First, let your mind run back 65 million years to the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic Era, when the Pyrenees were inhabited by dinosaurs. During this part of your time-travel experience, you will visit three sites in the central area of the Catalan Pyrenees that prove the existence of these prehistoric beasts in our forests, mountains, and meadows. Visit the Dinosfera Centre in the village of Coll de Nargó, where the dinosaur egg site is one of the most important of its kind in the world; marvel at the dinosaur footprints at Fumanya; see the prehistoric reptile exhibition in Isona Cretaceous Park (Conca Dellà Museum), where a guide will take you to sites containing dinosaur bones and eggs. The three visits will give you an idea of the Pyrenean landscape 65 million years ago and the dinosaurs inhabiting it, the life of these huge reptiles, the remains that have been found to date, and the causes for the extinction of the species.
The next stop on the journey through history is Coll de Nargó site, to see the Cabó Valley dolmens. The route is a good excuse to discover some of the seven main megalithic sites in Catalonia and explore this surprisingly silent, rugged landscape with its rich vegetation of forests and crop fields, and many natural viewpoints.
Fast-forward to Ripoll in the eastern Pyrenees for an interesting journey through the Middle Ages, and learn about the emergence of Catalonia as a nation. On the Land of Counts and Abbots route, discover the legendary figures of Guifré el Pilós, Abbot Oliva, Abbess Emma, and Count Arnau, as well as treasures of Romanesque architecture such as Matamala Castle, the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll and the convent of Sant Joan de les Abadesses. Enter the passionate world of myths and legends and re-live some of the best-known historical episodes as you stroll through monasteries, castles, museums and interpretation centres in the medieval towns and villages of Ripollès County.
Another leap through time and space brings you to the western Catalan Pyrenees, wandering among remote parts of the mountains and valleys to see some fine examples of popular architecture. The villages in the Àneu Valleys will transport you to another world of steep streets and stone houses; visit the old sawmills, dwellings, flourmills, hermitages, etc., in any of the Valls d’Àneu Eco-Museum centres spread over the territory, and learn about the Pyrenean way of life in the late 19th century.
Finally, discover a more recent past in Salàs de Pallars, where flashbacks to former times can be seen in six village establishments (grocery store, barber’s shop, pharmacy, tobacconist, and bar), which have been restored to evoke daily life in the 19th and 20th centuries. A guided walk enables you to travel back in time and enjoy a lesson in contemporary history by observing how products, brands, and advertising have evolved over the decades.
1. Coll de Nargó
2. Dòlmens Vall Cabó
3. Castell Mataplana