Day 9: To Col du Pourtalet through Catalonia

by Sara Norris

After an early wakeup at Coll de Port it was time to move to the next dream roads on my list. I was now heading to the area where most of the roads I came for were located, the famous Tour de France mountain passes in Spanish and French Pyrenees that I wanted to check off my list.

Sunrise F-Type R

This truly was the day when I fell in love in Spain as a driving destination. The region by the coast was beautiful too but I came for the mountains and the mountains did not disappoint me, in fact the roads here were so good I could not really believe this was Spain. I asked myself why have I never been here before when some of the roads are even better than in the Alps which I consider to be the road paradise on planet earth. First of all I felt almost alone in the Pyrenees, these are quite remote roads that might connect a few small mountain towns but in general very few actually need to use them. I was alone for a while at least, until suddenly I saw a convoy of Mercedes-Benz SLR McLares appearing behind a corner in high speed. Followed by a few Mercedes-Benz support cars and I knew that had to be a Mercedes-Benz SLR. CLUB Tour, which it was, it was their Tour du Soleil 2014 driving tour. The strange surprises “in the middle of nowhere” did not end there. A little later arrived a group of Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss cars. Not one, not two or even three, more. A really surreal sight and I was so disappointed that I did not have my GoPro attached to the Jaguar at that moment!

From Coll de Port I drove down to Pantà de la Llosa del Cavall, which is a reservoir / dam region close to Sant Llorenc de Morunys. It was early morning with some nice morning mist hanging in the air and the place was nice for photos.

Panta de la Llosa del Cavall

F-Type R Spain tunnel

After this I continued to road L-401 going to Canelles. This road carved into the mountains is very beautiful, the views will take your breath away!

Spanish mountain road F-Type

From Coll de Nargó I drove up to Bóixols (Coll de Boixols 1380m), another nice driving road in the mountains.

Coll de Boixols

Catalonia roads

After this I just added Formigal (last town before the peak of Col du Pourtalet and Spain-France border) to the navigation and followed the roads given by that. Not one bad thing to say about this drive so I can recommend this exact route from start to finish! However, most of the time you will spend up on small mountain roads so do not leave refueling to the last minute. I too often tend to do that and I did it here also. Not the best idea when there are not that many fuel stations by these roads and some of them are closed.

Spain main roads

Nearly empty fantastic roads continued all the way to my last road destination for the day, Col du Pourtalet. This is between the border of Spain and France and it had a little more traffic because it was a beautiful day, but if you compare to a sunny day in the Alps you definitely find less cars in the Pyrenees. I can not find words to hype this region enough because I really feel it just has to be experienced. Roads in great condition, beautiful landscapes, thrilling curves, and if it makes some anti-Switzerland drivers happy – no signs of police either… Much like Italy in a way but with ten times better road condition!

Col du Pourtalet curve

Red F-Type R Pourtalet

Valley landscape Pourtalet

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TRACKDAYCATALONIA.COM August 31, 2016 - 11:04 am

Just uploading my video driving for ‘coll de bóixols’!!
Very nice pics and nice car!!

Sara Näse August 31, 2016 - 11:29 am

Thanks! Watched your video, you just made me miss that area so much! So many good driving roads… One of the best road trips I have ever done to be honest, it was crazy that there was not more traffic there (maybe because it was late September), I was most of the time all alone on the roads :-)

TRACKDAYCATALONIA.COM August 31, 2016 - 11:14 am Reply
trackday catalonia September 2, 2016 - 2:11 am

amazing pictures.
choosed very well. I drove a trackday with barcelona as starting point, next From Coll de nargó to Bóixols, n-260 up to ‘gerri de la sal’ to go to ‘vall d’aran’, a paradise of mountain passes with french pyrenees very near. 800km in one day.

Sara Näse September 4, 2016 - 1:01 pm

Thanks again :-) 800 km in a day including mountain roads!!! That IS crazy, haha. I would do it too, though… ;-)


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