Foredada - El Ports
Time: 3 hours
Start Point: Mont-Ral
South of Barcelona is this beautiful range of mountains called El Ports.
It's quite close to Barcelona, only about 2 hours drive south (depends on the traffic of course).
El Ports National Park stretches between the communities of Catalonya, Valencia, and Aragon, with around 60,000 hectares of land.
There are lots of cliff faces, rock valeys, and majestic limestones.
La Foradada mountain only has an elevation of 655m but there's a beautiful path that leads to it from Mont-Ral.
How do I get there?
To get to Mont-Ral you will need a car (or at least it will be quicker even if there is any bus as it may only run once or twice a day, we haven't seen any).
Once you get to Mont-Ral, you can park your car below the hill with the church on top or you could probably park somewhere near the church.
The route starts from below the church but it goes very close to the church and it's only 5-10min walk up the hill if you park below the hill.
Here's a map with the location and the route (I marked the route with dotted line):
Click on the image to see high-resolution version.
We parked the car below the village (below the hill). There are quite a few places by the road where you can park, and we went up the hill to where the church is. The route starts from the road, close to where we parked.
As you get by the church, with a little bit of "climbing" up the hill (nbo climbing knowledge required ), you get this beautiful view all around.
You also get the view of the Foradada massive. What you don't see (and what we didn't know) is this amazing "window" in the rocks on Foradada. We were up for a surprise...
That's what the route looks like (view from near the church - the route goes by the right edge of the picture):
After you leave the church, the path goes mainly on the same level and after about an hour, you get to Foradada mountain, with some very impressive rock formations as shown here:
As we were approaching our destination (and we were going to head back), we saw a "window" in the rock, which caught our attention. So we decided to get inside the window to take some pictures. It seemed almost inaccessible from the route side so we decided to get to it from the other side, taking a narrow path, which you can see on the picture above between the small rock and the big one on the right.
And again, you get beautiful views from the rock, which you can see in the centre of the previous image. And I had to climb it to take some beautiful pictures ;-)
From this rock, you can see the entire route (with the church in Mont-ral in the background):
However, the real surprise is when you walk between the rocks that I have just mentioned because you get to a place where you can get a nice view of the rock "window" and even go inside of it.
I remember feeling as if I was in Utah or Arizona although I hadn't left out beautiful continent
Now it's just a matter of turning back and returning to the base, which shouldn't take you more than an hour.