Salt de Tenes (Sant Miquel del Fai)

Bigues i Riells / Catalonia Region, Barcelona, Spain

About Salt de Tenes (Sant Miquel del Fai)


Hiking Distance: < 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2015-06-20
Date last visited: 2015-06-20

Waterfall Latitude: 41.71504
Waterfall Longitude: 2.18852

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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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_196_06202015 - Salt de Tenes
Salt de Tenes

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_250_06202015 - Context of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery perched over a horseshoe-shaped amphitheater. In times of flood, Salt de Rossinyol would flow beneath the buildings
Context of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery perched over a horseshoe-shaped amphitheater. In times of flood, Salt de Rossinyol would flow beneath the buildings

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_026_06202015 - Context of the full height of Salt de Tenes as seen from the walkway towards the entrance of the Monastery of Sant Miquel del Fai
Context of the full height of Salt de Tenes as seen from the walkway towards the entrance of the Monastery of Sant Miquel del Fai

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_083_06202015 - Much of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery was built within the overarching cliffs as if they're part of the caves or cliffs themselves
Much of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery was built within the overarching cliffs as if they’re part of the caves or cliffs themselves

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_078_06202015 - Looking over the pond towards an where where the Salt de Rossinyol might tumble over if there's enough water to cause a flood at the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery
Looking over the pond towards an where where the Salt de Rossinyol might tumble over if there’s enough water to cause a flood at the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_153_06202015 - Julie and Tahia exploring the limestone cave of la Cueva de Sant Miquel, which was beneath the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery
Julie and Tahia exploring the limestone cave of la Cueva de Sant Miquel, which was beneath the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_203_06202015 - Looking back at the attractive upper drop of the Salt de Tenes while continuing to walk to the far side of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery complex
Looking back at the attractive upper drop of the Salt de Tenes while continuing to walk to the far side of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery complex

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_239_06202015 - Inside the hermitage of Sant Martí near the playground and cantina at the far end of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery complex
Inside the hermitage of Sant Martí near the playground and cantina at the far end of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery complex

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_228_06202015 - Tenes Valley seen from the Sant Miquel del Fai complex
Tenes Valley seen from the Sant Miquel del Fai complex

Overall, we wound up spending a couple of hours here, but the walking time was probably no more than an hour.

Authorities

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_006_06202015 - Crossing over a bridge leading towards the entrance of the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_007_06202015 - Julie and Tahia passing beneath an archway as we were getting closer to the main area of the Monastir de Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_010_06202015 - This was our first look towards the tall Salt de Tenes, although it was a bit on the thin side so it's hard to see in this photo
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_017_06202015 - Following the walkway leading down to the monastery while there were views of the Tenes Valley throughout this walk
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_023_06202015 - Here's a zoomed in look at the entirety of the Salt de Tenes so you can see that there really is still water in this waterfall
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_040_06202015 - Julie and Tahia walking towards the entrance of the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_053_06202015 - Near the entrance to the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai, we could already see water channels and wells
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_063_06202015 - Looking towards the little water canal beneath the overhanging cliffs at the Plaza de la Abadía after having gone through the entrance for the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_067_06202015 - Walking past the buildings towards the steps that yielded a nice view of Tenes Valley
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_082_06202015 - Looking back in the direction of the entrance at Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_091_06202015 - It was cool and shady in this little corridor as we walked past the pond and towards more of the Sant Miquel del Fai Monastery Complex
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_094_06202015 - This was the church of Sant Miquel, which was said to date back to the 10th century
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_099_06202015 - More cool resting spots in the area around the pond at Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_108_06202015 - Looking back across the pond with ducks or geese swimming in it at Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_112_06202015 - Julie continuing to walk closer to the Salt de Tenes beyond the monastery part of the complex
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_115_06202015 - Looking back along the cliffs where you can see that some of the buildings of the Sant Miquel del Fai complex were actually built atop cliff overhangs!
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_116_06202015 - Another look back across the overhanging cliffs where some of the buildings of the Sant Miquel del Fai were built atop
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_119_06202015 - Julie and Tahia descending some steps towards the Cueva de Sant Miquel
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_122_06202015 - Looking into the Val de Tenes right from the stairs leading to the Cueva de Sant Miquel
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_127_06202015 - Looking towards the base of the Salt de Tenes from the stairs leading down to the entrance of the Cueva de Sant Miquel
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_136_06202015 - Approaching the entrance for Cueva de Sant Miquel
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_137_06202015 - Looking past the base of Salt de Tenes towards the Val de Tenes right from the entrance of the Cueva de Sant Miquel
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_142_06202015 - Approaching the entrance to the Cueva de Sant Miquel
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_157_06202015 - Julie and Tahia continuing going back up the steps leading back up to the main walkway
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_167_06202015 - Julie and Tahia approaching the backside of Salt de Tenes on the main walkway
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_172_06202015 - Walking behind the Salt de Tenes
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_185_06202015 - Looking out from behind the Salt de Tenes
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_219_06202015 - This was the view looking back towards the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai after having passed by the Salt de Tenes
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_228_06202015 - Looking into the Val de Tenes from the opposite side of the paid area of Sant Miquel del Fai near the playground and hermitage
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_236_06202015 - This building was the Sant Martí Ermita dating back to the 9th century
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_244_06202015 - This was the playground area for kids at far end of the Sant Miquel del Fai complex
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_246_06202015 - While the kids were playing below, this was the cantina and picnic area to sit, relax, and watch them from above
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_254_06202015 - The main walking path as we were headed back towards the entrance of Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_256_06202015 - This was the statue of Josep Pla at the Plaza del Reposo in the main part of the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai complex
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_263_06202015 - Leaving the complex at the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_265_06202015 - Just to highlight how hot and dry it had been by the time we had visited the Sant Miquel del Fai, we noticed this snake right off the trail. We don't know if it's poisonous, but we had to be real careful about where we stepped
Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_269_06202015 - Tahia going back through the archway entrance as we left the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai

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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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_001_06202015 - The large spillover car park for the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai complex
The large spillover car park for the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai complex

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.

Sant_Miquel_de_Fai_002_06202015 - After parking the car, we then had to walk back on the road to reach the entrance of the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai. Note that only buses could go back out this way because the one-way exit road was too steep and narrow for them
After parking the car, we then had to walk back on the road to reach the entrance of the Monestir de Sant Miquel del Fai. Note that only buses could go back out this way because the one-way exit road was too steep and narrow for them

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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Looking across the Tenes Valley at the impressive multi-tiered falls and monastery before descending further down the path to another lookout


Walking the path behind the falls while examining the monastery and valley at the same time

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Tagged with: bigues i riells, barcelona, catalonia, sant miquel de fai, spain, waterfall, monastery, montserrat, rossinyol, josep pla, cave, tenes, valley



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