Vall de Núria is a mountain resort with extensive trails in the summer and ski runs in the winter. The valley also has a sanctuary (the original reason for its settlement) and posh hotel (so you can hike in style). As mentioned, we set up camp instead. At about 2000 m (~ 6600 ft) above sea level, the drop in temperature from still balmy Barcelona did come as a little shock. In the evening, we were layering under our winter coats and glad of low temperature-rated sleeping bags. Unfortunately, Pepper was less prepared, and all night we took turns re-tucking her in to stop her shivering.
The days, however, were quite fine. Perfect autumn weather actually. The mountains were some of the most beautiful we've been in. It was easy to see why so many people raved about the area - one couple we know even named their daughter Núria after the valley. The hiking was pretty technical, even on the flats, which explains the profusion of trekking poles we saw. Being above the treeline made for some incredible views, and it was hard to get "Climb Every Mountain" out of my head. I half expected to see a singing nun over each new rise. The gorge was dotted with pretty little waterfalls, and the quaint highland meadow made us feel like we had accidentally wandered onto the packaging of some Alpine cheese.
We're looking forward to going back!