Walks & Races Calendar

 

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Historical-artistic complexes

Saturday Market (and Tuesday)

Next time, i'll take the camera, these pictures don't do it justice. In November, the leaves hadn't fallen yet, the Devesa wood still green and sunlit and the first stalls were selling stacks of mint, coriander and jerusalem artichoke (freshly culled from the river banks?!). On Saturday and Tuesday mornings it transforms from this peaceful park, to a riot of jostling elbows and determined grandmas. And it's a pleasure to compete. There's enough for everyone and time too. Don't miss it. You walk from the centre of town to the edge of the wood and eventually have to make a decision....left or right along the Ter river bank. Left, those handbags look quite interesting, and the scarves....but look right and the stalls go on forever....maybe there isn't enough time after all....

River Ter

.

Medieval Villages near Figueres Vilabertran, Peralada, Castelló 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.

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.

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

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 Museums

Museum of Cinema

See 'Original Version Cinema' post in 'Days Out' section for more.

From Chinese shadows to the Lumière brother's camera, there are many fascinating and amusing inventions that you can now see in Girona at the Museum of the Cinema. One of the Europe's most important collections and a visit recommended for everyone and all ages.

http://www.museudelcinema.cat/cat/museu_missio.php

City of Girona History Museum

The aim of Girona City History Museum is to show the evolution of the city, starting with the first human remains found in the area and continuing right up to the transition to democracy after the Franco dictatorship, and to portray the society that brought it all about. The fourteen exhibition rooms, arranged in chronological order, are complemented by theme rooms such as those dedicated to industrial Girona/pioneer city, sardana dancing and cobla bands, and contemporary Girona. It's more interesting than it sounds! The website is also very clear, informative on Catalan history and in English!

http://www.girona.cat/museuciutat/eng/museu_presentacio.php

Jewish History Museum of Girona

The Museum's eleven galleries form an itinerary allowing visitors to learn about aspects of the everyday life, culture and history of the Jewish communities of Catalonia and of Girona during medieval times. It is housed on the site of the 3rd medieval Synagogue of Girona. The website also has lots of information on the different sections of the musuem. An enjoyable visit when you go to visit the 'call' or Jewish quarter of Girona.

COMMUNITY LIFE

FESTIVALS & TRADITIONS

THE LIFE

CYCLE

THE JEWRIES

THE DIASPORA

THE SYNAGOGUE

THE CEMETERY

THE CULTURAL HERITAGE

DAILY BREAD

CULTURAL CO-EXISTENCE

JEWISH CONVERTS

AND THE INQUISITION

http://www.girona.cat/call/eng/index.php

Art Museum of Girona

A very pleasant, quiet place to visit, starting with pre-romanesque art pieces found mostly in the surrounding areas, going through the centuries up to the 20th and with explanations in each room of the pieces and the period, in English. 

http://www.museuart.com/eng/index.html

Museum- Treasure of the Cathedral

Collections of religious art showing liturgical art of the cathedral through its history. The most famous piece is the Tapestry of Creation - the cathedral audio-guide is worthwhile.

Vall de Sant Daniel Walk

From the centre of Girona, head towards the church of Sant Pere de Galligants, off the Plaça de Sant Pere. The little road to the left of the church goes to the valley of Sant Daniel. 

Another route is to find the Gironell Tower of the wall, which is a ruin and looks like blown up grey masonry (which is in fact what it is). 

From here you can walk above and parallel to the previously mentioned road, then you veer off left into olive groves and follow the 'stations of the cross' in a bucolic setting, to arrive at Sant Daniel Monastery. Before visiting the monastery you can walk a while, discovering various 'Fonts' or springs. 

This is where you can find the 'Cul del Mon' restaurant where i sat and had a coffee with ice ('cafe amb gel') on an extremely pleasant, rural terrace. 

If you're not interested in the monastery, you can walk here for supper one evening, earning your first drink on the way, and enjoying the cool of the evening on the way back.

I intend to put more specific directions here, but for now, you have only clues.

Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery Day Out 7

Motor over to this Romanesque monastery with its' fabulous views over the sea, arriving via Llança or Vilajüiga from Figueres. There's a little route of maximum an hour, around the out-buildings  - where the kitchen gardens were, the hospital, where they did the washing, the abbot's palace etc. They have a good restaurant and cafe for a lunch break, naturally, which will be needed if you do the monastery and its' surroundings justice - there are plenty of walks starting from here and leaflets provided. 

Go down to Port de la Selva for a walk and a coffee. Or head for Cap de Creus where there is a little cafe on the headland. You could stop off in Figueres on the way back if you haven't dawdled by the rocky shoreline, or Cadaques or Roses...

The History of Catalonia Museum, has this guide to the monastery. 

http://www.mhcat.net/content/download/9335/71903/file/Monestir+St.Pere+Rodes+guide+of+visit+angles%5B1%5D.pdf

And this is the museum link but it only seems to open in catalan

http://www.es.mhcat.cat/content/view/full/6050

Girona Monuments Day Out 5

The Wall (the medieval one!)

The best introduction to Girona is to go to Plaça Catalunya, 5 minutes walk from the apartment, and from there start the walk around the old wall of Girona (la Muralla). The views are magnificent and you will get your bearings. You look down on the old town and in the distance might see snow in the Pyrenees. 

The wall i am referring to here, the one in the photo, is the medieval wall. The Roman wall is a different circuit altogether - see Walks from Girona section. 

Probably better to do the Roman wall walk first as it shows you the perimeter of the true beginnings of 'Gerunda'. The medieval wall meets the roman wall at a right angle at the Telegraph Tower (in the centre of the first photo below). 

Sometimes, about half way along, the door in one of the towers is closed and you have to retrace your steps. If so, find time if you can, to go to the beginning of the other end of the wall, to be found near Sant Felix Church (Plaça de Sant Domenec) where you get another wonderful perspective on Girona old town and also some gardens to visit. 

The Cathedral

The wall takes you to the Cathedral, which you can pay a visit with an audioguide. There is the famous tapestry of the Creation inside and the church has the widest vaulted nave in Europe. The video of the different construction periods of the Cathedral is interesting.

Arab Baths

These are near the Cathedral and are definitely worth a visit if there are no queues.

Jewish Quarter

Again nearby. The Jewish museum is informative, if you have time and energy.

Sant Pere Galligants Monastery

This church and the Sant Nicolas Church in the same square are both marvellous examples of Romanesque architecture. There is a museum upstairs of archeological finds. There are cafes close-by for a much needed sit-down.

There's still time to go home for a siesta and shower, out again refreshed for supper.

Dali Day Out 6

First stop is usually the

Dali museum

in Figueres, followed by his house in

Port Lligat

(Cadaques). This last has to be booked online and the museum ought to be also, to avoid queues. Added to these is the medieval

Púbol Castle

(near Flaça, and on the fantastic medieval villages cycle route), where Gala lived in the 1970's. 

To this i would add 2 more 'sites'!

Els Angels

Mountain Sanctuary just outside Girona, again a popular cycle route, where the couple got married late in their relationship and last but not least,

Can Manolo's Restaurant

, in Girona, where they held their reception. Make sure you ask to be in the old part of the restaurant to get the full atmosphere (though the food is equally wonderful in the extension looking over the river).

While you're in Figueres you can visit the

S

ant Ferran Castle

, where Dalí did his military service and

Plaça de la Palmera

where he had a second home. On leaving Figueres look for the

Molí de la Torre

, a property which belonged to the Pitxot family and where Dalí learned to paint.

Olot - Capsacosta - Sant Pau de Seguires - Olot


Sant Joan les Fonts (Olot) - Capsacosta - Sant Pau de Seguries - Olot 
There and back 46kms and a very beautiful route. There is traffic in the Vall de Bianya. In Sant Pau de Seguries, we passed the Can Batalle Cafe/restaurant (very grudging they are) and found a little cafe a bit further on on the right, a kind of b&b, not very obvious from the road, but extremely nice people and food.

http://www.bikemap.net/route/1614982#lat=42.235726269255&lng=2.43794&zoom=12&maptype=ts_terrain

4 Days Out

(what our last very active guests did): 

Wednesday we went to Banyoles and Besalu before lunch and walked round and up 2 volcanoes before supper. 

Thursday we walked for 2 hours in the Moixina, Olot and then (after a very short siesta but a long lunch), walked from St Marti d’Empuries to L’Escala and back in the afternoon. 

Friday we cycled 50 kms in the Val d'en Bas and then finally had only a stroll around Girona before a targine supper! 

Saturday was a breeze, not literally, walking round Girona flower festival in 30 degrees! Supper in a restaurant garden after cool cava on a terrace.

Olot

Volcanoes, Wetlands, Romanesque... Day Out 4 

Olot

is the capital of the Garrotxa and in the middle of the National Volcanic Park. The town itself is compact, of some interest for its' modernist buildings, but nothing special, except for the

4 volcanoes in the centre

of town, waiting to be climbed and explored.

Start with 'Sant Francesc' as

Montsacopa Volcano

is known, because of the church near its' crater - a quick up and down, passing the Stations of the Cross, before lunch, perhaps! You don't need more than an hour and a bit, going slowly. 

After lunch i would recommend going to

Santa Pau

to walk the

Croscat and Santa Margarida Volcanoes (

they are together from the same car park, signposted before arriving at Santa Pau from Olot). Santa Pau is a very attractive medieval village for a stroll and supper. Be aware, however, everything is served with 'fesols' here as the town is famous for its' small beans...

If you fancied something more shaded, the

Moixina wetland

area, again walkable from the centre of town, is extremely beautiful and takes an hour or so, plus time for refreshments on the Moixina restaurant terrace. This is a famous area for the Olot School of landscape painters.

Olot is a walkers' and cyclists' paradise, just need more time! 

The Garrotxa area of the Girona province has loads to offer - Romanesque churches to visit, Roman roads to walk, mountains to explore.

Figueres

A route around the centre of Figueres          Day Out 3

I've been to Figueres loads of times, and never done a tourist route, but the shops are great and it's quite relaxing if you don't need to worry about parking - just pay! Quite a 'French' atmosphere...However, at this link there is a walking route and also clear explanations and useful stuff generally.
http://www.figueres.cat/eng/contents/446/routes.html

The Dali Museum

What can i say, apart from book your tickets online so you don't need to queue. It's very quirky, as a museum visit very entertaining and not just a rainy day activity. 
http://thedali.org/home.php 

Sant Ferran Castle
Situated atop a hill, at the end of Pujada del Castell, this is a large military fortification built in the 18th century under the orders of various military engineers, notable among whom were Pere M. Cermeño and Joan M. Cermeño. It occupies a surface area of 32 hectares within a perimeter running 3,120 metres, while the tanks under the parade ground can hold 10 million litres of water. Sant Ferran Castle, which could hold 6.000 men, is a first-rate heritage feature, the largest monument in Catalonia and the largest ramparted fortress in 18th century Europe. In the month of July 1997 it was opened up to the public on a regular basis with a guided visit service to show the fortress features. Its enormous size, sophisticated building techniques within the sphere of the period´s military engineering skills and its excellent state of preservation make a visit to Sant Ferran Castle a magnificent experience.
We visited this one sunny winter morning and it was a worthwhile visit although at the time there were no guided tours and not much information around. It's good for a walk at the very least and there is a little cafe for a refreshment. Actually a very interesting site and worth a visit while in Figueres. Combines well with a visit to the Dali museum in the afternoon (a must as they say).
http://www.castillosanfernando.org/ENG/index.htm


Places near Figueres
A visit to the Monastery of Vilabertran, the medieval village of Peralada with its' castle and summer music and dance festival, Castelló d'Empuries and the citadel of Roses are all recommended options.