Canyonlands of the Sierra de Guara

A Self-Guided Trip – 7 Days & 6 Nights

This tour explores the spectacular Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Reserve, a very special range of small mountains and rugged canyons, just south of the central massif of the Pyrenees. This beautiful region offers superb hiking terrain in an area of authentic Spain, relatively unscathed by modern development.

In these sun-drenched landscapes, ideal for hiking in Spring or Autumn, you’ll visit quaint local villages with typical dwellings built of sandstone, wood and adobe and where locals still live a rural lifestyle rooted in an age long past, surrounded by terraced hillsides of almond, olive and cherry trees, interspersed with wheat fields and vineyards. Shallow caves in the canyon walls feature prehistoric rock art.

Guara’s natural environment will surprise and delight you at every turn of the trail. Canyons with fantastic limestone and conglomerate rock formations, aqua blue-green water, river pools and waterfalls jostle for the walker’s attention with multicoloured lizards darting among the rocks and everpresent birds of prey soaring overhead. A profusion of aromatic herbs such as lavender, oregano, thyme and rosemary line the paths.

Many experts consider this karstic wonderland as the world’s prime destination for canyoneering – one of the most exciting adventure sports to evolve in recent years—but it is also a world-class destination for birdwatchers, climbers and mountain bikers. The region is well-known for its production of quality wine, now considered among Spain’s finest, under the Somontano Denomination of Origin, as well as excellent sheep and goat’s cheeses and olive oil.

Easily accessible from Barcelona or Madrid, you can easily travel from here to other locations of interest in northeast Spain such as Pamplona, Bilbao or San Sebastian.

2 Different transfer options to meet your needs.
Self-drive version: for those who prefer to hire or rent a car and drive to the area on their own. This allows a a little more flexibilty in terms of route choice. Some hikes may require a short local taxi to complete the route (we can arrange these).
Local transfers included version: we arrange all local transport. First make your own way to either Lèrida or Zaragoza (excellent connections by frequent high-speed train from Madrid or Barcelona). We’ll have you picked up and taken to your first overnight hotel, take care of all local transfers needed to complete the hikes and then arrange for your transfer back to Lérida or Zaragoza (or other destination) at the end of the trip.

  • Overnight bases in traditional villages, including Alquézar, a National Historic Monument, rated one of Spain’s most beautiful medieval villages, in a truly spectacular setting, perched on the edge of a canyon.
  • Exploring the wonderful canyons of the Sierra de Guara Natural Park — considered as the birthplace of the modern adventure sport of canyoneering or canyoning, with over 80 canyons in a small area.
  • Fantastic rock formations, aqua blue-green water, river pools and waterfalls.
  • Centuries-old paths amidst traditional rural landscapes and the wild heart of the mountains.
  • Tasty cuisine based on fresh local produce.
  • Sure sightings of vultures and other birds of prey.
  • Hiking options include visits to fascinating sites with prehistoric art catalogued as UNESCO World Heritage.
  • Most hikes offer opportunities for swimming in the numerous natural pools along the way
  • Few tourists and uncrowded trails – on many hikes you may be completely alone!

Day
1

Transfer to Rodellar – Explore

Individual arrival in Rodellar, whose myriad canyons with fabulous limestone formations are a magnet for the world’s top rock climbers and canyoneers. Check into your cozy family-run hotel and set out to explore the twisting streets of the village and the area immediately surrounding it.

Overnight: 3* family-run hotel in Rodellar

Day
2

Canyons and abandoned villages route

A circular hike through canyons to visit the abandoned village of Otin offers several truly spectacular hiking through scenery that many consider the best in the entire Natural Park.
Overnight: Rodellar 

Day
3

Traverse from Rodellar to Alquézar

Today’s route follows an ancient trail along the course of the Balcez-Isuala river to Alquézar, widely considered one of Spain’s most beautiful medieval villages, with its spectacular setting above the Rio Vero Canyon.

Overnight: 3* family-run hotel in Alquézar

Days
4 & 5

Alquézar, Cave Art and the Vero Canyon

Choose from various options, in the order you like, depending on your interests and local conditions. These include:

  • A semi-circular hike to visit the fantastic cave painting at the Abrigo de Chimiachas, a shallow cave perched high above the Rio Vero canyon. This is the area’s finest example of the Levantine style, from 4,000 to 8,000 BC. This hike offers great views throughout.
  • Circular route to visit the quaint village of Asque, with an optional extension to visit another pretty village, Colungo, site of the Rock Art Visitor’s Information Center to learn more about the area’s fascinating prehistoric-artistic patrimony. The route descends into the spectacular Rio Vero canyon and crosses several beautiful medieval Romanesque bridges.
  • A short circular route in the Rio Vero Canyon directly below the village, on the “pasarelas”, a metallic walkway along the canyon walls above an otherwise inaccesible section of the river.

Overnight: 3* family-run hotel in Alquézar 

Day
6

Traverse to Bierge

Today we walk a short and gentle route among terraced hillsides of wheat, olives, cherries and vineyards and across medieval bridges traverse to our last overnight base in the quaint stone village of Bierge, access point to several of the most famous canyons in the sierra.

Overnight: 3* family-run hotel in Bierge

Day
7

Best of Bierge

Our last day is spent on a wonderful circular route following sections of the Alcanadre river, through dense pine forest and with spectacular views of fanastic conglomerate rock formations.
Overnight: 3* family-run hotel in Bierge

Day
8

Departure and end of tour

Tour ends with breakfast. From Bierge you travel onwards via your choice of transport (see below). Most people go to Lerida or Zaragoza, and from there a fast train (1 h 20 min) to either Barcelona or Madrid.

Includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 7  breakfasts, 6 generous picnic lunch bags, 2 dinners with local wine & bottled water; other nights explore on your own.
  • Detailed daily route notes, 1 high-quality topographic map and colour photocopied supplementary topographic maps with daily walking routes marked. Hotel contact information, some local city and town maps, public transport schedules and other information necessary to complete your personal itinerary. One set per room.
  • Telephone numbers for local English-speaking contact for help in event of emergencies, etc
  • All luggage transfers to complete itinerary between start and end points (Days 2 – 7).
  • Airport transfers or travel to and from tour start and end points are NOT included. (see Dates & Details).

Summer Itinerary
Price per person in twin/double rooms: 1025€

Single room supplement: 150€

Discounts available for groups of 3 or more.

  • Duration: 8 Days, 7 Nights
  • Possible pickup & drop off points at trip start & end (“transfers included” version): Zaragoza (90 minutes by highspeed train from Madrid + 135 km / 1 hr 45 min to Rodellar & 115 km / 1 hr 20 min from Bierge OR Lérida (90 minutes by highspeed train from Barcelona + 115 km / 90 min from Rodellar & 95 km / 65 min from Bierge.
    ALTERNATIVELY, we can arrange a taxi to pick you up in Barcelona (3 hr 30 min). Consult us for prices and more details.
  • Walk Difficulty and Terrain: B+ to D- depending on options chosen
  • Daily distances: 8 – 17 km /  5 – 10.5 miles
  • Accommodations: Family-run 3* or equivalent hotels. Our criteria always focus on quality of “character” (historical and/or traditional-style buildings where possible), location and service with a preference to local family-run enterprises. Good food is also a must!
  • Spring Itinerary Dates: March 1 – May 30.
  • Autumn Itinerary Dates: Sept 1 – Nov 30.

CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery of pictures from our trips in the Sierra de Guara!