18 Dec 2012 0 comments Redacció

Winter tourism in the Vall d’en Bas

It’s easy to relate winter tourism to snow and skiing. However, Catalonia has more to offer than its ski resorts and thrilling slopes. Places like the Vall d’en Bas, for instance. An excellent destination located in the county of La Garrotxa, which displays a cornucopia of colors thanks to the diverse crops like corn, potatoes, oats and barley. Picture-perfect. The oak and beech forests, set on the surrounding hills, protect such beauty, crested by the Puigsacalm, a 1,505-meter peak from where you can contemplate panoramic views of Catalonia.

The mount of Puigsacalm.

Hikers and mountain bikers, have available 12 routes that run through unique landscapes. Most of the routes are suitable for all hikers, from novice to experienced. It’s worth pointing out two of these routes, each ending on a beautiful waterfall hidden in the middle of the valley: Salto del Roure and Salto del Sallent. The ideal place to unwind from the noise of the city.

Another way to get around the Vall d’en Bas is on board the ‘tren turístico’ (tourist train) that departs from the little town of Els Hostalets d’en Bas. It can be hired for groups and can customize itineraries.

Agriculture and stockbreeding are two major economic engines of the Vall d’en Bas.

Within the 35 square miles of the valley, we find Romanesque churches of significant historical value and two villages listed as of historical and artistic value. One is the town of Mallol where you must visit the house of Veguer and the medieval prison. The other is Hostalets d’en Bas, whose wooden balconies, colored by hundreds of geraniums, have been immortalized by many painters and photographers.

Every Christmas, in the village of Joanetes there is a living Nativity scene with more than four hundred participants, where they play more than fifty scenes from the Bible. The bright star that crowns the scene is located on top of the cliff of Santa Magdalena. The star is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest.

One of the main attractions of the Vall d’en Bas is its cuisine, which is known by the name of ‘Cuina Remença‘. Local restaurants and farmhouses make sure the visitor will get a good taste of it by preparing simple recipes using local products grown in environmentally friendly farms. This commitment to local growers not only benefits their economy but preserves and guarantees the agricultural character of the valley, which has one of the most fertile soils of Catalonia.

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