A journey through history in the land of witches
You can devote the first day to visiting Laspaúles and the surrounding area. You will be surprised by the striking red colour of the soil and its stones, the result of different geological periods. You can visit the Stone of the three bishops and enjoy the views from Coll d'Espina.
The Isàvena River passes through this municipality, which boasts having the first stone bridge built over it, in addition to the mediaeval mill. You can also visit the Sant Roc and Santa Paula de Turbiné Chapel, with magnificent views of El Turbón.
Since the appearance of some manuscripts found in the Laspaúles Church bell tower, a story which in many places is regarded as a legend and popular belief is, by contrast, considered history in Laspaúles.
In 1593, this town witnessed the execution of 24 women who had been charged with witchcraft. Women in the Middle Ages were custodians of the secrets of nature, medicinal plants and healing potions. In order to pay homage to and acknowledge these women, the Witches of Laspaúles Theme Park was constructed, located in a wooded setting in the presence of the Turbón mountain and with spectacular views of the Pyrenees. This is a walk which is sure to impress you, full of magic and mystery.
THE ISÁBENA VALLEY
We suggest going down into the ravines and valleys and visiting the castles, towers and chapels, all of which bear testimony to history
The first stop could be the Pegà Forest, where you can take a short walk to the accessible vantage point. Here there are magnificent views of the Obarra Gorge. Another option is to take the ornithological route up to the Ansuilo vantage point. You will gradually make your way into a forest with a wide variety of vegetation and begin to hear the birdsong and the pecking sounds against the wood of the most common woodpeckers, including the great spotted woodpecker, the European green woodpecker and the black woodpecker.
The second stop could be the Obarra Monastery, another symbol and distinguishing mark of the Romanesque art of the Ribagorza. This monastery was destroyed by Abd al-Malik and rebuilt between the 10th and 11th centuries. Today you can enjoy the Church of Santa Maria de Obarra, the only vestige of the old monastery.
You can also visit Roda d’Isábena, an extraordinary artistic site in Ribagorza. This is the smallest town with a Cathedral. The pantocrator and the scenes from the area are original and magnificently preserved. If you are interested in antiques, you can visit the L’Era de Vicién Museum.
At midday you can enjoy a good meal in an incomparable setting: The Hospederia de Roda cathedral restaurant. Allow yourself to be carried away by its magic!
After your meal we suggest visiting Graus, the gateway to the Pyrenees. This town has an exceptional heritage in its streets and squares. For this reason it was declared a Historical Site in 1975. The main square, probably one of the most beautiful in Aragon, retains its original mediaeval essence. It is worth mentioning the Renaissance Gothic Basilica of the Virgen de la Peña. Contemplating the scenery from this vantage point is a real pleasure to the eye.
On the way back to Laspaúles you can pass through the Ésera Valley and visit Campo and the spectacular "Ventamillo Gorge". In Campo you will also find the Museum of Traditional Games, dedicated to the games which were played in our towns from an ethnographic point of view.
THE BOÍ VALLEY
We recommend a visit to the Aigüestortes National Park and the rediscovery of the Romanesque period
You can catch a 4x4 taxi from Boí which will take you to the park but, if you prefer, you can also go as far as the car park at the entrance and walk along the banks of the Sant Nicolau river.
You can also walk from Boí to Taüll - it takes about 40 minutes - or take a stroll along the Selencar de Barruera.
You can visit Erill la Vall, where you will find the Romanesque Interpretation Centre offering guided tours. Here you will also find one of the best bell towers in the valley, a slender square tower six storeys in height with typical Lombard-Romanesque style decoration: blind arches and dogtooth friezes.
The different towns in the Boí Valley were populated by farming families who established themselves in high sunny places so as to defend themselves and make the most of the land, pastures and forest.
The Boí Valley is chiefly made up of the churches of Sant Climent, Santa Maria de Taüll, Sant Joan de Boí and Santa Eulàlia d'Erill la Vall. All of them with the architectural style of the 11th and 12th centuries, Lombard-Romanesque with narrow belfry towers.
TOWARDS EAST RIBAGORZA
You can discover Eastern Ribagorza: a route of fortresses and castles
From Laspaúles go towards Pont de Suert (Lleida) until you reach Arén, where you can visit the Dinosaur Museum. Afterwards you can visit Montanyana, a small mediaeval village, where you will take a trip into the Middle Ages. You’ll be sure to find it fascinating!
Then you can continue along the route to the town of Benabarre, bordering on the easternmost part of Aragon, where the Aragonese and Catalan cultures converge. As you take a stroll through its streets you will notice some Renaissance and Baroque house façades, the ice well, the flour and oil mills and the prison. On a hill overlooking the River Guart stands the castle of this town.
In this town you can find two current testimonies of the artisanal and gastronomic know-how which made up the Benabarre Trade Routes. You can also find the Brescó chocolate factory and the Fondaña farm, specialising in cheese production.
BENASQUE AND THE POSETS-MALADETA NATURAL PARK
The Aneto, Posets and Maladeta make up the rooftop of Aragon, all over 3,000 metres high
We recommend two trips to choose from:
1. Aigualluts waterfall, declared a Park in 1994 and Natural Park in 1998, due to the richness and diversity of the geology, botany, zoology and landscapes of this vast territory. This is where the waters of the Aneto glacier disappear to rise again in the Aran Valley (Güell de Jueu) and end up in France. This was proven by putting green dye in the water.
2. Botanical gardens and waterfalls/Alba Gorges. This is a circular route with gentle slopes enabling you to get to know the diversity of the natural landscape. The path is historical, linking the Kingdom of Aragon and the South of France.
If the weather isn’t very good, we suggest you visit one of the Interpretation Centres in Eriste and Benasque.
Benasque is a municipality on the border of France via El Portillón, "where the French ladies only had to stand on a chair to enjoy the views of the Maladeta" (V. Juste). These mountains are full of legends and stories of smuggling.
We suggest you take a walk through Benasque, where you can visit the typical historical part of this mountain town, as well as the commercial and tourist area. In addition, you will find the cultural centre, the Torassa Casa Juste and the Palace of the Counts of Ribagorça. After the visit to Benasque you can take a walk around Anciles (almost 2km) to visit the manor houses, defences, etc. This is a stately town.
*A chance to taste traditional Sahún cheeses in "The Benasqués"