A unique train, dormant volcanoes, a snow park, an enchanted forest and a very special dairy farm. Whichever plan you choose, success is guaranteed.
Let’s begin by saying that parents and children will thoroughly enjoy a trip on the Núria rack railway, which leaves from Ribes de Freser train station or the small town of Queralbs, a little further up. Along with the one in Montserrat, it is a unique railway in Spain. It covers 12 kilometres and climbs 1,000 meters in just 40 minutes, offering incredible views of this Ripollès valley. The railway is as special as the place it takes you to, the Shrine of Núria, surrounded by mythical mountains, easy paths to follow with a picnic in your backpack, bathed by an extraordinary lake where you can stop to rest or play, and with a generous amount of hotels and restaurants. The perfect plan for a day out, or for as many days as you like.
Vall de Núria. Vall de Núria. Arxiu Imatges PTCBG
Another equally fascinating family activity involves learning all about the formation of volcanoes. In Garrotxa they are experts on the subject and have a fabulous and well-established educational centre. Located at the foot of the Montsacopa volcano in the city of Olot, Espai Cràter explains in a visual, interactive and attractive way the origin of a volcano, its parts and how eruptions are created. It is particularly suitable for children aged 7 or 8 onwards and there are also workshops designed to spark the curiosity of younger children too. The side effect of this visit is unavoidable: you’ll want to see and explore the volcanoes yourself. That’s an easy fix, as there is a route around the volcanoes of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park.
Espai Cràter, Olot. Joan Diví. Arxiu Imatges PTCBG.
In fact, in the heart of this park, and within the municipality of Santa Pau, there is another family activity that everyone will enjoy. Firstly because it is a cattle farm on an extraordinary estate, secondly because it teaches visitors about the production of dairy products, ice cream and jams, and thirdly because it goes beyond a business project. La Fageda is a social initiative launched in 1982 to promote the workplace integration of vulnerable people in Garrotxa. And it is precisely thanks to visits like yours, adapted to people with reduced mobility and to prams and pushchairs, that their project is still alive and well and with good (and delicious!) prospects for the future.
Joanetes. Toni Vilches. Arxiu Imatges PTCBG
If you feel like a walk while conjuring up fantastic legends, we invite you to Les Roques Encantades (the enchanted rocks) in Sant Feliu de Pallerols, also in Garrotxa. This stunning beech forest deserves a visit all year round, but autumn and winter bestow it with a fabulous, mysterious and enigmatic atmosphere. Everywhere there are towering trees that are losing their leaves, big rocks here, giant rocks there, caves to hide in… and, watch out, maybe a goblin!
We close this selection of family ideas in Cerdanya, in the Girona Pyrenees, always so generous with the little ones. Beyond the attractive Puigcerdà lake, inhabited by fish, ducks and swans, or the nearby Schierbeck children’s park, there are a couple of fun and entertaining spaces for kids where they can start to learn snow sports. These are the Snow Park and the Children’s Park at La Molina ski resort, and the Snow Garden and the Children’s Hut at Masella resort, both suitable and protected facilities. Fun and peace of mind in equal measure.
Sant Feliu de Pallerols. Rafael López-Monné. Arxiu Imatges PTCBG.