Mountain Walking in Southern Catalunya

By Philip Freakley, Vivien Freakley

This guidebook has 30 routes for mountain walkers of all abilities in Southern Catalunya. The routes are in 3 national parks between Barcelona and Valencia; around the River Ebre: the els Ports massif, Serra de Cardo and the Serra de Montsia, including the immense limestone crags of the Parc Natural dels Ports overlooking the Mediterranean.



good walking from October through to May; when strong winds or the occasional dusting of snow arrive on the high ridges the sheltered coastal slopes provide good routes




from broad tracks to airy scrambles round huge cliffs; walks graded for routefinding, scrambling and exposure; all within capabilities of experienced hill walkers – rockclimbing skills and equipment are not needed
Must See

Must See

Parc Natural dels Ports, herb-covered hillsides, high pine forest, Templar castles, picturesque hill villages
17 Aug 2010
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
  • Overview

    A dramatic coastal mountain region of remarkable natural beauty and diversity, Southern Catalunya is mysteriously unknown outside of Spain. In the mountains, limestone crags with well-established paths overlook the orange and olive groves perfect for day walks with a long-distance path that runs along the coast for those wanting to walk a little further. The walks all vary in difficulty, from coastal trails to hands-on scrambles, but all are clearly marked at the start of each route for route finding, scrambling and exposure.

    The region has not been greatly visited by walkers from the UK, as it is not obvious from the general tourist maps that it even has mountains yet with its benign winter climate it is ideal for walkers from October through to May. These day walks boast spectacular scenery including salt and freshwater lagoons surrounded by wildlife, high mountainous regions as well as stunning coastal trails.

    • 30 route descriptions, illustrated with colour maps and photography
    • all routes graded for difficulty and route-finding
    • thorough information about the history, culture, amenities, wildlife, climate as well as other practicalities
  • Contents

    The Walking Area
    The Natural Parks
    Climate and When to Go
    Geology and Geography
    History, Architecture and Culture
    Getting There
    Getting Around
    Where to Stay
    Food and Drink
    What to Take
    Waymarking and Access
    Hunting and how to avoid it
    Using the guide
    The Walks
    Walk 1 Punta de l’Aigua
    Walk 2 Montaspre ridge
    Walk 3 Moleta de les Canals circuit and summit ridge
    Walk 4 Barranc del Camp
    Walk 5 Solana route
    Walk 6 Cova dels Adells
    Walk 7 Coll d’en Caubet and Vallfiguera
    Walk 8 Cervera and Figuera valleys
    Walk 9 La Moleta
    Walk 10 Vall d’Infern
    Walk 11 Pi del Perillo
    Walk 12 Mont Caro summit
    Walk 13 Mola del Moro
    Walk 14 La Barcina
    Walk 15 Cresta del Marturi
    Walk 16 Sources of the Matarranya
    Walk 17 Roca del Migdia
    Walk 18 Caramella gorge
    Walk 19 Mola Castellona
    Walk 20 Lloret high level route
    Walk 21 Barranc de Lloret
    Walk 22 Roca Xapada
    Walk 23 Font del Paradis
    Walk 24 Coll de Lloret
    Walk 25 Sant Roc to Arnes and back
    Walk 26 La Creu de Santos
    Walk 27 Seven ermitas and a ridge
    Walk 28 Mas de Mata-redona
    Walk 29 La Foradada
    Walk 30 Coastal path

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Finding the walks
    Appendix C Catalan–English glossary of mountain terms
    Appendix D Useful contacts

  • Maps

    This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with walking maps produced by Editorial Piolet. These provide, within the limitations of the 1:25,000 and 1:30,000 scales, a good depiction of the walking terrain. Discrepancies between the maps and routes ‘on the ground’ are dealt with both on the sketch maps and in the text. The following are useful maps:

    • Estels del Sud, La Travessa del Massis dels Ports
    • El Port Mapes Excursionistes (two sheets, sold as a pair)
    • Cardó and Rasquera

    The Estels del Sud map is designed to accompany a multi-day circuit of els Ports and gives guidance in four languages including English. All the maps are available as both hardcopy and CDs and can be purchased online from the publisher at (Catalan only) and from the main Tortosa bookshop at, which has an English language option.

    The Institut Cartografic de Catalunya produces maps of the area at 1:50,000, which can be bought in the UK. The scale is inappropriate for walking but the Baix Ebre (9) and Montsia (22) sheets are useful as detailed road maps. There is also online access to 1:10,000 maps at, but these lack essential footpath information.

  • Updates
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    July 2014

    Page 182 Monte Caro Mountain Hut

    There have been some changes to this hut;

    New phone number, 003 49775 80063 / 003 46097 90321
    The shelter does have water

    October 2011

    Walk 20

    pg 125: Following the sentence 'The climb continues for half an hour to reach an unsuspected patch of scree with a fig tree growing in the middle of it.'

    After ascending the scree the path turns left to climb for some 10m towards the base of some undercut cliffs before turning definitively right onto a clear path. The way now becomes increasingly hemmed in by cliffs and pinnacles until it narrows to a cleft, with two wooden ladders leading up over the top to provide the only exit.

    This is the Escarrisó de Borosa and it is reached some one hour 20mins from the start of the walk. A further 10mins of climbing on a clear path leads on to a grassy plateau and up to the shapely rock pillars of the Coll dels Morralets. Turn left here for Cova Ebre and Pallers following a red painted arrow on the back of the first pillar. About 10m further on there is a rock on the right hand side of the path with a metal signpost plate. The route carries straight on here, through woodland, towards the Cova Ebre and Caro

    Many thanks go to reader Mike Cahill for providing us with this update information

    August 2011

    The guided walking, birdwatching and other services previously provided by Ebrotours have now been transferred to Walking Birder, which can be accessed at

    December 2012

    Alternative start to Walk 3: The Moleta de les Canals circuit and summit ridge and Walk 25: Sant Roc to Arnes and back

    A new start is needed for these walks now that the original track to Mas Torrat has been fenced off and it is clear that walkers are no longer welcome to follow the barranc route directly but must make a detour to join the route higher up. The same alternative should also be used for Walk 25.

    Leave the car park on a broad track, signposted for the Coll de l’Ametleral, ignoring a track leading to the right. Take a path leading up to the left after one minute, following red and white GR7 markers and blue stars, to reach a second signpost 5mins later. Bear right onto a broad track, still on GR7 and continue straight on past another signpost until, some 25mins from the start, yet another signpost indicates the direction on a small woodland path climbing up to the right for the Pla de l’Hedera. After 10mins the path joins a track and a right turn (Pla de l’Hedera) is indicated. After only a few minutes the track bends acutely to the left and the route continues straight on, on a small path. Some 8mins later, at a junction with a marker post, the original path joins from the right, having climbed up the barranc directly. Continue straight on for a few more minutes to reach a T-junction marked with red paint and make a left turn to continue the route as described in the guide.

    January 2013

    Change to access arrangements for walks 17-19

    A new parking area has been built about 500m before Casa de Carvallo, just before the road has a big kink south. The workmen are not finished yet, but there are already “no motor traffic” signs and the foundations for a barrier to stop vehicles going on to the Casa, so all the walks will be a km or so longer.

    Many thanks to Peter Gorvett for this information.

    January 2014

    Walk 4 Barranc del Camp - Change of Route

    The route has been diverted to avoid the property of a landowner who is clearly not walker friendly. The diversion is towards the end of the walk (page 57). The text reads:

    ‘At this point a cairn marks a junction. Bear right onto a rougher track and continue rising by a terrace wall for 4 minutes until another rough track joins from the left’

    Instead of carrying straight on past the ‘No-entry’ sign as described, turn into the rough track which joins from the left. After approximately 200m there is a clear footpath on the right, marked by a post with a direction arrow and a cairn. Take this path and follow it until it joins a broad track. (This is the GR7). Turn right and complete the circuit as described in the guidebook.

  • Reviews

    I found this guide easy to read and the concise route descriptions easy to follow. Southern Catalunya cannot be recommended highly enough for a winter walking destination and this excellent guide should help make this area accessible to walkers from the UK.

    This guide with its find selection of walks and excellent diagrams should inspire many to explore this unique and wonderful area.

    Austrian Alpine Club newsletter, Spring 2011

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Freakley Phil

Philip Freakley

Mountains have been an essential counter-balance to busy academic careers for Philip & Vivien for many years and the opportunity to live among mountains was one that could not be resisted.

View Articles and Books by Philip Freakley
Freakley Viv

Vivien Freakley

For many years it was weekends in Derbyshire, long weekends in Snowdonia, weeks in the Lake District and summer holidays in the Pyrenees, Alps and Rockies that provided the antidote to academic life in the midlands. The discovery of a little known winter walking area in Southern Catalunya in 2005 brought a new project.

View Articles and Books by Vivien Freakley