Queralbs and the beautiful mountains of Vall de Nuria
Queralbs is a small charming Spanish medieval village located near to Vall de Nuria in Spain, in the Pyrenees, not far away from France. The visit of the village was very quick since there is nothing special, except may be the kind of viewpoint-bridge that they made it for people to have a nice view on the valley.
We went there because we booked an apartment but our goal was to pass a beautiful hiking weekend in the mountains of Vall de Nuria. The flat was before a house of 2 floors converted in 2 separated apartments, so the place includes everything, a bathroom, a living room with chimney, a kitchen and a room with beds, not very big but enough space to not feel claustrophobia (they have bigger apartments if you have a big family).
We liked the place, situated not in the village but just in the entrance, Masia Can Constans (firstname.lastname@example.org - carretera de fontalba) is like a charming small village inside a small village, with a nice view to its valley and near to the train station for Vall de Nuria. Each flat has its own little terrace where we enjoyed taking our breakfast with the nature. The only way to go there is by car and from Barcelona is something like 2 hours.
Vall de Nuria is a nice opening valley coming down from the crest of Pyrenees, and there are only 2 ways to reach it, by the special train or by foot so no roads. Walking from the village, it takes something like 3 hours according to the hiking panel, since we took the train (just 20 minutes), I can't tell you if the time is correct or not, the only thing I can say it is a long way up to the valley mixing shadow and sun.
We went there during a weekend of July, a good period to have a nice blue sky because the bad weather is one of its main characteristics. The summer is not too hot, for instance, in the shadow, it was quiet cool and hot in the sun. The winter is very cold, the reason why people like to go there for skiing because of the good snow.
At the train counter, there are 2 options: the train ticket only or the train + cable car ticket. If you feel lazy like us, buy the second option because the cable car will bring you up to the refuge. Of course, you can still reach it by using your feet.
If you don't like to be depending on the train, the best is to book a room in the Vall de Nuria hotel. In our case, since our place is not in the valley, we took the before last train which was at 17h30 to avoid the crowd of the last one.
So what you can do once in Vall de Nuria. Well, we did hiking up then hiking down, again up, down, etc. The valley is surrounded of mountains so after taking a map and some advices from the information counter, we picked the ones that may interest us. For kids, there are a lot of activities like riding a horse, gliding a buoy toboggan, minigolf, etc. To lunch, you can bring your own food, go to the restaurant or buy sandwiches. The prices are quiet corrects, a sandwich can cost 4-5 euros and the restaurant menu is about 13 euros.
The next day, we decided to visit different places in our way home. There is a nice place called Sanctuary of Montgrony located into the Sierra Montgrony. Situated at the top of a mountain, the access is not easy, above all the last meters because it is a narrow single line car. The sanctuary offers rooms for people who want to sleep and you will discover a nice panorama view, a chapel and a church dating from the XII century. There is also a restaurant to lunch and a terrace to take a drink.
Next, we visited Ripoll, not really a good place to go for a Sunday in summer. The village was very boring in the afternoon with very few things to do. We went to the downtown to find a place to lunch then we left to Vic. The town is bigger than Ripoll, with little more things to discover including an old roman temple. Before to take back the car for Barcelona, we took a drink in the main big square enjoying the fresh air of the late afternoon, of course, in the shadow !!!