Canigó – Discover the Sacred Catalan Mountain

Canigó, the sacred mountain, sits majestically on the horizon of Catalonia. For centuries, she has born witness to bloody battles between men, the rise and fall of kingdoms and of course, the development and evolution of ecosystems.

Offering unrivalled views over the Pyrénées, both to the north and the south, the mountain has always been held in high esteem by climbers and mountaineers, whether professional, elite or simple enthusiasts.

Now, in a bid to promote and protect the mountain’s natural heritage, the syndicat mixte Canigó Grand Site (Smcgs) has established a number of routes, showcasing the unique and fascinating story of Canigó.

Smcgs is the lead agency in the European EmbleMatiC programme, a cooperative representing 9 emblematic mountains from 5 countries within the Mediterranean region.

Cika, Etna, Gran Sasso, Mont Ida, Olympus, Pedraforca, Sainte Victoire, Serra de Tramuntana and of course, our very own Canigó, will each promote a very special route with the aim of developing a new form of sustainable tourism in coastal mountains.

In consultation with the local stake holders, three working groups conducted extensive research into four major objectives:

  • Participate in the local development of the villages of the northern slopes,
  • Contribute to strengthening the appeal of this region,
  • Enhance the value of the mountain’s natural and cultural heritage,
  • Connect the villages of the Tet Valley (N116) and those of the higher slopes

The idea is to offer three levels of hiking, all accessible via public transport, particularly the bus and train at €1

The main itinerary links Millas to Villefranche-de-Confent, talking walkers through the main villages and viewpoints of the northern slopes. With a duration of between 2 and 5 days, the 72km route can be walked in either direction. At its lowest point, the path is just 94m above sea level but rises to 892m, according magnificent views across the plains.

Other day, or half-day itineraries will be established linking the villages of the Tet to the main route. Existing “family” loops will also be improved, offering access to easier tracks of 30 minutes to 2 hours.

A comprehensive inventory of natural and cultural heritage is being carried out by a student at the University of Perpignan, Margault Coste, This inventory will then be used to create an account, the tale of the sacred mountain, to guide visitors during their walk.

Another key aim of the project is of course to generate economic benefits for the territory and as such, visitor sites and tourism products will also be integrated.

Given centre stage will be les orgues d’Ille, the château Caladroy, the lac de Vinça, the prieuré de Marcevol and de Rodès, Eus, Villefranche de
Conflent…

The eco-itinéraire of Canigó, along with the other 8 mountains in the cooperative, will be promoted locally and internationally throughout 2019.

Videos, maps, posters and guide books will be distributed at specialist fairs and salons throughout Europe (Stuttgart, Utrech, Brussels…). Information will also be shared on social media.

So keep your eyes peeled- Canigó is set to go viral!

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