Do you want to know La Garrotxa?

 

An exeptional place!

 

GEOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHY

La Garrotxa is the most easterly mountain region of Catalonia and has the least average height. The relief is characterized by the transition between the mountains and the plains and the existence of a volcanic zone, which makes this space privileged for any outdoor activity. But remind that the term "garrotxa"  means a harsh land, broken and bad walking.

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The Garrotxa is not a homogeneous territory and there are two sub-region, bounded by a fault which gives character to the region. The Alta Garrotxa refers to the northern Fluvià Valley, and is characterized by the abundance of calcareous materials, the abrupt relief and little altered by human activity, is now inside the Area of Interest Natural Alta Garrotxa. The Olot sub-region corresponds to the southern landscapes and presents a much smoother and humanized, most integrated in the Natural Parc de la Zona Volcànica de La Garrotxa, the best example of a volcanic landscape of Spain with more than forty volcanoes and twenty lava flows.

A fault system crosses the region from north to south and east-west, forming a series of tubs or sunken areas, making La Garrotxa one of the most varied and complex regions in Catalonia. In fact, these spaces, along with the Fluvià, are part of Xarxa Natura 2000, a European initiative aimed at protecting the unique natural areas, diverse, rare, well preserved, representative, fragile or vulnerable and connect with other of the same characteristics.

Thus La Garrotxa is also characterized by the richness and diversity of vegetation, with a large expanse of forest. Some species found here, such as beech and birch are more typical of Atlantic climates of central Europe that a Mediterranean region. We must seek the explanation in a particular climate, abundant rainfall Mediterranean but throughout the year (the Vall d'en Bas collects more than 1,250 mm for year). Moreover, the pattern of the isolated region of cold air masses from the north of Europe, and, therefore, temperatures are mild, and the wind is not very common. Dominates the oaks in the most dry and hot, the oak in the more temperate and cool, and beech in wetter areas.

 

ART AND HISTORY

The attractions of La Garrotxa are not limited in the nature and the volcanic area, ou can visit many nice places like Castellfollit de La Roca or Besalú. Castellfollit de La Roca impresses visitors for the combination of human intervention with nature by 60 meter basalt cliff with the village on top.

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Besalú has been declared a national historic and artistic area bt the great architectural value., the past and the history. This town was the capital of an independent county since the death of Guifré el Pelós to the death of Bernart III, when it merged with the County of Barcelona. A typical image of  Besalú is the fortified Romanesque bridge over the river Fluvià, dating from the XI century is known for being the only one in Catalonia with seven arches. Besides the bridge, it is also advisable to visit  the monastery of Sant Pere, the twelfth century, the church of Sant Julià seventeenth century, with carved front, the building of the Curia Reial, XIV century, the Plaça Mayor, arcades in Tallaferro Street, the jewish neighborhood, the bathhouse, and generally the whole medieval old town.

Nearby Besalú, the romanesque legacy in Beuda is another very interesting proposal. Sant Joan les Fonts are also examples of this architectural style, as there is a prime example of romanesque architecture in the region, the church of Sant Esteve, a basilical building with red stone, which was a Benedictine priory.

There are other interesting area like Vall d'en Bas, in which several traditional villages like Els Hostalets d'en Bas and their wooden balconies and the romanesque church of Sant Esteve d'en Bas; in Vall de Bianya there are many romanesque churches and several country houses of typical architecture; the old village of Santa Pau, declared historical and artistic village; Montagut i Oix with a castle, several romanesque churches and the old monastery of Sant Aniol d'Aguja; and Les Preses and Pedra Tosca Park, with fencing of dry wall of volcanic stone.

Moreover, Olot offers many possibilities: the parish church of Sant Esteve keeps Christ carrying the cross box, the work of El Greco, and the altar of the Rosari, Catalan Baroque jewel. There is also the shrine of the Verge del Tura, the cloister of Carme, several Renaissance and several Modernist notable houses, while retaining style furniture and pieces of great artistic value.

Other cultural attractions are the museums in Olot, like the Museu Comarcal de La Garrotxa, which is located in the old hospice of the city, where special attention is devoted to works from the prestigious school of painting of Olot; the Museu dels Volcans, with all the geological and ecological information of the volcanic zone; and the Museu dels Sants, example of religious imagery industry, where even today one can admire the hands of master craftsmen hard at work. Remember that La Garrotxa is a land that has traditionally produced many skilled craftsmen. There are potters, clogs, carvers, wooden spoon  and forks handmaker, nativity figurines makers, restorers and builders of rustic furniture and gilt and polychrome specialists.

Throughout the region there are many traditional festivals can be an ideal excuse to get close. Besalú held in early September, the Medieval Festival. Recalling the historical past of the town, a medieval market is organized and can find several characters defined as at the time, thieves, knights, lepers, beggars, soldiers, merchants, jews, artisans, farmers, musicians... Besalú is also Iron Builders and Artists Fairin March, and Ratafia Fair in December. In Santa Pau is Fesol Fair in January; in Hostalets d'en Bas, held in July Dalla Contest, where the harvest show their skills with this tool now fallen into disuse; the Espardenya Fair is celebrated in Tortellà; in Sant Feliu de Pallerols, in May, is celebrated  Caballets, Gegants i Mulassa Festival; Sant Josep Fair in March in Sant Jaume de Llierca; and in Olot, in January, the Fajol Fair held at the Batet de la Serra in July is a festival in which sounds the "cleat" or bagpipe, in October Sant Lluch Fair and in September Festes del Tura.

 

RESOURCES

The region borders on the north by France, the east by Alt Empordà, Pla de l'Estany and Selva, south by La Selva and Osona, and to the west by Osona and Ripollès. Communications have improved greatly in recent years: the most important communication roads are the A-26, C-26 Pre-Pyrenean Olot-Ripoll, C-37 Bracons Vall d'en Bas-Torello, C-63 Selva-Garrotxa and the C-66 Besalú-Pla de l'Estany and Girona-Emporda. TEISA bus company offers a liner service in the area that connects with Barcelona, Vic, Figueres, Girona, Girona Airport, railways and major surrounding towns.

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Following these driveways, lovers of good food in our country may find restaurants for all tastes, specializing in local and traditional products. Some restaurants have clearly staked simple cuisine based on local produce and historical recipes, and created the distinctive Cuina Remença, others are committed to innovation without losing sight of the traditional cuisine and local produce and are part the group of the Cuina Volcànica. More than one has been awarded the prestigious recognition of Michelin stars.

The region also boasts a wide range of accommodation options situated in a natural setting: rural houses, hotels, campsites, apartments, houses, holiday homes...

You can learn how make paper, how to make sausages, farm yoghurt, cheese... or you can come with your team to organize congresses, conventions or other events. The tranquility and beauty of the surroundings will be your allies to achieve your goals secured.

Nature tourism and trekking in La Garrotxa is great. You can go through dozens of historic trails such as those found in Itinerànnia trail network that communicate Ripollès Garrotxa and Alt Empordà. This network of trails agrees, in part, with some specific routes, with both the Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa and with Alta Garrotxa, that reveal some of the most interesting parts of the region: the Roman way in Capsacosta, the Camí Ral from Vic to Olot, the Camino de Santiago, the Route of the Medieval Pyrenees, the part of the track of El Camí dels Països Catalans in La Garrotxa and several Long Routes GR-1 and GR-2 are other proposed visit to the Garrotxa.

If you like hiking, walking you through every step to find new places and experience new sensations and new challenges, if you want to rediscover the pure nature and contemplate the history of this land can not be in better hands.

And if you're looking for a place to practice cycling are also in the perfect place: Besalú has the Anella Verda, an area of river Fluvià which is also practicable walking and bicycling, and Olot is a point as it is about necessary step to link the Ferro Bike Lane and the Carrilet Bike Lane. The link can be made through two different routes: the first from Sant Juan de les Abbesses to Olot  trought Coll de Santigosa and Coubet hill, taking the old road GI-521, and the second passes through Santa Llúcia de Puigmal and the Vall de Bianya. But is easier to go by bike on Carrilet Bike Lane from Olot to Girona.

The equestrian world also finds its place in the Garrotxa, which is that, apart from the traditional horse-riding, in La Garrotxa you can do many more activities related to horse riding, donkey rides, horse educational activities for school groups equiteràpia, hiking, ponies parties for children led by parents or novice can practice in horse riding for beginners.

But if you want another adventure, you have a proposal to discover the landscape from the air: a balloon flight by La Garrotxa is a unique experience. You can spend a morning watching the volcanoes and Fageda from heaven with a glass of champagne between his fingers, knowing that when you land you expect a deserved farmhouse breakfast.

 

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