Tourism options in Catalonia for All Saints weekend
Masella ski resort opens on November 1, Central Catalonia welcomes mushroom hunters, with Montserrat monastery is a big draw for tourists
With the All Saints Day public holiday on Thursday, people looking to get away from it all in Catalonia, and even making a weekend of it, have no shortage of options.
It may still only be autumn but snow-lovers can already spend a day skiing in Catalonia, as La Masella ski resort opens for business on the November 1 public holiday.
First ski resort to open
Located in La Cerdanya, in the Girona region, La Masella, which is part of the Alp 2500 ski complex, is the first ski resort in the Catalan Pyrenees to open every year.
In fact, this year is the earliest La Masella has ever opened its facilities, albeit on Thursday only one ski slope will be operational, with more slopes to be opened up the following day.
Thanks to last weekend's cold weather, snow levels at La Masella are between 20 and 50 centimetres, and as long as the slopes stay open, it will be the Catalan resort offering the longest ski season, some six months.
Last chance to hunt wild mushrooms
As one season begins, another comes to an end, in this case the wild mushroom season, which draws thousands of people to woods all over the country in search of edible fungi.
In Central Catalonia, for example, a popular area for mushroom hunting, the tourist sector is reporting good occupancy rates in hotels and guest houses over the holiday weekend.
In the Berguedà county, reservations in rural guest houses are at around 90%, which could rise further, a very similar situation to that in the nearby county of Solsonès.
In both cases, the good figures are attributed to people looking for a last chance to bag some mushrooms before the season ends. Alta Anoia, Osona and Moianès are also expecting a busy few days.
The head of the Rural Tourism Association of Berguedà, Jordi Pellicer, expressed the "satisfaction" of the local tourism sector, which is also expecting a rush of last minute bookings.
"These days are good for us, we are in wild mushroom country, and before going skiing people come to the woods"
Jordi Pellicer · Rural Tourism Association of Berguedà head
"These days are good for us, we are in wild mushroom country, and before going skiing people come to the woods," said Pellicer, who added that some people will also come to celebrate the 'castanyada' chestnut festival, on October 31.
Yet it is not all about mushrooms and chestnuts in Central Catalonia, as the county of Bages is also a large draw for visits to such religious sites as the monastery on Montserrat mountain.
With some visitors to Montserrat staying in monks' cells in the monastery and some in local hotels, occupancy rates are as high as 95% and could reach 100%, mainly returning Catalan families.
Other destinations, Spain and European cities
While many in Catalonia will be staying in the country over the holiday weekend, the travel agents' association says that among the destinations for Catalans further away will primarily be in the north of Spain, Andalusia and European cities, such as London, Paris and Rome.
The association also says that in recent weeks there has been an upturn in the number of people choosing week-long cruises in the Mediterranean, leaving from Barcelona's port. Yet, whether the trend continues into November will depend on the weather, says the association.