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Serra del Montsec

The Serra del Montsec is a headland of the Pyrenees. The mountain range runs from east to west through the Catalan province of Lleida and the Aragonese province of Huesca, and is about 40 kilometers long and covers a total area of 86 km2.

Its name originally comes from the Latin Montus Sectus which refers to the characteristic rock formations in the area. The mountain range is divided by three rivers into three main massifs, El Montsec the Rubies, El Montsec d'Ares and Montsec d'El Estall. There are two waterfalls, the Terradets and Montrebei. The highest mountain is the Sanatlis with an altitude of 1,678 meters that overlooks the plain of Lleida in the south and the Pyrenees in the north.

Because Montsec has a natural defensive position on the plateau and is protected from the cold winds from the north, it was in the days of the Reconquista a place of strategic importance. The castles Castelló de Farfanya, Algerri and Os de Balaguer were watchtowers along the defense line against which the Christians had to fight.

The Montsec is the perfect area for those who like to keep themselves busy with sports like hang-gliding and parapenting; rock climbing in the canyons is also popular. The area is also a favorite by hikers because of its beautiful routes.

Montsec has a grand diversity of flora and fauna. There are a number of monumental trees, which only occur in this area. There are also a number of fragrant herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary and mint. The Montsec is also home to large populations of raptors of which the Catalan bearded vulture is the most important.

In the Montsec Mountains there are also a few spectacular gorges. One of these is the Mont-rebei gap in the Ribagorçana Noguera river, which forms the natural border between Catalunya and Aragon. The vertical walls of the gorge are 500 meters high and the width is only 20 meters. Another gap is the Terradets. This is one of the most beautiful places in the Montsec with a tourist infrastructure.

There are hotels, restaurants and guest houses and you can go hiking, climbing and horse riding and do water sports. The gap has walls up to 600 meters high and is a paradise for climbers. The Forat the Buli is a gap in the Rialb river in the western part of the Aubanç site. A favorite place for canoeists. At the place where the river Rialb joins the La Gavarra and mixes with Les Cots and the Fonts Buli source is a beautiful landscape with small waterfalls. The gap has walls 200 meters high and the river comes from a tunnel 100 meters long.

The Parc Astronómic Montsec has a museum and two telescopes for stargazing. In the museum you can journey through the history of the universe from its beginnings to the creation of our solar system. The museum also focuses on the flora and fauna and geology of the Montsec Mountains. The astronomical park is located in Sant Esteve de la Sarga at an altitude of 1,570 meters.

A great experience is a balloon trip over the Montsec from Ager or Sant Llorens the Montgai. Depending on the weather you can ride up to 3,000 meters high and marvel at the beauty of the mountains with its vertical rock formations, the lakes Sant Antoni and Camarassa and the picturesque villages of Las Avellanas Cubells and Camarassa.

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