Most children love hiking through natural environments. It is a unique opportunity to be in direct contact with nature and get out of the daily routine, while allowing you to exercise your motor skills. Plus, it’s a great way to stimulate cognitive development. In fact, kids who go on hikes regularly have been shown to have better concentration, better memory and better self-control.
It is also a perfect exercise to enhance children’s creativity and imagination, while helping to relieve tension and stress. In this sense, it has been found that being in direct contact with nature is an excellent remedy for reducing anxious and hyperactive symptoms in children with ADHD . In addition, it is an opportunity for children to develop greater autonomy and independence, while allowing them to spend quality time with the family.
The good news is that in Catalonia there are many natural destinations for hiking with the little ones at home. These are very cool spaces full of vegetation where children can have fun as they please. Here is a selection of some of these destinations.
Five Catalan natural spaces where you can go hiking with children
1. La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park
Catalonia is full of natural spaces to visit with children, but without a doubt, this one is very special since it is the best exponent of the volcanic landscape of the Iberian Peninsula. With an extension of more than 150 kilometers, it has 10 craters, 23 cones and more than 20 impressive lava flows. While it is true that most of them are reforested, like the Santa Margarita Volcano, there are still some like the Croscat Volcano that will enchant you with its lunar appearance in reddish, purple and black tones.
And if your little ones like stories about enchanted forests, fairies and goblins, you can’t miss the Fageda d’en Jordà. It is a unique beech forest of its kind in Spain, formed from a cooled lava flow from the Croscat Volcano, from where you will find different hiking trails that go into the most leafy part of the Fageda. In the park there are also exuberant holm oak and oak groves where you can take quiet walks through nature and if you feel like enjoying spectacular views you can go up to Castellfollit de la Roca, a unique town that stands on a basalt wall.
2. The Forest of Enchanted Rocks
Very close to the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park is the Enchanted Rocks forest, another idyllic destination to spend a different day with the family. Located between the Sanctuary of La Salut and the Coll de Condreu, in the easternmost part of Collsacabra, stands this beech forest with flat and zigzag routes, where you can go hiking with the little ones at home.
The route is impressive, although without a doubt, what children will like the most will be the natural labyrinth of rock formations at the end of the path. These are huge rocks with very picturesque shapes that seem to be placed at will along the route, where you can make a short stop to let yourself be enveloped by the magic of the place. If your forces are still with you, leaving the beech forest you will find a beautiful meadow from where you can head towards Turó d’Armadans, a small mountain that is easily accessible and has very nice views.
3. Bosque Estunes Banyoles
Very close to Estany de Banyoles, the largest lake in the province of Girona and in all of Catalonia, you will find the magical forest of Les Estunes. Since the route begins at the lake itself, you can take the opportunity to visit it or even do the circular route around the lake before heading towards Les Estunes. As you move away, you will enter a path of leafy trees that will take you directly towards Les Estunes.
Les Estunes is a forest that looks like something out of a fairy tale. It has countless cracks in the ground, some are so deep that you can even explore them with the children as if you were little elves. The route is quite simple, but it is important to be careful to avoid falling into one of the cracks. And, if after the experience, you still want more, you can retrace your steps and visit the La Puda Spa and the Font Pudosa, which although they are currently in disuse, have a long history behind them that children will like to meet.
4. Sources of the Llobregat
Another very cool natural destination where you can go hiking as a family is the Fuentes de Llobregat. You can start the tour in Castellar de N’hug, a very picturesque region of great natural value. Setting off towards the springs, a zigzag path surrounded by vegetation awaits you, which will guide you to the source of one of the most important rivers in Catalonia: the Llobregat River. The water, which flows directly from the cliffs that border Castellar de N’hug, forms a fast and mighty waterfall that you will love.
Upon reaching the sources, you can look for the viewpoint from where you will enjoy spectacular views of the landscape. In the surroundings you will find many spaces where you can sit down for a while to recharge your batteries and let yourself be enveloped by the charm of the place. A little further down, there are also some wooden picnic tables and, if you continue a little further, you will come to the old Fonts flour mill, currently a hydroelectric power station, and further on, the old blacksmith shop awaits you, now converted into rural hotel.
5. Malniu Lake
In the Cerdanya region, in the heart of the Pyrenees, you can take one of the most simple and classic excursions in the region: a visit to Lake Malniu. The most common access starts from the Malniu refuge and goes into a lush forest, after which the lake awaits you. It is a lake of glacial origin, surrounded by pine trees and granite blocks where you can spend time with your family enjoying the natural beauty of the surroundings.
From here you can also go up to Prat Fondal, the highest point of the route from where you can enjoy impressive views of the landscape or reach the Estany Mal, a slightly smaller lake, but with a unique natural attraction that is worth it. to visit. And, if you still have the strength for more, you can climb up to Puig Pedrós, a mountain that with its 2,914 meters high dominates the entire region.