Our Barcelona adventure and other travel stories

Top 6 places to visit outside Girona (3)

Just a few minutes drive away from Santa Pau you will find a parking lot from where you can start a short 40 minutes hike to a chapel in the middle of a volcano crater. You should be able to walk uphill for some 20 minutes to be able to reach the chapel as you will have to cross the crater rim.

6. Ermita de Santa Margarida de Sacot

First mentioned in 1403 the chapel was built on the bottom of the volcano crater in Romanesque style. However, seismic activity destroyed the original chapel in the year 1427. The reconstructed building you can see now is actually from the mid 19th century. After many years of neglection it was restored in recent years.

The natural park of Garrotxa is a volcanic zone (Parc Natural de La Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa) with an area of 120 km² (approx. 30,000 acres). It comprises eleven municipalities, more than forty volcanoes, more than twenty lava flows and integrates twenty different nature reserves. All volcanoes are considered inactive, but not extinguished. The last eruption of one of the volcanoes was about 11,000 years ago. In 1982 the Catalan government declared this area a protected natural park.

After having visited the chapel we also discovered several small waterfalls along the Vies Verdes, hiking and cycling paths along ancient railway tracks.

Vies Verdes – Former Train Tracks that are now used for recreational purposes

In the evening time we visited the small village of Tortellà (population 771) in order to find an authentic dinner spot. The visit was spontaneous and apparently it was the village´s summer festival with food trucks and live music. So the whole town was out in the streets!

The central market square of Tortellà
The church of Tortellà

Conclusion: Girona province – a must visit!

Our three-days trip to Girona and surroundings was extremely rewarding. To be able to discover beautiful areas full of nature, history and stunning medieval architecture within a one-hour car drive only from Barcelona just revealed to us what a great spot Barcelona is to live in. And we realised that there is so much more to discover! We will be back in the region in April – so stay tuned!

Also interesting: Iconic hills in Barcelona

Not only the volcanic hills in the Garrotxa area have a very distinct shape but also several hills in Barcelona have an iconic character.

Montjuïc hill for example is standing out at the harbour of Barcelona with its height of 185 meters (600 feet). This made it a natural watch tower as from the foundation of the city by the Romand more than 2000 years ago.

The Barcelona Feeling offers a great historic walking tour over the Montjuïc hill including a stroll in nature where you can enjoy this green lung of the city.

The Bunkers of Carmel are situated on a similar hill further land inwards. With a stunning view point and still not so overrun by mass tourism this hill is certainly a must to visit. Check out this private tour: “Escape busy downtown: The Labyrinth of Horta and Bunkers of Carmel”

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