The Ribes valley lies in the north-west of the Ripollès area and takes in the villages of Campelles, Planoles, Pardines, Queralbs, Toses and Ribes de Freser, the economic capital of the valley. The natural richness of the area is its main attraction. Water is to be found everywhere, in the form of springs, waterfalls and streams.
Typical high mountain vegetation lines the footpaths and trails, and native wildlife coexists with the farm animals that populate the woods, pastures and meadows. Surprising views are waiting to be discovered everywhere, including the country architecture which fits perfectly into the landscape and bears witness to the activities of farmers, ranging from animal enclosures and stone salt licks to shepherds' huts.
However, the valley's most important legacy from the past is its Romanesque architecture, from major monumental sites to small churches, rubbing shoulders with mediaeval castles and Art Nouveaubuildings to make up a rich heritage in the area.
Read more on the Vall de Ribes website
A mountain village at the foot of the Puigmal (2,913m). It boasts a remarkable example of Catalan Romanesque architecture in the church of Sant Jaume. A historic monument of enormous importance, particularly because of its unusual narthex, or southern entrance, dating from the 12th century and decorated with five carved capitals held up by polished blue marble columns.
The slate-roofed stone houses of Queralbs cluster together along narrow cobbled streets, preserving the rural appearance and mountain character that so sets it apart from other villages in the area. With a population of about 200 people, it belongs to the comarca (county) of El Ripollès and is one of the municipalities that make up the Ribes valley and the highly popular Núria valley. The latter actually forms part of the municipality of Queralbs.
Queralbs – Núria on foot
The name of the Ruta del Ferro i del Carbó (the Iron and Coal Trail) is a reference to the important tradition of iron forging in the Baix Ripollès area and the extraction of coal from the mines of Ogassa. The 12 kilometres of the route, following an old railway line, are now the ideal way to enjoy a day out walking or cycling, a reminder of an industrial past to which we are all the heirs. The Sant Joan de les Abadesses -Toralles section worked until the mines were closed in 1967. The stretch from Sant Joan de les Abadesses to Ripoll, on the other hand, remained open until its centenary year, 1980.
The trail links Ripoll, 682 metres above sea level, to Sant Joan de les Abadesses (alt. 775m). The whole route is paved and bordered by vegetation. The total height difference is 160 metres and there is a gentle gradient of 1% (1 in 100). This section of the route begins at kilometre 9, just in front of the former Sant Joan de les Abadesses station building.
Read more on the Green Ways website