Saturday, March 03, 2007


Girona Costa Brava

We took advantage of Ryanair cheap flights from Pretwick to Girona to have a midweek visit to Olot in the Garrotxa region, a volcanic natural park inland from the Costa Brava.
A couple of years back Tom and I had a 6 day cycling tour around the region and I was impressed with both the region and
Olot town. This time round I booked Anne and I into La Perla hotel in Olot for four nights. I chose the hotel because its an information centre and I hoped to get details of local walks. It turned out the three walks we did were all in the sunflower guide I took out with me, but the afternoon post walk sightseeing was helped by the local guide books from the hotel and one or two short afternoon strolls as well.
We discovered there are lots of fully signed and numbered routes in the area described in leaflets so even without a good map its easy to have a glorious day out.
First day we spent walking through the volcanic area and down into the small crater of Volca Santa Margarida, through an absolutely lovely oak and beach wood to another volcanic cone called Volca Croscat. About 4 hours lovely easy walking. In the afternoon we took a walk through Olot town and up to the volcanic ash cone above the bull ring at the north edge of town, great views over the town and north to the snowy Pyrenees.

Day two we drove up a very twisty little road to Col de Bracons to do a 3.5hour easy walk up a lovely meandering trail to a hill named Puigsacalm at 1515m its very close to 5000ft, great views all the way to the Pyrenees. Later we had a visit to Castellfollit la Roca for another short walk along the river and up to the village on the rocky point.

Day three was much more of a climbing day, from a little picnic area near Santa Privat and accompanied by the restaurant dog we zig zagged up to Santa Magdalena, a hill refuge and a lovely place for a picnic lunch, shared of course with the cute little restaurant dog. Later we payed a visit to the medieval town of Santa Pau, it was a pleasant surprise very well kept with the newer sections sympathetic to the old quarter.

Last day we had to catch the flight back in the early evening so we headed off toward Girona but stopped off to have a look at Besalu, lovely old bridge with a portcullis leads into the old town. On to Girona for a bit of sightseeing around the city wall and the old quarter, a spot of late lunch then homeward bound. Great few days, I picked up a couple of good maps and learned a bit more about the area so I may well be back for more of the same or even a bit of mountain biking.
A 1:2500 map 'Garrotxa zone volcanica' by Editorial Alpina is available from Stanford maps complete with an English traslation of walk descriptions other maps around the area can be seen at
Pictures of the Garroxta area and Girona here

Short video here.


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