Vall de Núria Spain: Unveiling this Hidden Gem

Welcome to Vall de Núria, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees! This stunning mountain valley is a nature lover’s paradise, boasting a stunning alpine landscape, fresh mountain air, and a wealth of outdoor activities to keep you busy year-round.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventure-packed getaway, Vall de Nuria Spain has something for everyone. It also boasts the best hikes near Barcelona!

In this article, I’ll share with you 10 of the best things to do in Vall de Nuria, from hiking and skiing to cultural experiences and even a visit to a nearby beautiful alpine village I discovered.

So get ready to discover the beauty of this enchanting corner of Spain!

Where is Vall de Nuria Spain

pyrenees mountains with clouds in vall de nuria spain

If you’re looking for a peaceful mountain retreat, Vall de Nuria might just be the perfect destination for you.

Located in the most iconic valley of the Catalan Spanish Pyrenees mountains within the municipal area of Queralbs in the province of Girona, Catalonia. This hidden gem sits above one of the highest points of the Ribes Valley and is surrounded by peaks of almost 3,000 metres above sea level, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

Vall de Nuria Spain is 130 km directly north of Barcelona making it a great day trip option.

Is Vall de Nuria Worth Visiting

mountains with tree tops in vall de nuria

Where history and outdoor activities collide.

Yes! Vall de Nuria is a destination where history, natural beauty and outdoor activities collide, making it well worth a visit!

It’s pretty special to know that you are hiking one of the most iconic hiking routes in Catalonia. For centuries, pilgrims used this very path to a sanctuary.

How to get to Vall de Núria from Barcelona

pyrenees mountains with trees and valley in vall de nuria spain

Despite its remote location, it’s easily accessible by train or car, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

What makes this destination so incredibly special is the only way to get there is by rack railway or by foot, a 3-hour hike up the old pilgrim’s road. Either way, you’ll be afforded some amazing views of deep narrow gorges, rocks, rivers and trees.

By Train from Barcelona to Vall de Núria via Queralbs

  • Start your train journey from Barcelona at the Barcelona-Sants station.
  • Take Renfe, a national train line, that offers a combined ticket that includes both the train and rack railway journey (Approximate cost €45)
  • Take the train to Queralbs, the last accessible point before Vall de Núria
  • From Queralbs, board the Rack railway, a cogwheel train that ascends into the Pyrenees, passing through the most scenic views

By Car from Barcelona to Vall de Núria via Queralbs

  • Begin your road trip from Barcelona, driving along the C-17 highway toward Ribes de Freser
  • Reach the charming town of Queralbs, the last accessible point by car before Vall de Núria
  • There is free parking at the Rack railway station
  • Board the rack railway that takes you to Vall de Núria (€39 round-trip)

By Guided Tour from to Vall de Núria from Barcelona

The easiest and most enjoyable experience is joining a group tour from Barcelona. Let a knowledgeable guide arrange all the logistics for you and all you need to do is enjoy our day in Vall de Nuria.

#1 Pick
hiking trail in vall de nuria spain

Day Trip to Vall de Nuria Overview


  • Small group shuttle from Barcelona with a live local guide for 11 hours
  • Explore the historic town of Vic and Queralbs
  • Arrive to Vall de Núria via a rack railway
  • Free time to enjoy hiking opportunities for all levels in the stunning valley and learn about the religious significance of Vall de Núria

10 Vall de Núria Things to Do

1. Take the Scenic Núria Rack Railway

Take the rack railway called Cremallera de Núria through a beautiful route that runs 12.5 km and ascends about 1,000 m from Queralbs. Just make sure you take a quick tour of this village as it is so picturesque.

You get to admire the unspoiled panoramic mountain landscape views from the Núria rack railway windows. This in itself was a highlight of the tour.

2. Learn about the Ancient History of Vall de Núria

ancient water vessel on top of mountain in vall de nuria spain

Vall de Núria has a fascinating legendary tale. Here’s how the story goes.

Saint Giles or San Gil arrived in this area from Athens around 700 AD. He lived the life of a hermit, living in caves and spending his time with the local shepherds. He was thought to have carved the painted image of the Virgin Mary. For safekeeping, he hid the carving in a cave when he had to flee from prosecution.

3. Walk the Shrine of Núria

In 1072, some would say by divine inspiration, a pilgrim named Amadeu was called to this area to help build a chapel and search for the Virgin Mary.

He and the local shepherds discovered the image and carried it to Queralbs. However, many believed it needed to remain in Núria. So, a procession was organized to bring the carving back to Núria. Thus, this is how the Shrine of Núria came to be.

The religious symbols of Vall de Núria are the cross, which San Gil brought with him to the valley, the cooking pot which he used to cook the meals he shared with the shepherds, and the bell with which he summoned them at meal times.

The Shrine of Núria, a popular pilgrimage route, is the same path that the Pilgrims took from the town of Queralbs to Núria. Here, you will find stone crosses, churches and artifacts littering the Vall de Nuria hiking route.

4. Hike the Vall de Núria

mountain with trail and hikers in vall de nuria things to do

Hiking enthusiasts take note, some of the best hikes near Barcelona can be found right here! If you find hiking fun, then this is a day trip you’ll enjoy!

There are so many hiking trails you can choose from, all starting at Vall de Nuria hike starting point. Clear descriptions of distance, altitude, estimated walking time and experience level are marked. 

Here are the hikes I did and recommend as being easy and scenic:

  • Cami de les Coves, altitude of 2,134 m
  • Cami del Bosc trail, altitude of 2,122 m

Many of the trails have connecting points with the Santiago el Camino, the famous pilgrimage route. The flag signifies a main intersection and marker for hikers.

This is the high Pyrenees, close to the border with France, and you can see the path that people used during the Spanish Civil War to pass from France to Spain.

5. Take a Cable Car Viewpoint

Take the scenic cable car ride up to the summit of 2,122 m. It offers an incredible viewpoint of the Nuria Valley. You have two options for getting back – walk down and join the Cami del Bosc trail or ride the gondola back down the hill.

6. Tour the Sanctuary of Núria

emerald green lake with mountains on hike in vall de nuria

Tour the original site of the church sanctuary and hostel to house the Pilgrims from centuries ago.

Today what stands is a large building that includes a hotel, restaurant, information center and gift shop. Immediately you are taken aback by such a large complex, in this remote high valley of the Pyrenees. It’s an incredibly scenic area – framed by the mountains with a large grassy area and a small lake in the foreground.

7. Have a Picnic

lake and moutains in vall de nuria

One of the most delightful ways to experience the natural beauty of Vall de Nuria is by enjoying a picnic amidst its stunning alpine landscape.

With its lush forests, sparkling streams, and breathtaking mountain views, there’s no shortage of idyllic spots to lay out a blanket (or sit at a picnic table close to the Hotel) and enjoy a leisurely meal in the great outdoors.

Dine at the Hotel’s restaurant – either in the dining hall or ask for takeaway and choose a picnic table or nice grassy spot and take in the tranquil surroundings while you savour every bite.

8. Hit the Ski Slopes

Skiing in Vall de Nuria is said to be an unforgettable experience, with its pristine slopes, picturesque alpine scenery, and excellent ski facilities courtesy of the Hotel Scanturay.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, there’s a wide range of runs to suit all levels, as well as ski schools and equipment rentals to help you get started. With plenty of snowfall during the winter months, Vall de Nuria offers excellent skiing conditions, along with stunning views of the surrounding mountain landscape that will take your breath away.

9. Go Ziplining over the Nuria Valley

Ziplining in Vall de Nuria is an exhilarating way to experience the mountain valley’s stunning landscape from a different perspective. With several ziplining options available, you can soar above the treetops and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Nuria Valley.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply looking for a unique adventure, ziplining in Val de Nuria is a must-try activity – that’s very popular with families.

10. Visit the Nature Classroom

A visit to the Nature Classroom in Vall de Nuria is a great way to learn about the natural environment of this beautiful mountain valley.

The classroom offers a range of educational programs and interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the local flora and fauna, as well as the geological history of the Pyrenees. With knowledgeable guides on hand to answer questions and provide insight, a visit to the Nature Classroom is a fascinating and informative experience that’s perfect for both adults and children alike.

FAQ About Vall de Núria Spain

What is the Vall de Nuria weather?

The Vall de Nuria weather can be up to 10 degrees cooler than Barcelona due to its elevation. Expect snowy conditions from November to April.

What is the meaning of Nuria?

The meaning of Nuria is a name of Catalan origin that means “bright” or “shining”. It’s also a girl’s name and the name of a mountain valley in the Pyrenees of northeastern Spain

How do I get from Barcelona to Vall de Nuria?

To get from Barcelona to Vall de Nuria, take a train to Ribes de Freser, then transfer to the rack railway for a scenic ride to the valley. The whole journey takes about 2-3 hours.

Is 1 day enough to see Vall de Nuria?

In 1 day in Vall de Nuria, you can experience the highlights of Vall de Nuria, however, if you stay overnight you can do more hiking or skiing.

What should I wear while hiking in Vall de Nuria?

Dress for the elements while hiking in Vall de Nuria with sturdy hiking footwear, sun protection (hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen), and warm layers as temperatures drop considerably at higher elevations.

As a Holidaymaker

Enjoy the break from Barcelona and go to Vall de Núria for the day. Discover the beauty of the Pyrenees mountains on a hike through the Nuria valley. It is such a peaceful place. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, it will leave you feeling inspired, grateful and longing to return.

If you enjoyed this article, why not become a subscriber?