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icoCasa Rural por Habitaciones MAS PARETS D'EMPORDĄ en Parets D'Emporda de Pla de l'Estany

Towns and villages in Pla de l’Estany and la Vall d’en Bas

This route brings us into some of the most delightful and least well-known areas of Pla de l'Estany and Garrotxa counties, taking in many towns and villages with a strong Romanesque cultural heritage. A trip around the volcanoes in the Natural Park of the Garrotxa Volcanic Area is an absolute must on this route.

Starting out:
The lakeside town of Banyoles has a long history. The town grew up in the shadow of the monastery of Sant Esteve, which still conserves its original late Gothic portal. However, the church and cloister that we see today date mainly from the 18th century.
Interesting civil and religious buildings include: the 13th- century porticoed Main Square, where the weekly market is held every Wednesday; the ramparts and Plaça del Teatre. Banyoles and Pla de l'Estany county are official Sports Tourism Destinations.

Take the GIP-5121 to Esponellà. Esponellà is a small country village where the main points of
interest are the Romanesque church of Sant Cebrià the medieval bridge and the castle, now in ruins. In the little hamlet of Centenys, we find a good example of rural Romanesque architecture in the church of Sant Iscle
Take the GI-554 towards Bàscara, Vilert and Orfes. Now go along the GI-554 until the GIV-5131 and head towards Galliners.
Go along the GIV-5132 towards Vilavenut, turning off to Espasens. The late 11th-century Romanesque church of Santa Caterina was restored by local people in the area. We now make another detour to Ollers, a small hamlet with a church dating from the 11th century. In Vilavenut, there is an other
Romanesque church that has been subjected to various transformations over the years.

Carrying on along the route:
Fontcoberta is famous for the Nativity tableaux performed every year at Christmas. Places of interest include the large church of Sant Feliu with its high nave and square bell tower of Lombard Romanesque origin, and also the Town Hall, situated nearby. In the hamlet of La Farrés, we find Borrella tower, an example of a fortified house. Can Jan Ethnography Museum has a remarkable
collection of clocks.
From Fontcoberta go back to Banyoles, drive round the lake past Porqueres and take the GI-524 towards Mieres. After 25.5 km turn off to the Bosc de Can Ginebreda, a curious open-air park containing sculptures with erotic themes. Continue on to Sant Martí de Campmajor and on up to Sant Miquel de Campmajor.

The main point of interest in this village is the church, originally Romanesque but later modified, with a central nave flanked by lateral aisles and an apse decorated with Lombard elements.
Go back to Sant Martí de Campmajor with its 9th-century Romanesque church. From there continue on the GIV-5246 to Falgons, with a modified Romanesque church enlarged in the 18th century and a square castle with reinforcement towers, dating from the year 1126. Now go back to the main road to Mieres and then on to Santa Pau.

Santa Pau is one of the most significant historical sites in Girona, clustered around the 13th-14th-century castle and the porticoed Main Square. The 15th-century Gothic-style church has a single nave and a square bell tower. Go up to the sanctuaries at Els Arcs and La Cot for a view of some of the volcano cones in the Natural Park of the Garrotxa Volcanic Area.

Follow the GI-524 towards Olot until Can Serra car park, starting point for visiting the wellknown Fageda d'en Jorda The Volcano Museum in nearby Olot is the place to learn more about the volcanoes. From Olot, take the C-152 following the course of the River Fluvià into La Vall d'en Bas.


The name La Vall d'en Bas designates a municipal area of eight villages situated along the axis of the C-152 and the C-153. The most interesting villages are Sant Privat d’en Bas, Puigpardines, Joanetes, Sant Esteve d’en Bas and els Hostalets d’en Bas.

Go back to Sant Esteve d'en Bas to take the C-63 to Les Planes d'Hostoles (from where hiking trails lead to Hostoles Castle among other places) in order to get onto the GI-531. Take a detour to Sant Aniol de Finestres, another good starting point for hikers, and see the Romanesque churches and hermitages in the area. Go back along the GI-531 through Llémena Valley until Girona, and from Girona back to Banyoles.

From Pla de l’Estany to the edge of the Montseny

The Pla de l’Estany county is the starting point for this Romanesque tour route that goes through the city of Girona, crosses the Guilleries mountains, and then goes on as far as the foothills of the Montseny mountains.

Getting there:
Starting out from the town centre in Banyoles, head towards the lake and start driving around it. You will soon come to a church right by the waterside, the church of Santa Maria de Porqueres, which is just one of the many Romanesque hermitages you will see in Pla de l’Estany. If you take Banyoles as your starting point for trips around the area, you will get a good look at sixty-odd churches, castles, fortified houses and farmsteads of historical value dotted around the county’s eleven municipal districts. Ask at the local Tourist Office about how to get to them, whether on foot, by bicycle or by car.

Starting out:
Head out from Banyoles towards Girona and drive on all the way to the latter city, which is the capital of the province. The cultural, artistic, leisure and shopping options that Girona has to offer you are numberless. Spend a while having a good look around the city.

Noteworthy in Girona’s Romanesque heritage is the public-baths building Banys Àrabs, which reproduces the structure of the former Muslim baths. Close by is the Cathedral – a Gothic-style building, but still featuring the Romanesque cloister and the original bell tower, used as a buttress. The tower, known as the Torre de Carlemany (Charlemagne tower) and dating from the eleventh century, has five storeys in the Lombard style. While you’re there, visit the cathedral’s nave, the broadest to be found anywhere in Gothic architecture and the cause of controversy for its innovative design.

The cathedral museum is likewise not to be missed: in there is the Creation Tapestry, the most important surviving Romanesque textile in the world. It dates from the first half of the twelfth century, and is a large-scale embroidered work featuring a complex portrayal of how the world was created.

Also Romanesque in design are the church of Sant Nicolau and the splendid monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants, which is now used to house the city Archaeology Museum. The monumental design of the church and the cloister are among the finest examples of Catalan Romanesque architecture.
Enquire about the various monuments, museums and buildings you can visit in Girona so that you can decide whether you want to take time off here to make further visits. If at all possible, carry on with this tour route and come back another day to get to know this city in greater depth. Though in fact to make the most of it, you’ll need more than a day.

Carrying on along the route:
From Girona city, take the GI-531 heading for Llémena Valley, and there, amid a surprisingly untouched landscape considering how close it is to the provincial capital, you will find Romanesque churches such as Sant Martí and Sant Esteve de Llémena. The road joins the C-63 (Olot-Anglès) at Les Planes d’Hostoles. From there, head for the town of Amer.

Still preserved in Amer are the Romanesque church and what was once the cloister of the monastery of Santa Maria (10th century). Have a stroll around the town’s main square (the Plaça de la Vila), Catalonia’s second biggest porticoed square. Carry on down the road to Anglès and there take the GI-542, which makes its way through the Selva county, known for its springs and mineral waters. You will soon come to Osor. After stopping there to visit the Mare de Déu del Coll sanctuary, once a Benedictine priory and dating from the twelfth century, carry on towards Sant Hilari Sacalm.

Guilleries massif.

This ‘town of the thousand fountains’ is the starting point for many hiking routes and other mountain activities involving the Guilleries massif. While you’re there you can take your chance to walk along to one of those springs, bearing such well-known and enticing names as Font del Cirerer (‘Cherry-tree Fountain’), Font del Ferro (‘Iron Fountain’), Font Picant (‘Spicy Fountain’), with medicinal waters, and Font Vella (‘The Old Fountain’), the site of the bottling plant of that familiar brand of bottled water.

Then go down the GI-550 to the next town along, Arbúcies, taking the GI-552 to get to Breda, one of Girona province’s ceramics-production centres. Pay a visit to the medieval precinct and to the slender but imposing belfry, which stands 32 metres high – the only remnant of the earlier Romanesque monastery of Sant Salvador. From Breda you can head off into the Montseny Natural Park and go up to Riells, where another Romanesque church is to be found, as well as a number of hiking options.