Vall de nuria Spain: On to the snow

Vast white mountain peaks and lane up along a nearly frozen river with the crunch of snow under your racket bag. Vall de Nuria. A well-known place for ski and snowboard enthusiasts in the Pyrenees during the winter, but you can also hike in summer and winter. Or so go out with those crazy tennis rackets under your feet.

Vall de Nuria

Living part-time in Barcelona has its advantages, the beach, the mountains in the Pyrenees, forest and the city are all within two drives or three hours by public transport. Last winter I felt so much like breathing in some fresh mountain air so I went to see where you could all go by train where you could go hiking in the mountains.

Getting to Vall de Nuria by train

After some sleuthing, Vall de Nuria turned out to be a good place where you can also get there by train, so nice without a car! Now Spain’ s rail network is quite ok, and certainly that of Catalonia. They don’t drive often, but they drive! If you want to go by car, it is convenient to keep about 1.5 hours drive.

Vall de Nuria

Vall de Nuria is located in a valley near France in the eastern Catalan Pyrenees and has mountain peaks of up to 3,000 meters. Still slightly less than the peaks during that I saw during Annapurna Basecamp Trekking, but stunningly beautiful nonetheless!

In winter, you can have fun at one of the 11 counting slopes you can ski, board or cross-country ski from (although, from some I wouldn’t go cross-country 🤣).

Above all, go by train as a weekend trip to Vall de Nuria, stay in Ribes de Freser and do a pit stop in Vic

To Vall de Nuria with the cremallera train

What really comes highly recommended is to go up with the cremallera rail. An incredibly beautiful train ride of about 12.5 km in 45 minutes. The cremallera goes through the mountains and past ravines (warning: if you are afraid of heights do not sit on the window side) and you finally enter the “center” of Vall de Nuria after passing 1 station (Queralbs).

The creation of the cremallera was partly because more and more pilgrims were going to Sanctuary de Nuria, so a train track was built about 90 years ago. It has since been modernized, but you can still admire the “old” trains in the mini-museum created at the cremallera station.

Vall de Nuria

A ticket (return) costs about 30 euros for people between the ages of 14 and 64. You can just buy it online. Not very cheap but really worth it. In the summer you can also just walk, as it is 1000 meters higher. But when you are not in Vall de Nuria valley itself with your ski suit, it is more convenient to take this train.

Departure times of the Cremallera

Prices of the cremallera

Vall de Nuria

What to do in Vall de Nuria? Out and about with snow rockets

Since neither of us have any real experience with skiing or boarding, and we were in for something new, we decided to rent snow rockets. And what fun!

It was a little searching at first for me what size, but with the help of the nice landlord, that was solved in no time. It runs very nicely because you have more grip on the snow, but a totally different experience than when you go in with those anti-slide irons. More fun and we also had to laugh at each other a lot. I do recommend that you wear a hat and waterproof shoes. I wore high mountain boots, but low ones could have been done on their own, although this was nice and warm! Most importantly, they are waterproof ;-).

Vall de Nuria

Renting snow rockets costs about 18 to 20 euros for 2 pairs of rockets (rackettes). You can rent them in the big building next to the cremallera station. Can’t miss! Also, put on especially warm clothes like a hoodie with a women’s ski sweater underneath or if your friend still has a spare one you can of course do that too ;-). For hubby, a men’s hoodie is also recommended. Stay nice and warm. Although after hiking the snow rockets, you can also have a hot cup of tea at the Vall de Nuria restaurant (the only one) to warm up.

Vall de Nuria

Base of operations Ribes de Freser

Since we preferred not to sleep in the Valley Nuria itself (no supermarket etc), I booked a little apartment for us in Ribes de Freser. This was very nice because to be perfectly honest, eating out was a little inconvenient and we mostly cooked our own meals.

Although perhaps that was also due to the fact that we were in Ribes de Freser on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday night, almost no restaurants were open. Let alone vegan options, advice for here: so get an airbnb or apartment and cook your own dings. Right next to the train station you will find a supermarket where they have quite a lot for such a small village. They had their own oatmeal and soy milk (with sugar, unfortunately).

Ribes de freser
Ribes de Freser

How to get to Ribes de Freser?

This is really super easy! You take the train R3 towards Puigcerdà (which is also a nice town by the way!) from Barcelona Sants directly to Ribes de Freser and takes between 2 and 2.5 hours. A one-way ticket costs 9 euros and you can just buy it at Barcelona Sants station and at Ribes de Freser. They don’t go too often, every two hours or so, so check in advance through the Rodalies de Catalunya what time they go. Along the way, you can also choose to get off at Vic. Then do buy a ticket up to Vic and then buy another ticket at Vic to your final destination.

Vic Catalonia

Vic is a small town and there are regular fun ferias such as Mercado Medival de Vic where there are fun booths (over 300!) and activities scattered all over the downtown area. It is usually in December. In short, be sure to take the train as a weekend trip to Vall de Nuria, stay in Ribes de Freser and do a pit stop in Vic on the way back (or on the way to Ribes de Freser) to Barcelona.

Do you know Vall de Nuria?


This blog contains links to Protest. A Dutch outdoor and sports brand with an increasing focus on sustainable and recycled clothing. With the discount code vegantravellife10 you will receive a discount until March 31, 2022