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Chasing snow: A 2-day itinerary in the Valls d’Àneu

In this itinerary, we’ll chase the last snow of the season up in the mountains of the Valls d’Àneu.

Our base will be the charming rural village Esterri d’Àneu, and from there, we’ll explore the surrounding beautiful nature.

The itinerary includes a snowshoeing/mountaineering skiing adventure, delicious local food, and a hike to a magical frozen waterfall.

So, grab warm clothes and a pair of hiking shoes, and let’s go!

Suggested itinerary in the Valls d’Àneu

Morning and afternoon day 1 🎿

Start the day by strapping a pair of snowshoes or sliding into your mountaineering skis to explore the scenic Pic de Quartiules.

The itinerary starts at the Món Natura Pirineus parking lot, where you can park the car for free.

The first part of the itinerary unwinds through vast meadows and then through a beautiful forest, always following the Tinter spring. If you go in early spring, you’ll see that this part can easily be done without snowshoes or skis, as most snow has melted at this altitude.

Halfway through the forest, as the terrain gains elevation, the snow will finally appear.

Two ski mountaineers on their way up to Pic de Quartiules

Keep ascending until reaching a meadow that is covered in snow. Once there, you’ll find various signs. Follow the one that indicates “Refugi del Pla de la Font”, and then you’ll be on the right track!

Some more km through a steep forest, and you’ll be rewarded with lunch at the mountain hut Pla de la Font. It’s a small and cosy guarded hut with an outdoor table. They serve sandwiches, but also hot dishes that vary depending on the day’s menu.

I wouldn’t recommend eating a lot cause there’s still a climb to reach the peak!

Refugi del Pla de la Font

The next part is an easy 15-min climb to a lookout with breathtaking views: the Fogueruix lookout. From there, you’ll have great views of the Encantats, the most famous mountain in the Aigüestortes National Park (the only national park in Catalonia). You’ll also be able to spot the mountain village and ski resort of Espot, and endless mountain peaks.

Once you have soaked up the views, it’s time to get going. But don’t worry! Those views will accompany you through the forest all the way to the Quartiules peak.

You’ve made it!

Take a break, soak up some sun, eat a snack, and enjoy panoramic views of the Pyrenees mountains in all directions. If the views before were lovely, from here they are even better!

Two ski mountaineer on top of Pic de Quartiules

Time to go down! If you’re snowshoeing, you can follow the path that will take you back to the snowed meadow where the signs were.

If you’ve done the route with mountaineering skis, it’s time to enjoy the best part! There’s no specific path to follow for the downhill; just make your way down through the beautiful forest.

In either case, I suggest checking our Wikiloc route to ensure you’re going in the right direction.

Two ski mountaineers skiing at Alt Pirineu Natural Park

After all the effort, it’s time to return the gear (we rent it at SkiR by Esierriand), check in at the accommodation, and enjoy a much-deserved warm shower!

We stayed at Apartaments Valls d’Aneu, an apartment for up to 5 people in the village’s centre.

If this specific apartment is booked, there are plenty of excellent options in the village, especially apartments, but also campsites and hotels.

Evening day 1 🍔

I bet you’ll be pretty hungry by now! Get into warm clothes again, and head to the next stop: Sherry.

This is a casual and informal restaurant, popularly frequented by locals (you’ll see that it’s usually quite full and they don’t take bookings, so it’s best to go when they open at 19:30h or take into account that you might need to wait some minutes before sitting).

What you’ll find there are unusual burgers made with ecological and local meat. I’m talking a deer burger with pineapple, rabbit burger with green asparagus, or foal burger with Roquefort cheese, amongst other unexpected (yet delicious!) combinations. If you’re a vegetarian, they also have a veggie burger on the menu. We loved the Fresca and the Porca, accompanied by a side dish of rustic chips.

Regarding drinks, they have some local beers from the Pyrenees that are really good.

Oh, and leave some room for the homemade desserts. The cheese flan was to die for!

Burgers and beers at Sherry Burger (Esterri d'Àneu)

On the way back to the accommodation, we can’t recommend enough to stroll around Esterri’s historic centre. If you want nice views of the village, cross the river, and head to this parking lot.

The illuminated village with the snowed mountains behind is magical. And admiring it with the river’s sound in the background makes the experience a thousand times better!

Esterri d'Àneu village at night

Morning day 2 🥾

After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to enjoy breakfast and get some energy for the hike ahead.

No need for snowshoes or skis for this itinerary. In this case, you can lace your hiking boots and get going!

Today’s hike starts at the named Refugi del Gerdar. It’s a beautiful mountain hut in the middle of the Gerdar forest, the largest fir forest in the Iberian Peninsula.

Refugi del Gerdar

Next to the hut, on its left side, you’ll see a sign that says “Cascada”. That’s the trailhead. From here, the path is clear and well-signposted, so there’s no way to get lost.

Enter the forest and get ready to be surprised by the magic of this place. The light, the tall green trees… It’s so beautiful!

A person hiking in Bosc del Gerdar

After more or less an hour of getting in and out of the forest, you’ll arrive at the highlight of this hike: the Gerber waterfall.

It’s an impressive 125-m waterfall, frozen in winter, that you can admire from a lookout at the base of the waterfall.

Gerber waterfall frozen

After the waterfall, the hike continues ascending steadily, crossing through the Port de la Bonaigua road, with beautiful views of the mountain peaks.

To get a better sense of the whole itinerary, you can check the route on our Wikiloc page.

Lunch day 2 🍲

Hungry already? No worries, the hike ends exactly where you can enjoy a wonderful lunch!

Recharge your batteries with a hearty meal at Les Ares, a traditional restaurant serving local dishes. In the first place, we recommend trying the Olla Pallaresa, a traditional soup only made in that area. Then, you can enjoy grilled meats and traditional stews.

After your belly is full and happy and you rest for a bit, it’s time to get back following the same track. Don’t worry; now it’s all descent!

Time to continue your trip to other parts of Catalonia, go back to Barcelona or keep enjoying the snow in the mountains for some more days. Whatever your decision, we hope you have a great time!

If you follow this itinerary, we’d love you to leave a comment and let us know how your experience was.

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