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The Volcanic Region of La Garrotxa Natural Park

Areas of interest

There is so much to see in the Natural Park, including natural phenomena such as volcanoes and flora, and cultural elements relating to local architecture and history.

Here we recommend 12 places in the Natural Park that are well worth a visit, although such is the diversity of places and activities, and the range of tourism facilities on offer, that you could spend a number of days getting to know the Park.



1. Montsacopa Volcano Natural Reserve

This volcano stands in the centre of the town of Olot and is aligned with the volcanoes of Montolivet and La Garrinada.

  • The cone has a circular, centred crater, 120 m in diameter, of great scientific and educational interest, and old quarries (closed in the 1960s).
  • The church of Sant Francesc, rebuilt in 1875, standing on top of the volcano.
  • The two watch-towers, built during the Carline Wars, (second half of the 19th century), are excellent viewpoints over Olot and the volcanic zone as a whole.

Access: from Parc Nou follow the signposted itinerary 17 (5 km), which crosses the town to the crater and takes about 50 minutes. You can also start at the car park at Olot cemetery, also on itinerary 17 for a walk of just 400 m (25 minutes) or at the Tourist Information Office (45 minutes).

 

2. Olot old town

The old town conserves its old street layout with historical buildings and monuments built after the earthquakes of 1427 and 1428.

  • Tourist Information Office, hospice building, c/ Hospici, 8. Tel.: 972 26 01 41.
    Winter opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm and 5.00 to 7.00 pm; Saturdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 5.00 to 7.00 pm; Sundays and public holidays from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm.
    Summer opening hours: ask at the office.
  • La Garrotxa Museum. Tel.: 972 27 91 30.
    Opening hours October to June: weekdays, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 3.00 to 6.00 pm; Saturdays from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm and 4.00 to 7.00 pm; Sundays and public holidays from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm.
    July to September: Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 2.00 pm and 4.00 to 7.00 pm; Sundays and public holidays from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm.
    Mondays closed.
    The museum houses a display of the history and art of the region from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 20th century.
  • The churches of the Mare de Déu del Tura and Sant Esteve, in different styles from the Middle Ages to the 16th century.
  • El Carme Renaissance cloisters from the end of the 16th century.
  • Parish Museum, with Christ Carrying the Cross by El Greco (by appointment only on: 972 26 04 74). Route past the Art Nouveau houses.
  • Can Trincheria House-Museum Tel.: 972 27 27 77.
    Opening hours: weekdays from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm and 5.00 to 7.00 pm; Sundays and public holidays from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm.
    18th-century country house containing original furniture belonging to the Trincheria family. You can also see the monumental nativity scene.
  • The Saints’ Museum (1891, a neo-Gothic building by architect Joaquim Codina).
    Opening hours: weekdays from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 3.00 to 6.00 pm; Saturdays from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 4.00 to 7.00 pm; Sundays and public holidays from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm. Mondays closed


Access: You can reach the old town from any of the car parks in the centre.

 

3. Sant Joan les Fonts basalt lava flows

At Molí Fondo you can see three lava flows that flowed down this stretch of the river valley.

  • The lava flows originate from different eruptive sources and each successive flow has covered the previous one.
  • The morphologies of lava cooling: columns and slabs.
  • Riparian forests.
  • Industrial architecture.
  • Use of water.


Access: Itinerary 16 starts at the Plaça Major. El Molí Fondo and El Boscarró are 800 m (20 minutes) away, the whole itinerary is 5.5 km (1 hour and 50 minutes).

 

4. El Parc Nou

The Parc Nou ('New Park') is a delightful estate, currently municipal park and with the interesting Art Nouveau building of Torre Castanys in its midst. It houses a park information centre, where you can prepare a stay in the area and learn about the typical plant life of the Olot Basin.

  • The Natural Park Information Centre has publications and audiovisual regarding the Park and also houses the Park's educational services. Tel.: 972 26 62 02.
    Information Centre opening hours: weekdays, from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm and from 4.00 to 6.00 pm; Saturdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and from 4.00 to 6.00 pm; public holidays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm.
  • The Volcano Museum on volcanism, earthquakes and the natural environments of  La Garrotxa. It provides publications and there is an audiovisual with an earthquake simulator. Tel.: 972 26 67 62.
    Opening hours October to June: weekdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 3.00 to 6.00 pm; Saturdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 4.00 to 7.00 pm; Sundays and public holidays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm
    Opening hours July to September: weekdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 4.00 to 7.00 pm Saturdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 4.00 to 7.00 pm; Sundays and public holidays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm.
    Mondays closed.
  • The Botanical Garden harbours a spectacular classified English oak wood (Quercus robur) and a garden of local medicinal plants.

 

Access: by car to Park Nou and its car park. On foot, from the Tourist Information Office along signposted trail 17 for 1.4 km (25 minutes) through the town to the Parc Nou.

 

5. Xenacs Area It is open on holidays and summer, from 10:00 am until sunset.

The Xenacs area is managed by Les Preses Town Council. It makes outdoor activities and archery, and offers bar service and terrace.Open on public holidays and in summer, from 10.00 am to sunset. On weekdays, entrance is by permit only on:  972 19 50 87 - 646 344 950.

  • Municipal information point.
  • Puig Rodó viewpoint. At 909 m, this viewpoint offers superb views over the local volcanoes and has  itineraries.

 

Access: by car (no coaches) and on foot along itinerary 10 to the Xenacs area and Puig Rodó. The trail takes an hour, with a climb of 500 m.

 

6. Pedra Tosca Park

A rural area farmed and then abandoned. The area has been restored with great respect for the work of our ancestors begun 150 years ago. The restoration of this site won the Rosa Barba European Landscape Award.

  • It consists of a maze of paths, dry-stone walls, small cleared fields and stone-huts, the result of the extreme necessity and tenacity of man in modify this exceptionally harsh landscape.
  • Signposted trails 
    Opening hours: the information area is open at weekends from 10.00 am to sunset. There is a guide service from Wednesday to Sunday. Tel.: 972 19 51 79.

 

Access: By car from Olot towards Les Preses (approx. 1.5 km) where there is a car park, or on foot from Olot to Les Fonts de Sant Roc along the Olot-Girona cycle path.
Time: approximately 30 minutes, or from the old Les Preses station, around 40 minutes.

 

7. La Fageda d'en Jordà Nature Reserve

One of 26 natural reserves in the Natural Park, La Fageda d'en Jordà is a beech wood growing on the lava flow emitted by the volcano Croscat that lies within the municipalities of Santa Pau, Olot and Les Preses.

  • La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park Information Centre. Tel.: 972 26 60 12.
    Opening hours: weekdays and Saturdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 3.00 to 5.00 pm. July and August from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and 4.00 to 6.00 pm. Public holidays from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm.
  • An exceptional beech forest (Fagus sylvatica) growing on the lava flow emitted by Croscat, dotted with blisters (tossols) at an altitude of 550 m. It is the source of inspiration for artists such as Joan Maragall, who wrote the poem that made the wood famous (a monolith dedicated to the poet stands at the start of itinerary 2).

Access: on foot along itinerary 2 (30 minutes through the beech wood from the Can Serra car park, km 4 on the Olot-Santa Pau road on the left). From Olot, follow itinerary 3 into the beech wood (4 km, 1 hour and 30 minutes), or on foot from Santa Pau (5.2 km, 1 hour and 45 minutes). There is no access for motorised vehicles into the reserve.

 

8. Castellfollit de la Roca basalt cliff

The buildings in the town are built mostly from volcanic materials. The paving and urban furniture of the old town is made from basalt, a rock formed when lava cools.

  • A 40-metre high basalt cliff formed by two lava flows originating from volcanoes around Olot and Begudà. Basalt morphology determined by the cooling of the lava: columns and slabs.
  • Medieval quarter, with buildings of volcanic materials, narrow streets with squares and viewpoints.
    Old Church-Museum: a cultural centre housing temporary exhibitions offering views from its bell tower over the old town and the Fluvià Valley.
  • Industrial architecture on the riverbank.
  • Industrial use of the water: locks, canals and mills.

Access: signposted itinerary 13, (1.5 km, 40 minutes), starts in the car park at the junction of the N-260 and road to Oix.

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9. Estada Juvinyà medieval castle

An information centre promoting the main attractions and places of interest that constitute the heritage of Sant Joan les Fonts and La Garrotxa.

  • Fortified house (14th century), defence tower (12th century).
  • Medieval and modern canals.
  • Model of the flour mill that used to occupy this building.
  • Audio-visual displays on Sant Joan les Fonts and La Garrotxa.
  • Interactive displays. Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 5.00 to 7.00 pm Public holidays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. For information and group visits, telephone 972 29 05 91.

Access: by car (coaches must park near the Plaça Major) to just in front of castle, which lies about 5 km from Olot towards La Canya and Sant Joan les Fonts; at the entrance to the town, turn left at the first set of traffic lights. The defence tower crowned with the Catalan flag stands next to the river.

 

10. Croscat Natural Reserve (Espai Museístic del volcà del Croscat)

The former quarry that once extracted volcanic material from the volcano Croscat was restored in 1995 to improve access to this degraded area for educational purposes, minimise its impact on the landscape and prevent further erosion. Groups may visit by prior appointment only by phoning: 972 195 094 (Monday to Sunday from 10 to 16h) and email cps@tosca.cat .

  • La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park Information Centre at Can Passavent, at the entrance to the volcano, with an exhibition on the volcano.
    Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 to 16h
    A volcano with a horseshoe-shaped crater encrusted in one side of its cinder cone.
  • Lava flow over 6 km long.
  • A volcanic cone completely covered by vegetation except for the former quarry, whose workings reveal the internal structure of the volcano. The effects of the quarrying caused local people such concern that demonstrations were organised in protest (1975), leading to the declaration of the volcanic zone as a protected area in 1982.
  • The quarry restoration project won the 1995 FAD award for landscape design.

 

Access: itinerary 15, Croscat volcano (2.9 km, 50 min), from the Santa Margarida car park on the Olot-Santa Pau road, km 6.1, on the right. There is no access for motorised vehicles, bicycles or horses.
Also itinerary number 1, Fageda d'en Jordà - Santa Margarida volcano – Croscat volcano (11 km, 4 hours), links to the Can Serra car park (Fageda d'en Jordà) on a 5-km walk, 1 hour 40 min round trip.

 

11. Santa Pau old village

A stroll through the old quarter of the village of Santa Pau reveals its unique buildings. On a clear day from the eastern part of the village there are splendid views down the Ser Valley as far as the Golf of Roses and the sea.

  • Medieval town.
  • Castle dating from the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • Porticoed square (Firal dels Bous), which on rainy days provided shelter for the market that was granted to the village in 1297.
  • Gothic church of Santa Maria with a single nave.
  • Viewpoint over the Ser Valley.


Access: 9 km from Olot, car park at the entrance to the village on the left.

 

12. Sant Feliu de Pallerols old town

The old quarter of Sant Feliu de Pallerols and the surrounding area are worth a leisurely visit. Twelve walks provide access to the town’s  most interesting spots.

  • The lava flows emitted by the volcano Traiter that can be followed along the river Brugent.
  • Volcano of Sant Marc, 20 minutes from the town centre.
  • The Brugent River, in a very good state of conservation.
  • Historical and architectural features from the 12th and 13th centuries.
  • Houses in La Sagrera and La Cellera.
  • El Firal.
  • Medieval bridges.
  • La Conqueta (mill).
  • El Molí Gros (mill) with sluices.
  • Manor houses of Can Trias and Can Viola.
  • Can Casas (Art Nouveau building).

Access: Car park in Plaça de L’Estació, from where itinerary 18 starts through the town centre (1.3 km, 40 minutes) past some unique buildings. Also accessible via the Olot-Girona cycle path.

There are several places of geological interest where you can learn about the volcanoes, their origin and how their lava flows were formed.

 
Update date: 03.29.2012