What to see in the Aran Valley
TRAVELLING WITH TASTE1 April 2020
The Aran Valley is one of the most attractive areas of the Pyrenees. We tell you what to see, what to visit and the best things to do in the area, both in summer and in winter. Discover them!
What to do in the Aran Valley
Situated in the Pyrenean region of Catalonia, the Aran Valley is one of the areas that attract tourism throughout all seasons of the year as, depending on your interests, you can enjoy this region of the province of Lerida throughout the whole year. If this region is notable for anything, it is for its picturesque villages. Visit these to discover their architecture and exquisite gastronomy. Spring and summer are the ideal seasons for rural tourism, for visiting the region’s wildlife parks, trekking along the paths and routes to discover the natural environment. There are also the snow and skiing activities during the winter, such as snow shoe trekking, dog sleds or snowmobiles.
Trips to take in the Aran Valley
Route of the Montgarri Sanctuary:
- This is an easy and accessible 12 km round trip which starts at the Pla de Beret, the ski lift area at Baqueira Beret. The route follows the river Noguera Pallaresa along its sunny banks, passing through extensive areas of pasture, high mountain meadows and pine forests of black pine, until it reaches the historic sanctuary of Montgarri. A perfectly-preserved church, built on an ancient 11th century Romanesque hermitage.
Route of the seven lakes in the Colomèrs cirque:
- This is a walking trip along the peripheral area of the Aigüestortes National Park. It is a cirque of glacial origin surrounded by nearby peaks at an altitude of around 3.000 metres, with exceptional panoramic views over more than 48 lakes. The route can be accessed from the town of Salardú.
Route through the enchanted forest of Carlac:
- A lush woodland of thousand-year-old beech trees that appears to come to life because of the contorted shapes they have adopted over the years. This is a circular trip of 2 to 3 hours and is suitable for children because it is an easy route and because of the magic that envelops this picturesque setting. Additionally, this tour starts and ends in the town of Baussen, one of the most attractive and typical towns of the Arran Valley.
Route along the valley towns:
- Headed by Viella, its capital, the Aran Valley region consists of 33 towns. The C-28 road goes along this route and through many of these towns with their buildings of stone, wood and slate. Enjoy all their hidden corners, their narrow streets, churches and Romanesque style buildings.
Gastronomy in the Aran Valley
Gastronomy is another strong point of the area. This is based on the mountains, and has a Mediterranean influence. Aran cuisine leaves no-one indifferent. Soup and stew recipes are based on local produce such as mutton, beef, trout, mushrooms and cabbage, and these make up some of the most traditional dishes. But there are also recipes for duck, marinated game meats (known as civets) or pates which have a French influence.
Among the dishes you must try are the famous “Olhà Aranesa”, a hearty soup based on veal and pork; “caulets”, cabbage stuffed with meat; “l’hereginat”, a dish based on mutton giblets; “sanganhèta”, a recipe based on pig’s blood, pancetta, chopped garlic and parsley; “torrin”, a garlic and onion soup; “truhada”, potatoes stuffed with meat; and traditional desserts such as “crespèths”, which are crepes combined with marmalade, honey or chocolate.