Description of Parc Natural Collserola
Behind Barcelona is the sierra de Collserola mountain range and the 84.65 square Kilometer Collserola parc natural where there lies a wealth of woodland, fields and rivers in a protected park with a wide variety of Mediterranean flora and fauna. Collserola is often referred to as the lungs of Barcelona and serves as a barier to endless urban expansion of the city and peripheral towns.
Collserola is much more than just a geographic buffer between the city of Barcelona and surrounding towns. It is a protected natural park containing Aleppo pines and nut pines, evergreen oak, elm, water willow, and white poplar trees, woodlands, riverside copses, scrubland, brush and Savannah grasslands.
Over 1,000 major plants have been catalogued. This environmental diversity is home to some 300 species of animals such as wild boars, genets, stone martens, badgers, rabbits and squirrels. Bird life includes blue tits, whitethroats, tree creepers, woodpeckers, doves and also birds of prey, such as the goshawk and sparrow hawk.
When visiting Barcelona consider a day hike in collserola as an easily accesable alternative to the beach. The park can be reached from various stops on the metro as well as FGC and Rodalies railway lines and I have a great selection of routes in the park for you to chose from.
The GR-92 coastal trail that runs from the french border all the way down the spanish coast heads inland and traverses the collserola natural park. The vila Joana hiking route is an easy 7 km route that can be done with children. The route finishes in Tibidabo and traverses a section of the GR-92 trail.
For spectacular views of Barcelona I recommend starting in Barcelona at Zona Universitaria and walking up to the Sant Pere de Martir telecoms tower and following the collserola ridgeline to Valvidrera village where the route turns down to Valvidrera Reservoir. This route can also be combined with the Vila Joana route making a 14Km trail.
Sant cugat is a town behind Barcelona that borders Collserola natural park and has a great monastery museum and modernist wine cellar museum. These can be visited by train about 30 minutes outside of Barcelona or done at the start of the hiking route through the middle of the park via the popular Can Borel restaurant and Sant Medir, a 12 century chapel. The route finishes in The Horta area of Barcelona city.
To discover the now abandoned industrial cement factory and mines in Parc collserola. This circular route passes via the Gothic castle of Castellciuro ruins which gives fantastivc views of the Llobregat river valley. The mid point of this route is the Creu d'Olorda hermitage, restaurant and picnic area.
Crossing the park from east to west via La Rierada river valley to Escaletes and El Papiol is a spectacular route where the first half is enveloped in a thick oak forest following the river until it braks out in a small hamlet called Castellvi with a farmhouse restaurant. The route continues following the Rierada passing several waterfalls in the forest and the beutiful Can Planes farmhouse. The next interesting point along this river route is Masia Can Rabella where I recomend eating a meal beacuse it is a beutiful farmhouse that was prevoisuly used for wine making. Continue along the trail to El papiol town with it's Gothic castle.
Carretera de les Aigues is a walking, running and cycling path on the city side of collserola parc below the ridgeline that has purpose-built viewing points for superb views of Barcelona city. This is a popular cycling route and is where you can go to run. The trail has multiple sections and runs the whole length of Barcelona city.
Collserola also contains traces of early settlements, including the Iberian village of Serra del Moro, abundant natural springs, including La Budellera and an abandoned casino hotel complex.
Click on the below images to find relevant information such as the walking route, train maps, information PDFs, weather forecasts and tips about what you get to see as well as a comprehensive photo gallery.