Explore the depths of Parc de Collserola with these top hike recommendations.
With a population of 5.5 million people, the Barcelona metropolitan area is the “most populous metropolitan area on the Mediterranean coast, and one of the largest in Europe,” according to Wikipedia. Even though Barcelona is such a populous city, it nevertheless has incredible access to the outdoors!
While many of the other major cities in Europe such as Paris, London, Berlin, and Rome are located on flat land devoid of any topographic changes, Barcelona, on the other hand, is sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea on its southeastern side and a low mountain range on its northwestern side known as Collserola. Most of the Collserola mountain range has been designated as a national park, known as Parc de Collserola (“Collserola” for short). Despite being surrounded by cities on all sides, this massive park covers over 8,295 hectares of protected land.
The urbanity of downtown Barcelona transitions to the dense undergrowth of Collserola shockingly quick! In a matter of minutes, you can leave the tall buildings of the city behind and exchange them for the dense tree cover of Collserola. And thanks to Barcelona’s amazing transportation system, you have several different options for accessing Collserola, too. First, you can hike straight up the mountainside to access the spreading network of singletrack. Second, if you have a car, you can always drive deep into the park. Third, you can take the Vallvidrera funicular up the mountain to el Tibidabo for some free vertical. And fourth, one of the metro lines runs all the way through the park, with a few stops in the center of the park (Baixador de Vallvidrera and La Floresta) and a train station in Sant Cugat del Valles on the far side.
Most of the hikes in this guidebook utilize the public transportation system. The routes often run from one access point to another—for instance, hiking from the top of the Vallvidrera funicular to the train station in Sant Cugat del Valles is very popular. Once you get familiar with the various access points Collserola, you can soon start constructing your own routes through the complex and ever-entertaining trail network hidden beneath Collserola’s dense tree cover. Who knows what you'll find hidden in the depths of Collserola?!