Road from Queralbs to Núria by Daió
The Queralbs path in the Núria sanctuary is one of the most classic walks in the Ribes Valley and it will take us through a charming valley, with several waterfalls and spectacular cliffs, with the final reward of reaching Nuria.
- Difficulty: medium. It is not a long route, but it has a significant unevenness, especially at the beginning. No technical difficulty.
- Elevation: 892 m
- Time: about 3h (less if you leave from Daió)
- Kilometers: 7 km.
Variants: In many reviews, you will find that the route starts from the town of Queralbs. In fact, it is the most classic path, with a more constant slope and the most indicated path. We opted for this route since the intention was to do the path of the Engineers and the Freser Valley, but finally to discard it because it was too late. If you consider this option, you can park in Daió. If you want to go down with the rack railway, you can perfectly do the route from Queralbs. Another classic approach to Nuria is the Fontalba path, which is much simpler and takes just over an hour to reach the Sanctuary.
We parked at the bend at the bottom of the valley before going up to Queralbs since later, as we will return with a rack, it will be appreciated not to walk so much. But if the intention is to go up and down on foot, the best thing to do is to park directly at Daió, where there is a parking area. This will save the first 20 minutes.
We left from the Daió power station and crossed the river by the bridge. Right from the beginning we will find the fork in the roads: to the left, up, the Núria path leaves, and to the right we would have the path that goes to Coma de Vaca and the Salt del Grill, a waterfall of about 30 meters that is located about 20-25 minutes from Daió.
We will leave it for the next day. We take the path of Núria that soon begins to climb strongly. In fact, this first section is one of the most straightforward of the route and for about 35-45 minutes (punctually more) we will go up through the forest, with a winding path (be careful not to deviate, with the GPS you will not lose).
When we have made about 300 meters of unevenness, the path begins to plan and deviate towards the Núria valley. At this point we will have a great view of the Ribes and Queralbs valley. After this section of smooth gliding (which is appreciated), we will arrive at the Puente del Cremal, a point where we will find the classic route that goes up from Queralbs. If until now we had been practically alone, from this point an authentic mountaineering pilgrimage begins. and not so mountaineers until Núria.
In any case, the road passes through the bottom of the Núria valley and we will almost always be accompanied by the Nuria River, which forms pools and waterfalls. After the gentle gliding, now it is time to gain unevenness with a section of winding road. Once at the top, we will have a good view of the bottom of the valley and also of the Fontalba ravine, which comes down loaded from the foot of Puigmal.
The path now slows down the climb and passes through a stretch of black pine forest, then through an area of uncomplicated pie and after a while it makes a right turn and we come across the Cola de Caballo jump, possibly the most emblematic waterfall of the Núria River and one of the most beautiful and highest.
We continue with a bit more uphill and now we pass very close to the Núria Rack Railway, which goes up the other side of the valley. In fact, during the entire route we will see him pass, but it is in this section where we will be closer. Now it is time to go under the Rack Railway over a bridge and cross to the other side of the valley.
After planning, we continued up and faced the final stretch of the ascent. The black pine forest is now more present (as you can see, the explanation is merely descriptive since there is no loss or deviations from the path). A last climb will bring us closer to the Mirador del Valle de Núria, to see the emblematic panoramic view of the Sanctuary of Núria at the bottom of the valley, with its lake.
From here the path is already a walk. Surrounded by tourists, we gently descend until we reach Lake Núria and shortly after we arrive at our destination, the Sanctuary of Núria. A visit to the Virgin is a must as we have sweated to get here!
On the way back we can undo the road or opt for the more comfortable option of going down with a zip. Equally interesting is the climb to the Albergue de Núria, either on foot or with the cable car. From the hostel you have a fantastic view of the Núria Valley and the Ribes Valley. From here, we could go the Engi path.
Authorship of text and photographs: Sergi Boixader