Especially for adrenaline junkies, we’ve got the best way to keep your adrenaline levels up. Come with us to Llavorsí, in the northwest of Catalonia, the best place for practising two sports that we’re sure you’ll love: rafting and canyoning. You’ll be buzzing with energy for hours afterwards.
Llavorsí is a village in the province of Lleida. Its 350 inhabitants and the fact that the Pyrenees surrounds it makes it a perfect spot for those who love the quietness of a village and the adventures of the mountain in one place. As an added bonus, the Noguera Pallaresa river crosses this village, making it very popular among people from all over Catalonia to practise water sports such as rafting, canoeing or hydrospeed.
Are you ready for some days of adventure?
Canyoning in Llavorsí
When celebrating Marina’s 25th birthday, her family decided to surprise her with a memorable weekend. When we woke up that morning, the last thing we expected was to jump from 7 metres high into the blue (but cold) water of a canyon. Such an incredible and refreshing way to start the day! For those who haven’t tried yet, canyoning is the action of moving through a canyon using various skills, including walking, jumping, climbing, rappelling, swimming, and scrambling. So much fun just in one sport!
There are different canyons around Llavorsí, some suitable for beginners and others for more advanced adventurers. The Estarón canyon was our choice. It’s a canyon of intermediate difficulty, even though Marina’s family managed to do it well, and it was the first time they put their feet in a canyon. It has some funny slides and exciting jumps, like a water park but natural! However, the best part is at the canyon’s end: a giant waterfall 45 metres high. Sounds challenging, huh? The real challenge was trying to rappel the waterfall while the water was blinding our moves. Nevertheless, the feeling of being surrounded by nature and trying to descent a waterfall by ourselves was indescribable.
When we got there, a friendly guide gathered our group, explained the rules and what we needed to know about the activity. He was very professional, and the activity was well organised. The guide stayed with us the whole time, explaining to us what to do at every moment. And even though it can be a bit scary to jump or rappel sometimes, we felt completely safe at all times.
The price of the activity varies depending on the canyon you choose to go to. The one we did was 46€/person with all the material, and the guide included. You don’t need to worry about any equipment as the company provides you with everything you need -helmet, wetsuit and harness-. The activity typically lasts about 3 to 3.5 hours, which will pass in the blink of an eye, and you’ll wish to start it again. The best season for the practice of canyoning is May and June because it’s when there’s more water flowing through the canyon. We went in June. There was plenty of water, and the temperature was excellent. Well, the water was cold -no need to lie- but as it was hot outside, we didn’t mind taking a refreshing bath. Moreover, it’s when everything’s greener, and the landscape is simply beautiful.
Click here to see all the information from the company with whom we did the activity *.
* The website is in Spanish but they’ll answer you in English if you call or write them.
Rafting in the Pyrenees
If the word rafting sounds Greek to you, it’s time to head to Llavorsí and discover its meaning. This sport consists of descending through whitewater in a pneumatic boat, bypassing the river’s rocks and trying not to fall into the water. But make no mistake about it, you will get wet! Llavorsí has perhaps the most famous rafting offering in Catalonia. This sport gives you the kind of spine-tingling thrills that only close encounters with nature can produce.
Rafting is an intense and fantastic experience as an individual. Still, it’s also a brilliant activity to do in a group and test your co-operation. The boats are for eight people who sit on the edges of them. So grab some friends or family and work together to navigate the raging rapids. Fun is guaranteed! Our family and we were placed in a boat with some more guys and a hilarious guide. The guide was great as he was making jokes and led the group to have a fabulous time.
That was the first time we tried this sport and as you can imagine we were awful at it. There was a noticeable lack of coordination in our group, and the guide couldn’t stop laughing at us. But little by little, we improved our technique, and we ended up being the first boat to arrive at the finishing point! Anyway, there wasn’t any price, just the joy and pride in our faces.
The rafting season runs from mid-March to mid-October, being May and June the best time to enjoy it to the fullest as it’s when the river increases its flow. The total cost of the activity is 41€/person, including the rent of material (helmet, oars, life jacket, wetsuit and neoprene boots) and the transportation back to the start point by bus. As I’ve said, there was a guide in the boat the whole time that gave us the instructions necessary to advance downstream the river in the correct way. If you want to know more information, click here.
Where to sleep in Llavorsí
If you decide to do both activities on two consecutive days, you need to spend one night there. In our case, as it was a celebration, our choice was a great hotel called Hotel Spa Riberies. It’s just 10 minutes walking to the place where the canyoning and rafting starts. The prices for a double room start at 127.60€ with breakfast included: an incredible buffet of selected regional products. The hotel also has a great terrace and a swimming pool -in case you haven’t had enough water in two days!
If you’re looking for a more economical option, Camping Riberies is an excellent option. Be aware that the camping closes in mid-October, and it opens again around Easter. Prices start at 90€ for a mobile home with a capacity for six people. The camping has a supermarket and a bar, and their customers have free access to the village swimming pool.
Where to eat in Llavorsí
The first day we had some sandwiches for lunch that we made at home before leaving. After the canyoning, we needed a great meal to recover the energy levels and get ready for the next day’s rafting. We had dinner at the hotel, and it was delicious! The dishes are fulfilling, and the ingredients of excellent quality. Click here to take a look at the menu.
The next day, after the rafting, on our way back home, we stopped at Sort, a village 25 km far from Llavorsí. We ate in the restaurant El Fogony, a one-star Michelin restaurant that only cooks with local products. They know how to take food to the next level, and it tasted like a party in our mouth! The price for the menu we went for (slow-food menu) was 35€/person with options to choose between five starters, six main dishes and six desserts. We recommend the experience.
When is the best time to go to Llavorsí
As we said before, the best time to go to Llavorsí if you want to practise water sports, such as canyoning and rafting, is May and June. The water is too cold to swim in wintertime, and the weather is also chilly, sometimes below 0 ºC. After July, it’s usually impossible to practise canyoning as the rivers don’t have enough water and you could get injured with the exposed rocks. It’s best to contact the companies that organise the water sports in advance to know about the weather and the best time to do it.
When visiting Llavorsí, consider that it’s a village in the mountains so that the nights can be chilly. Always take a jumper or jacket with you. Also, it can rain at any time of the year so grabbing an umbrella or a rain jacket is never a bad option!
How to reach Llavorsí
There are different ways to go to Llavorsí:
- By car: that’s the fastest and the most comfortable option. From Barcelona, it takes about 3 h. Follow the A-2 until Cervera and then the C-14 until Tremp. Once there, the N-260 will take you straight to Llavorsí. If you go from Lleida, it’s only 1 h and 20 mins. You have to take the L-912 until Tremp, and then it’s the same as we’ve just explained.
- By bus: there’s one direct bus a day from Barcelona to Llavorsí. It takes 5 hours, and it costs around 40€ one way. The company that operates the buses is Alsa. Click here to find more info and book the tickets. If you’re going from Lleida, the bus takes 3 h, and it costs 12€. Click here to take a look at the route and the prices. Another option if you’re going from Barcelona is to take the high-speed train named AVE from Barcelona to Lleida. And then, the bus from Lleida to Llavorsí.