Spain generally has some amazing areas for climbing, with good quality rock and bolted multi-pitch routes. Areas such as the Costa Blanca and Mallorca are famous for their routes, but the Costa Daurada and many areas in Cataluña are also excellent and definitely worth a visit.
If you live in Barcelona, or are taking a holiday in the city, there are several places less than one hour’s drive from the city that offer a good day’s climbing on a selection of grades.
With Spain’s wonderful climate it’s worth escaping England’s winter to take the opportunity to climb in warmer weather, and all you need is a rope and quickdraws with almost all of Spain’s routes being bolted.
Costa Daurada Climbing
Climbing in the Costa Daurada offers superb sports climbing with many of the crags facing towards the south, meaning that you can climb in autumn and spring. In the summer there are crags sheltered by trees, such as Arbolí, where it’s also possible to climb on a hot sunny day.
Climbing areas close to Barcelona
For very good climbing, on bolted routes, and with a good variety of grades visit Garraf. Garraf is approximately 40 minutes drive from Barcelona due south west and there are two easily accessible crags: Penya Ginesta and Pic de Martell. There is a good selection of grades here and a great view out over the sea from Penya Ginesta. You can also get to Garraf by train, although you would be left with a long uphill walk to the crag. The video below was taken at Penya Ginesta, Garraf.
Another one of my favourites is La Facu, although don’t go when it’s too hot, it’s south facing. It’s a small crag but offers some very nice technical climbing. La Facu is a little further than Garraf, past Sitges just off the road to Vilafranca del Penedes.
Climbing 6a at Garraf.
For a hot day try Subirats, this is a more sheltered crag and will be in the shade by the afternoon. Subirats is situated in one of the biggest Cava producing areas of Cataluña and has grades ranging from 3 to 7a.
Arbolí nearer to Siurana is also excellent on a sunny day as the foot of the crag, at least, is in the shade.
Rockfax publish a mini-guide to Barcelona that you used to be able to buy online and download a PDF. Now most of their publications are combined in an app which you can purchase through iTunes. The guide was originally published in November 2005 and written by Chris Craggs and Alan James. It covers several crags including those mentioned above:
Climbing in Montserrat
Montserrat is about 50 minutes from Barcelona and you can reach it by car or by train. It’s a high rocky outcrop containing a lifetime of climbing routes which range from sporty bolted single pitch routes to classical multi pitch routes of between 200 – 300 metres. In total there are over 1,700 climbing routes here.
The rock is a conglomerate therefore it’s difficult to place your own gear, occasionally you can find a friend placement or small nut. Most routes are bolted but many of the multi-pitch routes have old bolts with long run outs on the easier pitches.
Having said that, Montserrat is one of my favourite places to climb. You can climb all year in sun or shade, and a lot of the routes have been rebolted in recent years, which of course doesn’t show in the guidebooks.
If you’re trying Montserrat for the first time I can recommend the Gorros area (pictured just above and below).
Online Climbing Guides to Montserrat
- View Montserrat climbing areas and buy guidebooks online:
- www.climbcatalunya.com – climbing holiday and guided climbing
- Very good guide to climbing in Montserrat, in Spanish:
- An interactive map of Montserrat. At the moment the English map only has a few items, but it’s being added to and can be viewed with more details in Spanish and Catalan: www.guiesdemuntanyademontserrat.cat/en/
How to reach Montserrat
To reach Montserrat by train, take the train from Plaza España, Line R5 to Manresa (that’s the train station not the metro station). Buy tickets from the booth in front of Line R5.
The train takes you to the foot of Montserrat and from there you have the choice of taking a cable car (Aeri) or a cog railway (Cremallera Funicular). Depending on which of these options you take you need to get off at different stops and buy the correct ticket at Plaza España. The cable car is the first stop – stay on the train until the second Montserrat stop for the cog railway.
When you arrive at the monastery, there is a second cog railway which you need to take to reach some of the climbing areas. If you have a car, you can reach other areas of Montserrat lower down, such as nice sporty routes close to El Bruc.
Climbing in Siurana
A little further is Siurana, approximately 1½ hour’s drive from Barcelona. Siurana is one of the best places to climb in the area with many of the climbing routes set within a deep gorge giving spectacular views over the river below and surrounding countryside. There are over 200 routes here!
There are two refuges in the Siurana area that offer cheap accommodation (in the region of €7 per night) including a meal and breakfast. Bring your own sleeping bag.
Unfortunately Rockfax’s guide to climbing in the Costa Daurada is now out of print, it included the Siurana area. You can still see details of the book online here and may be able to find a secondhand copy somewhere: Rockfax’s Costa Daurada Climbing Guide
Please note that a 60 metre rope is very useful in Spain where many of the routes are too long for a 50 metre rope. Even climbing with a 60 metre rope we’ve almost run out of rope when lowering off, so remember to check the height of routes before you climb.
Barcelona City Centre Climbing & Bouldering
There are a few well-known climbing and bouldering areas within the city that are known to the locals, such as:
- the perimeter wall of Parc Guell – a tricky traverse which is a great place to hone your technical skills on fingery moves. There is an upper wall, and if you walk down the hill, from the end of the road, through the bushes, you will come to the lower wall – which is much easier.
- the tunnel in Parc de Montjuïc – The La Fuixarda tunnel has been completely taken over by climbers, so much so that the road was closed to traffic some time ago and the tunnel walls are now covered with climbing holds as well as graffiti. It’s well-lit so you can climb into the night and in the rain, but it’s rather polished.
- In 2010 the wall at La Fuixarda, Montjuïc (not the tunnel) was closed due to a rock fall. All the climbing holds have been removed and the natural rock covered with wire netting, so it’s now impossible to climb. The tunnel remains open for climbing.
Indoor Climbing Walls
Barcelona has a growing number of indoor walls (it rains here some times too!).
Gymrock, Concepción Arenal 157, 08027 Barcelona.
Nearest Metro is Congrés, Line 5.
Climbat are building new walls all the time, below are a few of the central ones in Barcelona. They also have walls in other cities in Spain.
Climbat La Foixarda
C/ Camí de la Foixarda, 14-18, 08038 Barcelona
Tel: +34 932 925 480
C/ Gabriel i Galan 3, 08026 Barcelona
Tel: +34 932 478 413
Barcelona Guided Climbing
barcelonaclimb.com is a guided climbing company who cater for the international crowd visiting or living in Catalonia. Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced climber, barcelonaclimb.com can cater for your needs. The company is run by Toti Vales and Araceli Segarra who are both professional climbers.
They offer four main packages, although custom packages can be arranged. The main tours cover Barcelona, Girona, Prades & Rodellar and Lleida & The Pyrenees – a wealth of climbing.