Torla, Spain [travel guide]
The lush green hills and ideal location make Torla a perfect base to explore the nearby Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido. Small but charming, Torla evokes images of a rural idyll, with enough accommodation and eateries to keep hikers and casual tourists happy.
Situated in a glacial valley of the River Ara, Torla, typical of many Aragonese villages, retains its sleepy atmosphere despite the influx of tourists who swell its ranks every summer. Numbering just under a 1000 inhabitants, the name Torla derives from the Spanish for tower (torre) and was founded in the 11th century. It shares a border with France but it lacks a road connection and the River Ara is said to be the only river in Spain that has not been dammed by humans. Originally a much more prosperous town, even containing its own monastery, it suffered serious damage during the civil war and lost many of its older buildings.
The tourist information centre (C/ Fatás, Tel – 974 48 63 78 email – firstname.lastname@example.org) provides a basic map as well as bus and accommodation information. Details on hikes are a bit sketchy, however, and only in Spanish, so be prepared to work it out as you go along.
Buses run from Torla – Pradera de Ordesa every 30mins for 6am – 8am and every 15-20mins thereafter until 7pm. The last bus returning from the national park leaves at 10pm. A single ticket costs €3 and a return €4.50. There are restrictions on driving into the park from July to mid September so the bus is the only way to get there.
Cheap food can be found at the pizzeria above the tourist information centre, which opens at 8pm (€6-12). Menus (2 or 3 course meals) can be purchased all over town but are a bit on the pricey side (€15-20).
Torla is situated on the N-260 connecting to Boltaña in the east and Biescas to the west. The nearest large city is Huesca 100km south. There are daily bus connections to Aínsa and Sabiñánigo.
Torla is quite difficult to hitch out of due to the lack of cars. Little jumps are the way to go, have patience and eventually you will be able to get where you going. Opposite the bus station we picked up a car that drove us a few kilometres (west),
The closest campsite Río Ara can be a tricky to find. As you enter town through a tunnel with a church on top, immediately after take a right onto a stone path that turns into a dirt track as it snakes down the hill. Follow this down until you reach a bridge (with a dam on the right hand side). Cross the bridge and continue going following the road as it curves left. Crystal clear. Yes?
For 2 people with a tent and without a car the price was €14 a night. The campsite is well maintained, it even has grass, yes that’s right proper lawn, and has a shop to buy essentials and a small bar for coffee and beer.
written by: Jon