About Salt de Tenes (Sant Miquel del Fai)
Salt de Tenes was essentially our lone waterfalling experience near the city of Barcelona.
However, belying its relative proximity to the cosmopolitan metropolis, the monastery at the Sant Miquel del Fai (which harbored this waterfall) was actually very peaceful and relaxing.
This waterfall experience also had that rare combination of a waterfall juxtaposed with history thanks to the presence of this monastery.
Speaking of monasteries, this experience contrasted mightily to the monastery at Montserrat, which was heavily visited (for good reason) and commercialized.
In any case, as you can see from the photo above, this beautifully-situated tall waterfall was not flowing too well, but at least it flowed well enough to show up on photographs.
Unfortunately, its neighboring waterfall called Salt de Rossinyol was barely trickling.
I think based on our experience, this waterfall would be best visited during the early Spring months (March or April) on a year when there’s average or above average rainfall in the region.
Experiencing Sant Miquel del Fai
Our visit to this waterfall and monastery was pretty straightforward.
From the overflow parking area (see directions below), we walked towards a bridge and arched entranceway.
It led us along a walkway that afforded us views across the Tenes Valley towards our first glimpses of the full height of Salt de Tenes.
Had the area seen more recent rainfall, we not only might have seen a thicker Salt de Tenes, but we also might have seen the plunging Salt de Rossinyol.
That waterfall would have spilled right beneath the monastery buildings to our right.
Continuing further along the walkway, we then entered through a gate into the Plaza de la Abadía.
That was where we paid for our admission to go further into the complex.
Beyond this plaza, we were also able to walk up some steps onto the roof that doubled as a viewing deck.
This roof was of one of the buildings of the Abadía and Casa del Priorato, which were those stone buildings that were hugging the cliffs next to where Salt de Rossinyol was supposed to be.
While up in this spot, we were able to look into the Val de Tenes as well as back over towards parts of the monastery.
We then explored a viewing and rest area besides a large pond with ducks and geese that was surrounded by the church of Sant Miquel, which was actually built into a cave.
By the way, the presence of this pond and some of the water channels led me to believe that Salt de Rossinyol might be man-modified for the purposes of flood control around this monastery and complex.
Exploring La Cueva de Sant Miquel
Beyond this pond area, the path continued further along the cliffs as it reached a junction.
The path on the left side of the junction went down steps to an intriguing small cave (called La Cueva de Sant Miquel) that featured the typical cave formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
More importantly, it highlighted the calcium carbonate (limestone) that was prevalent in the area and provided some of the travertine formations around the waterfalls.
There were also very open views towards the Tenes Valley along the stair-stepping trail.
Exploring Salt de Tenes and beyond
Back up at the main path, a water canal followed along the cliff wall on one side while railings with a few benches sat on the valley side of the walkway.
On one bench, there was a statue of the writer Josep Pla (carved by artist Tomás Atienza).
The trail then went behind one of the uppermost drops of the Salt de Tenes.
The cove here provided welcome shade as well as the cool and refreshing mist from the falling water itself.
I’m sure under more waterflow, this area might get even more blasted with water (which I’m sure had given rise to this cove in the first place).
Anyways, beyond the Salt de Tenes, the trail continued towards a fork.
The path on the right went to the hermitage of Sant Martí of the 9th century as well as the Cueva Les Tosques.
The path on the left fork went to a children’s play area where a cantina was also set up for the adults to chill out while supervising the playground.
Even though we didn’t see the waterfalls here under the best of conditions, the experience was very relaxing and peaceful.
Indeed, it was the antidote to the fast-paced festive-like atmosphere in and around Barcelona.
Think of it as kind of like the Sant Miquel del Fai was the yin to the yang of Barcelona and Montserrat.
Overall, we wound up spending a couple of hours here, but the walking time was probably no more than an hour.
Salt de Tenes resides in the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery near the town of Bigues i Riells in the province of Barcelona, Spain. It is administered by the Espai Natural de Sant Miquel del Fai. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
To get to Sant Miquel del Fai from Barcelona, we drove the C-33 road onto the autopista north for about 15km to its junction with the C-59 road.
We followed the C-59 road north for about 20km north into the town of Sant Feliu de Codines.
Once we got to the junction of the C-59 and BV-1485 road, we then followed the signs for Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai, which directed us onto the BV-1485 road.
We followed this road for the next 7km right to the Sant Miquel del Fai, where we then turned right at the fork to get into the complex.
The road then overshot the monastery entrance and deposited us in a large spillover car park.
Overall, this drive took us about 75 minutes though a good 20 minutes was spent navigating through the busy streets of Barcelona.
When we left the car park, we had to drive a bumpy and narrow road out the car park’s other end.
That eventually got us to the BV-1485 road after about 500m.
There was also a cafe with probably a lookout of the entirety of the head of the Tenes Valley with the waterfalls and the monastery all in one shot from up there.
However, we can only speculate on this since we didn’t actually stop there, but we knew that such a view existed based on what we saw in the literature.
To give you some additional context, Barcelona was 64km (1 hour drive or 2 hours by public transport) southeast of Montserrat, 313km (3 hours drive) east of Zaragoza, 351km (3.5 hours drive or over 3 hours by Euromed train) north Valencia, and 624km (6 hours drive or 7.5 hours by train via Zaragoza) to Madrid.
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