Carros de Foc: Everything About Hiking in Aigüestortes

By Sierd van der Bij

Find that one special trekking

There are a lot of opportunities for hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees, but does it get any better than the Carros de Foc? To be fair, it's also one of the best-known multi-day hut-to-hut hikes in the area. Rather obvious, because with 65 kilometers, over 3,500 meters of elevation gain, and 9 welcoming huts, an epic adventure awaits you on the Carros de Foc. Hiking in, quite a mouthful, Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici doesn't get any better than this. Are you ready to discover the wild and adventurous side of Catalonia?

Once started as a joke by local hut wardens to visit each other, the Carros de Foc has now grown into a world-renowned multi-day mountain trek that is mentioned in many a guidebook as one of the most beautiful multi-day hut-to-hut treks in Europe. What makes the Carros de Foc so special? Why is it called "Chariots of Fire" in Catalan? Where do you start? Is the Carros de Foc something for you? Although well-known, one can still have a lot of unanswered questions about this epic trek. In this blog post, we'll answer them all for you!

What and Where Is Carros de Foc?

Carros de Foc is that epic hut-to-hut hiking tour that was not on your bucket list yet but will be after reading this blog post. No lies, there is no better way to discover the Catalonian Pyrenees. That answers one of your questions: You can find Carros de Foc in the Pyrenees, about 4 hours northwest of Barcelona, and because they are the Pyrenees after all, basically on the border with France. Carros de Foc is Catalan for Chariots of Fire and although no one knows why the trek carries this curious name, we dig it. The route was created in 1987 when the caretakers of the refuges in Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici Park decided to visit each other's huts, resulting in a beautiful circular hike, connecting all the mountain huts, "Refugi" in Catalan, in the area.

A great takeaway for Carros de Foc is that there is still this bond between the different refugis. The 9 huts are not only connected by 65 kilometers of trails, hikers are also able to collect stamps from each and every refugi, allowing for a great tangible memory to take home. The hike can be started at any of the participating refugis and you can choose your own pace and decide to stay in as many or few refugis as you wish. Having said that, it is of course to great to follow some sort of plan. If you keep reading, you will find one of the better self-guided itineraries for the Carros de Foc.

Is The Carros de Foc For Me?

Traversing from hut to hut in the Pyrenees on the Carros de Foc may not be for everyone. This is a high mountain hike that does require a bit of experience and respect for the mountains. Having said that, because you are staying at refugis, you will have more comfort than for example when you are hiking the GR11 in the Pyrenees. The refugis offer you a chance to recharge your mental and physical batteries and you will never have to stay in a tent. Also, since the Carros de Foc is a circular hike, you can take it as fast or slow as you want. It is recommended to do the Carros de Foc in at least five days, but it is also possible to do it in six. You could even only do half of the route.

It is important to know that although the Carros de Foc is a well-known route, it is not a perfectly marked one. Reason for this is that the route is that the park authorities of Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici have their own trail marking policy which does not include marking for the Carros de Foc. However, the directions to the independent huts are marked and with maps and/or a guidebook you can easily find your way. Is the Carros de Foc for you? If you are looking for an epic adventure in the Catalonian Pyrenees, this is totally for you!

Did you know that we can book all huts and refuges for the Carros de Foc for you? Check out all our options here.

Carros de Foc Accommodation: Staying in Refugis

At we like to do things properly and when it's about accommodation on treks in the Alps and the Pyrenees, this means you should stay in mountain huts. Refugi is the Catalonian name for a hut where mountaineers can enjoy a bed, a meal, and in, most cases, even a fresh draught beer or a good glass of wine. In Carros de Foc you can find 9 Refugis and what all these have in common is their fantastic locations. In the most remote spots in the Pyrenees, you can check into these safe havens.

On the Carros de Foc, not every Refugi offers the same standard. All of the huts have showers but only about half of them offer hot showers (against a small fee), only two can process card payments and not every refugi can be reached by car. Well, since you are on foot anyway, that's no problem. Now, in contrast to for example the Tour du Mont Blanc or the Alta Via 1, it is possible to not only have breakfast and dinner, but also lunch. This makes the Carros de Foc one of the only hut-to-hut trekking options with full board. This will save you a few extra grams in your backpack.

One clever way to both keep track of your visits and to have a tangible memory is the stamp card. For 30 Euros you get a high-quality map of Carros de Foc and a stamp card. Find a stamped example below.

What Is The Best Season for The Carros de Foc?

The Refugi on the Carros de Foc are open between June and October. This doesn't count for all of the Refugi, though. Some are only open between mid-July and mid-September, in line with huts in France, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. No surprise then, that this is the best season for hiking in Aigüestortes. No huts, no refreshments, so you will be on your own. The best months are typically July and August, these are also the busiest. It’s peak season, so make sure to book as much in advance as possible. If you decide to go trekking in September, you’re still in for a treat and it’s not as busy on the trail. But this could also mean that some accommodations might be closed for the season already. Also, the days are shorter and the weather is significantly colder. If you want to set out on a long hike in a warmer area during this period, check out the GR221 in Mallorca.

Carros de Foc and Aigüestortes Hiking Map

There are plenty of maps and guidebooks that can help you do the Carros de Foc or any other trek in Aigüestortes. Below you can find a map with an overview of the Carros de Foc and Aigüestortes. If you are looking for a quality guidebook for the route, we can always recommend the Cicerone guide for the Carros de Foc. At we make use of Cicerone guidebooks for the majority of our self-guided treks.

5-day Carros de Foc Itinerary: From Day to Day

On the Carros de Foc, you can find 9 huts and thus you can easily do a 10-day hut-to-hut-trek. We have designed a 5-stage Carros de Foc itinerary that allows you to make the most of your experience without having to spend more than a week on the trails. This itinerary was designed for hikers who are comfortable hiking for at least 6 hours per day. There is no need to rush your time on the Carros de Foc. Find some longer options here. 


Espot - Refugi Josep Maria Blanc - Refugi Ernest Mallafré

Duration: 05:50 h
Distance: 15.7 km
Ascent: 1370 m
Descent: 750 m
It is a gentle but constant hike up to our Refugi Josep Maria Blanc. Here you can get your stamp card and a detailed Carros de Foc hiking map. Also, if you need an extra t-shirt, you will be sure to find a Carros de Foc t-shirt here as well. Enjoy a quick coffee or lunch and keep hiking uphill until you've reached about 2,700 meters. From here it will be a gentle downhill hike to Refugi Ernest Mallafré. You will see that Mallafré is a basic refugi with not too many amenities; it's an absolute classic.

Refugi Ernest Mallafré


Refugi Ernest Mallafré - Refugi de la Restanca

Duration: 07:10 h
Distance: 19.4 km
Ascent: 1260 m
Descent: 1260 m
Highest Point: 1150 m
Today is a tough day at the office with almost 7 hours of hiking. This day can be split into, resulting in an itinerary with more days. On the way, you will have the possibility to recharge yourself at Amitges, Saboredo, and even Colomers. Don't get tempted to sit down for too long, because you don't want to be late for supper in Refugi de la Restanca. This stunning refugi is situated right at the shore of a dam.

Refugi de la Restanca


Refugi de la Restanca - Refugi del Estany Llong

Duration: 06:20 h
Distance: 14.7 km
Ascent: 1130 m
Descent: 1160 m
Again, not the easiest day, but it will be worth it. Refugi Ventosa i Calvell is a relatively short hike from Restanca and once you check in there for your stamp, you will see it's quite a busy hut. This is due to the fact that Ventosa can easily be reached from Vall de Boi, one of the main entrances to Aigüestortes. Here you will be sure to find good pizza and pasta sourced from local organic produce. After a quick break and collecting your stamp, it's time to keep moving towards to Estany Llong. This refugi is less busy than Ventosa, a perfect place to spend the night.

Refugi del Estany Llong


Refugi del Estany Llong - Refugi Colomina

Duration: 04:00 h
Distance: 11.3 km
Ascent: 750 m
Descent: 350 m
After a few intensive days, you have deserved an easier one. After breakfast, you can take the entire day to cover the 4 hours of hiking that is planned for today. Still, you are climbing almost 800 meters today. That is the only way to reach Refugi Colomina, the highest of all Carros de Foc refugis. This refugi has been revamped not so long ago. It offers splendid views over the Southern section of Aigüestortes. An excellent place to spend your last night on the Carros de Foc.

Refugi Colomina


Refugi Colomina - Refugi Josep Maria Blanc - Espot

Duration: 04:20 h
Distance: 13.8 km
Ascent: 240 m
Descent: 1330 m
The Carros de Foc is not done yet. You will have completed the full circuit once you check into Josep Maria Blanc for the second time. This hike will take you about two hours. On the way there, you will come across a few lakes like Estany de Mar and Estany de Saburo. Once you see Estany Negre de Peguera, you may recognize the same trail from a few days ago. Now you are well on your way to Josep Maria Blanc and, finally, Espot. Well done, you've conquered the Carros de Foc!
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Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Carros de Foc with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

Getting To and From Aigüestortes for the Carros de Foc

You can get to Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in different ways. Also, you can start the Carros de Foc at every connected refugi. Not every refugi is easy to reach though. Also, Aigüestortes can not be accessed from every side. It is the easiest to enter Aigüestortes from the Espot side. This will bring you to Josep Maria Blanc and onto the Carros de Foc route.

By plane:

Espot is about 4 hours from Barcelona and 3.5 hours from French Toulouse. Both these towns have an international airport and are well connected with other key cities in Europe. Here you can either rent a car and drive to Espot, or use public transport.

By bus:

From Barcelona, you can first take a bus to La Pobla de Segur. From here you can take another bus to Espot. It's not easy, but if you plan at least half a day for traveling and want to travel on a shoestring, it is worth it.

By car:

The easiest way to get to Aigüestortes and Espot is to go by car. From Barcelona, it's about 4 hours and 260 kilometers. From Toulouse, you can count 3.5 hours. In Espot you can find various options for long-term parking.


  • Safety on the Carros de Foc

  • Important Phone Numbers

  • Reporting of Incidents

  • Bad weather

  • Training and Preparation

  • Gear

How Much Does Hiking The Carros de Foc Cost?

The prices for hut-to-hut tours in the Pyrenees are quite varied. There are several variables to take into account when it comes to how much this trek costs: the type of accommodation, which can be in a shared dormitory or a private room in a hut, or also at a hotel in a town; How many days you will be spending on the mountain and whether you will be doing the full circuit or only a section; whether you will be doing it self-guided or with a guided group. The price of the trek will depend on your expectations for the tour.

At, we not only book your huts, we also send you on your way with a comprehensive hiking guide with the most important information for your Carros de Foc, including interactive Komoot maps. Browse all our options here and turn your dreams into reality.

Why book through

Embarking on a self-guided Carros de Foc offers immense freedom and unforgettable experiences. However, organizing the perfect route, securing accommodations, and arranging luggage transport can be a challenging task. That's where comes in. With our extensive network of warm contacts with hut wardens in the Carros de Foc region, we take the burden off your shoulders. Our dedicated Trekking Experts are here to provide you with free travel advice and make the entire process of arranging your Carros de Foc trek a breeze.

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