|All year||1h 33min from Barcelona / 55min from Girona|
All proper Catalan mountaineers have climbed at least once the mythical Matagalls. Located in the splendid natural park of El Montseny, this mountain offers wide open views of all the park and surroundings (from the Pyrenees to the sea). Whether you’re a passionate hiker or you just love beautiful landscapes, this excursion is the perfect plan to enjoy a day outdoors. As an added bonus, it’s situated in an area rich in rural restaurants that serve superb food.
There are different walking routes up Matagalls. The one we did starts at the parking of the restaurant Collformic and you just need to follow the white and red marks. At the beginning, the track goes through a pretty forest of Mediterranean vegetation, which makes the first hills more enjoyable. As you climb the mountain, the vegetation disappears and wide open spaces start appearing. Pause to enjoy the views and take a moment to realize how small you’re compared to all the mountains that surround you, it’s a scary but great feeling at the same time.
The summit is visible from halfway up and it’s easy to recognise thanks to the big cross on it. This cross has a huge symbolic meaning, both historical and religious, and it’s dedicated to Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, one of the greatest poets of Catalan literature. He wrote a poem called “La Creu de Catalunya” (The cross of Catalonia) in honour to this place.
There’s evidence that the cross was at the top of this mountain before 1614. According to the story, the first crosses were made of wood, which was a problem because every time there was a storm they got destroyed. The neighbours of Viladrau tried to fix it by putting a new one every time the meteorological conditions were bad. In 1931 the cross was renewed for a metallic one, which still remains nowadays.
Once at the top, you have a 360º view of Catalonia. Just imagine infinite horizons and immense landscapes. On one side you can observe the Mediterranean Sea, but if you turn your head to the other side, you have snowed mountains. The contrast is marvellous. This mountain is one of the best viewpoints of Catalonia due to its location, close to the sea and also to the Pyrenees. You can also spot Montserrat, Barcelona and, if the day is clear enough, you can even see the Balearic Islands.
Overall, it’s the perfect morning to release stress and switch off your thoughts. The whole excursion lasts around 3 hours and it’s suitable to everyone that has energy and motivation. We did this plan to spend a day with the family and it was a great way to stay together, do some sport and breathe some fresh air. You can check our track on Wikiloc here.
[box type=”info”]It’s normally very windy at the top of the mountain, so we advise to bring a windstopper jacket. If you want to eat any snack, the best place to do it is sitting behind the cross as it protects you from the wind. Also, if it’s winter bring warm clothes because if you want to stay on the top for a while, you might get cold.[/box]
[box type=”alert”]Bear in mind that if you go during winter, there could be snow on the trail. We went in March and only the last part of the track was snowed, but nothing to worry about. It also makes the landscape absolutely peculiar, so you can just repeat the same excursion in another station and see it in a completely different way; it’s a win-win![/box]
After all the effort made, it’s time for a well-deserved lunch. Our choice was Mas Estabanell, which is around 15 min by car from the Matagalls. It’s a typical Catalan rural house and the food they serve is just mouthwatering! We recommend the botifarra de poma i foie (a Catalan sausage filled with apple and foie), just exquisite! Also, if you want to try the typical rice dishes, go for arròs negre (rice with squid ink). The price of the menu is 28€/person including an appetiser, a main dish, a dessert and drinks. The portions are really generous so you’ll probably leave with a happy (and full) stomach!