Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park

Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
 

Overview
The National Park of Aigüestortes is the only National Park in Catalonia. It is a mountainous area in the Spannish Pyrenees and contains some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pyrenees. Aigüestortes National Park and Lake Sant Maurici lie between the rivers Noguera Pallaresa and Noguera Ribagorzana in the Catalonia Pyrenees. It has a surface area of 10,500ha and belongs to the nature regions called the valleys of Espot and Boi. The park is dominated by water and mountains with rivers, lakes and waterfalls all shaping the rocks which in turn are visually softened by lush forests of fir, silver birch and beech.

Walking
The area is a walker’s paradise. There are visitor centres within the park which can provide free walking guides, although it is best to take more a detailed map and compass if you want to do serious trekking.

During 4 months of the year (end of spring through to summer), there are 10 guarded refuges in the park and its peripheral area. More details about these should be sourced from the visitor centres.

Sightseeing
The valley of the Valle de Boi, located just outside the park is definitely worth a visit. This was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 for the Catalan Romanesque churches which are found in each of the valley’s small villages.

Geology
The National Park of Aigüestortes is a stunning example of the work of the glacial ice sheets on the granite and slate which make up the majority of the rocky substrata, with its numerous ‘U’-shaped valleys, or glacial cirques, sculpted out of the landscape over millions of years.

Animals/Birds
The National Park of Aigüestortes is home to a huge diversity of animals including the Pyrenean chamois, roe deer, marmot and pine marten. Birds such as common crossbill, black woodpecker, griffon vulture, bearded vulture and golden eagle all reside here.

Plants
It has a great variety of alpine vegetation, including mountain forests of pine, fir, hooked pine, birch and beech.

 

 
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