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Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d’Aran

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Vielha, the capital of the Vall d’Aran, is a Pyrenean town located at almost 1,000 meters of altitude and surrounded by peaks that exceed 2,000 meters. This picturesque town is characterized by its stone buildings, typical of the Vall d’Aran, and one of its treasures, the Nere River, which crosses the town.

What to See

The historic core of the city is located near the confluence of the Nere River and the Garona River. This captivating part of the town stands out for its narrow streets and its historic buildings.

One of the most emblematic places in the old part of the city is the Church of Sant Miquèu de Vielha. This building is characterized by its Romanesque style, which begins to show some typical features of the Gothic style. Its bell tower is very striking for its size, but it is important to consider that this church was built next to the medieval castle and, for this reason, the bell tower also had the function of a defense and tribute tower. Currently, this church is located next to the Town Hall and the Tourist Office, and inside it conserves the Christ of Mijaran and a small collection of Gothic and Baroque paintings.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

Another attraction of the town is Çò de Rodès, located on Major Street. This house from 1608 still preserves many elements from the past such as the stone corners, the arched door, and the two windows on the upper floor: one of them in Gothic style and the other with a lowered arch.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

Another of the medieval Gothic houses we find in Vielha is the Çò de Fedusa. Also on Major Street, it integrates two adjoined houses with wooden and slate roofs. At the portal, you can see the marble and the lintel. Above the door, there is a Renaissance window, with mouldings and imposts.

Moreover, to get to know a typical Aranese home, we can pass by Çò de Saperisa, one of the most historic houses in Vielha dating back to 1605. On the facade of this building, you can see two large wooden doors and several windows with bars.

Additionally, on Major Street in Vielha, we will also find Tor deth generau Martinhon, a stately house dating from the end of the 16th century. It has a small corner tower and stands out remarkably for its stone corners.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

This territory has always been very connected with water by the river that crosses it: the Garona, and its tributary, the Nere. To cross them, there are two historic bridges, which allow you to listen to and see how this water flows. One of these bridges is the Wooden Bridge of the Garona. The other is the old Medieval bridge over the Nere River.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

Another important building in the historic core is the Lan Factory, a textile industry from the end of the 19th century that transformed natural wool into wool yarn. This factory was built by a neighbor of Vielha and operated until the middle of the 20th century. The factory was powered by the motive force of the Nere River which, through the force of the water current, moved the wooden wheel that transmitted kinetic energy to the machines.

The importance of water for the city can also be seen in the fountain with the coat of arms of Aran, located in the very center of Vielha.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

What to Do

The town of Vielha is a city that has changed a lot in recent years and has adapted very well to the tourist demand to offer both services, shops aimed at tourism, as well as cultural spaces and sports facilities.

Currently, the building of Tor deth generau Martinhon is the central headquarters of the Museums of the Vall d’Aran and there we will find the Ethnological Museum, where we can learn a little more about the history of the Vall d’Aran. It also occupies other spaces such as the Casa Joanchiquet de Vilamòs and the church of Sant Joan d’Arties.

For lovers of active tourism, it has the Palai de Gèu, an ice rink that offers coaching for those who want to start, a swimming pool, and activity rooms.

In addition, there are many companies that offer the possibility of practicing adventure sports, 4X4 routes through the Vall d’Aran and all kinds of winter sports.

If you want to go hiking, you can take some of the routes that start in this town and that take us into the heart of the Vall d’Aran. The Camín de Reiau, for example, leads towards the Alt Aran in one direction, and towards the Baix Aran in the other.


The gastronomy of the Vall d’Aran is notable for its use of locally produced products: there are many small local producers, bakeries, and artisan workshops dedicated to making cheeses and yogurts, cured meats (black sausage, chorizo, pâté), bread, jams, cider vinegar, honey, preserves… This represents high quality and the persistence of traditional flavors.

Among the typical dishes of the area, those made with game meat stand out: the olla aranesa, a stew with pork, beef, chicken, pasta, legumes, and vegetables; the duck confit; and the wild boar stew.

Olla aranesa
Olla aranesa – Restaurant Casa Turnay

In confectionery, corquilhons, traditional fried pastries made of flour and sugar, and tronquets, diamond-shaped pastries flavored with anise, fried and dusted with sugar, are made.

Where to Eat

In this town, there is a wide variety of bars and restaurants where you can have a good meal to regain strength and continue visiting the Valley. You can eat anything from traditional to creative and author cuisine.

Check out all the restaurants in Vielha at Guiacat.

Where to Sleep

In Vielha, you will find many hotels and tourist accommodations to spend the night. There are options for all budget levels. Among all the options, a very good one is to stay in a traditional mountain house to experience the most authentic feel of the Vall d’Aran and shelter from the cold or heat.

You can find the rural accommodations of the Vall d’Aran at Guiacat.


The Main Festival of Vielha takes place the second week of September when, for a week, activities and events of all kinds are organized for both adults and children: races, treasure hunts, workshops, night dances, contests…

The most representative dance of the Vall d’Aran is the albada or aubada dance.

To preserve the musical and dance heritage, the group of Traditional Aranese Dances ‘Es Fardins de Vielha’‘ was created in 1988, and they perform in various towns of the Valley during August to spread this heritage among visitors.

Best Time to Visit

Whether summer or winter, do not miss the opportunity to visit Vielha, the most cosmopolitan city of the Vall d’Aran, where the charm of the Pyrenees merges with the bustle of tourism.


  • Discover the Church of Sant Miquèu
  • See the medieval houses of Vielha
  • Approach the fountain with the coat of arms of Aran
  • Cross the ancient bridges of Vielha
  • Learn about traditional Aranese dances.
  • Explore the surrounding villages and the paths that connect them.

What to See Nearby

The towns near Vielha also have churches with great heritage value worth visiting. These include the Church of Sant Andrèu de Casau of Romanesque origin with an image of the Virgin Mary transitioning to Gothic and an altarpiece of the Passion.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

Also of Romanesque origin is the Church of Santa Maria de Mijaran, a former Augustinian convent, said to be built over a pagan temple.

The Church of Sant Martí de Gausac is a Gothic church from the 14th century with elements from the late Romanesque period. The most outstanding architectural element is the bell tower, from the 15th century, a fortified Gothic tower that must have served for defensive use.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

One of the places closest to Vielha worth visiting is the Bassa d’Oles and Varicauba forest. This spot is located a few kilometers from Vielha and can be enjoyed for its lake and surrounding vegetation throughout the year. The lake can be walked around in approximately 20 minutes, and this place is very popular with families who decide to spend the day and relax away from civilization. Also, from the Bassa, two MTB circuits (one green and one blue) can be accessed, and fishing enthusiasts can practice intensive trout fishing with the proper permit.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

In the Vall d’Aran, there are many villages to discover that will surprise you with their beauty: Arties, Bossòst, Canejan, Les, Bagergue… all have their own charm!
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

We also recommend the wonderful landscape of the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park.
Vielha, the most cosmopolitan town in the Vall d'Aran

How to Get There

By road: You can get there via the A-2 from Barcelona (4 hours) and from Girona via the C-25 (4 hours 30 minutes), then take the N-230 from Lleida (2 hours 15 minutes). It is also accessible from Aragon, via the A-22 highway.

By public transport: By bus, you can take an Alsa from Barcelona or Lleida. You can also get to Lleida and from there take the train to the main cities and towns in Catalonia. From Vielha, there is also a bus line, Eth Pònt de Rei – Lleida, operated by Alsina.


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