The Cathars’ Route
Looking for an alternative to the usual mountain destinations? In the Pirineus Barcelona area, you can follow in the footsteps of the Cathars along the Camí dels Bons Homes (Path of the Good Men), a trans-Pyrenean route stretching from the Sanctuary of Queralt, in Berga, to the Château de Montségur, in the Ariège department in Southern France. This route is now a Long-Distance Path (GR-107) and is suitable for hikers, equestrians and —in most sections— mountain bikers. It’s a truly unforgettable experience, however you choose to travel it!
The Path of the Good Men covers 190 kilometres along the trails used by the Cathars of Occitanie in order to flee from the Inquisition in the 13th and 14th centuries. They were persecuted for speaking out against the corrupt, authoritarian and ostentatious Catholic Church of the time, and for practicing an austere, simple form of Christianity with nature-based spirituality at its core.
The route they followed has been split into ten stages that can be completed in nine or ten days. However, over the course of a weekend break you can cover two of the most interesting sections: the ones connecting Berga to Bagà, passing through Gósol. The route is comprehensively waymarked and takes in beautiful natural areas.
When you get to Berga in the morning, start off with a stroll around the old town, exploring its mediaeval streets and courtyards, the call (Jewish quarter) and the last surviving gate of the old town walls. Then head to the Sanctuary of Queralt, situated at 1,200 metres above sea level, and enjoy the fabulous views it affords of the landscape below. Follow the signs from the sanctuary to Peguera, an old abandoned mining town. Your best bet to travel from there to Gósol is by car; otherwise you won’t have enough time to visit the Picasso Centre and see the ruins of the mediaeval village and castle.
The next day, back on the GR-107, skirt around the southern slopes of the Serra del Cadí (part of the Pre-Pyrenees), stopping to admire the spectacular view of the north face of Pedraforca Mountain. When you reach the Bena Pass, you’d be best advised to use vehicle transport to get to Bagà. In the historical capital of Alt Berguedà you’ll find the Centre Medieval i d'Interpretació del Catarisme (Centre for Mediaeval History and Interpretation of Catharism), where you can find out about the Cathars’ ties to this area.
Before you leave, make sure you sample some of the mediaeval recipes revived by the town’s restaurants; the cuisine of the Cathars is simple but special!
- The Path of the Good Men organises some fascinating parallel activities. Check out its website and get even more out of the experience!
Path of the Good Men
The Cathars’ Path in the routes of BCN+
Tourist Board of Berga
Tourist Board of Bagà
Tourist Board of Gósol
Tourist Board of Berguedà