Walking on the paths used by shepherds and inhabitants of the villages along the time, visiting the historical heritage preserved in various parts of the valley or meeting the people who resist not only to live in one of the most remote areas in the Pyrenees, but also to recover its traditions and preserve the old crafts. These are some examples of activities involved in genuine tourism that can be carried out in the territory of Alt Pirineu Natural Park and that let the visitors reveal the essence of such a special place.
This unique high mountain setting represents the largest natural park in Catalonia: a vast natural area modelled by centuries of human action which, at the same time, serves as refuge for some endangered species, such as the brown bear, the capercaillie and the bearded vulture. It is located at the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees and, due to its vast extension, there is a wide variety of landscapes, differences in elevation and various levels of human impact, which provide with lots of areas of great scenic interest.
However, not all the interest of the park is based on its natural heritage. There is something even more valuable, hidden in the millenary villages of the park that resist the depopulation. We are referring to the human factor represented by those few inhabitants living in its remote valleys, who insist on preserving the essence of a not-too-distant past. People who have found their way of living in the park area, working on traditional jobs and showing its work to not lose this valuable legacy. So, there is the opportunity to explore the natural park from a new point of view within everyone’s reach, and without the need of walking long journeys or facing high elevations in order to find its best-preserved secrets.
It only requires getting to any village to visit the artisans and producers of the park and know firsthand their products, their personal stories and their vision about the environment which surrounds them. In Alt Pirineu Natural Park, there is a wide range of farms and workshops to visit such as a textile workshop of an artisan who creates clothes in a privileged place at 1300 meters above sea level, a farm whose owner is a shepherd that also produces cheese with the milk of his goat herd, as well as the high-mountain vineyards and the gastronomic space of an ecological wine producer. The stories told by these people not only will take us walk around their work places and try what they produce, but also will accompany us on a trip back in time to know how life in the park has been along history.
Can you think of a better way to discover a place than meeting with its inhabitants?