Porta del Cel - Hut to Hut
Bookatrekking.com Trips - 5 days
Regular days with
- 15 - 20 km per day
- More than 1000m ascent per day
- T4 Trails
Overview> Hike 5 days high in the Pyrenees
> Spend your nights in mountain huts
> Cover 65 kilometers of distance and 11.000 altitude meters
The Porta del Cel is a 5-day circular hut-to-hut trek in the Spanish Pyrenees offering a small escape to the French side. On the Porta del Cel you start and finish at the same point, you visit 4 different huts, refugis in Catalan and refuge in French, you cover 65 kilometers of distance and about 11.000 meters of elevation. There's so much to do on this wild side of Catalonia!
Not only do you climb the highest peak, but you are in the largest national park and see the largest mountain lake in Catalonia. In that respect, the Porta del Cel is truly a trek of superlatives. That largest national park is called Parc Natural de l'Alt Pirinieu and you will have some of the most beautiful views that not only Catalonia but also Spain has to offer. Porta del Cel is Catalan for Heaven's Gate and if you focus on those few aspects, it is not hard to understand why.
During this 5-day adventure, you'll start and finish in Tavascan. We have divided the first stage into two, to be able to give you a full hut-to-hut experience. This is why the first stage is a relatively short one. You will walk high into the mountains, along the way you will encounter highlights such as lake Certascan and the Pica d'Estats. You will spend your nights in cozy mountain huts, where you will meet other hikers and can enjoy breakfast, dinner and a picnic lunch.
Bear in mind that this trek is quite intense as you will cover a lot of altitude meters in a few days. This trek requires you to have experience in the mountains and to be a bit of a mountain goat!
Why book with us?
You can hike the Porta del Cel independently and self-guided. However, stringing an itinerary with all the accommodations together can be complicated. Bookatrekking.com has warm contacts with all accommodations on the Porta del Cel and we can take the load of booking every accommodation yourself off your shoulders. Let us help you to make your Porta del Cel memories stress-free and enjoy free hiking advice from our trekking experts while you're at it.
RouteWhat's the plan?
Day 1, Stage 1: Arrival in Tavascan - Bordes de Graus
You arrive in Tavascan, from here it is a short hike to the refuge at Bordes de Graus. You walk along the river and can enjoy a relaxed start to the days ahead. Under FAQ you can find exactly how to get to Tavascan.
Distance: 4 kilometres
Time: 1,5 hours
Vertical gain: 210 meters
Vertical loss: 10 meters
Day 2, Stage 2: Bordes de Graus - Refugi de Certascan
Today you will take a beautiful hike through the valley between the peaks of Causes and Pic de Sabollés. You will find Refugi de Certascan on the banks of the largest glacial lake in Catalonia, also called Certascan.
Distance: 10 kilometres
Time: 4,5 hours
Vertical gain: 1.260 meters
Vertical loss: 350 meters
Day 3, Stage 3: Refugi de Certascan - Refuge du Pinet
Today you will cross the border to France and you will barely notice it. No border post, no passport checks, and definitely no queue. The mountains don't adhere to imaginary lines. On the French side of Heaven's Gate Way, you will find Refuge de Pinet, where you will find Marion. She has lived the Refuge life since she can remember, her father having managed Pinet before her. Here, at 2,2240 meters you will definitely have a good and relaxed time.
Distance: 12.5 kilometres
Time: 6 hours
Vertical gain: 1.030 meters
Vertical loss: 1.030 meters
Day 4, Stage 4: Refuge du Pinet - Refugi de Vallferrera
Upon walking back to the Spanish side of the border, you will come eye in eye with the highest peak of Catalonia, Pica d'Estats. You will be climbing for about 900 meters until you reach this stunning peak. Technically, this peak is exactly on the border and that also explains its name, States Peak. It was first climbed by Count Henry Russell and Jean-Jac Denjean, pioneers in Alpinism in the Pyrenees. Take it all in before you slowly descend to Refugi de Vallferrera for a well-deserved cervesa.
Distance: 13 kilometres
Time: 6 hours
Vertical gain: 900 meters
Vertical loss: 1.200 meters
Day 5, Stage 5: Refugi de Vallferrera - Tavascan
You are waking up in quite a legendary place. Refugi de Vallferrara is the oldest Refugi in Catalonia. Since 1935 mountaineers have thankfully made use of this refuge, which is so strategically situated on the GR11 and the route to and from Pica d'Estats. Now, if you think you are almost there, you are wrong. The trek back to Tavascan is a long one. You won't be bored, though as you walk past streams, glacial lakes, and the lower peaks of Catalonia. All of a sudden, you reach Tavascan. Well done, you've knocked on Heaven's Gate!
Distance: 19 kilometres
Time: 8 hours
Vertical gain: 990 meters
Vertical loss: 1.770 meters
√ Booking the huts
We will take care of arranging accommodation for you. We will also provide you with a detailed itinerary for every stage and instructions on how to get to the trailhead.
We will arrange your accommodation on the Porta del Cel in mountain huts (refuges). There are several options to choose from along the trail. We have selected the refuges on our trek based on the length of each stage and recommendations from trekkers who have done the Porta del Cel before us.
√ 4 nights in refuges including full-board
Accommodation at the refuges includes dinner, breakfast, and a picnic lunch. We will arrange this for you as well. This allows you to travel lighter and have one less thing to worry about.
× Transport to Spain
You have to find your own way to Tavascan. The price does not include transport to and from Spain. Bus tickets and other transport costs are not included.
Once in Spain, you will have to make your way to the starting place in Tavascan. We will provide the instructions and assist you with how to get there. Transport to Tavascan is not included.
× Accommodation before and after the trek
Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation.
× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.
× Personal expenses
Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, and other similar expenses are for your own account.
During your Porta del Cel trek, you will mostly spend your nights in mountain huts. In the mountain huts we normally only book dormitories, but we can look into private rooms on request. If the private rooms are fully booked or not available in the hut, we book automatically a bed in the dormitories for you. Please note that private rooms are more expensive and there will be an additional charge for this. The booked accommodations may differ from the below program here and there. A beautiful location and great food are at all times guaranteed.
Bordes de Graus
This location is part campsite, part refuge. You can relax here and enjoy a meal and a drink. After the night, you'll be ready to hike the mountains.
Refugi de Certascan
This refuge is located at 2.240 metres above sea level, next to the biggest glacial lake in the Pyrenees, lake Certascan. This is a nice place to stay after a day of hiking. Enjoy a good meal and a good night's sleep. Ready for a new day!
Refuge du Pinet
This refuge is located on the French side of the Porta del Cel and is a good finish after your hike. You can relax in the dormitories, enjoy a chat with fellow travelers and get ready for the day ahead.
Refugi de Vallferrera
The refuge is located at 1,940 metres above sea level and you can have a drink and a meal after a beautiful day on the trails. After breakfast the next morning, you are good to go again.
Packing ListPacking list
It doesn't matter where you are going trekking or for how long: Carrying the right equipment with you is paramount. For a hiking trip in Parc Natural de l'Alt Pirineu, you will need, first and foremost, a good backpack. The size of your backpack will depend on how many days you will be spending in the mountains, the season, and the clothes you will be taking with you. We have prepared a packing list with some essential clothing that you should include and some extras that you may find useful:
- Walking boots (worn in)
- Walking socks
- Base layer tops – ideally thermal
- Mid-layer tops (eg. fleece)
- Trekking Trousers
- Hat for warmth or shade
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Warm layer.
- Casual clothes & footwear for evenings.
- Nightwear and underwear
- Water bottle
- Sunglasses & sun cream
- Cash for in the huts
- Small first aid kit
- Blister Plasters
- Insect repellent
- Electrical socket adapter
- Camera and charger
- Map and compass
- Reading book(s)
- Energy snacks
- Walking poles
Where is the Porta del Cel?
The Porta del Cel is a 5-day circular hut-to-hut trek in the Spanish Pyrenees offering a small escape to the French side. On the Porta del Cel you start and finish at the same point, you visit 3 different huts, refugis in Catalan and refuge in French, you cover 65 kilometers of distance and about 11.000 meters of elevation.
Is the Porta del Cel for me?
This trek is quite intense, as you will cover a lot of altitude meters in a few days. This trek requires you to have experience in the mountains and to be a bit of a mountain goat!
The best time to complete the Porta del Cel is from the mid of June until the mid of September, when the route has little snow and the weather is usually good. Outside these months, the logistics get more complicated because many of the mountain huts on the route are closed and the weather can be unpredictable.
Starting point for the Porta del Cel
The best starting point for your Porta del Cel adventure is Tavascan. Tavascan is a small town deep into the Catalonian Pyrenees. As is so often the case with mountain adventures, it takes some time and effort to get to them. The journey is part of the adventure, especially to Tavascan.
How to get to Tavascan
Tavascan is about 4 hours from Barcelona and 3.5 hours from French Toulouse. Both these towns have an international airport and are well connected with other key cities in Europe. Here you can either rent a car and drive to Tavascan, or you can use public transport.
Tavascan doesn't have a bus station, yet it is possible to travel here by bus. From Barcelona, you can first take a bus to La Pobla de Segur. From here you can take another bus to Llavorsi. Between Llavorsi there are two (small) buses a day to Tavascan.
The easiest way to get to Tavascan is to go by car. From Barcelona, it's about 4 hours and 260 kilometers. From Toulouse, you can count 3.5 hours. In Tavascan you will definitely find a place to park your car.
The Porta del Cel is a safe trek and the trail is quite well signposted along the way. Although the route is quite clear throughout the trek, it is important to carry competent navigation with a map and compass. Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the mountains and occasional snow, fog or storms can make navigation hard. A map and compass are a must when going on a self-guided trek. Also, make sure to always have enough water, snacks, and a good jacket.
The most important thing to do in an emergency is to stay calm and survey the situation. Do not panic or take useless risks if the people in trouble are difficult to reach. In an emergency, first and foremost, call for assistance. When calling for help, make sure to provide your location and the number of victims and type of injuries. Then, protect the victim from cold and other environmental threats and administer first aid, if you can.
Reception is not a given in Parc Natural d'Alta Pirineu. However, the Emergency Number can be reached on most of the route. Always let your peers know what you are doing, which direction you are headed, or plainly, what your itinerary looks like.
Useful emergency phone numbers:
General Spanish Emergency Number: 112
General French Emergency Number: 112
Alt Pirineu Natural Park Information Centre: +34 973 622 335
The Covid-19 pandemic has had its grip on us, and accommodations around the world have had to take several preventive measures over the past two years. In the meantime, most of the measurements are not taken into consideration anymore, yet it is definitely still a factor to take into account. Some restrictions that are worth mentioning:
- Don't go on your hiking trip if you have symptoms.
- Not all the accommodations are allowed to operate at full capacity yet, so make sure you book your stay in advance.
- Keep your distance and hygiene.
- Use disinfectants and hand sanitizers.
How to Book
How to Book?
On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking your match? In that case, you can proceed with your booking. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 30% of the total amount. In the case of this trek, we will check the availability at the respective accommodations for you. There are two possible outcomes:
√ There is availability
We go ahead and make all necessary arrangements for your trip. Once confirmed, we will send you a confirmation and your personal hiking guide. The remaining 70% must be paid at least two (2) weeks before the start of the trekking.
X There is no availability
If there is no availability, we will look for other starting dates or another trekking in agreement with you. Are there no other options for you? Then your deposit of 30% will be refunded.
If all the accommodations of this trekking are booked and confirmed, you will lose your deposit of 30% at all times. If you cancel within 14 days of your start date, you will lose your full booking amount.
Is it not quite clear yet or do you have questions? Please contact us via email@example.com. We are happy to help you.
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