Banyoles - Santa Pau

1 Day or 1/2 Day

Banyoles Lake

In the Pla de l'Estany region, it is the largest natural lake in Catalonia and one of the largest ones on the Iberian Peninsula.

Add to travelogue Email to a friend Print friendly version

It has a surface area of 170 hectares and an incalculable depth in some places. It is the product of a series of karstic and tectonic collapses and is fed underground from rivers that come down from the Alta Garrotxa.

The small ponds that surround it are a result of the same phenomenon, although some of them have strange shapes, such as the one called Can Cisó, which from time to time turns red due to the action of certain bacteria. Excavations carried out around the lake link it to Palaeolithic and Neolithic cultures, which is certified by the exceptional remains of the Neolithic village of La Draga.

The lake is currently a very popular place where the aim is to strike a happy balance between the need to preserve the medium and that of practising different activities that respect the surroundings, such as boat trips and water sports. We should also mention, that Banyoles Lake was a sub headquarters for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and during 2004, the headquarters of the World Rowing Championship.


Santa Pau

In the very heart of the Volcanic Area of the Garrotxa there is the Vila Vella, or old centre, of Santa Pau.

Add to travelogue Email to a friend Print friendly version

An interesting historic site which is built around a square based castle constructed between the 13th and 14th centuries, and the main square, with porticoes and an irregular layout, and with arches of different sizes and with a decidedly mediaeval personality. In the town square there is the church of Santa Maria, a solid 15th century Gothic building, with a single nave and a square bell tower.

In the southern sector of the town, under the protective shade of the castle, there is a set of houses and narrow streets that lead to the Portal del Mar, from where you can contemplate a wonderful view of the valley of Santa Pau.

You can make the most of a visit to the town to explore nearby valleys, particularly in the area of the sanctuaries of Mare de Déu dels Arcs and Santa Margarida de la Cot, from where you can see the volcanic cones of Can Simó, Puigsubià, Puigmartinyà and Roca Negra, amongst others .