Just a 30 minutes car drive away from Girona you will find an incredibly rich hilly country side with medieval villages, bridges, ermitages and beautiful lakes: The Garrotxa. Being of volcanic origins the area reminded us of the Eifel mountain range in Germany with its green vegetation. Here are a few impressions from our trip early September 2018:
1. Besalú – Game of Thrones
Time stood still in this village. In order to enter Besalú we had to cross a 150 meter long Romanesque stone bridge from the 12th century over the river Fluvià. I saw it before me how in medieval times the duke of the village and surrounding lands would come back on his horse with his entourage from a day hunting in the woods.
2. Hermit Village – Park Garrell
The most curious place hidden in the woods can be found a 15 minutes drive away from Besalú: Garrell Park. Garrell was the artistic name of the hermit living at this place. He was a self-taught inventor who created a highly personal world populated by tall wooden huts and towers, wells and water courses. He carved caves into the lime stone and recycled any old material he could find, from old car tyres to metal barrels.
3. Lake Banyoles – Bavaria in Catalonia
We were surprised about the neatness of Banyoles. It was obvious that this little town of roughly 20,000 inhabitants is rather well off. Buildings, streets, pavements, all looked well maintained and in a good state. While walking along the path around the lake the views reminded us of Bavaria. A small Lake Starnberg in the outskirts of Munich with the mountains in the back. We spent the whole afternoon on a pier of a beer garden enjoying the views and the great climate: fresh air, comfortable temperatures, picturesque scenery, children swimming in the lake.
How to get there
The easiest way will be to go by car. Banyoles is located about 20 km to the East of Girona.
Also interesting: Activities in Barcelona
If you are looking to spend a day in nature when visiting Barcelona I recommend you the Barcelona Nature Walk by The Barcelona Feeling. You will start from the top of the Tibidabo range and cross the magnificent natural park Collserola. The park is 22 times bigger than Central Park in New York. After a three hours walk along medieval ruins through the forest you will able to reward yourself with tapas and Sangria in the medieval city of Sant Cugat.
Alternatively, spend a day in Montserrat (read my blog post here). The mountain monastery offers fascinating views and there is a great hike on top of the mountain. The Barcelona Feeling also offers a private tour to Montserrat.