Walks & Races Calendar

 

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Historical-artistic complexes

Golf courses

More than ten golf courses. Nine magnificent facilities open all year round. Nine gems located on the Costa Brava and in the Pirineu de Girona for those who dream about teeing off and sinking putts.

Location - Alp Caldes de Malavella Camprodon Gualta Navata Pals Peralada Platja d'Aro (Castell-Platja d'Aro) Puigcerdà Sant Julià de Ramis Santa Cristina d’Aro Vilademuls  

Cinema in Original Version

Truffaut Cinema, Girona

Catch a great foreign film before or after dinner at this theatre. Cool venue and film presentations. Original version films, some have sub-titles some do not. L'únic cinema de Girona on veure les versions íntegres de les pel·lícules estrangeres. 

Carrer Nou, 7 17001 Girona‎
972 22 50 44
http://www.cinematruffaut.com/cartellera

Combine with a previous visit to the Cinema Museum, in the town centre, and you almost have another day out!
http://www.museudelcinema.cat/cat/index.php

Olot and Volcanoes

Incensed by the completely inept websites and lack of specific detailed information in English about exploring Olot online, i am on a mission. 'They' still think if they ration the information online, you tourists will flock to their information offices and pay expensive guides to show you around and take you on interminable 4 hour walks in 35 degree heat. I am here to save you! It's not difficult. There are far too many people like me around here, qualified as Volcanic Park of the Garrotxa Guides, is why! Rant over.

So here you go: 
Besalu From Girona, detour to Banyoles Lake for walk and breakfast (1 hour 15 minutes all the way round), on to Besalu for Medieval Jewish Quarter 1 hour tour (easily found in the centre) and lunch at restaurant Oliveras (week day buffet). Or you can do this on the way back, or other quick escapes from Girona. Banyoles is a 20 minute car ride from Girona. Besalu, 15 minutes longer. 

Arriving in Olot, head for the Plaça Major, from there go uphill and you are at the foot of the Montsacopa Volcano (called 'Sant Francesc' if asking direction, because of the church on top). Walk up it via the 'stations of Christ' and down via the steep steps, or t'other way round. The cemetery is at the foot of the volcano steps. It takes 30 minutes, longer if you linger at the Carolingian war towers on top or have a picnic in the crater (not a bad idea). Pick up picnic stuff from the Olot covered market, c/ Mulleres.

Pere Colldecarrera, Olot - `La Moixina´

From the centre, you can walk to La Moixina, a reclaimed marshland area, favourite place for the Olot School landscape artists of yesteryear (see Art section on www.Gironalet.com website for a textbook example). Head towards the river, follow it round till you reach Parc de Les Mores, cross the main road after the park and follow the country lane. You will pass La Deu Restaurant and La Moixina Restaurant, Olot institutions, past their best, but still with potential for a good lunch, a pleasant sit on a shady terrace, a drink of fresh cold water from a natural spring. It's a circular walk of about an hour if you start from the car park of La Moixina for example, add half an hour each way if you start from the centre of town and it's hot. The walk itself is shady with streams and rivulets to walk by and magnificent views to the volcanoes and mountains. (I will walk it this afternoon and post slightly more specific directions here). This combination of Sant Francesc and La Moixina is a combination we walked with an ex-pat. group from Girona and they all loved it. 

http://www.gironagrapevine.co.uk 'Girona Grapevine' - they meet for coffee at 11am every Wednesday in La Farinera cafe, near La Punxa, just ask directions, and all visitors are welcome. Catalans go to practise English.

For more volcanoes, on another day, drive towards Santa Pau from Olot. There is a sign for Santa Margarida Volcano car park on the right, before you arrive at Santa Pau. Park there and walk either El Croscat (other side of the road) or Santa Margarida if you don't want to get heat exhaustion.

El Croscat Volcano is fascinating, it was used as a quarry during Franco's time, and now you can still see the innards, beautifully presented. Santa Margarida crater contains a little hermitage, very picturesque from on high. 

Also very popular is La Fageda, one of Europe's lowest altitude growing Beech Woods, happy on it's porous volcanic rock. Whatever you do, don't go at the weekend, as it is full! It's a lovely walk and you can visit

La Cooperativa d'Olot for an ice-cream or yoghurt. Even the website isn't in English but there are some indicative photos.

http://www.fageda.com

Devesa Pool

piscina municipal de la devesa Girona (13 minutes' walk from the apartment). I still haven't got round to getting my own photos but look up 'Devesa piscina Girona' in google or facebook for an idea of the ambiance. It is in the Devesa wood, where they have the 'carpas' bars (bars under huge white canopies, for late night schmoozing and walking in the balmy, night air.

Prices 2013:

- child 4,90 €

- Adult 6,85 €

- Pensioner 3,40 €

Port Bou, Platja de Garbet, Vilanova de la Muga

you are what we were, we are what you will be - commonly found in graveyards

Portbou

is not now the prettiest of destinations (there's a lot of competition on the Costa Brava), despite being 'the most beautiful place' Hannah Arendt had ever seen in 1940. However, it is home to one of the most impactful monuments i have ever seen, that to the German philosopher, Walter Benjamin. I won't spoil it here by showing you the monument - it needs the context. Definitely worth the visit. 

There is a

Walter Benjamin route

but there's little information, so better read up a little before visiting. Suffice to say, Benjamin died in the Hotel in Portbou while fleeing France at the beginning of the War. He was trying to cross Spain to get to Portugal but his party was held up at the border. The hotel is still standing.

We had lunch in town, but it being New Year's Eve, the choice was limited.

On the way back we stopped at the

Platja (beach) de Garbet

.

Then a visit to the 10th-12th Century Sant Eulalia Church In

Vilanova de la Muga

(just outside Figueres). The painted apse is 13th century. It's a beautiful

Romanesque church

.

Here there is a '

Ruta dels Estanys

', an attractive walk, taking in both sides of the Muga river.

Scooters for the day - Casademont

On the coast, anything is possible, but organising a surprise outing on a scooter from Olot, was almost impossible. Casademont solved the problem and we were able to have the bike delivered to our front door and collected the next day, without any hassle and the absolute minimum of fuss. It was a pleasure dealing with them and it occurred to me that it's a nice way to get around Girona or to the coast if you so wished.

We had the more modern version as we expected to explore the medieval villages and Romanesque churches around Banyoles and do a bit of mileage. We were provided with 2 helmets and there is a deposit to pay normally. 

A word of warning: instructions on how to get on, are not given. Being more used to horses, i advise you not to load 50 kilos onto the back pedal, thus crushing unsuspecting husband underneath said bike, before even setting off. 

Dolmens of Vilajüiga - Autumn/Winter Walk and Lunch!

Here is the route, explained by the Generalitat, which is all very well, just don't expect to be finished in and hour and a half, as stated. It took us 2.5 hours, on a perfect day (not too hot but warm breezy, sunny, October day, very dry under foot). But not just an easy walk in the park 2.5 hours - straight up and vertiginously down. If you suffer from vertigo, as i do, the return path is 'bestial' as they say in these parts, but i think this word applies to Catalan walks generally.....or i'm just a wimp. To be fair, the path doesn't peter out completely or leave you actually hand climbing as on some walks i could mention, but you need to be reasonably used to walking and careful where you put your feet. 

Having said all that, the views are magnificent over Roses bay and the mountains back towards Olot. The Dolmens don't disappoint either - plenty of them to keep you amused and there's a cave as well, though i was too busy wondering how i was going to get down the mountain to pay much attention. The route is quite well signposted. I would just say that the Vinya del rei dolmen you actually come across, last, not first, if you follow the signs. You can get to it AFTER the Garrollar dolmen by following that dolmen's little path round and then retracing your steps, alternatively. If you don't like the path coming down, just go back the way you came, after the Cau del Llop (Wolf's Cave) which is worth seeing. We didn't find the prehistoric engravings....

We finished our walk at 2.30pm and by 3pm were very nicely installed in Casa del Mar restaurant, Llança port, for a perfect paella and Rueda verdejo, well deserved and appreciated. I suggest you do the same.Get on with it!

Palau Robert Route Sheet

Counties: Alt Empordà || Difficulty: Easy || Media Locomotion: On Foot || Distance: 5.0 km ||

Ascent: 330.0 m || Gradient Descent: 330.0 m || Signaling: Yes || Duration: 1 h 33 min

Vilajuïga dolmens

The so-called Dolmens Route begins near Vilajuïga. Dolmens are primitive megalithic monuments which

were used as graves in prehistoric times. Some curious engravings sculpted on flat stones date from the

same period; they are ancient representations of the first settlers in the lowlands of L'Albera.

To reach the starting point of the excursion you leave Vilajuïga on GIP-6041 towards Sant Pere de Rodes.

(to get to Vilajuïga, take the N-260 from Figueres in the direction of Llançà and take a right turn along the

GI-604). A kilometre further on a signposted track on the right indicates the start of the Dolmens Route.

There is a place to park the car. Further on the track comes to an end and you continue along a path. Very

shortly, this divides into two; you should take the trail on the left which will take you across a small fast

running stream and upwards.

After walking for half an hour you come to the Vinya del Rei dolmen, the largest one on the excursion.

A chamber 2.2 metres wide, 2.8 metres long and 1.65 metres high has been preserved. The path goes off

to the left before turning suddenly to the right and climbing steeply up to the crest, at which point you come

at once to El Garrollar dolmen, in which you can only see a chamber and the flagstone of the passage.

After 45 minutes, and having negotiated a considerable change in altitude, you walk along a stone wall and

you find two more dolmens, La Talaia and Les Ruïnes, a rectangular tomb with a gallery that has six great

stones holding up the roof. Shortly afterwards, you come to La Carena dolmen, also rectangular, and 3

metres long by 1.6 metres wide.

Just over an hour later you come out onto the road to Sant Pere de Rodes (the GIP-6041), where you can

see some prehistoric engravings on stones representing crosses and bowls. You keep on along the road

and 35 metres further on you take a footpath which is rather less open than the previous ones. You go up

a little and then start to go down again by the track which crosses ground that is both stony and steep. You

should always follow the yellow markers. Take no notice of a small turn off to the right which would take you

to the track that you took on the way up and which you can easily identify to the west where the crest and

the dolmens are clearly visible. You pass by the side of the dolmen Caigut.

After one hour and 20 minutes, the route crosses the mountain; you change over to the other slope and, on

the way down, come to the cave of the Cau del Llop or wolf's den cave, where megalithic settlers lived. The

cave is 2 metres high and 3 metres long. Further on the road goes down steeply until it meets up with the

track of the ascent at the place where you crossed the fast running stream and at which point you have to

turn to the left. By this means, you will arrive, after 45 minutes, at the starting point.

Vilabertran, Peralada and Castellò d'Empuries

This route is extremely pleasant by bicycle, see the google map reference below and can be combined with Figueres, lunch - there are lots of good restaurants in this area, or wine tasting in Garrigüella, Vilajüiga, or another Emporda bodega. Or a quick dip in the sea and a fish supper...For more spritely types, Empuria Brava is the place for 'night life' (i don't remember what that is exactly, but discos are involved).

Emporda Wine links:

information about the wines 

http://www.doemporda.cat/en/wineries.html

booking guided visits to bodegas

http://www.rutasdevinosemporda.es/visitas-bodegas-emporda-1-0.html

one to start with 

http://www.espeltviticultors.com/

Vilabertran Monastery

Information about this site before arriving is a closely guarded secret, but once you are in situ, a useful leaflet will find its way into your hands - in English, if there are any left...

There is also a little walk around the village - the leaflet in catalan can be downloaded - here it is to give you an idea. Presumably it is available in English once you've paid up!

http://www.mhcat.net/content/download/9382/73194/file/Vilabertran%2C+itineraris.pdf

The point is that it is a very pleasant visit on your route.

Dalí - Vilabertran

This is Dalí's Vilabertran Lake (Llac de Vilabertran) and belltower.

for the history and architectural details of the complex go to this link 

http://www.vilabertran.com/vb.php?ss=328424156d2f1554de808bfcc6cb6270&ap=a03s01p01

Last admission 30 minutes before closing time.

From 1 September to 30 Juny: from Thursday from Saturday: from 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Sundays and local holidays: from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

July and August from Tuesday to Sunday: from 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Closed on Mondays except public holidays, 25 and 26 December and 1 and 6 January.

Standard: €3,00 

Concession: €2,00 

Tuesdays and local public holidays, free of charge for all.

C/ Abadia, 4

17760 Vilabertran (Alt Empordà)

Tel.: 972508787

e-mail: 

vilabertran.cultura@gencat.cat 

This link has a nice introduction to the monastery, in English.

http://capcreus.com/vilabertran/vilabertran_uk.htm

Peralada

It is just 7 km 

from Figueres and 40 km from Girona. Here is a 

useful link for more information about the medieval village: 

http://capcreus.com/peralada/peralada_uk.htm

About 500 AC, a group from the Iberian tribe of indiketes built what would be the first walled village of Peralada.Transformed into the centre of a country from the Carolingian Empire in the 9th Century, Peralada became one of the main capitals of l'Empordà throughout the Medieval Age. From this bright period there are still many buildings and monuments left which make the delights of the visitor who discovers the secrets of a millennial village.

Still, most people only ever see Peralada on a warm summer's evening, dressed to the nine's en route to a concert in the castle grounds during the annual festival. And some don't go to the concert but stay in the 

casino

 or the al fresco dining terrace! The village is well worth seeing however, during the day, combined with other medieval villages.

Castle Museum of Peralada

 - here is what they say about themselves:

In Peralada the visitor has the opportunity to visit one of the most spectacular, private collections of Catalonia; the Castle's Museum, which is located inside the antique Carme's convent.The cloister and the Gothic church are two of the convent's original dependencies that can be visited. A library with around 80.000 volumes and more than 1000 editions of El Quijote is another appeal of this visit, which follows with the Glass Museum, with on of the best and biggest collections of the world. And, eventually, the Wine's Museum, which was created in the 60's in the wine cellar where until that date Peralada's wines were produced. All the elements and objects exposed are from the wine's culture in any of its phases.
Timetable:From 1st July until 15th September. Guided visits every hour o'clock. Opened every day. From 16th September until 30th June. Opened every day save on Sundays and holiday's afternoons. On Mondays it is closed the whole day.

Cloister of Sant Domènec

This 12th century Romanesque monument is the sole vestige that remains of an old Augustinian convent. In 1578 it became the headquarters of the Dominicans.Worth noting in the cloister are the lowered arches, a feature that belongs to a later period, and the sculptures on the capitals of the columns with plant motifs and zoomorphic figures. 

Medieval walls

The town of Perelada had had two walled enclosures. There are still a few remains of the

ancient reduced fortification in the Carrer Sota Muralla, in the Carrer de les Monges and the Plaça de Sant

Domènec. You can see important fragments of the wall from the second fortification in El Carme convent. From 1000-1285 AD, Perelada was one of the main towns in the Empordà. 

Fire destroyed much of the town in 1285.

for the 

casino

http://www.casino-peralada.com/ing/index.asp

for 

wine

http://www.castilloperelada.com/en/

for the 

music and dance festival in summer

 - a wonderful experience, at night, outdoors.

http://www.festivalperalada.es/festivalperalada/programacion-2012/?lang=en

Castelló d'Empuries

File:Santa Maria de Castelló d'Empúries - Façana.JPG

Nice introduction link here: 

http://capcreus.com/castello/castello_uk.htm

Cycle route Vilabertran and Figueres villages

This is a route we did by road bike in April last year and thoroughly enjoyed - we were lucky with the wind! Highly recommended and you can extend or cut short as you feel like - just be careful to take a good map, as you wouldn't think you could get lost but believe me, you can!

https://maps.google.es/maps?q=castello+d'empuries&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x12ba61d9ab3cdd37:0x400fae021a467f0,Castell%C3%B3+d'Emp%C3%BAries,+Girona&gl=es&ei=1_OYUJy1IeiQ4gTCh4GAAw&ved=0CJ8BELYD

http://www.empordaturisme.com/en/Associats/Natural_Parks-188/PARC_NATURAL_DEL_CAP_DE_CREUS-29.htm

Girona Medieval Villages Route - 88kms (more or less as you wish)

Cycle from the centre of Girona and back, visiting a whole sequence of gorgeous picturesque medieval villages - you can add more or take away, according to how long you want to cycle. Pubol is a possible alternative route and you have Dali's Castle to visit there. It is mostly flat with a variety of places to eat en route.

From:

Girona

Sant Marti Vell

To: 

Sant Martí Vell

16.0 km

To:

Madremanya

7.5 km

To:

Sant Sadurní de l'Heura

5.6 km

To:

la bisbal

5.7 km

To:

Peratallada

5.8 km

To:

Ullastret

4.7 km

To:

Sant Llorenç de les Arenes, Foixà

11.1 km

To:

Flaçà

6.1 km 

To:

St Martí Vell

5.8 km 

To:

Girona

La Bisbal

Pubol

Ullastret

Hostal de Sadernes - Can Galceran

Rustic, real and recommended. Of course, you'll have to get to Sadernes first - aim for Tortellá / Olot from Girona and don't miss the medieval Llierca Bridge on the road from Montagut. Booking is best, as although it seems to be in the middle of nowhere, everyone knows a good thing when they see it.

I am biased because it was one of the first Catalan restaurants i went to on landing here 20 years ago. It was my introduction to allioli ('garlic mayonaise' - though there's no mayonaise in it) and garlic scrubbed tomato bread and arguably a good reason for staying in the country. It counters the common practice of talking at length in the library, which is a good reason for leaving it.

It's true there is the minimum of staff, but they're efficient, friendly and family. Basic traditional Catalan fare presented in a basic but beautiful way - that is to say, a ceramic pot with tomatoes, garlic cloves and bread with oil and salt on the table. Olives and wine. Soup arrives in a tureen. Not arty, just a picture. Take your time.

 Sant Aniol d'Aguja 

    (5 hour walk, swim included)

Tel. 972 68 70 77

Open Friday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.