Espot


The municipality of Espot, (El Pallars Sobirà), formed by the twin nuclei of Espot and Estaís, lies in the valley of the River Escrita, which divides the village into two parts. Thanks to its ready accessibility, it is easy for visitors to reach this magnificent and very typical Pyrenean village.
This settlement is different from others in the area in that it is not only famous for having one of the most important ski stations in the Pyrenees, Espot Esquí, and its own local gastronomy, but also because it offers access to the only National Park in Catalonia Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. Espot has become a point of reference for everyone interested in exploring the seemingly infinite number of walking routes that cross this paradise of mountains, rivers and lakes and that invite walkers to discover the peace and quite of this exceptional natural setting.
Espot itself is a typical high mountain village, with its dark-walled buildings and slate-covered roofs. One of the most significant of these buildings is the parish church of Santa Llogaia, a typical construction with a single nave and square bell tower. The village as a whole has its own particular appearance and special personality.
The LOficina del Parc Nacional, (National Park Office), which is open all year, offers a permanent exhibition showing the evolution of the Pyrenean area: this will be of particular interest to young visitors!

What to visit

Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
The Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is located in the extreme north-west of Catalonia, and lies in the midst of the Pyrenean mountain range. It therefore offers all of the most characteristic elements of high mountain regions.The Park was originally created by an Official Decree of 21st October 1955 and subsequently reclassified by the Generalitat de Catalunya through Law 7/1988, of 30th March 1988. This is one of a dozen national parks in Spain, but it is the only park of this kind in Catalonia.The total surface area of the park, which spreads across four Pyrenean comarques (local districts): El Pallars Sobirà, L'Alta Ribagorça, El Pallars Jussà and La Val d'Aran and is rich in natural, cultural and architectural heritage, is 40,852 ha. Of this total area, 14,119 ha correspond to the core area of the National Park, which has been divided into two very well-differentiated sub-areas:Sant Maurici to El Pallars Sobirà, which is accessible from the Espot valley, and Aigüestortes to L'Alta Ribagorça, with access from the Boí valley.The other 26,733 ha form part of what is referred to as the peripheral protection zone, whose function is to protect the core area from any potential external environmental impacts. In doing so, it guarantee the protection of the Park’s natural resources, which is why it was initially created.There are also several areas of outstanding natural value and beauty within the peripheral protection zone. These include: the Mata de València d'Àneu wood, the Gerber and Cabanes valleys, the Colomers cirque, the Valarties river basin, and the Cabdella and Gèmena pools.The parish church (Santa Llogaia)
Santa Llogaia, the parish church of Espot, stands on the left bank of the River Escrita and dates from the year 839. Although initially built in the Romanesque style, one of its most characteristic features is its Baroque style porch.The Moors’ Tower
This 13.5-metre-high circular tower is popularly referred to as either the Torre d’Espot (Espot Tower) or the Torre dels Moros (Moors’ Tower). Its main entrance door opens towards the east and is located at a height of about 5.5 metres above the ground. The characteristics of the tower suggest that it was probably built by a local feudal lord between the 12th and 13th centuries. This is currently one of the most carefully built and best conserved historical buildings in the whole of El Pallars Sobirà.The Remains of Llort Castle
It is widely recognised that one of the most important characteristics of a castle is its strategic position. Castles usually occupy elevated positions from which they can command a view over a large part of their surrounding territory. The Castell de Llort (Llort Castle) clearly served this function, as it was a high building constructed on top of a hill overlooking the Noguera Pallaresa valley between Escaló and Esterri d’Àneu. Anyone who wanted to go to the former castle of València d’Àneu, one of the main fortresses of the Comtes del Pallars (Counts of El Pallars), had to travel through this valley and could, therefore, be seen from the lookout towers of the castle.Today, visitors can only see the remains of Llort Castle but the site still offers a privileged vantage point from which to contemplate a fascinating panorama. To the south, it is possible to see Escaló and its watchtower, while to the north, visitors will see the open plains of Esterri d’Àneu and the castle of València d’Àneu.The castle is just an hour’s walk from Espot, with part of the route coinciding with GR-11, the long-distance walking route that crosses the Pyrenees.

Routes

Route 1. Camí Reial d’Espot (The Royal Walk)TECHNICAL FILE:
Route: Font del Planell – Borda del Terrissaire – Mola d’Estaís – Espot
Time: 2 h.
Variation in altitude: 400 metres.
Distance: 7 km.
Difficulty: easy.RECOMMENDATIONS AND USEFUL FACTS:
This route can be easily walked throughout the year, except in winters in which there is a lot of snow.
This is an interesting walking route for families and visitors can also enjoy the gastronomy and hospitality of EspotELEMENTS OF SPECIAL INTEREST:
Escaló Tower, Vila Closa d’Escaló, Llort Castle, panoramic views, the Romanesque bridge of Espot and its Tower.VEHICLE ACCESS:
The route ends at Espot but begins at Escaló. It is possible to take a taxi to the 1 km point. Leaving Escaló, an obstruction on the left hand side of the road serves as the meeting point from which to start the route. There is a sign indicating the beginning of the route, which is marked with green posters.Source: Book “A peu pel Pallars Sobirà”, by Arola Editors with the collaboration of the Consell Comarcal (Local District Council) of El Pallars Sobirà.Route 2. Ruta de l'Isard (Chamois Route): Avetar and Solà d'EspotTECHNICAL FILE:
Route: Car park at Prat del Pierró – Estany de Sant Maurici
Time: about one hour 15 minutes.
Variation in altitude: 260 metres.
Distance: 7 km.
Difficulty: The route is easy and appropriate for anyone who can walk for just over an hour.RECOMMENDATIONS AND USEFUL FACTS:
The best time of year to walk this route is between April and November.
It is an interesting route to walk with the family. Visitors can also enjoy the gastronomy and hospitality of EspotELEMENTS OF SPECIAL INTEREST:
All of the natural beauty of the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurci National Park. The route runs through woods and meadows, crossing the lowest part of the National Park. Along the route, it is possible to see examples of the valley’s livestock herding, which is one of the area’s most traditional economic activities. At the refuge at the Pallers bridge, visitors will find numerous posters explaining different aspects of the natural and cultural heritage of the valley as well as an exhibition about traditional ways of exploiting the woods of the Pyrenees.VEHICLE ACCESS:
The route starts at the prado del Pierró car park and ends at Lake Sant Maurici.

Where to eat

  • CASA PALMIRA Tel. 973 62 40 72
  • JUQUIM Tel. 973 62 40 09
  • TRENCALÒS Tel. 973 62 41 46
  • L'AVET DE SANT MAURICI Tel. 973 62 41 62
  • LES DAINES Tel. 656 853 328
  • HOTEL ROYA Tel. 973 62 40 40
  • HOTEL OR BLANC Tel. 973 62 40 13
  • HOTEL ELS ENCANTATS Tel. 973 62 41 15


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