1) Why visit Torla?
Why visit Torla?
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.
Torla: the facts
Situated in a glacial valley of the River Ara at an altitude of 1020 m, Torla, typical of many Aragonese villages, retains its sleepy atmosphere despite the influx of tourists who swell its ranks every summer. Numbering 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. 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.
Due to its mountain location, the weather in Torla is not great for those with a tent. In the summer the average temperature is between 5oc – 10oc and in the winter 5oc – -9oc. It rains all year around so be prepared.
Despite being a sleepy village, Torla in the great Spanish tradition, still finds time to have a Saint’s Day festival which is celebrated on 12th October. The festival is marked by young men dancing 3 traditional routines: El Palotiau, La Jota and El Repatán. The village also boasts a number of processions that take place throughout the year including every 26th July to the chapel of Santa Ana and every 8th May to the church of Sant Miguel.
Torla: monuments & sights
Iglesia del Salvador
(Church of the Saviour)
Monument Type: Church
Address: Calle Iglesia, s/n
Opening Times: Hours of Service
Information: Constructed in the 17th century the Church of the Saviour was badly damaged during the Spanish Civil War. The bell tower was reconstructed in the 1950’s but wasn’t restored to its former glory until the 1990s and today it is an active house of worship.
The accommodation in Torla is expensive, with hotels costing at a minimum 30 € a night, per person. However, there are two French refugios (shelters) and if all else fails, unpack that tent and head to one of the following:
Camping Río Ara – Camping Río Ara is the closest campsite but can be a tricky to find. As you enter town through a tunnel with the Church of the Saviour 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?
The prices are: adult 4,50 €, small tent 4,50 €, car 4,50 €. The camp-site 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.
Camping San Anton – located 2 km north on the road to the Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido, Camping San Anton offers both bungalows (from 80 € per day) and camping (adult 4,50 €, small tent 4,50 €, car 4,30 €).
Refugio Lucien Briet – located in the very centre of the village and with a restaurant attached Refugio Lucien Briet offers double rooms (40 €) and dorm beds (10 €).
Refugio L’Atalaya – is another youth hostel/restaurant affair, again located very close to the centre. Double rooms (38 €) and dorm beds (10 €) are offered with special options available for groups of 7 or 8.
Trips to Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
Buses run from Torla – Pradera de Ordesa every 30 mins from 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. and every 15-20 mins thereafter until 7 p.m. The last bus returning from the national park leaves at 10 p.m. The bus is taken from Torla bus station which is located on the main road just south of the tunnel. 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.
Torla is high up in the mountains and although some restaurants do offer Wi-Fi the speed of it cannot be guaranteed. If you’re absolutely desperate to get online, your best bet is to head to one of the larger hotels along Av. de Ordesa, buy an expensive drink and try your luck.
Torla is located on a dead end road that runs off the N-260a, which connects to Boltaña in the south-east and Biescas to the west. The nearest large city is Huesca 100 km south.
The bus station is located just before the entrance to the town from the N-260a. There are daily bus connections to Aínsa (1 hr) and Sabiñánigo (1 hr), which are run by Alosa.
Torla is quite difficult to hitch out off, 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’re going.
South-east towards Ainsa; West towards Biescas
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 €).
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.
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