Chasing waterfalls in Catalonia

Jun 3, 2014 by

Next Monday, the 9th of June, is a bank holiday here in Barcelona (at last a long weekend!), and if you’re stuck for ideas in the face of closed shops and a stowed seafront, I have a suggestion.

Hire a car and head for the hinterland.

Because although the beaches of Barcelona and the Costa Brava itself are rightly renowned, inland, Catalan waterfalls are channelling their way through some of the most achingly beautiful countryside you’ve ever seen (and I say that coming from Scotland).

Las cascadas de Cataluña

Up in the Collsacabra region of Catalonia, north east of the town of Vic, is a scene of such natural beauty you’ll be amazed more tourists don’t make the effort to visit. Set into a natural amphitheatre-cum-canyon, La Cascada de La Foradada de Cantonigrós is named after the ‘hole’ in the mountain that offsets it. From above, the waterfall seems to appear from nowhere amid the tree-clad terrain.

Cantonigros-from-the-top

Hike on down, however, and around 45 minutes later you may seriously be considering skinny dipping.

Foradada-Catalunya by Julie Sheridan

The river above drapes itself over eroded rocks, spilling out into a shallow pool ideal for paddling or picnicking alongside. Small stepping stones signpost the way across the river, allowing you to go round back and venture through the gap in the rock to stand right behind the waterfall itself.

If you can, aim to visit in spring or early summer, when the flow of water is at its fullest and the surrounding vegetation at its lushest.

cantonigros-waterfall by Julie Sheridan

Take me to the water

From Barcelona, take the C17 road north past the town of Granollers all the way up to Vic, where it turns into the C25. Circumnavigate Vic on this ring road and look for signs for the local road C153, following signs for the village of Cantonigrós. The village itself is tiny, and you need to look out for the football pitch and park nearby (parking is free). Along one side of the football pitch (behind the goal posts) you’ll see a rocky path – take this path and you’ll encounter increasingly rocky terrain. Follow the track all the way down, and in around 45 minutes’ time you’ll start to hear the tinkle of wild water.

Eventually the path opens out onto the rocky backdrop of the waterfall, where you can happily spend a couple of hours exploring and having a picnic on the river bank. Coming back up is more tricky, obviously, but trust me, it’s worth it.

From a stunning stone village to the Salt del Sallent 

Once you’ve huffed your way back up the track to the car, rejoin the C153 and follow signs for the hilltop town of Rupit. Dump the car at the car park on the perimeter (even the car park is picturesque) and wander into the town by way of the swinging rope bridge for a look around and lunch.

Rupit church Catalonia

Dating back over 1000 years, Rupit boasts some pretty established restaurants, and I’d particularly recommend the rustic Ca l’Estragues’s at number 4 Church Street (Carrer de la Esglesia). Fringed by red geraniums, its postcard-perfect views over the river are a gorgeous setting for lunch, while the traditional Catalan pan al tomate just cries out for some serious smearing of garlic.

pan-al-tomate

But back to the waterfalls.

After sufficient consumption of garlic, head round to the back of Rupit (it’s not far) and set off on the hike that will take you to the spectacular Salt del Sallent (the Sallent ‘jump’).

You’ll be following the river through woods and craggy countryside, and although there are a couple of spots that might be slightly slippy if it’s been raining, most of the track is accessible and fairly flat.

Suddenly, when you least expect it, the tree-lined track opens out into searing sky, and this is what you spy.

View-from-Sallent-Waterfall by Julie Sheridan

Thousands of trees where sea should be, the summits of distant mountains swathed in cloud and, to your right, an almost 100-metre waterfall that wouldn’t look out of place in Lord of the Rings. The space is so spellbinding that it seems almost pointless to take photos, but there are a couple of miradores (look-out points) where you can stand and contemplate the Catalan countryside in all its vertiginous glory.

Let me know how you get on if you visit, and enjoy the long weekend:)

salt-de-sallent


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4 Comments

  1. Hola Julie,
    I white you from Andalucia, sorry about my english, my name is Rafael Teran, me presento:
    http://www.experienciavivees.com/english/about-us-contact/
    A couple of year ago I founder Experiencia Vivees, a language and cultural Spanish immersion programme: 4 people studying Spanish from anywhere in the world and 4 Spanish native speaker, travelling together for a week in Southern Spain, “living an experience in Spanish” since it is the only language you can speak during this period of time.
    A journey through Andalucía with people who begin the week as strangers and end it as friends. An experience of Spanish life and Spanish language.
    Sometimes I invite any blogger for to life this experiencie so…
    I wonder if you have a basic Spanish, and in this cause… would you like to live the experience and improve your Spansih? It be free for you, you only have to pay the train to cordoba o Malaga, and the meals during the program, we pay for you all the cost.
    You can see all the datails here :
    http://www.experienciavivees.com/english/cordoba-experience/cordoba-sevilla-sierra-morena-march-22-2015-6-days/
    un saludo
    rafa

    • Hola Rafa, y perdona que sólo ahora he visto tu mensaje. !Muchas gracias por invitarme! Me encanta Andalucía – he estado en Granada y Sevilla, con ganas de visitar Jérez y Cádiz. Bueno, ya hablo castellano así que dudo que fuera la candidata apopiada para tu programa, pero muchísimas gracias por pensar en mí. ¡Suerte con todo! Julie

  2. Wow! Great article!! The pictures are amazing! I liek the outdoor activities as well, Spain has to be among the places I must go before I die! Hehehe Thanks so much for the post, it was very informative!! 🙂

  3. Simon Louise

    Hello Julie, your post is the cutest:)
    I’m travelling to Barcelona soon, do you have any tip on how to get to this amazing place from Barcelona center, by bus or train?:)
    It would mean so much to me!

    Greetings, Louise

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