Nature Retreat – Sant Ponç, Catalonia

Nature Retreat – Sant Ponç, Catalonia

Back in late spring of 2015, I had a free weekend without any particular plans, and was yarning for some stillness and nature – and this is where I ended up…

Actually,  I found this place by pure luck – or coincidence, whatever we want to call it. Sitting in the office, brainstorming where to take off to, I was looking around on the map of Catalonia for interesting places that aren’t too far away from my hometown of Barcelona – ideal for a weekend getaway. Suddenly, on satellite view, this blue waters caught my eye – the colour of the water was very different from the other lakes. Looking more into it, I discovered this place was hikeable from a closeby village, and – lucky carless me! – the village was accessible by bus. Enough to convince me to not think too much about it and just go. The lake – or reservoir, to be more precise –  is actually the result of a dam that has been placed on the Cardener river in 1954. If you’re wondering why the water here is such a dazzling blue – the soil in the valley is predominantly clay.

So here we go, take a look at the beautiful lake of Sant Ponç!

How to get there?

Obvisouly, the easier and less exhausting way is by car. By car, you can drive all the way  to the lake, without the need of walking at all – if you don’t like to do so.

But even if you’re carless but motivated, there is a “doable” way to get here – and I can assure you, it’s a more exciting one! 🙂 First, you take a bus from Barcelona to Solsona (ticket on sale on the website of Alsa bus company), which will take about 2 hourse and cost around 7 Euro. From Solsona, there is a 2 hour long walk/hike that will bring you to the lake. I have to be honest – the walk is not entirely amazing, since the first couple of kilometers are along the side of a highway – but if you like adventure: the second half involves jumping a private domain fence, follow some wild boar tracks and find your way in the woods. You can see it as a kind of obstacle race… Always look at the bright side of life, right? 🙂

Here are some views along the hike to Sant Ponç, to give you an idea… The views alongside the highway are not too shabby, I have to admit.

Where to sleep? 
 
Again, there are different options. I slept in a tent along the lakeside, which is the less legal and more adventurous option, but there is also an official camping just near the dam in Sant Ponç. Hotels are a bit further off in Solsona itself, or in El Pi de Sant Just – but this is only an option if you are by car. If you’re in for the adventure, I would  recommend the wildcamping option (I got contaminated by the wild camping microbe in Menorca a while ago), there is plenty of place to pitch your tent along the lakeside or in the woods nearby and there is no real control, as far as I’ve seen. Just make sure to be out of sight, and that’s about it. You might hear some noise at night from mice, squirrels or even wild boars (thought the latter is not so probable, even though there were some footprints alongside the road) – but I guess that’s the cool part of camping in a forest! If not, you can always check the options and prices for Camping La Ribera.

It’s a beautiful place to come to peace, watch the sunset or sunrise, walk around the lake, take a swim… and just enjoy the nature surrounding you. From time to time, I really enjoy going back to the bare basics, eating canned food, sleeping in a not-so-comfy setting, enjoying the silence and escaping the busy city life.
On the other hand, many people come here by car with a bunch of friends to pass the day, have fun in the water and picknick – this place is very multifunctional, as you see!

If you’re inspired by this kind of nature retreats, check out beautiful Lake Seliger, where I did an even longer natural retreat. Russia is a bit further away, but you never know where life’s road will bring you… 🙂

If you’re going to Sant Ponç with a backpack, remember to bring enough food for your stay – and above all, WATER! I was running out of the latter on my hike back – silly novice miscalculation of mine – and that’s definetely not the nicest experience in the 30ºC midday heat.

Hope you will have the chance to visit this place one day, and enjoy its peace and nature!

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