Whether you’re setting out to conquer the peaks of Montserrat or following a trail of shimmering lakes in the Aigüestortes Natural Park, it’s important to prepare properly for your trip.
Packing your backpack for a day’s hiking is an art: if you pack too little you could be forgetting something essential.
If you pack too much, you’ll end up with a sore back! Here are our tips for how to pack for the perfect Catalonian day trip
Prepare your body
The most important meal of the day
It’s a good idea to have a nutritious breakfast to set you up for your day in the great outdoors. A delicious, low-GI meal of porridge oats and fresh fruit an hour before you set off will keep your blood sugar levels high until lunchtime.
Before you set off, get your body in the mood as well as your mind by treating it to some stretching. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated – some simple yet dynamic arm and leg stretches like these not only wake up your body but also warm up your muscles. Do some static stretching when you return from your trek to wind your body down and prevent soreness the following day.
You are what you wear
Catalonia is blessed with a wide variety of terrain, from mountains to coastline, which means that what you’ll be wearing depends on where you’re heading and the season. However, the general rule is that layering is your friend. If you’re hiking up the Pedraforca mountain in the fall, for example, it’s likely to be warm at the bottom but could get pretty cool once you reach the 2,506-meter summit. Light, thin layers that are easy to carry yet provide lots of warmth are ideal for this type of trip. Not only do they guard against the wind and cold but they also provide protection against the sun on the frequent hot Mediterranean afternoons.
Comfortable sports shoes or hiking boots are a must. Whether you’re on a self-guided trail through the poppy fields or hiking up to the stunning Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery, your feet are your most treasured asset. Treat them to some solid rubber soles with good ankle support and lots of ventilation.
Not everyone is a fan of them but hiking poles can come in pretty handy depending on the terrain you’re covering. Particularly when you’re going up and downhill, poles can help to reduce the impact on your feet, ankles and knees. If you’re on the flat, they can also help you to inject some pace into your walking.
GPS – your modern-day compass
A useful weapon in the armory of today’s hiker is the handheld GPS. Your main source of navigation is likely to be a set of detailed Route Notes but a GPS can be useful on days when there is poor visibility or if there aren’t many landmarks along the route. If you’d rather find your own way without the assistance of a GPS or if you’re on a guided trip, you can simply turn it off. But it’s comforting to know you have it, just in case!
Don’t forget them!
Protect yourself from the elements
The number one rule for hiking in the warm climate of Catalonia is: stay hydrated. While you’re sure to stumble upon some drinking fountains along the trail, it’s best not to rely on them and to bring plenty of drinking water with you.
Suntan lotion, UV-protective lip balm and sunglasses are essential to avoid being mistaken for a lobster by the end of the trip! With temperatures reaching 40 degrees centigrade in the summer, sunstroke is a very real possibility without adequate protection for your skin and eyes.
Body fuel for the trip
Take plenty of nutritious snacks with you. Whether you’re making your way through the almond groves along the Terra Alta Greenway or discovering the woodlands of the Comaverd and Cogulló mountains, you’ll be using a lot of energy. Pack a few cereal bars, trail mix, nuts and dried fruits to keep you going until you find a friendly restaurant to enjoy a hearty traditional lunch.
A rescue option!
Taking the right things with you on your trip is important for making the most of your trek. While you’re unlikely to go wrong with this list of day trip essentials, it’s always handy to have an emergency contact just in case you’re in need of some extra help. If you book with Geotours Catalonia, you can contact us any time of the day or night.
A self-guided trip organized by us gives you the freedom to explore this beautiful region at your own leisure, safe in the knowledge that we’re just a phone call away if you need us. emergency contact just in case you’re in need of some extra help.
If you book with Geotours Catalonia, you can contact us any time of the day or night. A self-guided trip organized by us gives you the freedom to explore this beautiful region at your own leisure, safe in the knowledge that we’re just a phone call away if you need us.