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 is a perfect plan to enjoy a day outdoors. As a bonus, it’s situated in an area rich in rural restaurants (known as masia) that serve superb food.
We did this hike in winter (plus eating at a delicious masia) and here we share all the details with you so you can replicate the adventure!
🥾 Distance: 8.47 km one way
🟢 Level: Easy
⬆️ Elevation gain: 563 m
⏱ Duration: From 3 hours to half day. It depends on the number of stops you make and the number of pictures you take!
🧭 Wikiloc track
You can check the track of this hike on our Wikiloc profile here.
How to get to the Matagalls
There are different walking routes up to the Matagalls peak, and the one we did starts at the parking of the restaurant Collformic. Getting to the trailhead by car is the easiest option. The Matagalls is located 1 h 45 min by car from Barcelona and 58 min by car from Girona.
If you want to get there by public transport, the best option is to go to Viladrau. Here you can check how to arrive to this village. However, keep in mind that from Viladrau the hike is longer (see the Wikiloc track here).
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 1.697 m, Matagalls is the third highest mountain of El Montseny and the most emblematic one.
The hike 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 (finally!) changed to a metallic one, which still 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 en excellent viewpoint 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 activity 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 when hiking the Matagalls
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 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 season and see it in an entirely distinct way. It’s a win-win!
Where to eat after hiking the Matagalls
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 peus de porc amb bolets i patates al caliu (pig’s feet with mushrooms and baked potatoes), 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 33 €/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!
So, that’s all you need to know to hike the Matagalls. Now it’s your turn. Lace your shoes, grab the bottle of water, and you’re ready to reach the summit! If you do this hike, let us know your experience in the comments below 🙂