This 15-km hike through Collserola starts at Avinguda Tibidabo in Barcelona and ends at the train station of Sant Cugat. It’s a well-rounded introduction to Collserola’s defining features: nearness to Barcelona, fantastic views over the city, Mediterranean woods, restaurants that attract families and groups of friends, and pathways frequented by hikers and cyclists.
We depart from Plaça Kennedy in the Bonanova district of Barcelona. The easiest way to get there is by taking the metro: L7 till Av. Tibidabo station, where we get off. We go up Avinguda Tibidabo, surrounded by magnificent Modern Styles houses from the early 19th century. We cross Ronda de Dalt and continue up till the Font del Racó park, which we see on the right (where Lluís Muntadas street begins). We enter this small park and follow the signs towards “Funicular del Tibidabo”.
When we leave the park we cross the Dr. Andreu square (named after the promoter of the development of Av. Tibidabo) towards the Funicular del Tibidabo station, just in front of the park’s exit. We take the way at the left of the station that goes up till a kennel (you may hear the dogs barking). 20 meter before the kennel we leave the main path and take a on the right that will bring us up to the Carretera de les Aigües. It’s a rather dirty and rocky trail.
Once on the Carretera de les Aigües, a popular place for runners, cyclists and walkers, we turn left and just 10 meters thereafter we take the path on the right that goes up till Tibidabo and Observatori Fabra. From this path we can enjoy great views of Barcelona, especially on clear days. At the first crossing, some minutes later, we turn right towards Vivers de Can Borni. We follow this path for 20-30 minutes till the Carretera de l’Arrabassada.
At l’Arrabassada road, which is the highest point at this hike, we turn right towards Barcelona. Beware of the traffic and the cyclists! We walk along the road till we find, beside a house, a half-meter post with yellow-and-white signs that identify several short-distance footpaths (PR-C). At that point you have to cross the road and enter the wood. Follow the short footpath, which runs parallel to the road, till an open space next to a house known as Vista Rica.
You have to take the first path on the left, very close to the trail you have followed. If you feel thirsty, before taking the path down you can drink some water from a fountain that stands 20 meters in front of you.
The path will lead you towards the bottom of the Sant Medir valley, but we will not reach its end: about 5 minutes after you have passed by an electric tower, at a bend of the main path you will take a footpath on the right towards the Font Groga (be alert, it’s the first deviation on the right after the electric tower but there are no signs). A few meters before the Font Groga you take a narrow trail on your left that goes down to the bottom of the valley. It’s a rather narrow, slippery trail, be cautious!
At the end of the down trail we cross a small stream and turn right, on a track that we’ll lead us through one of best preserved areas of Collserola. Enjoy it!
When the track comes to an end we join a wider path on our left that slowly brings us down to Sant Medir. From here we just follow the signs to Sant Medir. When we arrive at Sant Medir we’ll see the chapel in Romanesque style, documented since 962 but renovated several times. There is also a fountain, and overall looks like a good place to have a rest... By the way, before arriving to the chapel, and close to it, you will see a bigger building that is currently a center for people with intellectual disabilities.
From Sant Medir you could continue walking to Can Borrell, but if you have planned to eat at the restaurant Can Jané you have to backtrack 200 meters or so till a crossing where you will see a sign “Can Jané” (or “Can Gener”, it can be spelled in different ways) pointing to a path that goes up and left. In a couple of minutes you will see the white building of Can Jané. You can stop and have breakfast or lunch there.
If you continue walking in the same direction, following the signs to Can Borrell, you will eventually join the path from Sant Medir to Can Borrell. After approximately 1.5 km you will see Can Borrell, nowadays another popular restaurant. From here you just follow the signs to Sant Cugat. It’s now an easy walk where you are likely to meet many families with children, which shows that civilisation can’t be far away…
Before arriving to Sant Cugat you will see the magnificient pine tree of Can Xandri, which was damaged a few years ago but it’s still worth a picture. Keep walking and in a few minutes you will be at the Rotary International square. Turn left on Av. Pla del Vinyet, alongside the Europa International School. To reach the monastery you can ask for directions or use your smartphone’s GPS navigator. I usually turn right at the first “rotonda” and then follow Av. Torre Blanca till Rambla del Celler, then left till Baixada d’Alba. I walk up Baixada d’Alba, passing by the popular restaurant La Bolera, and then take the stairs up to the monastery.
The train station lies to the West of the monastery. I recommend you take the Santiago Rusiñol Street in front of the monastery: it looks like the main shopping center of the city and it’s busy even on Sundays. Follow this street, and ask for directions if you get lost and can’t find the station. By the way, remember that you will need a
2-zone ticket to Barcelona.