Bathed by the river Fluvià, the Garrotxa is a region in the interior of the province of Girona that can boast about having one of the greenest landscape in Catalonia and some of the finest medieval towns in the country. Despite its charm, this region remains the great unknown by many people. That is why we invite you to discover it with the high-speed trains Renfe-SNCF en Coopération.
The Garrotxa is one of those places that captivates absolutely all visitors. Few tourists know about its magic and this is certainly one of the reasons this region still preserves a very local essence and a little busy atmosphere. If you like rural tourism, or hiking, or you are looking for a destination for a family short break, the Garrotxa is definitely a place to consider. There is a wide offer of walking, riding and horsing treks to get lost amidst its landscapes. Visitors may even fly over the territory by hot air balloon and enjoy privileged views of the entire volcanic area and the small stone villages built on the slopes of the mountains.
Prepare your backpack and take note of the places you cannot miss when visiting the Garrotxa. You will love them!
THE VOLCANIC AREA OF THE GARROTXA
Santa Margarida volcano - Jordi Roquer, Wikimedia Commons
The volcanic area of the Garrotxa is one of the most important natural parks in Europe. Its humid climate and constant rainfall has made its vegetation, consisting mainly of oaks, the real protagonist. Far from the image of arid territory that comes to mind when thinking about volcanoes, the volcanic area of the Garrotxa is characterized by its perfect fusion of lush green forests and large areas of igneous rocks.
There are currently more than 28 marked walking routes across the length and breadth of the territory that cross the most attractive spots of the natural park. Their length changes depending on the distance and they suit all tastes and needs. However, it is worth visiting two of its most famous volcanoes, the Croscat and the Santa Margarita, and the well-known Fageda d’en Jordà. Access by car is easy and there is a parking lot next to the information point, where most of the routes start. In addition, there are many restaurants in the vicinity offering typical Catalan cuisine and best of all: volcanic cuisine!
THE FAGEDA D’EN JORDÀ
Forest, Fageda d'en Jorda - © Imatges Patronage of Tourism Costa Brava Girona
If there is a magical place surrounded by peace and quiet, this is the Fageda d’en Jordà. It is located within the natural park of the volcanic area of the Garrotxa, but it deserves special mention. It is an incredible forest of beech trees, where one can breathe peace and feel part of nature. Rays of sunlight slip though the leaves and branches of trees and cover the entire forest with an exquisite dim light. The soil, constantly moist, fills up with beech leaves changing color in every season. For this reason, the Fageda looks completely different in spring and autumn. It may be visited on foot or, if so wished, there is the option of a guided horse-drawn carriage. Carriages have a total occupation of fourteen people and go through the Fageda for one hour making a stop at the halfway point. It is a different and comfortable way to explore this astonishing forest, ideal when travelling with the family.
The Fageda d’en Jordà has been a source of inspiration for many painters and poets for its quiet and beauty. Joan Maragall, the father of modern Catalan poetry, was so captivated by this place that he dedicated one of his most famous poems to the Fageda.
Entrance of the town - Besalú
Besalú is a medieval village dating back to the tenth century, when the construction of its castle, the residence of the Counts of Besalú, is documented. The village preserves its medieval charm and was designated as a historical national property in 1996 for its great architectural value. After getting lost amidst its streets, going down to the river and crossing the bridge to access the old town, the visitor will understand why it is considered one of the prettiest villages in Spain.
CASTELLFOLLIT DE LA ROCA
Castellfollit de la Roca - © Imatges Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Girona
This one-kilometer long stunning village, located ten minutes away from Olot, is built on a basalt cliff, eroded by the rivers Fluviá and Toronell. Wandering through its streets is a must, as it is to spot the village from far away to get a good panoramic view of its floating houses.
View of the town - Olot
When talking about the Garrotxa we cannot skip Olot, its capital. It is a city with a village soul that during the nineteenth century and much of the twentieth was one of the most important industrial centers of the peninsula. Many wealthy families of Catalonia lived in this city, so it is easy to find numerous modernist buildings and stately mansions. Olot offers easy access to all interesting sites of the area so it is chosen by many as hub for their rural getaway.Our recommendation: do not miss the Vall d’en Bas and the Vall de Bianya!
Getting to the Garrotxa is really easy with the high-speed trains Renfe-SNCF en Coopération. Olot, its capital, is less than half an hour by car from our stops in Girona and Figueres. Getting to know the volcanic area is within reach… Are you going to let this opportunity pass you by?