Matagalls is a classic and popular hike amongst local mountaineers. 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 a bonus, it’s situated in an area rich in rural restaurants that serve superb food.
- Distance: 8.47 km
- Height: 1697m
- Time: Around 3 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
You can check our track on Wikiloc here.
How to get to the Matagalls
The Matagalls peak is located 1 h 45 min by car from Barcelona. Girona is closer, only 58 min by car.
The Matagalls hike
El Montseny is the mountain range that gives name to the natural park surrounding it. It’s part of the Catalan pre-coastal hills, and it’s home to a wide range of Mediterranean fauna and vegetation. With a height of 1697m, Matagalls is the third highest mountain of El Montseny and the most emblematic one.
There are different walking routes up to the Matagalls peak. The one we did starts at the parking of the restaurant Collformic and you just need to follow the white and red marks. In the beginning, the track goes through a pretty forest of Mediterranean vegetation, which makes the first part of the track 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 are 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. 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 of 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 they got destroyed every time there was a storm. The neighbours of Viladrau tried to fix it by putting a new one every time the meteorological conditions were terrible. In 1931, the cross was renewed and changed to a metallic one, which 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 spot the snowed mountains of the Pyrenees. 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 for everyone with 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.
Things to take into account
It usually’s very windy at the top of the mountain, so we advise you 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.
Bear in mind that if you go during winter, there could be snow on the trail. We went in March, and only there was snow only in the last part of the track, but nothing to worry about. It also makes the landscape different, so you can just repeat the same excursion in another station and see it in an entirely distinct way. It’s a win-win!
Where to eat after the hike
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 a typical rice dish, go for arròs negre (rice with squid ink). The price of the menu is 30€/person, including an appetiser, a main dish, a dessert and drinks. The portions are generous, so you’ll probably leave with a happy (and full) belly!