NATURAL PARK OF THE VOLCANIC ZONE OF LA GARROTXA
The Natural Park of the Volcanic Zone of the Garrotxa has an extension of 12.007 hectares (120.07 km²). Almost 40 volcanic cones have been counted, strombolian type and in good condition, as well as more than 20 lava basaltic lava flows.
The main area is the plain or flat of Olot and its slopes. The lava field occupies a large part of the plain, about 25 km². The magma flowed following the river Fluviá valley and reached Sant Jaume de Llierca.
The most important volcanoes are the Santa Margarita and the Croscat. The Croscat is the largest volcano in the Iberian Peninsula, with a height above sea level of 786 m, 160 m of elevation, 600 m of length and 350 m of maximum width. It is also the youngest, since its last eruption dates back 11,000 years, in the Upper Paleolithic.
22 km from the house. It is the capital of our region, La Garrotxa, especially known for its natural attractions; Not in vain all its municipal term is inside the Natural Park of the Volcanic Zone of the Garrotxa. The most known and visited volcanoes (all extinct) are Santa Margarita, Croscat and the Montsacopa Volcano also known as Sant Francesc.
The Croscat is famous because the terrain is «cut» and the geological strata can be perfectly appreciated, being at its foot the Botanical Garden of Natural Vegetation Olotense. There is also a great interest in the beech forest of Jorda, an immense beech forest, to be lost and strolled, on foot or on a bicycle, on horseback or in a carriage. One of the tourist attractions of Olot is its kitchen, the so-called «volcanic kitchen». One of his best and best known recipes are the potatoes of Olot (Patates d’Olot).
This pretty medieval village is just 14 km from us. The original name was Bisuldunum and as the name indicates, it was a fortress between two rivers: the Fluviá to the south and the Capellades to the north. The origin of the city was the castle of Besalú that is already documented in the tenth century, built on top of a hill where are the remains of the canonical Santa Maria, in the High Middle Ages. The current layout of the town does not respond faithfully to its original state but it does make it possible to read the urbanization of the Middle Ages with the existence of important buildings: the bridge, the Jewish baths, the church of the monastery of San Pedro Of Besalú and San Julián, old hospital of pilgrims, the house Cornella, the church of San Vicente and the gothic room of the Palace of the Real Curia.
View of Besalú from the bridge.
Besalú lets you see an architectural and urban structure quite coherent with the medieval past. The monumental importance of Besalú is given mainly by its great value as a whole, by its unity, which determines it as one of the most important and unique samples of the medieval ensembles of Catalonia. In 1966, it was declared «National Historic-Artistic Complex» for its great architectural value. Nowadays, Besalú is developing an important social and tourist project, signaling the historical center to highlight the tourist attractions of the population and making excavations to investigate different archaeological finds.
It is 32 km. Its lake (in Catalan, l’Estany de Banyoles) is the largest lake in Catalonia. The lake and its lacustrine basin are considered the most extensive karstic complex of Spain, constituting an environment system of remarkable value.
Located in the west of the municipal area of Banyoles, it was declared by the Generalitat de Catalunya as an integral part of the Plan of Spaces of Natural Interest. In 2003 it was included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, requesting by several groups the establishment of a Natural Park
The city of Girona is 52 km away. Its historical center or Barri Vell is one of the most evocative of Catalonia, with monumental elements unique in Europe. It is bounded in the east by the so-called Paseo de la Muralla, the round road of the old Carolingian walls (s.IX) and the lower Medieval (14th and 15th century).
Among its monuments are the Call, an old Jewish quarter, one of the best preserved in Spain; As well as the famous and colorful Houses of the Oñar, built on the bank of the river and very close to the Cathedral, a grand unique nave, which is the widest in the world in Gothic style.
Within the crossroads of medieval alleys stands the Judería, El Call, where he lived until the late fifteenth century a small community. It is one of the best preserved medieval nuclei in Europe. The Centro Bonastruc Ça Porta stands out, the possible old synagogue converted today into a study center and Museum of Jewish History.
Apodyterium (dressing room) of the so-called Arab baths.
To the north of the city, outside the walls, was the medieval Jewish cemetery, in the mountain of Montjuic, or mount of the Jews. Some tombstones, with Hebrew alphabetic characters, are displayed in the museum; Like the tombstone of a woman, Estelina. Her translation would be: «This is the funeral stele of the honored Estelina, wife of the illustrious and serene Bonastruc Josef. Have your mansion in the garden of Eden.»
This coastal strip covers an area of 214 km and is comprised of the Catalan regions of Alt Empordà, Baix Empordà and La Selva.
More than 30% of the total surface area of the regions of Gerona is protected because of its natural interest. The most important natural areas of the Costa Brava are:
Natural Park of Cabo de Creus: It is one of the most important natural areas of Catalonia. It is located around the geographical accident of the Cape of Creus, the most Eastern point of all the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory belongs to the municipalities of Cadaqués, Puerto de la Selva, La Selva de Mar, Llansá, Vilajuïga, Pau, Palau-Saverdera and Rosas. The space, both terrestrial and maritime, of the park covers 13 886 hectares and receives each year about 435 000 visitors. The strong winds that cross the zone, especially the tramuntana, and the waves have been molding this part of the coast, forming a very abrupt profile. In all the territory we find a sparse vegetation but a very rich fauna.
Ampurdán Marismas Natural Park: This is a set of marshes generated at the end of the river Muga and Fluvià. Since October 1983 is considered Natural Interest Site. The Park has an area of approximately 4730 hectares, of which 825 are a fully protected natural reserve. The Park is located in the area of Alto Ampurdán and is made up of the municipalities of Castellón de Ampúrias, San Pedro Pescador, Palau-Saverdera, Perelada, Pau, Pedret and Marsa, La Escala, Rosas and La Armentera. Its main interest lies in the richness of ornithological flora and fauna, especially migratory.
Islas Medas: Small archipelago located 900 m from Estartit, on the beach of Torroella de Montgrí. They are practically the only islands of the coast of Catalonia and are formed by the elevations of the mountain range of Montgrí. There are a total of seven islets, with rocky bottoms and underwater caves that make it a perfect place to practice scuba diving. The area is considered marine reserve because of its rich ecosystem, favored by its proximity to the mouth of the River Ter.
Botanic gardens: In the area of the Costa Brava, there are several botanical gardens that exhibit both local plant diversity and tropical, non-native species of the area. The gardens of Cap Roig, the historic park of Perelada Castle of 1877, Santa Clotilde in Lloret de Mar, Botanical Garden Marimurtra in Blanes and Botanical Garden Pinya de Rosa also located in the municipality of Blanes are the most important in the region.
Caves and beaches: The beaches of the Costa Brava are characterized by the quality of its waters. Many of these have been attributed the Blue Flag, unmistakable symbol of clean water and pollution-free. Some of these beaches are Lloret de Mar, Tamariu in Palafrugell, Cala Cristos-Cala Gogo in Calonge, La Fosca in Palamós and Mar Menuda in Tosa de Mar. Another characteristic feature of the Costa Brava is the small coves or beaches Hidden, surrounded by vegetation, due to the erosion of the sea on the cliffs. Some are only accessible from the sea and many others can only be reached by coastal paths that run along the coast in some towns on the Costa Brava.
Detail of one of the coves inside Cala Montgó in l’Escala.