The Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is the only national park in Catalonia. There are five routes on which its 41 square miles can be discovered; highlights include the Els Encantats mountain and the 200-plus lakes.
Located between the regions of Pallars Sobirà and La Alta Ribagorça, the 105 square kilometres of Aigüestortes is the only national park of Catalonia. As its name suggests, one of its characteristics is water, which we can find in all its states and forms: rivers, waterfalls, ponds, glacial valleys, with almost 200 mountain lakes.
Its most famous form is the Lake of Sant Maurici, an area of great beauty that can be found at the foot of the park's most mythical mountain: the Encantats, a fragmented calcareous rock formation which is said to be the silhouette of two hunters cursed by the divine powers when they went to hunt chamois (a type of deer).
However, apart from the waters and legends, the abrupt landscape that extends throughout the park can also be enjoyed, with mountain peaks that reach three thousand metres in height. If we follow the Sant Nicolau river until the Aigüestortes plain, we would be on the route of the European otter, a species in extinction in Catalonia, which can still be found in the protected area.
The park is home to other species of great ecological value, some native to the area. The vegetation changes according to the altitude, from Mediterranean forests to alpine landscapes. The fir tree and mountain pine forests, the alpine pastures and the scree-slopes are home to animals such as the capercaillie, the chamois, the marmot or the bearded vulture.
There are five itineraries for discovering all corners of the park, of different duration and with different levels of difficulty. The first leaves from the Aigüestortes plain, passing the Llac Long and reaching the Peixerani black pine which has been declared a Monumental Tree.
The next, leaves the car park in the Pierró meadow and goes to the Ratera and Amitges ponds, stopping at the Sant Maurici lake.
The third option begins at the Cavallers dam in the direction of the Riumalo waterfall, ending at Negre lake.
If we follow the route that leaves Gento lake, we would go towards the Colomina refuge and then towards the Llac de Mar and the Llac de Saburó.
Finally, the circuit of the lakes of the Circ de Colomers can be followed.
Detailed information on Aigüestortes can be requested at the Casal del Parc Nacional, at its offices in Espot or in Boí
- Estany de la Gola i tres estanys
- Estany de Sant Maurici
- Camí del llong i Portarró