The tour starts from the local activity operator office located directly opposite the ticket office/outdoor cafe of the PALAU DE LA MUSICA, off Via Laietana at 0830h (8:30am). Please make your own arrangements to reach this place. You will be taken in an air-conditioned luxury minicoach, accompanied by a professional English-speaking guide, for a full day sightseeing tour of the Pyrenees Mountains.
The tour heads north quickly, leaving the hustle and bustle of a busy Mediterranean city behind, driving past Montseny. The Montseny is a 30,000 hectare natural park that was designated a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1978 and is still a haven for wild boars, badgers, hares, foxes, red squirrels, eagles, and red partridges among others, living in beech, pine and oak forests.
Just an hour from Barcelona, and half way to the Pyrenees, you will stop for a short break in the ancient settlement of Vic. Here you will have a chance to stroll around the town centre with its Cathedral (a mixture of styles ranging from Romanesque to neo-classical), and its magnificent renaissance and baroque buildings; or to relax while having breakfast in the heart of the town: a beautiful arched square (one of the biggest of the country) where the market and other major events are held.
From Vic, you will continue up to the Pyrenees driving past the Montesquiu Castle, surrounded by dense oak and red pine forests. Montesquiu Castle is a fortified building dating from the 10th century. Originally serving the military until 15th century, it later became a stately home.
The tour continues on from Vic to Ripoll, the founding of which has strong links to the evocatively-named Gifré el Pilós (Wilfred the Hairy), the first Count of Barcelona, who began a dynasty in the late 870s that would last into the 1400s.
From Ripoll, gateway to the Vall de Ribes, the tour proceeds to Queralbs, which, at an altitude of 1,236m above sea level, is the last vehicle-accessible village on the way up to your mountain valley destination.
Here you will be able to see the Church of Sant Sadurní de Fustanyá, built from stones so perfectly-hewn that legend has it that it was built by the fairies and witches said to inhabit the surrounding caves.
From Queralbs, you take the last six kilometers of the impressive rack railway, construction of which began in 1931, up to an altitude of 1964m above sea level, into the stunning mountain valley, formed by the glacial action of the ice from all 7 surrounding peaks pushing downwards. In the valley is a sanctuary, originally built to house pilgrims to the valley, which takes its name from the Virgen de Nuria.
In the valley, you can enjoy the unspoiled scenery, sharing it with unusual birds and animals ranging from Gryphon vultures to chamois, and golden eagles to marmots, and take one of the many different walks, of varying levels of difficulty, or you can try horse riding, open air bowling, archery lessons, crazy golf, or boating on the lake. If that seems too energetic, another option is to enjoy some of the traditional Catalan dishes available in the valley's restaurants.
From Queralbs, the return to Barcelona begins, arriving there at 1930h (7:30pm).