What to visit

Vall de Camprodon

With some two and a half thousand inhabitants and a surface area of 103 km2, Camprodon is the largest municipality in the valley, and the second largest in the province of Girona. Villa de Camprodon comprises Colonia Estevanell, the neighbourhoods of Cavallera and Freixenet, the Masies of Mariner, Sitjar and Resclusanys, the residential development of Font-Rubí and, within La Garrotxa, the villages of Rocabruna and Beget and the castle and hermitage of Sant andreu de Bestracà, near Oix. Camprodon is located 940 m above sea level, within the Pyrenean mountain range. Its climate is cold in the winter and mild in the summer.

There are two rivers within the municipality of Camprodon, the Ter and the Ritort, providing it with plenty of water for its many fountains. There are a total of fifteen fountains, distributed within and outside the town centre. The best known fountains are the Font de Sant Patllari, where visitors can read some inscribed verses by Joan Maragall, the Font del Boix, the Font del Botàs, the Font de la Forcarà, the Font de Can Moi, and the Font de Llandrius. In the town centre, the main fountains are Font Nova and Mare de la Font which is decorated by inscribed verses by Jacint Verdaguer.

Camprodon and its valley are recognised by food products like cookies, sausages, cheese and meat, especially lamb, beef and foal. It is also famous for its high-quality restaurants.
Many will quickly associate the name of the famous composer Isaac Albéniz, born here in 1860. Different monuments commemorating his birth and his centenary and the Isaac Albéniz Festival, honour his memory.
Your experience in Camprodon cannot be complete without a visit to historical and cultural sites such as:
1- The Pont Nou (The New Bridge), a 12th century construction, which façade includes inscriptions about its renovation, which date from the 16th and 17th century. It used to be the only route leading to La Cerdanya.

2- Sant Pere Monastery, built with a Latin cross plan and reinforced by three arches with a central apse and octagonal ciborium, which serves as the base for the square bell tower. It was founded in the mid 10th century (the first document dates from 904) by count Guifré of Besalú, and was run by Benedictine monks until 1835.

3- Santa Maria Church, a large parish temple, finished with an angular apse, flanked by side altars. Adjacent to the construction, the Chapel of Dolores was built, which houses the Piedad by sculptor Amadeu (1745-1821). The church also houses a magnificent silver bust-cum-reliquary containing the remains of Saint Patllari. In the front chapel you can admire a permanent exhibition of 15th to 20th century religious gold and silver work.

4- The Paseo Maristany, developed in the 1920’s and designed to have the same measurements and features as Barcelona’s Paseo de Gracia. It is surrounded by towers and summer mansions built in the style of the early 20th century. For a brief period it was the meeting point for the government of the republic, as the family residence of its president, Dr. Negrin, was located there. 
5- Paseo de la Font Nova, where the first summer residence was built, renovated in the second half of the 19th century, and at the end of the promenade, a fountain and a bust commemorate Dr. Robert, who promoted tourism in the area.
6- The Town Hall, a good example of the Catalan civil Gothic, is unique in that it houses a reproduction of Barcelona’s Poble Espanyol.


Following up the course of the Ter River, at only 2 km from Camprodon, stands Llanars.
Saint Esteve Church built in the 12th century this Romanesque church has an only nave covered with a sharp pointed barrel vault and an apse not centred to the axis. The bell tower is squared with pyramidal roofing.
In its interior there is a painting on wood at the frontal side of the altar, the only one in the country kept in the same place where it was created. It stands out the wall painting rarely found in Romanesque altarpieces shows the pantocrator circled by the mystical theology and the symbols of the evangelists and on its sides there are episodes about Sant Esteve.
Also noticeable are both the portal and the ironwork of the front door.

8 km away Camprodon, Molló communicates Camprodon valley with France through the old passage of Coll d’Ares, from where a beautiful panoramic of Catalunya and also the France can be seen.
In 1659 Tractat dels pirineus agreement established the borders between France and Spain in Coll d’ares and in the municipality of Molló this borderline is 12 km wide, from Montfalgars to Costabona peaks.

During the Spanish Civil War the defeated republican army and also thousands of exiles fled to France through the borderline of Coll d’Ares.
Nowadays a path between molló and prats de Molló, named Camí de la Retirada, remembers this days.

The road to France became international in 1963 and in 1992 the customs were removed according the Schengen Pact.
Attached to the village of Molló there are several vicinities, among them Fabert and Espinavell.

Santa Cecilia Church dating back from the 12th century, the church is a single nave building covered with a single barrel vault arch. The four storey bell tower is artistically similar and remembers Sant Cristòfol de Beget. It is also remarkable the entrance door in one side. In 1428 a big earthquake provoked serious damages in the church that had to be restored, and during the Spanish Civil War was plundered and burnt.


Prats de Molló
1- Porte de France, this is the most important of the 5 gates of then town which has been encircled by ramparts since 1345. These were destroyed by an earthquake in 1428. They were rebuilt only to be destroyed again by the troops of Louis XIV, in reprisal for the rebellion of the “Little Angels of the Land” during the Salt War. Finally, in 1683, they were rebuilt by the villagers under the supervision of Marshal Vauban’s engineers.

To the left of the gate is a monument by the sculptor Manolo Valiente erected in 1982. It pays tribute to the Catalan traditional dance, the sardine, and draws attention to the little “Ciutat Pubilla” bestowed on the town in 1982 as the leading centre of the Sardane in North Catalonia.
2- Place Josep de la Trinxeria, this square is named after the valiant captain who, together with his brave hand of “Little Angels of the Land” stood firm against the troops of Louis XIV from 1661 to 1670. To the right is the town hall, built between 1613 to 1614. There is a plaque commemorating the 1000 years of the town’s history and the date on which the first church was consecrated 928 AD. To the left is the hause in which the Catalan writer, Charles Bosch de la Trinxeria, was born.
3- Place d’armes, military parades were held in this square from 1659, when Prats became a garrison town on the settlement of the treaty of the Pyrenees, until 1939.

6- The fortified church, dating from 982 this was the first church built in the village; only the monolithic front to thre left of the entrance remains. Of particular interest are: The Romanesque door way (1245); non-rusting door fittings forged by a traditional Catalan Technique; the guilded wooden reredos by the sculptor Louis Generes, considered one of the finest examples of its style; The whale bone embedded in the right facing wall which was a votive offering. The church was enlarged between 1649 and 1681.
7- Chapelle de la Pietat, contains statues which were paraded at Easter processions and a Christ in Majesty.
9- Porte de la Fabrique, this gate is named after the religious institution, formed by elected representatives of the faithful, which managed religious buildings in the 17th and 18th centuries. The gate leads to Fort Lagard by a covered way followed by a tunnel.
10- Passage de la Dôme, rampart walk with the powder magazine and defensive loopholes.
11- Pont de la Guilleme, fortified bridge with Romanesque culvert below with iron grills to deny access by enemies from the river approach.
12- Plaça del Rei, in this square in the 11th century stood the summer residence of the counts of Besalú, who were the seigneurs of the town. The square has been restored by the local artist Jean Lareuse.
13- Rues des Marcahnts, this was the street of weavers and embroiderers who formed powerful guilds in the 17th and 18th centuries. A few of the original medieval houses are still in existence.
16- Porte du Verger, from this gate the upper Tech valley can be seen to the west with the mount Costa bona (2464 m) and the Esquerdes de Rotja. To the south is the Tour de Mir (1540 m) a signal tower dating backto the 13th century.
17- Rue des Rois D’Aragon, follow this street through the upper town and you will see on the left a particularly outstanding building, supposed to be the summer residence of the kings of Aragon but more probably the weaver’s guildhall.
19- Porte d’Espagne, go through the ancient Spanish Gate to the narrow bridge below which can be seen the remains of the medieval arches of the original bridge.
20- Chapelle des Saintes Juste et Ruffine, from the Porte d’Espagne, walk back through the lower town to the place d’Armes and then take the rue des Stes Juste et Ruffine to the chapel decorated by the local artist Jean Lareuse.
22- Le Firal, this is the square where markets and fairs have been held since 1308; it was redesigned in 1767.On the south side is the school (1907) and the Foyer Rural (1968). On the east side is the Syndicat d’Initiative (Tourist Information Centre 1985).

Fort Lagarde dominates the town. It can be reached on food from the Porte de la Fabrique, beyond the church, either by following the covered walk, 170 m long built in 1851, to the Tour Carrée or Redoute (square tower) then the tunnel 100 m long or by the path to the right.

A round tower was first built in 1307 under the aragonese rulers in a place called La Gardia (The Watch). This tower is located in the middle of the star-shaped donjon of the fort, the building of which was started in 1677 under the direction of Vauban; However, a large number of modifications and reinforcements were latter added lasting up to 1858. The general plans were firstly devised by Rousselot and completed by Maréchal de Vauban, royal commissioner for fortifications of Louis XIV, who visited prats in 1679. The original plans envisaged a fort twice the size of the actual construction which contains more than 40 rooms armoury, provision warehouse, powder magazines, a chapel, guardhouse, dungeon, kitchens with bread ovens and barracks for a hundred men. 
The water supply was prvided by a spring. However, in order to mitigate the affects of a siege a sophisticated system of collecting rain water into underground reservoirs was constructed.
The fort was originally intended to protect the French border and subsequently to stop a new revolt by the Angelets (The local inhabitants who disapproved of taxes imposed by the king of France following the annexation of Catalonia into his kingdom).

La Garrotxa

The city of Olot has an impacting and extensive cultural milieu. It is recommended that visitors to the region visit the Garrotxa Museum, the Saints Museum and Can Trincheria House Museum to view the different works of art on display.
Olot also has numerous art galleries, exhibition halls, street sculptures and visually striking modernist buildings, not forgetting the city’s magnificent historical buildings such as the 17th century Carme Cloisters and the 18th century Sant Esteve Church.
Garrotxa Museum, This museum showcases regional art ranging from the late eighteenth to the mid twentieth century. The cornerstone of art in Olot is the Olot School of Landscape, a particular way of understanding and representing art, championed by sibling artists Joaquin and Mary Vayreda, as well as Josep Berga Boix, who have had considerable influence on several generations of artists. Two prominent artists, whose work is well represented in the museum, are the Olot-born sculptors Miquel Blay and Josep Clarà, two leading figures of Modernism and Noucentisme.
Saints Museum, A visit to Saints Museum enables visitors to step “inside” a fully-functioning workshop. It also houses a collection of saints images and Easter floats, nativity scene figures, decorative figurines, entertainment motifs, as well as antique and emblematic items of old factories that once existed, as well as items still used today.
Can Trincheria House Museum, Can Trincheria, one of the largest mansions in Olot, was built in the first half of the eighteenth century. The name of the house comes from the Trincheria family lineage, key historical players in the Military and in Politics.
One element that has contributed to the house’s popularity is its nativity scene, featuring items from different periods and artists, which include figures by the sculptor Ramon Amadeu. Another key characteristic feature of the house is the original decoration of the walls with landscapes and mythological scenes, in addition to historical furniture such as the house’s original beds, made in Olot.
Carme cloisters, The cloisters were built in the late sixteenth century, consisting of a two-storey building designed by the architect Llàtzer Cisterna; it has become one of the most valuable architectural buildings in Olot and one of the few preserved Renaissance cloisters in Catalonia, recognised as a Monument of Historic Interest.
Modernist trail, In Olot, modernism had a strong influence on urban architecture. Clear examples of Modernism can be seen in the facades of Solà Morales, Pujador, Escubós, Gassiot and Gaietà Vila. The trail begins in the town centre, where most of the modernist buildings are located. It then moves on down Passeig de Barcelona and to the Malagrida expansion district, an example of urban garden city. Architects who left their mark on Olot include Paluzie, Azemar, Domènech i Muntaner, and sculptors such as Miquel Blay.
1- Pastisseria Ferrer, (1907) see the floral decoration and iron ravens on the balconies made at a “whip crack” as we say in Olot. Inside the hundred year-old patisserie. The marvelous wooden ceiling can be viewed.
2- Casa Pujador (1911-1912 J.Azemar). A carved stone building set around a cylindrical tower. The materials used remind of noble urban Renaissance buildings. The Sacred Heard relief in the tower is a highlight, located on a large platform corresponding to the main floor. The tower roof is hat shaped and decorated with colored friezes.
3- Casa Escubós (1906 J. Azemar). A pale green house with three façades. The balcony and window openings were embellished to the top with winding compositions using glazed floral tiles.
4- Sant Esteve side entrance (Martí Sureda). Yellow Valencian tile decoration predominates with cross shaped motifs. The access ramps are worth mentioning decorated with typically Modernist plant decorations.
5- Casa Gaità Vila (1901-1905. Alfred Paluzie). The merlons crowning the building recall the Middle Ages. The decoration is varied: plants, animals, dragons, forged iron… garnet color and green tiles between the openings of the top floors.
6- Casa Solà Morales (1913-1916, Lluis Domenech I Montaner). Without doubt this is the most beautiful Modernist example in the city and was included in the European Art Nouveau Route in the year 2000. The architect completely refurbished the building façade where a covered gallery with twelve columns finished in capitals and Roman arches was built on the top section. The eaves were decorated with Valencian tiles containing yellow floral pieces projecting out from amongst the small beams. There are two elegant caryatides sculpted by Eusebi Arnau on the two columns running to below the balcony on the first floor. The whole structure, including the balcony railings and lower window grilles, offers an example of extraordinary artistic magnificence. 
7- “La Lectura” (reading) Sculpture. (Miquel Blay) This is a work made from Girona stone that Miquel Blay I fàbrega sculpted and dedicated to the Uruguayan politician and teacher Jose Pedro varela. The work shows a woman and two children reading a book.
8- Casa Gassiot (1911-1912, Alfred Paluzie). The visitor is surprised by a forged iron balustrade with ornamentations on the main façade housing Neo-Gothic twin arches. The main façade wall houses a medallion eagle – an allegorical reference to medicine – and Radiology sculpture; being Radiology the specialization of the owner, a doctor. 
Sant Esteve church, This church is a sizeable construction, dating from the eighteenth century. The church’s outline and bell tower are iconic features of Olot. The current façade was added in 1800 and it contains three empty niches, which used to hold stone images of St. Stephen, St. Valentine and St. Sabina, destroyed in 1936. The church steps, which lend the church a majestic air, were built in 1897.
Inside the church, notable features include the quality Baroque altarpiece known as the ‘Roser’ in addition to the sculpture of the main altar, by Josep Clara, a representation of Christ by Ramon Amadeu and the hugely valuable work depicting Christ embracing the Greco cross which is on exhibition in the Parish Museum (visits must be arranged beforehand: (+34) 972 26 04 74).
Tura church, In the sixteenth century, the Virgin of the Tura Shrine (patron saint of the city) was destroyed by earthquakes. Following the reconstruction, a walled-up door and keystone encrusted in the wall are the only remaining original features. In 1936 the church was burnt down and the bell tower demolished, leaving only the Romanesque 11th-12th century gilt and polychrome carving of Saint Joaquim and the Ecce Homo by Ramon Amadeu, a sculptor and creator of nativity figures.
The current building of Tura Church was rebuilt by Francesc Mas in classical Baroque style. The inside of the church was transformed by Joan Carles Panyó between 1790 and 1814, and the facade, with a steeple that was cut down during the Civil War, was completed in 1928.
Discover the unique and spectacular beauty of Olot, a city among volcanoes. Montsacopa Volcano in the city centre is a majestic and natural viewpoint out over Olot and the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. Olot has many areas of natural beauty, which include the Moixina, Parc Nou, the Tries, Deu and Sant Roc springs, and the River Fluvià.
Montsacopa Volcano has a round crater, the result of a small Strombolian eruption around 100,000 years ago and it is in alignment the Garrinada and Montolivet Volcanoes. An officially recognised nature reserve, the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park lies within the city’s urban centre. The St. Francis church and the twowatchtowers surrounding the crater add to the natural and striking beauty of Montsacopa Volcano. Its exceptional location and simplicity have transformed this volcano into a magnificent viewpoint of the city and the nearby peaks of the Pyrenees Mountains.
Access: From Parc Nou follow the signposted trail No. 17, a 5-km walk through the city which leads to the crater in approximately 45 minutes. The volcano can also be reached from Olot Cemetery car park, along the same trail No. 17, covering a distance of 400 m (25 minutes), or from the Tourist Office (45 min). 
Volcano Museum, The museum focuses on the landscape of the Garrotxa, analysing the seismic and volcanic phenomena and also the main ecosystems of the region. A visit to the museum will enable visitors to understand the geological features of the earth, the causes of earthquakes and volcanoes that have occurred in the area, and the main traits of volcanism. The second part of the museum visit focuses on the major ecosystems of the Garrotxa, through a series of graphic panels. The museum looks at local forests and river woodlands, containing beech, oak, holm oaks, as well as non-woodland urban areas, with the huge diversity of plant and animal species that inhabit them. The exhibition is accompanied by an audio-visual presentation based on the seismic and volcanic activity in the area, where visitors can also experience a simulated earthquake.
Springs and fontains in Olot
The Tries Spring is nestled in a bend on the River Fluvia, heading out of the city, in a picturesque and much-visited spot, also called Les Tries.
The imposing San Roc Spring is located at the end of a walk near the area of Tossols at the start of the Carrilet Greenway. This destination invites visitors to cool off, drink water from the spring and relax in the tranquillity of the majestic plane trees growing there. The lilies on the river bank add a flash of colour to this charming setting.
The two springs in this area, categorised as a National Artistic Park, are the Deu Nova Spring (easily accessible) and Deu Vella Spring (harder to reach as it is surrounded by dense vegetation and wetlands). Both springs are located near La Deu Restaurant.
The Moixina Nature Spot is also home to La Moixana Spring, located near the Deu Vella and Deu Nova Springs, in the area of the Font Moixana Restaurant. At the heart of this magnificent and picturesque scenery, the inspiration of many painters, is the Salut Chapel.
Font Castanys is a spring in Parc Nou, forming part of magnificent gardens with local indigenous flora and fauna. Strolling through the park enables visitors to delight in the tranquillity and plant life, and admire the oaks that are over 250 years old, reaching heights of up to 25 meters.
The Angel Spring (located in Móra square) and Conill Spring (located in the homonymous square), are two of the best-known fountains in the old town.

Besalú began to gain importance as a capital of an independent county after the death of Count Guifré el Pilós, but it lost this status when Bernat III, the son in-law of Ramon Berenguer III, died leaving no successor. The origin of the town was its castle, which is documented as early as the 10th century. It was located on the top of the hill where the remains of the collegiate church of Santa Maria can also be found. In 1966 Besalú was declared a National Historical-Artistic Site for its great architectural value, as the town’s buildings make up one of the most notable monumental legacies of the medieval period in Catalonia. The municipality is situated 150 m above the sea level, and it has a total of 2450 inhabitants.
6- Old Bridge, the first reference we have to the bridge dates from the 11th century, and it has been rebuilt a number of times over the years. It has seven arches and is particularly notable for its dogleg layout, due to the pillars being sited on natural rocks of the river bed. It is 105 m long and 30 m high, including the sentry tower. In medieval times the county pagus was installed in the fortified tower. The bridge was dynamited during the civil war and subsequently rebuilt by the architect Pons Sorolla under the aegis of the architectural Board.

4- Church of Sant Vicens, Documented in the year 977 in the time of Count-Bishop Miró, this is the town’s parish church. It is a Romanesque construction with certain elements of the transition to Gothic, such as the rose, window and the main window. Inside we find the Gothic tomb of Pere de Rovira, who brought the relics of Sant Vicens de Besalú in 1413. A gothic side chapel contains the true cross, presented by Francesc Cambó in 1923 to replace the original one, brought from Rome by Bernat Tallaferro in 1017 and stolen in 1899.
5- Mikwah and Synagogue, The mikwah was unexpectly discovered in 1964, beginning with the upper part. It is the first building of this type found in Spain and is the third largest of the ten still conserved in Europe. It is an underground hall in Romanesque style, built with hewn stone. It has a loop-hole window in the east wall, a barrel vault and a ritual cleansing pool. Each mikwah, depending on its location, was filled with water from a fountain, a river, a lake or the sea, with no piping or channelled involved, which is why they are all located a few metres below ground level. This building is situated at the point where the “Jews” square is documented and where archaeological research has recently uncovered the remains of the wall of the old Synagogue of Besalú, documented in 1264.
2- Monastery of Sant Pere, of the Benedictine monastery there only remains the church, notable for its grandiosity. It was founded in 977 by Count-Bishop Miró and consecrated in 1003 by the most important count in the history of our county, Bernat I, known as “Tallaferro”. The Benedictine community was initially made up of twelve monks, and in 1111, the year when the country was abolished; the abbot became the town’s highest authority. The monastery enjoyed great political influence during the 12th and 13th century. This church is unusual in having an ambulatory or aisle used exclusively by pilgrims in medieval times, where the relics of Saint Primus and Felician were venerated. In those days the town was an important pilgrimage point, and the old hospital of Sant Julià was a hostel for pilgrims. The eight columns separating the ambulatory from the main altar are crowned by capitals engraved with biblical scenes, plant motifs and mythological animals. Inside the church lie the tombs of the most notables abbots of the monastery and a common grave for the monks. The façade of Sant Pere has a unique large window where two lions symbols of the strength, power and protection offered by the church can be seen opposite evil and paganism.
1- Hospital of Sant Julià, the hospital conserves the 12th century outer façade formed by six archivolts and four capitals, two of which display animal’s figures. It was built by the counts of Besalú to attend to pilgrims, but the monks of the monastery of Sant Pere had exclusive jurisdiction over it. 

Santa Pau
Santa Pau valley first came to prominence in the late Middle Ages when one of the most powerful baronial families from the Girona area settled hera among the foothills of the Finestres mountain ranga. An urban centre grew up in the shelter of the manor house and drew together the hitherto scattered population. Freedom to hold markets in this protected place was granted in 1297. As a centre of power and of commercial and economic activity, santa Pau made an important impact on our cultural heritage.
The town of Santa Pau was laid out in the first half of the 14th century and now appears typically medieval with its ramparts, irregular street plan and evocative nooks and crannies, as well as buildings of notable architectural value. The walled town is characterised by its austerity and practical, functional construction. In 1971 Santa Pau was officially listed as a place of historical and artistic interest.
12- Barony Castle, documented from the mid 13th century, was built on a small mound at the food of the Finestres mountain range., overlooking Santa Pau valley. In 1278, after the creation of the barony, the castle became the residence of the lords of the Santa Pau jurisdiction. Later, with the 1300 franchise charter, the palace-castle became the nucleus around which grew up the walled town. The castle was constructed over a long period of time, from the mid 13th century until the 18th century. The building has a quadrangular ground plan with rooms set out around a central inner courtyard. In the northeast section of the castle stands the master tower, at the base of which is the old baronial chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony the Abbot and Saint Honoratus.
The old Town, this section of the walled town contains the first dwellings, clustered around the baronial residence, of the original village that latter grew into Santa Pau. The houses were built on uneven ground, against the ramparts, in a single steep street leading up to a little square. The bay of Roses can be seen in the distance from one of the original town gates (known as the Old Town Gate or the Sea Gate) on this square. Visitors should take time to look at the Rectory beside the castle, former residence of the barony stewards and the noblest house in this section of the town.
The Plaça Major, or main square, was originally an open triangular shaped apace situated south of the castle. Formerly known as Firal del Bous, or Castle Fair, it was the place where townspeople gathered for fairs and markets. The most characteristic features of the square are the rows of covered arches, built to offer shelter from inclement weather. The different styles of arches and windows reflect the evolution of local gothic architecture, and the houses have a functional uniformity. This early 14th century square is today one of the most charming and best preserved medieval squares in the whole of Catalonia. Also of interest is the New Town Gate (or Saint Anthony’s Gate), leading into the square from the Plaça de Baix.