El Garraf

A set of images from a full-day hike in El Garraf, Catalunya.

The Garraf is a calcareous range of hills on the coast just south of Barcelona, and one of the few natural areas that can be reached easily and quickly by train from the city. It is not particularly mountainous, raising from sea level to a little over 600m altitude, but lack of shade and the Mediterranean heat can make the hike harder than you might expect.

Our walk started from the town of Garraf on the coast, before heading inland:

The area is supposedly a protected natural space, yet it is quite badly degraded by mining and the massive rubbish dumps that are the consequence of a large surrounding area with massive urban over-development and historically poor recycling.

But while people are busy creating macroscopic disasters, nature takes over in the spaces left between.

The walk finished back at the town of Garraf, where once again you can not fail to be impressed by the seemingly inexhaustible imperative to destroy nature and beauty in return for profit and convenience.

Yet even the snaking motorway that runs behind the town has a certain smoky elegance…

… although perhaps that is simply because of the contrast with the serene view out to sea from the same spot:

All images shot with the Olympus E-M1.2 and 60mm f2.8 macro lens using a polarising filter. Two of the final pictures were stitched panoramically in Photoshop.

We followed the GR92 based path shown on this excellent Wikiloc description, which starts and ends at the Garraf railway station (about 30 minutes on Cercanias from the Passeig de Gracia Renfe station). The hike was very hot and sometimes steep, so use good shoes and take plenty of water – we logged about 700m of ascent in total.

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