Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world for trail running—get the scoop here!
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 easy access to the mountains combined with the strong running culture of Catalunya has made Barcelona one of the best cities in the world to be a trail runner. The city itself is populated with great runs, but it takes very little effort to get out of the city and up into Collserola for true singletrack running.
The locals take every advantage of this easy trail access! Every day, the trails teem with runners out for everything from a quick after-work jog to an ultra-distance excursion deep into the mountains. It’s also common to be out in the mountains trying to complete a loop and to run across an entire area of the trail system that’s blocked off for one of the many races and events held in the park.
If you’re trying to figure out where to start, look no further than this guidebook. Here, you’ll find everything from a quick run on the Carretera de Les Aigues to the 76km Gran Trail Collserola route, Barcelona’s backyard ultra trail race. In between these two extremes, Barcelona to Sant Cugat and Trintat Nova to Vallvidrera Funicular both stand out as exceptional point-to-point routes. Whichever route you choose, you’re guaranteed a fantastic mountain adventure just minutes from Barcelona’s tireless energy!