The Puigcerdà-Guils-Puigcerdà circuit is not actually a GR (Grande randonée), but it can be a bit tough, and I will admit that, of the 16.5 km of the entire route, I might have done 8 at max, mainly because I was on foot, it was hot, and there is only so much of the countryside that you can look at before it all starts to look the same. I also had trouble following the signs, which must have been messed up by someone having a bit of fun, because they all seemed to point in a large circle. Nevertheless, I completed the route Puigcerdà (starting at the Estanc) to Enveitg, onto Latour de Carol, Yravals, across the fields and the border to Saneja, and down again to Puigcerdà. In all, it was maybe three hours or so. The hike is quite easy and there’s not a lot that you have to do by way of climbing, but you do gradually make it up to a high enough point above the valley to get great views. There are also some ruins, and I think they are of a church called Sant Joan (I don’t entirely remember the name on the plaque and I, unfortunately, didn’t have something to right down with) – but the building is in such a state of decay that it is hard to tell what architectural style it followed.
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Saneja is another small town that is really just a very, very small hamlet, like Yravals. It is on the Spanish side of the border, and therefore connected directly to Puigcerdà by roads (but not Yravals or Latour de Carol). Again, there is an interesting stone church here with a graveyard, likely from the 13th or 14th century. It is built from the same fieldstones as the houses. Unlike on the French side, there has been at least an attempt at ensuring that the surrounding modern developments are somewhat similar to the original stone houses of the village, so the growth of Saneja doesn’t feel quite as jarring. Still, there’s an awful lot of construction here, or at least there was in the summer before the construction industry went bust. The church appeared to be under renovation, so I wasn’t able to visit it – perhaps those who hike to Saneja later on will have the opportunity to see what surprises its interior holds.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Hiking to France
Once again, this is not quite the recommended version of events, but you can hike from Puigcerdà to Enveitg in France by following the road behind the Reservoir. Eventually you'll get to a point where you either have to go into the fields on a hiking path or turn down the road to the airport. Its not glamourous, but you get to hike through several horse farms (all pottok, all the time). When you get to the end of the path you'll be at the railway tracks and all you have to do is follow them until you get to the road. They're building a new set of houses outside of Enveitg, and its not hard to go from there to the old town.
Ok, this is not quite a tourist attraction, but it is something spectacular to do. At the back of the Reservoir there is a small road that leads to some holiday homes and a small airport. If you walk for a minute or two you'll notice a clearing and a way down on your left-hand side. There are some lovely stone steps and benches, rather old from the looks of them, a small stream and woods. As you make your way down the path, you eventually get to a horse farm, where there will be pottok (I only know the Basque name for them - they're small Pyrennean horses). They're docile and you can take plenty of pictures of them against the backdrop of the mountains.