémena lake

QUICK FACTS:

  • Location: Caldes de Boí, Catalunya, Spain
  • Altitude: Starts at 1500m above sea level. Finishes 2257m
  • Highlights: Views
  • Fitness level required: Medium
  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated duration: 2h30 – 3h depending on shape and stops


What to pack

  • Hiking boots
  • Long socks
  • Reusable water bottle (be responsible!)
  • Wind jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Snacks
Views close to Gémena lake

Gémena Lakes hike

We start at the parking lot about 2km past Caldes de Boí. From Caldes de Boí, exit towards the mountains on a tar road for less than 2km. You will leave the Toirigo information house on your right, then turn left to cross the river. After the bridge there’s a parking sign. From there on out it’s all walking.

From the parking lot to Llubriqueto

The first part of the hike is the hardest one. You will climb more than 800m in about 45min-1h. It is very steep and the path goes up in zigzags all the way. I find the start of the hike quite challenging as you literally start and must get into a good rhythm and breathing pace very quickly.

It also allows for most of the hardest effort to be expended at the beginning, which personally I prefer.

Arriving to Llubriqueto

This path takes you mostly underneath leafy forest. It is a very shady path and that makes it better than being in direct sun.

The path is clearly marked and you just have to follow the yellow signs and cairns (groups of rocks that previous hikers have left on the path to be followed).

Llubriqueto

Once you are done with the forest you arrive at a river, which you will cross and turn off to your right and then continue up until you arrive at Pla de la Cabana, where you can find the Llubriqueto Fountain.

This area is very flat and the ideal half way stop. It has fresh water coming from the surrounding lakes and waterfalls.

Llubriqueto

From Llubriqueto to first Gémena Lake

To continue your ascent you will have to cross the river (wooden bridge) and follow the small path until you see a sign pointing to Gemena Lakes. From this point it goes up on a rocky path.

There is another steep slope where you will have to be climbing big rocks. Once you arrive at the top you will see the first of the two Gémena lakes.

The first Gémena Lake

This one is my favourite. It is breathtakingly beautiful once you see it for the first time. And when you repeat the hike, it gets even better.

First gémena lake

The sight of this lake makes my heart sing and my jaw drop – a feeling only places that are close to my soul can give me.

First gémena lake

I have spent not more than 5 days here during my life, but it has made a change in how I see nature, how I truly appreciate it and what I do to share my passion with friends and colleagues.

First gémena lake

I have slept up here once, on my way to a longer route. Camping is not allowed but if you find yourself here while on a route you might decide to spend the night. It was hands down my favourite sunrise in the world.

Sunrise from first Gémena lake

The second Gémena Lake

A short hike from the first, the second lake can be found while circling the first lake and going a few more meters up. It is also very beautiful and if you are lucky there will be some leftover snow for you to slide yourself on!

Views from the second lake looking to the first Gémena lake
Circling the first lake

If you want to continue the hike you can continue towards the Besiberri Summit.

Second Gémena lake

Recommendations for hiking the Gémena Lake

Sleep the previous night close to the starting point so that you can start very early to have all day to enjoy by the beautiful sight. If you are an eager nature lover you can wake up at night to see the sunrise from the lake, I can guarantee the views are phenomenal.

Once you arrive at the first lake you can follow the river to a waterfall which has panoramic views of the Llubriqueto flat area.

Views from the Gémena waterfall

Have you ever done this hike? Drop your favourite hike below!

Gémena lakes full hiking guide

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Swaziland(Eswatini): everything you need to know before you visit

Swaziland(Eswatini): everything you need to know before you visit

Most people travel through Eswatini (Swaziland) without stopping or just adding one stop at a cultural village before they continue their journey through South Africa or Mozambique.

During a recent long weekend, I went on a road trip from Johannesburg to Swaziland with a group of friends. I got to see small game (like kudu and zebra) during the first two hours inside the country. On another note, a week after we travelled the King of Swaziland changed the country’s name to eSwatini Kingdom.

Swaziland is a small country in Southern Africa. It’s landlocked by South Africa on three sides and Mozambique on the East. Swaziland is known for its Swazi culture and they are now trying to position themselves as a wildlife destination as well. There are many different National Park and Reserves with diverse wildlife and there has been an effort to increase the wild animal populations.

Swaziland/eSwatini still remains a fairly unknown country that gets overshadowed by its neighbours – established tourism countries in the south of Africa.

Swaziland plain game

FAST FACTS ABOUT SWAZILAND/ESWATINI

  • Swaziland’s capital is Mbabane, which is also the biggest city
  • Their currency is the lilangeni (SZL) which has the same value as the South African Rand (ZAR)
  • English and Siswati are official languages. English is extensively understood, and Siswati is the language used in schools
  • Swaziland is an absolute monarchy. The King is Mswati III.
  • It has a population of over 1 million

If you want to explore Swaziland and are curious about their landscapes and people, here’s a list of important travel information you need to know

Getting to Swaziland/Eswatini

There are four main transport options to get to Swaziland:

  1. Airport: There are two airports in Swaziland, although one is only used for the Swaziland Government and specific approved flights. King Mswati III is the International Airport. The airport is located in Manzini, 1h30min away from the capital.
  2. Road/Car: there are different roads entering the country from Mozambique and South Africa. The most used road from South Africa to Swaziland is the N17. From Mozambique the MR7.
  3. By mini taxi: Mini taxis (explained in this Cape Town post) are (usually) 12 people vans. In South Africa and Swaziland they are white. You can hail them and they cover most routes. There are mini taxis departing from Johannesburg Airport for about R200 one way.
  4. Using a bus: There are a couple companies providing a service: Transmagnific or Translux
road in Swaziland

Entry requirements & health information

Like most countries worldwide Swaziland requires on entry a valid passport with a validity of at least 6 months and two blank pages. You can check in this list if your passport needs a visa before entering the country.

The East area of Swaziland is a malaria area, so visit your trusted doctor to talk about preventative pills. Yellow Fever is not a risk in the country so you will only be required a proof of vaccine if arriving from (or having travelled to in the past year) a country with high risk.

We used the Oshoek Border for entrance and exit. It took us two hours of queuing in the sun (arriving at 2pm) on our way in and about 10 minutes on our way out (at 7am to avoid queues). Keep that in mind for when you plan your drive – probably best to avoid peak hours.


ITINERARY: Long weekend in Swaziland(Eswatini): 3 day itinerary


Animals in Swaziland

Driving in Swaziland/Eswatini

They drive on the left. Since we were doing a road trip, we drove everywhere. We found the signage to be excellent, there were signs for major cities, towns and attractions that were easy to follow. The road condition was good on major highways. Some small tar roads had a few potholes, but they were non-existent compared to the ones on the N17 road from Johannesburg.

If you can take 1 thing out of this post should be the following: GPS is not reliable. We mostly visited the Ezulwini Valley, Mbabane and Maguga Dam as general areas. We found ourselves driving up and down the Ezulwini Valley taking the major highway (as per GPS directions) when we had already driven the same route for half the time using another road. If you are there for a couple days you will start recognising routes and roads – follow your memory!

Maguga Dam in Swaziland

Paying in Swaziland/Eswatini

This one is possibly a biased opinion as from 4 of us, 2 credit card details where stolen during our stay there. We had mostly cash with us as South African currency works in Swaziland and only some establishments like hotels or restaurants have ATM facilities. There are ATM’s everywhere, we saw at least 200 in 3 days.

Safety

Landscapes in Swaziland

Swaziland is a safe country to visit. It is safer to walk around than other neighbouring countries. It is still not advised to walk at night alone.

Culture in Swaziland/Eswatini

Throughout the country there are showcases of its traditional way of living, people can go to the cultural villages to see the structure of a home and learn about some of their histories and values. As someone who is somewhat sceptic about intruding on other people’s way of life (I wouldn’t like it if someone came to where I lived and wanted a house tour) I had never taken one of these tours. I found myself there as one of the waterfalls I wanted to see was right in the cultural village property and I was greatly surprised. Mostly because there are only rural places in Swaziland where people live in this traditional way and it is more of an historic village (no one lives there or has in the last 40 years). It was quite shocking to learn their perspective on different aspects of life, particularly regarding the roles of men and women.

Accommodation in Swaziland/Eswatini

Although the accommodation industry is developing, there are for now only a few options to stay around the country. There are some big hotels and a few smaller guesthouses and boutique hotels that you can find on the usual platforms, like booking.com. I recommend checking out the official Swaziland tourism board to check out accommodations that may not appear on other platforms.

Internet in Swaziland/Eswatini

We found internet in all of our accommodations. It wasn’t the fastest speed but emails and WhatsApp could be checked reliably, and social media was possible in or near the main areas. They have wifi available in some restaurants too but not in all of them.

You will most likely struggle to find WIFI at monuments or attractions – most of them are located in nature so internet is not a priority. You can buy a sim card upon entry to the country (airport or after the border) if you need to stay connected.

Food and water

The typical foods are maize, corn, vegetables and meat is considered a luxury. Goat meat is the most common meat around. They do have a variety of meat available for visitors which I highly recommend, we ate Swazi braai (south African word for barbecue) and tried different animals – all of them delicious together with vegetables!

Water is safe to drink in the main cities and tourist areas like the Ezulwini valley. In rural areas it is recommended to ask for bottled water.

Swaziland food

When is the best time of the year to go to Swaziland/Eswatini

Swaziland enjoys different temperatures depending on the altitude. The highveld (in the West) is characterised by a temperate climate with cool nights in winter. The middle veld(centre of the country) has higher temperatures, winter days are warmer and during summer it can get to 40degrees.

Lastly the lowveld (in the East) has warmer temperatures and summer can get unbearable, humid and hot. The coldest months are May to August. The rainy season happens from mid October to April and dry season April to mid October.


COMBINE WITH: Safari stay in a private concession in the Kruger National Park


Highlights of Swaziland/Eswatini

National parks:

  • Hlane National Park
  • Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Mkhaya Game Reserve
  • Mlawula Game Reserve
  • Mbuluzi Game Reserve

Cities:

  • Mbabane
  • Manzini
  • Big Bend

Attractions:

  • Mantenga Cultural Village
  • Ngwenya Glass factory
  • Swazi Candles
  • Sibebe rock (world’s second monolith after Uluru, Australia)
  • Malalotja Nature reserve (with canopy tour)
  • Maguga Dam

Landscapes of Swaziland

Why you should go to Swaziland/Eswatini

  • People are open and friendly. We met so many locals that wanted to speak with us in pubs or bars
  • It still has that small country rural charm. The rolling mountains with little houses all over them make for a very interesting driving around
  • You have never seen so many domestic cows (even on main roads!)
  • Its tourism industry is boasting and their landscapes and cultural traditions sure make for a different experience

Have you ever been to Swaziland/Eswatini? Planning a trip soon? Pin all the information for later!

Everything you need to know before you visit Swaziland
Swaziland everything you need to know before you visit
First timer’s guides to AfrikaBurn

First timer’s guides to AfrikaBurn

*This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated during 2018*

It was my first time at AfrikaBurn this year 2017 second time in 2018 going to AfrikaBurn. Because of the amount of preparation an event like that requires, I’ve put together a list of things to consider for everyone thinking on going there soon.

AfrikaBurn 2018


Still don’t know what is AfrikaBurn?


Where and when is AfrikaBurn

AfrikaBurn takes place in Tankwa Town, in the Karoo area in South Africa. The event has a duration of a whole week although it is up to you to decide how many days do you want to attend. For the last few years it happens at the end of April, at the same time of some public holidays.

How to get tickets for AfrikaBurn

Afrika Burn, as every other burn in the world, is gaining popularity. 13000 people (2017) are a lot of attendees. For that reason, tickets sell really fast. To buy one ticket you will first of all need a Burner Bio. Do the Burner Bio before the selling date so you are all ready at the exact time to buy tickets. It is better to be waiting in front of the laptop at the exact time the tickets start selling than to not have one.

Camping area

How to get there

AfrikaBurn takes place in Tankwa Town. Tankwa Town is located in the Tankwa Karoo area, and it really depends a lot on your time for driving and road conditions to estimate the average distance in hours. Coming from Cape Town, you have approximately an hour and a half to Ceres (the last town before the long gravel road).

From there, you’ll start on the R355 for quite a long time. It is one of the longest roads in the country without any petrol station, so make sure to fill it up in Ceres or right before to make sure you have enough petrol for your way there and back. The road is a very long and straight gravel road. Like they say on the official website “it eats tyres”. It is true. You actually hear a lot of stories of people breaking down, and this year even though going prepared with a Toyota Fortuner and driving carefully, we had to change one tyre on the way there. Hey, in 2018 we only had to replace one of our trailers tyres, and because we didn’t have the right tools ended up driving 30km with only the rim until we found a shop (the only one in km).

AfrikaBurn 2018

What to bring

One of the principles of the event is radical self-reliance. That means there’s nothing on sale (but ice – will get there soon).

Ice is sold everyday. You have to queue for hours (literally) to get a bag. For 2017 we queued from 8:30am to 2pm to get one bag. In 2018 they had fixed and it was much better.

What you must bring to Afrika Burn

  • enough water (5L pp/per day)
  • food
  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • clothes
  • chairs and camping tables
  • gas to cook
  • fridge or cooler boxes

Not necessary but will make your life better

  • lights to light up your camp and see at night
  • a stretch tent to make shade

Of course, the most important thing is your gift! Bring your gift! AfrikaBurn relies on the gifting community, so think on something you can make with your own hands or can give to people that sounds good. There is no organised entertainment but everyone (individually or grouping) makes something. How is it that every year there are places to eat, drink coffee, have a shower or dance? Because everyone participates. Your participation could be as easy as cooking barbecue meat one day and hand it around. Or take pictures with your polaroid camera and give them away. Or gift clothes you don’t need. Or make a group and create a cofffee shop that serves coffee every morning and payment are copliments. Make a theme camp where people can come and lay on the bean bags and watch a movie when it’s dark. Have a stage to play music every night. Make pancackes every morning. Make artworks (some will be burned, not all of them).

Have . I given you enough ideas? Bringing a gift to AfrikaBurn is a must! Start thinking..

AfrikaBurn 2018 AfrikaBurn 2018 AfrikaBurn 2018

Clothes for AfrikaBurn

Imagine being in a place where every outfit is possible and anything is crazy enough. Right, this is AfrikaBurn, you can now put together your outfits. Doesn’t matter if you mix fabrics and patterns, just be comfortable in your skin and look incredible! I’ve also never seen more people naked around, so if that is your thing, you are also welcome to go full nude!

You want to bring trainers, sunscreen, wet wipes and sunnies as basics for survival.

When the night arrives, the best outfit is the warmest one: you are going to the desert but at night it gets quite cold (Although 2017 is the best weather forecast they’ve had in Tankwa Town). Bring comfy pants, blankets and hoodies, and if you want your friends to see you in the dance floor have some type of fairy lights on you! Torches are also a good pick.

AfrikaBurn 2018

winking girl in Tankwa Town

5. Leave no trace

AfrikaBurn is a Leave no trace event. Not only you are responsible for picking all your litter, but MOOP (Matter out of place) is also important. Pick up anything and everything that does not belong to the desert. That makes the list very long, as desert most likely is rocks, sand, dust and some plants.

Sunset in Tankwa Town

Have you ever been? Planning for next year? Pin it!

Virguin guide to AfrikaBurn

101 things to do in Barcelona

101 things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is a vibrant city full of activities and monuments that keep locals and tourists coming back for new, different or repeat experiences. After calling it home for the past 22 years, I’ve compiled a list for you to start ticking off, enjoy!

Looking for recommendations in Barcelona? Let’s get started!

101 things to do in Barcelona

Classic things to do in Barcelona

  1. Visit Parc Guell and enjoy Gaudí’s mosaic dragon
  2. Marvel at the impressive Sagrada Familia building both from outside and inside
  3. Enjoy the best sunsets and sundowners from the Bunkers el Carmel
  4. Experience the neighbourhood of Gràcia visiting the squares one tapa at a time (Plaça del Sol, Plaça del Diamant, Plaça de la Virreina, Plaça de la Revolució)
  5. Visit the Christ Pantocrator and learn about Catalan romanesque at MNAC
  6. Walk along Les Rambles avenue (early morning to avoid the masses) and..
  7. .. have a taste of Catalan gastronomy at the never sleeping market of La Boqueria
  8. Enjoy the majestic Cathedral
  9. Have a peak at the cutest wall on Plaça Isidre Nonell
  10. Feel like a local in Plaça Felip Neri, arguably the smallest and cutest little square in the Gothic Quarter
  11. View the city from a different viewpoint from The Castle of Montjuïc
  12. Walk the promenade o Passeig marítim from Hotel Arts to hotel Vela
  13. See the undulating façade of La Pedrera or Casa Milà, another of Gaudí’s buildings
  14. Get lost in El Born quarter, especially visiting C/Princesa
  15. Be amazed by Basílica Santa Maria del Mar
  16. Get ready for the busiest meeting point of the city: Plaça Catalunya
  17. Visit the Camp Nou, official stadium of Barça
  18. Walk underneath the Arc de Triomf
  19. Have a paella close to the sea. My favourites are Pez Vela and Cheriff
  20. Visit shelter 307 in Poble Nou

101 things to do in Barcelona: Horta Maze

Different things to do in Barcelona

  1. Stroll in the cacti garden of Jardins de Josep Mossen Batlle
  2. Hop on a bus for a day of sightseeing
  3. Break the bank shopping at Passeig de Gràcia, the “5th Avenue of Barcelona”
  4. Enjoy an orchestra in Palau de la Música
  5. Visit the Horta Maze and try to get out quickly (spoiler: I totally failed!)
  6. Read a book in La ciutadella park
  7. Take the blue tram to go from Avinguda Tibidabo to Tibidabo Theme park
  8. Enjoy the Picasso paintings in the Picasso Museum
  9. Catch up with the latest fashion trends in Pelai St
  10. Have Bravas at Bar Tomás or La esquinica – widely accepted as some of the best in town
  11. Find the enchanted Madrona Chapel
  12. Taste the typical Catalan dishes Fideuà at Arrosseria Xàtiva
  13. Roam the streets of the Raval for the best pre-drinks ambiance
  14. Learn in the Barcelona History Museum
  15. Spend sunset watching the Magic Fountain show in Montjuic
  16. See 360 views of the city from Las Arenas, an old bull fighting stadium turned into a mall
  17. Have brunch in one of the trendiest pedestrian streets in town, Enric Granados
  18. Drink vermut and eat ‘Bombs’ at Cova Fumada
  19. Soak up the sun in the terraces of Sarrià quarter
  20. Have a drink in the terraces overlooking the city at Mirablau or Mirabé
  21. Discover the party scene on the harbour strip
  22. Gamble away your money in the Barcelona Casino
  23. Eat all the Iberian ham/Iberian acorn ham in tapas
  24. Try the budget restaurant of chef Ferran Adrià at König (patates braves and burger 34 are my favourites!!)
  25. Go for a run/walk at carretera de les aigues
  26. Get lost in another time visiting Poble Espanyol de Montjuic
  27. Eat delicious tapas at La Flauta, a busy restaurant
  28. Go sailing and witness Barcelona from the sea
  29. Enjoy the Castellers human towers at the City’s various events

101 things to do in Barcelona: Plaça del Sol

More things to do in Barcelona

  1. Enjoy all the chocolate in the chocolate Museum
  2. Try to not stain your clothes while learning how to eat Calçots, a Catalan food
  3. Do an audio tour in Casa Batllo, one of Gaudí’s iconic buildings with an amazing façade
  4. Visit the modernist hospital of Sant Pau
  5. Go to the plane park next the airport to watch the planes landing and taking off
  6. Swim in La Barceloneta beach
  7. Walk along Rambla del Poblenau and discover the true Barcelona charm
  8. Enjoy a concert in el Jardí de Pedralbes or walk along the tranquil gardens
  9. Go to Palo Alto Market
  10. Visit la casa Vicens
  11. Visit gracia at night to mingle with the locals having drinks
  12. Walk around barri de la ribera to see the harbour
  13. Discover the narrow streets of the jewish quarter
  14. Visit the santa catarina market with its undulating coloured tiles
  15. Go see the modernism shops Colmado Murria
  16. Watch “l’ou com balla” (the egg that dances) at the cathedral during Corpus
  17. Wine tasting at La viniteca
  18. Go to Tibidabo
  19. Appreciate the façade of Casa Comalat (and check it from Corsega st for the back view!)
  20. Take a picture in the pink façade in Pàdua st
  21. Visit the roman temple of August (MUHBA)

101 things to do in Barcelona: Me_Lata art


CONTINUE READING: The 10 best attractions to visit in Barcelona


Some extra things to do in Barcelona

  1. Walk Carolines st
  2. Visit the tunnels underneath Gracia
  3. Eat one of their 4 tapas in Bar la Plata, opened in 1945
  4. Travel back in time by walking in Passatge de les Manufactures to experience the old Barcelona
  5. Enjoy the architecture of the former monastery and church of Sant Pau del Camp
  6. Look down in Passeig de Gràcia and appreciate the tiles covering the street
  7. Get goosebumps in a classic concert at Auditori
  8. Visit els 4 gats, the bar where Picasso and Dalí met up and had dinner most nights
  9. Check the exhibits of Caixa Forum
  10. Visit the Olympic stadium of Sant Jordi
  11. Get lost in the Botanical Gardens
  12. Feel like a noble in Plaça del Rei and Palau Reial
  13. Visit the MACBA (museum of contemporary art) and marvel at groups of skaters in the square in front
  14. Attend any of the neighbourhood Festa Major, the party of each quarter (throughout the year, most of them during Summer months)
  15. Visit the Centre Cultural del born to see the ruins of one of the buildings that were demolished by Felip V
  16. Check for vintage and old things at flea market Els Encants Vells
  17. Look for AXE colours graffiti (featuring John Snow or Sansa Stark!)
  18. Look up to not miss the can sentences in different streets corners by Me_Lata
  19. Visit the underground tunnel of La casa de l’Aigua
  20. Relax in the Arab thermal baths and spa of Aire

101 things to do in Barcelona: John Snow graffiti

Further things to do in Barcelona

  1. Visit one of the better well-known clubs in the city, Razzmatazz
  2. Go back in time in Mercat de Sant Antoni on a Sunday and exchange cards, vinyl’s or chromos
  3. Watch the stars from Observatori Fabra
  4. Have a drink at OHLA hotel rooftop
  5. Enjoy 360 views of Barcelona from El Raval Barceló hotel
  6. Antiaircraft shelter underneath Plaça del Diamant
  7. Go to Pedralbes Monastery
  8. Take an amazing cooking class + dinner/lunch at Just Royal Bcn (their braves sauce and risotto recipe has earned me many good friends)
  9. Visit the famous Estrella Damm Factory
  10. Go up to the 10th floor of Torre the Collserola and admire the city from up high
  11. Attend Sonar Music Festival (only possible in June)

101 things to do in Barcelona: Sagrada Família

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101 things to do in Barcelona

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101 things to do in Barcelona

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The romanesque churches in the Boí valley – full route guide

The romanesque churches in the Boí valley – full route guide

The Boí Valley has a very special place in my heart. As a kid I started going to summer camp from when I was only 2 years old and later on I became a summer camp leader. In fact, my favourite hikes of all time have been in the mountains surrounding Caldes de Boí. During those years of hiking and exploring, I had visited two of the churches located in the area, just because they were in the village where the hiking finished. But I had never done the romanesque churches in the Boí valley route.

My friend Miriam (also a summer camp leader) and I had been meaning to go on an overnight hike not that long ago but the day was cloudy and there were thunder storms. One thing you don’t want to do is find yourself on a mountain in the middle of crazy rain and a thunder storm, so we abandoned our hiking plans and instead decided to visit the Romanesque churches.

 

What is the Romanesque Route in the Boí Valley

The Romanesque Route in the Boí Valley is a Unesco Heritage Side formed by 9 Romanesque churches scattered between tiny villages on the slopes of mountains. They are all part of the municipality of Alta Ribagorça located in the Pyrenean mountains of Lleida’s region in Catalonia, Spain.

The Romanesque movement was very big in Catalonia around the 11th and 12th centuries and there are many different churches in the territory that fit into the Romanesque style. These churches are in an excellent condition and have been on the Unesco World heritage list since 2000.

Important information to note

How long it takes

This route can be done in one day. In fact, it will probably take you only half a day. It all depends on your level of interest and the time spent in each location.
Local pro tip: you should stop in some of the villages for a well-deserved drink and tapa.

What to pack

You don’t need to pack anything specific, nor make any reservations. You can check here for the opening times of the various churches and for the information centre so you can plan your day around that.
Depending on the season short rain falls are possible and quite common, so come prepared.

How much does it cost

The total route is about 30km long. Depending on the car you are using and the petrol costs the price range will be approximately 2.39€ – 4.54€ for the one-way route.

To enter the churches you can either pay each entrance or get a pass covering their combined entrances. There are different options:

Pay individually (€ per person)Get a pass (€ per person)
  • Sant Climent de Taull entrance fee: 5€
  • Sant Joan de Boí, Santa Eulàlia d’Erill la Vall, Sant Feliu de Barruera, Santa Maria de Cardet la Nativitat de Durro and Romanesque information centre: 2 €
  • Visit 3 churches for 7€
  • 3 churches + entrance to the romanesque centre of information for 8€
  • 5 churches + entrance to the Romanesque centre of information for 10€
  • Boí Valley and entrance to MNAC museum (in Barcelona) 15€

If you want to have a guided visit the price is +2€ per person on top of the church price.

 

Doing the Romanesque churches Route in Boí Valley

First Stop: L’Assumpció Del Coll

The materials used for building this church are different, and the details visible on the portal are one of its main attractions.

Assumpció del coll Assumpció del coll

Second stop: Santa Maria de Cardet

The first thing you’ll realise is just how beautiful the apse is on this one. Located inside the village, you can only access it through the main entrance. It’s the only one with a small crypt inside.

Santa Maria de Cardet

Third Stop: Sant Feliu de Barruera

Inside of the village of Barruera but not on a main street, it is surrounded by fields which makes it easier to appreciate from different angles.

Sant Feliu de Barruera

Fourth Stop: La Nativitat de Durro

One of the biggest in the area which shows how important the village was in the past. Over the years it has been renovated and as a result you can find not only Romanesque features but Baroque and Gothic details as well.

La Nativitat de Durro

Fifth Stop: Sant Quirc de Durro

This one was one of my favourites because of the incredible views of the valley you get to enjoy from the church. It is probably the smallest of the nine churches in the Romanesque route and located 1500m above sea level.

Sant Quirc de Durro

Sixth stop: Santa Eulàlia D’erill la Vall

Having one of the biggest bell towers in the Boí Valley, this church was used to have views of the surrounding area and to watch over it. Visit the information centre to learn more about the area and the churches.

Santa Eulàlia D’erill la Vall

Seventh Stop: Sant Joan de Boí

The restorations have aimed to leave it unaltered as it was in the 12th century and it is here where we can see the importance of all the mural paintings of that era.

Sant Joan de Boí Sant Joan de Boí

Eight stop: Santa Maria de Taüll

This church is in the village centre, and is the only one of the route that has buildings surrounding it. This church has Romanesque mural paintings that are now on exhibition at MNAC museum, in Barcelona. Nowadays there are reproductions of the originals shown. The mural painting in this church is the Ephiphany scene.

strolling next to Santa Maria de Taüll Santa Maria de Taüll

Ninth stop: Sant Climent de Taüll

This church dates from the 11th century and has a basilical plan. The mural painting in this church was the famous Christ in majesty scene, the symbol of Catalan Romanesque. The Christ in majesty is also exhibited at MNAC museum in Barcelona. Inside the church they show video mapping of the paintings of the major apse. This is a new technique that provides added value to visitors.

Sant Climent de Taüll Sant Climent de Taüll

Visit the Romanesque centre

 

If you feel that having more background or further information about the different churches in the Romanesque route of the boí Valley would help you, visit the centre, it is located in the village of Erill la Vall, and offers it’s visitors interactive maps, videos and leaflets to help understand the architecture.
You can shop for souvenirs, organise group or guided tours and get practical information on how to complete the route.

 

Wrap for the romanesque churches route in the Boí Valley

We did the route from north to South (that is starting on stop nine) as we were in the mountains already. Both ways of doing it are just as good as one another, and if you are anything like me, the main attraction comes from witnessing the churches themselves. Maybe because I have been to the Romanesque centre so many times the ins and outs of the architecture didn’t interest me as much (because I already knew some of them).
With the information you can read on the churches I had enough, but I would recommend a visit for first timer’s.

Romanesque churches in the Boí valley

Do you have extra time? Do not miss the visit to Caldes de Boí thermal spa and hotels, and walk along the water route (singed inside the village) trying different water tastes!

Have I forgot to mention anything important for the Romanesque churches Route in the Boí Valley? Please let me know in the comments!

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Romanesque churches in the Boí Valley

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Romanesque churches in the Boí Valley

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