Welcome to Ripoll
Ripoll can claim, with some justice, to be the birthplace of Catalonia. In the 9th century it was the power base from which local strongman Guifré el Pilós (Wilfred the Hairy) succeeded in uniting several counties of the Frankish March along the southern side of the Pyrenees. Guifré went on to become the first in a line of hereditary counts of Barcelona. To encourage repopulation of the Pyrenean valleys, he founded (and now lies buried in) the Monestir de Santa Maria, medieval Catalonia's most powerful monastery.
Ripoll is well-positioned for rambling the vertiginous hiking and skiing terrain of the Vall de Núria, extending from 13km north, or the dormant volcanoes of La Garrotxa, 30km east.