Aigüestortes I Estany of Saint Maurici National Park

Aigüestortes I Estany of Saint Maurici National Park

Aigüestortes I Estany of Saint Maurici National Park
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  • Gregory M
    Boston, Massachusetts34 contributions
    Visit the Pyrenees!
    Aigüestortes is just an unbelievably beautiful park. The peaks are so dramatic and the lakes have every shade of blue imaginable. If I go again I would definitely book a night or two up in the Refugios to knit some longer hikes together. There are great day hikes too. The park is so accessible!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 21, 2023
  • rutih
    Tel Aviv, Israel207 contributions
    Fantastic
    Spectacular park. We visited the lake and the fall. Thereis a taxi service from town available . You can not enter the park with a car. The views are fantastic. It is worth to spend at keast half a day
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 1, 2023
  • Hepatacyte
    Northallerton, United Kingdom771 contributions
    Stunning park
    A stunning place to visit. We spent 3 days walking around various parts of the park, staying in a hotel in Espot. Unfortunately the cable car to the Vall Fosca was out of service so we couldn't go there but there are plenty of other places to walk. You cannot take a car into the park and driving around the park to the other access points can take a little time but well worth it. The walk from Espot to Lake Maurici and beyond is well worth doing.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 20, 2023
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miss_muriel
Ra'anana, Israel291 contributions
We (parents & 2 daughters aged 20 & 22) stayed in LaPeguera apartments (3-6 Oct. 2010) in Barruera village in Vall de Boi which is about 10 minutes drive from the park.
We don't define ourselves as great walkers, but we have done plenty of hikes over the years and always found that they took approximately the amount of time estimated, however, both trails that we did in Aiguestortes, took us significantly longer than the estimates given both verbally and in the booklets provided at the Parc House, therefore, if you are a 'mediocre' walker, I recommend adding about 50% of the time estimated. I also suggest buying a map (10 Euro) which gives much more detail than the one handed out for free. (We had the free one for our first trail and found it insufficient). We used hiking poles for the first time which we found very helpful.
The first day it rained all morning so we did a shortish hike called "The Otter Trail: towards Llebreta & Aiguestortes" in the afternoon when it cleared up. Time estimated: 2 hours one way. The trail was beautiful, running more or less parallel to the Sant Nicolau River. The trees were starting to change colour which was lovely, the path wasn't difficult and we really enjoyed it, however, when we came to a fork we didn't know which way to go as there was no sign. We continued walking a while but didn't reach the Llebreta lake so after 2 hours we just turned around and went back. We got some gentle rain with the sunshine and enjoyed a lovely rainbow over the mountains and river.
The following day we took an official taxi from the Parc House in Boi village which took us to the Aiguestortes Plateau. We arranged with the driver that she would come to pick us up from the same spot at 18:00.
We started on the Dellui Valley trail which is a circular route, estimated as 4-5 hours there and back. The trail was absolutely beautiful, quite a steep climb up the mountain (approx 520 meters, more or less straight up) with breathtaking views, lots of trees, flowers, a stream tumbling down the mountainside, some placid looking cows, glorious sunshine and blue skies. The path is well signposted with wooden posts painted yellow at the top and from time to time little piles of small rocks too. Altho' we quickly realized these were the trail signposts, I believe it would be a good idea to be informed that we should follow these posts, either at the beginning of the trail, in the park booklet, or at the park house, also, distances aren't mentioned on them, and the various lakes on route were not signposted. I think that maybe this is due to the desire not to interfere with nature (maybe I'm wrong), but I still believe that some small signs with information would be helpful to hikers and would also not disturb the tranquility or environment. After passing a few small ponds, we eventually reached the lake - Estany de Dellui – wow!! Such calm & clear water, so many shades of blue, the reflection, the sunlight glittering ….. it was so lovely and peaceful, we would have loved to stay a while longer, however, looking at the map we realized that we just didn't have the time, so regretfully, after a very short break, we continued. The remainder of the walk was mostly down hill with a moderate gradient and partially level, the vistas spread below us were fabulous. Part of the walk described as "a small scree with loose stones" was actually quite large and somewhat formidable, however, we made it across! We arrived back down in the valley exhausted but it was well worth the effort. My husband half ran the last couple of kilometers in order to reach the taxi in time and ask it to wait for the rest of us, but…. IT DIDN'T TURN UP. Two Spanish couples stopped to speak to us and with the help of sign language and a couple of words in French, Spanish & English, we understood that we shouldn't wait for the taxi any longer, rather we should come with them as the sun was going down and we had a two hour walk ahead of us!! We decided to join them even tho' we didn't think we could take another step and we made it to the park entrance just as it grew dark, the last few hundred meters using torches. I don't believe I've ever walked so fast on mountain trails!! On the way we passed the waterfall and lake that we should have reached on our walk the day before and discovered that yes, it can actually be done in 2 hours, however, not if you want to enjoy the view and relax from time to time.
We would have loved to do another trail the following day, however, our feet were blistered and our muscles ached, so that will have to wait for another visit.
Written October 23, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bwtgreaves
Ottawa, Canada18 contributions
Sep 2016 • Couples
Absolutely incredible park! My wife and I stayed in Espot and hiked the Estany d'Amitges/Refuge d'Amitges to Estany de Sant Maurici trail in late-September. It was a beautiful hike from top to bottom, and was really peaceful at the time of year we went. We found it hard to figure out the best way to do this hike by reading online, so want to put together a good review here to help others.

The most popular hike that we saw on the Eastern side of the park was the Estany Sant Maurici-Estany d'Amitges hike. Beautiful lakes, a waterfall in between, and a good elevation change overall. We are not seasoned hikers, but are both in our late 20s, and in decent physical condition.

No personal vehicles are allowed in the national park, only the local "taxis", which are all either Jeeps or Land Rovers. You can start off the hike in a few different ways;

1. Park at the outskirts of the park, in a lot called Prat de Pierro, and walk up to Estany de Sant Maurici (through a trail in the forest), about 1-1.25hrs. From there, you can hike all the way up to Estany d'Amitges, about 2.5-3 hours, and then hike back down, and back to your car (total trip approximately 7-7.5 hours).

2. From Espot, the you can hire a taxi next to the information centre, on the main road. A taxi to Estany de Sant Maurici is 10 Euros per person, round trip. We were able to get our taxi ticket from our hotel (Hotel Saurat). From Estany de Sant Maurici, you can either do a light walk around the lake, or a steeper hike up to Estany d'Amitges, and then back down.

3. Again from Espot, you can hire a taxi to take you all the way up to Estany d'Amitges, which costs about 20 Euros. From here, you can hike down to Estany de Sant Maurici in about 2-2.5 hours.

We started into the day a bit late, so we decided to take a taxi into the park, rather than park in the lot and hike in. A note of caution, the taxis will sometimes wait until they have enough people to fill their vehicle (6 people) before leaving for the park. We ended up taking a taxi to the top, to Estany d'Amitges, and hiking down. We're glad we did, because the last taxi out of the park was at 6pm, and we would have been tight on time if we had tried to hike up and then back down.

Routes are well signposted (typically metre-high posts painted yellow), and clear.

I cannot recommend this hike enough!

P.S. Our driver was telling us that they also offer a "tour" where they drive you in, let you walk around for 20 minutes, get back in the taxi, and they take you to a different spot on the trail.
Written September 28, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ihadthetimeofmylife
Ingelmunster, Belgium510 contributions
Jun 2012 • Couples
We've been to many national parks, both in Europe as in the United States. Aiguestortes is definitely one of my favorites. It's just so stunning! Take my favorite hike: from the Prat de Pierro parking area (where we spotted deer), to the Santa Maurice lake, to the Ratera waterfall, to the Ratera lake, to the Santa Maurice lake overview point (Mirador del Estany) and back to the Prat de Pierro parking. If you take it easy and are in good health, this could be a relaxed day hike. Bring hiking shoes! You're sure to encounter horses and cows, likely to see a salamander, and if you're lucky you'll spot a vulture (we saw one).
Written October 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ninejamb
London, UK6 contributions
Sep 2016 • Couples
Will post info about visiting the park without a car (travelling with InterRail pass):

GETTING TO ESPOT (on public transport): we took the train from Lleida to Pobla de Segur (FGC train - Interrail pass only gives you 50% discount on tickets, so €3.50 each way) - amazing views. (Think there is an ALSA bus that does the same journey.) Then you have to get a bus from Pobla de Segur to the Espot turn-off (will come back to this later). This is an ALSA bus so look on their website for times (origin Pobla de Segur; destination Esterri d'Aneu). When our train arrived (12:28) the bus (departing 12:33) was waiting in the carpark so the small connection time wasn't a problem. Told the driver we were heading to Espot. Confusing thing is the bus doesn't go through Espot itself, instead it will drop you off on the main road (between Escaló and La Guingueta d'Aneu), where there is the turn-off leading to Espot. You can refer to this as the 'cruce de Espot' (Espot crossroads). Bus takes just less than an hour to get here and costs about €5. You are left at the turn-off, where there is a petrol station. In the petrol station is a phone and the number of the 4x4 taxi service which operates out of Espot. They will come and get you and drive you up to the village/straight to your campsite, for €10 (a short drive - 7km). OR you can easily hitchhike up - drivers heading up to Espot seem to willingly offer backpackers a lift - just wait beside the petrol station looking hopeful (same applies to the journey back down when you leave). Wouldn't suggest walking up to Espot - the road (there was no apparent path) is steep and winding so not safe to walk up.

Espot is a pretty little village. Camping La Torre was perfect - friendly staff, good facilities and great views from your tent.

To get into the National Park (to Estany Sant Maurici to be specific) itself you can walk (1hr30 - 2h I think) from Espot, or you can get a 4x4 'taxi' there/there and back (return option is about €11). We did latter because not equipped for long walks and the weather (VERY COLD in mid-September - bring warm and waterproof clothes). The journey up to Estany Sant Maurici (lake) is quick and once there you can do some walking (we went up the Ratera waterfall and lake and back). Taxis arrive to give lifts back into Espot every hour on the hour until 6pm. The park is great, would definitely recommend.

GETTING BACK: taxi down to the petrol station/crossroads is an option, but not if you're leaving before 9am. We v easily hitchhiked from the road leading out of Espot - would recommend this instead of paying for a taxi. Then you have to wait for bus back to Pobla de Segur - look at the ALSA times of buses leaving La Guingueta towards Pobla de Segur to get an idea of when it will pass the crossroads. The driver (our guy was v friendly and helpful) will be on the lookout for people waiting. Coordinating bus and train times is a bit tricky but possible. Would recommend Lleida as a stop-off point to stay night before/after visiting the park before heading off elsewhere.
Written September 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

camelSP
Los Angeles area93 contributions
Sep 2014 • Couples
I am basing this review on several other helpful ones. We read those but still weren't sure until we actually finished our hike about some of the details. Our goal was to see great scenery and hike, but not to spend more than a half day. We accomplished this as follows:

My husband and I arrived about 11am at the parking lot in Espot where you pay for the 4D transport at the kiosk. We bought a ticket for the 3rd lake (Amiges). The Land Rover doesn't leave until there are 6 passengers who want this route, but 4 people were already waiting so we left by 11:15. It took the 4D land-rover 50 minutes up to the 3rd lake and then we proceeded walking down.

The 4D land-rover then picks up at the 1st lake before heading back to Espot. The pickup is once an hour, on the hour. The cost is 18 Euros per person, round trip. We made it back to the first lake shortly before 2 pm, so we were back in Espot by 2:15 because the return Land Rover ride only takes 15 minutes. However, if we'd arrived even at 2:05, we'd have missed the ride and not returned until 3:15. On the other had, while I am fit, I am not a fast walker and I am 60ish, so younger hikers can probably go much faster, especially with little photo-taking.

We were happy that our hotel (Els Puis) had given us a good map. Can't seem to get that at Espot. I see that one reviewer posted some online maps, which are probably as good.

I agree with the suggestion to wear a pair of proper shoes, I was also very glad to have my walking stick. the ground is often rocky at times and very steep.

At least one reviewer implied the waterfall was out-of-the-way, but we don't know how you could miss it.

The scenery is varied and interesting, but I didn't enjoy this park nearly as much as Ordesa. Maybe it's because the sun never came out and also because it was too difficult to enjoy the scenery and keep my footing at the same time.
Written October 4, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alon T
Kefar Weradim, Israel107 contributions
Oct 2016 • Family
Visited with 2 teenage boys (17 & 14), took the only taxi
service that operates to the park (a fun thing for itself, they are
4 x 4 jeeps that serve as the taxi company).
Did the longest ride to the peek (50 minute ride in the jeep)
and then an easy 3 to 4 hours walk down to the main lake for
a pickup by the taxi down to town.
Trails are well marked any easy to travel with even small kids,
sights are just breathtaking of the mountains, falls and lakes.
They say that you can do the trail in 2 hours, my
recommendation is - take your time, we did it in 3.5 with photo
stops, a small picnic with hot tee and cookies just pure fun !
Written October 31, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lioness787
Santa Barbara, CA717 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
From the Sierra Nevadas in CA to the Olympics and Cascades in WA state, USA...this spot in the Pyrenees is one of my favorite hiking spots. Sept we had good weather (but next day bad). few people....Take the taxi from Boi (only one group authorized with 4 wheel drive buses to take you in to ranger station). Go out behind to viewing area...a meditative big rock awaits you. Flat and easy for seniors and kids or take challenging hike.. Bring a picnic and go for the day. Be prepared as you would for any mountain hike. Incredible scenery and such fresh air!

: Spring or Early Fall. For us, late Sept you get Fall Colors. Oct mushrooms but more weather. We had rain and thunder one day and sunny warm tshirt next day. (late sept)

o From Boi (Vall de Boi), take the taxi by the old church (10 euros RT per person in ’17), and in 10 minutes you are in the park. They are the only ones allowed to drive into the park. Better than parking at base as is long walk to get to the best area. Use the taxi and enjoy the views. Then when you get off, meet the ranger, and go behind the ranger station with toilets on left, go right to lookout point, Rock behind you as great meditation spot! Drink it in! Breathtaking, powerful, no one else there at end of day.
o Go in early and take late taxi back. Park seems to quiet down in afternoon

i hope to add photos
Written October 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tara G
Grand Rapids, MI21 contributions
May 2017 • Couples
A somewhat little known treasure. Do a google image search of this place and then try not to visit!

The drive was beautiful. The towns are idyllic. We stayed in Espot in Hotel Saurat and that was perfect.

You can either drive and park in the parking lot in the national
park, then hike up to the taxi drop off point and start the real trails from there; OR you can pay a taxi to drop you off and pick you up from that point.

We debated this as we like our freedom and wanted to be able to determine when we left however decided to taxi when we realized the weather may limit our time hiking.

Having done this, I would say NO MATTER WHAT TAKE THE TAXI. Why? Because the walk from the parking lot to the drop off point is boring and you do not need to unnecessarily tire yourself out before you get to all of the actually beautiful and somewhat taxing trails!

We spent close to 5 hours hiking around the lake, to the waterfalls, and the mirador (beautiful viewpoint of the lake). Also please plan on more time than you think you will need -- this is because you always take longer than estimated, whether you are slow, stop too long for pictures, or run into unanticipated terrain ( for us there was snow on the side of the mountain that we had to walk through for quite some time while trying not to slip down the face of the mountain!!). Also the taxi will pick you up at a defined time and that time only. So be there or miss your ride!

One more note-- if you come back to the beginning around the lake, at some point there will be a fork in the path. Only one side will be marked-pointing right for Espot and the parking lot. The left side is unmarked. I believe the left side is actually back to the taxi drop off point. We did not take that as we were unsure and wound up meeting our taxi on the road between the taxi drop off and the parking lot.

Hope that helps.

We loved this park and are so happy we saw it. Definitely recommend!!!
Written May 25, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nikkip378
Ascot, UK26 contributions
Jul 2014 • Couples
I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the National Park for walking - it's so beautiful - we ran out of adjectives to describe just how picturesque.

We stayed in Espot to visit the National Park and this seemed like a good base. We took a 4x4 taxi to the Saint Maurici lake for about €10 each (which I would definitely recommend, rather than walking from the main car park, as you get to walk in the more beautiful areas of the park rather than following the road to the lake). We then walked to the Amitges lake and refugio, via the cascade, before heading to the Saint Maurici viewpoint, then looped back to the starting point at Saint Maurici lake via the smaller (and much quieter) trail on the other side of the lake (take the small path downhill from near the mirador/viewpoint). We took a packed lunch and had plenty of stops for photographs and admiring the views and this route took us about 5.5 to 6 hours.

The routes are well sign posted and although the park maps are not very detailed it was pretty easy to find your way. There are guidelines on how long it will take you to walk to the different points and we found these to be pretty accurate.

Espot and the national park are quite a long drive from anywhere else in Catalonia that you might be visiting but I promise it's worth it...
Written July 14, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joan
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK71 contributions
May 2013 • Couples
We visited Espot 6-8 May 2013 and this was our experience. The town was very quiet with most bars and restaurants being empty. We could see that in the summer season this would be a busy resort as it is set in a lovely valley with good access to the aigistortes National Park. With it being quiet we had no problem driving to the car park on the edge of the park (only 200 spaces which could prove a problem in the summer) and we walked up to Lake Maurici from there. It was a slow steady walk upwards of about one and a half hours walking through woods with the stream rushing downhill on our left. It felt like we had the place to ourselves and it was very beautiful. The walk was within the limits of most people I would say, if you can take your time it was not particularly steep but just up and up and up. When we arrived at the Lake we had company, there were some people there - who had obviously taken the taxi up from Espot to the lake. We decided to walk along the lakeside to the waterfall which was stunningly beautiful. Going in early May however meant that whilst it was quiet it was still covered partly at higher levels with lumps of snow which was quite hard underfoot (as deep and slippy) and thus the waterfall was as far as we got as we decided it was a little dodge walking up hill further. As the snow was melting the waterfall was spectacular, a raging torrent of water and indeed all the streams and rivers were full and rapid. We loved the park and would love to return one day and spend longer there perhaps leaving it til late May/early June to have a better chance of the snow being melted and thus the high peaks easier to get to. We realised we had only seen a tiny portion of a large area and that it was possible to walk and stay in Refuges overnight within the park - something that would be marvellous to do. We got nice weather, it was sunny and warmish although cooled off a bit at night-time. I think May is probably changeable and we were perhaps lucky.
Written May 13, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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