Natural Parks: Dels Ports

Parc Natural dels Ports is located in the mountains between Catalunya, Valencia and Aragon. For a map of the park click here. Consisting of limestone mountains, with cliffs and gorges shaped by the two rivers Matarranya and Ulldemo.

Els Ports makes the perfect haven for nature lovers, walkers and climbers. The mountains rise to a high point at Mount Caro (1447m) (see Recommended Drives in Things to Do), while you'll find spectacular rock formations at the Roques de Benet. On the lower slopes are beech and oak woods, and places where you can take a dip in river pools - Toll de Vidre, near Arnes is popular.

There is a comprehensive network of hiking trails and cycling routes through the Park with all degrees of difficulty.

For wildlife lovers there is an abundance of interesting and varied species of animal and if you're lucky you might spot Spanish Ibex, wild boar, Roe Deer, and the more elusive otter and wildcat.

For many birds Els Ports offer an ideal habitat to live and nest. Most noteworthy are the large sedentary birds of prey (vulture, golden eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, goshawk, peregrine falcon, eagle owl etc) and summer nesters (short-toed eagle, booted eagle etc). Other rarer protected species include the blue rock thrush, the oriole, the nuthatch, the treecreeper or the dipper. It’s incredible to look up and see vultures and golden eagles circling overhead, for more information on birdwatching and guided day tours please see the birdwatching Section.

There are many pretty villages in and around the Park, Horta Sant Joan with its small Picasso museum, Pauls, and, to the south, Mas de Barbarans. The Park Offices, with information about the park and its activities are in Roquetes.

There are three main entrances: the North Pass at Horta de Sant Joan, where you will find the Els Ports Ecomuseum in Horta de Sant Joan, and the information and guidance centre; the Central Pass at Roquetes, site of the administrative offices of the Natural Park of Els Ports offering direct access to Mont Caro; and the South Pass at Mas de Barberans-La Sénia.

Some of Catalunya’s most important monumental trees, the largest living beings on the planet, can be found in Els Ports.