Towards the Pyrenees

La Garrotxa
Back in Time - Volcanoes & Mediaeval Villages

La Garrotxa is the perfect place for a week away from everything. This unspoiled Catalonian backwater is less than 30 minutes from Girona Airport (90 minutes from Barcelona). You can step back in time, to mediaeval hilltop villages set in the fantasy landscape of La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. In this peaceful, and mainly Catalan speaking, area you'll feel like you're a million miles away from the Costa Brava. But La Garrotxa is just as easy to reach.

The 40 dormant volcanoes in the park are largely covered in wonderful beech and oak forests, with an extensive network of paths. The trails follow historic paths, well trodden for centuries, between picture postcard villages and tiny Romanesque churches; one 9th century church is even located in a grassy clearing in what was once the calderon of a volcano? (See the top photograph by Simone Rivers)

Autumn in the Forest

The walks are a mix of hilltops, forest, and open landscape with fine views. En route, there opportunities to enjoy the natural history and heritage of this unique area. The walking isn't difficult, and the trails are all on good paths, but there are some fairly gentle ascents, and the walks are long enough to make you feel you've earned a good meal and a comfortable bed at night. On day 6, we arrange for you to cycle one of the longer stretches, on one of the fine off-road cycle paths that criss-cross the region. Throughout the week, you'll see picturesque villages, beautiful miniature churches, a huge array of butterflies and birdlife, and wonderful views over this quite unique landscape.

You'll also enjoy the overnight stops, in two mediaeval villages, including Besalú, with its "twisty bridge" and ritual baths, favoured by the large Jewish community in the 11th century; at Santa Pau, with its 13th century castle and arcaded square; and in the delightful Rectoria de Sant Miquel de la Pineda, a 12th century building lovingly restored as a luxurious B&B and fine restaurant by its Catalonian / Scottish owners Roy and Goretti.

Cycling near Santa Miquel de La Pineda

Dining everywhere will be a pleasure - whether its in the open in a sleepy village square or enjoying fine dining at the Rectoria, or the wonderful local cuisine at your accommodation in Santa Pau, which could include anything from Moorish wheat bread, truffles, endives, chestnuts to escargots or wild boar.

All the arrangements will be well organised by our expert local agents. All you need to do is relax and enjoy a stimulating but peaceful week.

This holiday (or something similar in the area) is also available with an expert local guide for all or just part of the trip. If you prefer a guided holiday, please just contact Eurotracks, and we'll arrange that for you.

 

Restaurant Cal Sastres, Santa Pau

What's Included

  • Transfer from Girona Airport to Besalú
  • Transfer from Sant Miquel de la Pineda to Girona Airport
  • Breakfast, dinner and accommodation as described for 7 nights
  • Picnic lunches each day
  • Door to door luggage transfer
  • All other transfers as required
  • Map, written guide, direction, contact information and background information

Optional Extras

  • Transfer to Barcelona Airport; or Barcelona or Girona city centres
  • Additional overnight stops anywhere along the route
  • Additional overnight stops in Girona or Barcelona

Price - £795.00 per person

For 2 people sharing a room - single occupancy supplement is £00.00

To Book - Click Here

Getting There

Ryanair operate direct flights from a range of UK, Irish, and other north European airports.

There are direct flights from most major European airports to Barcelona.

Eurotracks will arrange for a quick transfers to and from La Garrotxa from either airport

Volca de Santa Margarida La Rectoria de Santa Miquel de Pineda
 

Itinerary (7 nights)

Total Distance - 70 miles, 112k
Longest Day - 13 miles, 20k
Average Day - 10 miles, 16k
Available from March to November (but best to avoid the very hot months of July and August)

Day 1 - Arrive Girona or Barcelona Airport

Transfer from Girona or Barcelona to the mediaeval village of Besalú. Wander in the historic old town. Dinner and overnight at Jardins de la Martana Hotel, overlooking the Romanesque town bridge.

Day 2 - Circular Walk to Mare de Dé del Monte Sanctuary

Distance - 10 miles, 16km
Ascent - 780m
Descent - 970m

A short transfer to Beuda village, visit the pilgrimage churches of Beuda, then a gradual climb to one of the best viewpoints of La Garrotxa and the Costa Brava. Return via Beuda and on to Besalú for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 - Besalú to Santa Pau

Distance - 13 miles, 20km
Ascent - 810m
Descent - 470m

An old trail through wooded mountains high above the valley of the River Ser - then across the valley to another beautiful mediaeaval village, Santa Pau, with its sleepy 13th century village square, complete with shaded arcades where you can enjoy an evening stroll. Dinner and overnight at the Cal Sastre Hotel and restaurant, specialising in fine local produce.

Day 4 - Circular Walk in the Finestres Mountains

Distance - 8.5 miles, 14km
Ascent - 640m
Descent - 640m

One of the best known walks in Catalonia - Beech and holm oak wood on much of the trail, on a gradual climb with fabulous views to the south of Santa Pau. Descent to Els Arcs Valley and back to your Hotel via the 9th century church of Santa Maria de Finestres.

Day 5 - Circular Walk to the Old Volcanoes

Distance - 10 miles, 16km
Ascent - 450m
Descent - 450m

In the heart of the Natural Park - the old volcanic structure is still apparent. Highlights include the tiny Romanesque Santa Margarida church, sitting like a jewel in the grassy hollow that was once the calderon of a volcano. Dinner and overnight at Cal Sastre Hotel in Santa Pau

Day 6 - Walk and Cycle to Sant Miquel de Pineda

Distance Walking - 5.5 miles, 8.5km
Distance Cycling - 7 miles, 11km
Ascent - 370m (of which 250 m walking)
Descent - 410m
(of which 290 m walking)

A short transfer to the start of a walk on a lava bed through what's regarded as Catalonia's finest forest. More architectural and geological treats follow, along an easy walk to your lunch stop. Here you collect cycles and head along the cycle trail to Sant Miquel de Pineda - offroad the whole way. You will have time to cycle further along the cycle path to explore some of the old villages in the neighbourhood. Stay and eat at the beautifully refurbished Rectoria, run by Catalan / Scottish couple Goretti and Roy. Dinner and overnight at the Rectoria

Day 7 Circular Walk to La Salut Sanctuary

Distance - 11 miles, 18km
Ascent - 600m
Descent - 600m

A climb from behind your accommodation to enjoy fabulous views over the whole area. The return can include a stop at the delightful mediaeval village of Sant Feliu. Overnight at Sant Miquel de Pineda

Day 8 - Depart Santa Miquel de Pineda

Transfer to Girona or Barcelona Airport (or city for overnight stops or some last minute sightseeing or shopping)

 

 

Besalu - Photo by Jas_GD
Santa Pau - Photo by Fraser Elliot