El Puigsacalm, Vall d'en Bas Walk

Distance: 8.25 km   Ascent: 450m    Duration: 2 h 40 min 
Don't go at the weekend, it can get quite crowded up there!!

From the Collada de Bracons to El Puigsacalm 

In the surroundings of Puigsacalm we find the green, leafy, endless landscapes of the Pyrenean foothills as nowhere else in the wet regions of Catalonia. The view from the summit, 1515 m high, is of such extraordinary grandiosity and beauty that no-one can say they know Catalonia until they have climbed it. The route starts from Collada de Bracons. To get there we take C-152 from Olot to Sant Feliu de Pallerols and turn right along GIV-5273, the local road from Joanetes and La Vall d'en Bas to Torelló. 
Once at the top of the pass, we leave the car and take a road that heads north, negotiating a rocky edge of the main road. Ten minutes later we pass a path on the right that climbs up to the top of Tosell Gros hill. Further on, in a splendid beech wood, we pass another path on the left. 
After climbing for 45 minutes we come to Collada de Sant Bartomeu. Here we find a turnoff where we take the road to the right. After 1 hour 20 minutes we come to Font Tornadissa. Here the road veers east and climbs. Not far off is the road to Platraver and Sant Bartomeu. The track leaves the wood and continues along Manter flats. 
In just under two hours we come to Puigsacalm. If you are walking with small children, be careful they do not fall. The panorama is so extensive that we could use the magnificent view to give a practical geography class. 


Jordà beech wood. Santa Margarida Volcano and Croscat Volcano

Distance: 9.9 km    Duration: 3 h 
This itinerary is circular, beginning and ending at the same point after visiting three of the best-known and most attractive spots in the Natural Park: the Jordà beech wood and the Santa Margarida and Croscat volcanoes. The route is marked by the natural park with the number 1 and the color red. Get the Teisa bus to Olot (1hr 10 ish), get a taxi from the bus station to 'Area Servei Santa Margardia' or 'Parquing Can Serra'(10 mins). Get the taxi driver's number to call him when you want to go back.
Although the recommended starting point is the Can Serra service area (Jordà beech wood), it is also possible to begin at the Santa Margarida service area. Both service areas are on the GI-524 road from Olot to Santa Pau, at kms 4 and 6, respectively. If you leave Can Serra and head south, you have to cross the road and go down some steps which lead to the Jordà beech wood. Just before you reach the wood, on the right-hand side there is a monolith in the memory of poet Joan Maragall. 

Jordà beech wood is exceptional, because it grows on flat ground, 550 m above sea level, on top of a lava flow from the Croscat volcano. Leaving the wood, the path goes on to the Can Batlle gap and Sant Miquel de Sacot (Romanesque church, 11th century); km 3.5. From there it descends to the Sacot plain via the Bassols gap, on the south-west flank of the Santa Margarida volcano (km 5.2). 
Santa Margarida volcano 
This is a mixed volcano, which has phases of eruption of the strombolian and phreatomagmatic types. The latter are explosive and opened up a broad circular crater, within which is the hermitage which has given the volcano its name. Apart from the crater, now a meadow, the rest of the volcano is covered with woodland, evergreen oaks on the sunny side and mixed deciduous trees on the shady side. The itinerary continues on down to the Santa Margarida service area (km 6.2), crosses the GI-524 and joins Itinerary 15 (Croscat volcano clay pits), to the turnoff to Can Passavent (km 7). 
Croscat volcano
Strombolian, and the cone is the largest on the Iberian Peninsula. 160 m high. It also seems to be the youngest of them all. For years volcanic materials were extracted from the side, leaving an impressive gash (grederes), which we can visit by following Itinerary 15.After skirting the old rubbish tip, now sealed off, on the north flank of the volcano, the path descends gently to the car park and the Can Serra service area (km 9.90). 

Practical information 
You should carry a map of the area. You need suitable clothing and footwear, food and water. 
Turisme Garrotxa 
Av. Onze de Setembre, 22, 2ª pl. 
17800 Olot 
972 271 600 
Oficina de Turisme d'Olot 
C/ Hospici, 8 
17800 Olot 
972 260 141 
Taken from Palau Robert Routes website 

A walk round Banyoles Lake.

Combine with a walk round the town and maybe lunch in El Ranxo as was, now Can Xabanet.


Distance: 6.8 km    Duration: 1 h 30 min 

Get the bus to Banyoles from Girona bus station, a 2 minute walk from Gironalet Apartment. It takes about 25 minutes.
Itinerary around Banyoles Lake that visits a number of places of interest such as Can Morgat woods, Coromina and La Draga Parks, Nou and El Vilar pools, and the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Porqueres. 
The best way to do the round tour of the lake is to leave the car and walk a while. The starting point could be the swimming club at Banyoles at the side of La Draga park, where you are able to park the car. You leave behind the swimming club facilities and walk north. The road is delightful and runs just a few metres from the waterside, amidst a variety of trees and plants: the old plane trees of La Draga, the lakeside trees, the marshland reeds and the holm oak and live oak wood of Can Morgat. By now you are already on the west side of the lake and come out of Can Morgat wood to take the bypass 
road for a few hundred metres. Before you come to Riera Castellana, you can observe the Nou pool to the right, which was created just a few years ago by a cave-in of earth. Further on there is another pool which is famous because from time to time it takes on a violet colour. At the same point in the road but over to the left, there is a wooden platform which serves as a viewpoint over the lake. 
You return to the main road. After a long straight stretch, you leave the road and go to the left where you will find the spring of el Rector in the Coromina park. Immediately afterwards, you pass below the church of Santa Maria de Porqueres, a Romanesque jewel, and which you get to by going up a track on the right hand side and a little further on. The track now goes back into a wooded area in which you can go onto another wooden platform in order to get close to the lake and then return to the path between the lake and El Vilar pool. You now enter Els Desmais area -the water sprites' ballroom-and the spring of la Filosa. The track leaves you at the so-called Front de l'Estany, an area of bars, fishing jetties, restaurants and chalets, where you will also find the original tourist office inside a fishing boat. End of the walk. 
Taken from the Palau Robert Routes website

Els Angels Sanctuary - walk it from Gironalet Apartment

These are the directions in English. We did this walk (when not that fit), there and back in 5 hours with a long lunch break at the top not included! We estimated 19kms, but it’s more like 22km. It’s an up and down walk, not difficult, with the sanctuary where Dali and Gala married, at the top. The restaurant is basic but pleasant and acceptable food, not expensive. You can walk it from the apartment doorstep. When we walked this about 12 years ago, we thought we’d just walk an hour and turn back, but we were animated to continue by other walkers, so we ended up at the top with about 600 pesetas on us. We asked in the restaurant if there was anything we could eat for this pittance and were told to sit down and served with a wonderful paella and even a glass of wine I think. We were pathetically grateful and have fond memories ever since!

NB: If this is too long, or its' just too hot for it, just do the first part to the Monastery to Sant Daniel and have lunch at Cul del Mon restaurant (or a coffee break). It's a very beautiful area very near the centre of Girona.

Taken from the Palau Robert Route sheets.
Distance: 22.35 km. Ascent: 700.0 m. Duration: 5/6 h. 
From Sant Daniel valley you climb up to Els Àngels sanctuary, from where you have a fine panoramic view of Les Gavarres, the Empordà plain and, farther off, Les Guilleries and the Pyrenees. The route goes through the Gavarres massif with holm oak, strawberry trees and box. 
You leave Girona from the church of Sant Pere de Galligants and take the road for Sant Daniel. 
On the left you see the Archaeological walk and the cathedral. After 5 minutes, taking the road to the right, you pass Font del Bisbe and keep straight on. You follow the 
signs to Els Àngels sanctuary, straight on, and pass the signposted path to Sant Miquel castle. After 25 minutes you pass under the N-II tunnel and after 40 minutes you come to a fork: either of the two signposted branches, the Els Àngels road or the old Els Àngels road, leads to the sanctuary. Along the way you find stretches with the white and red marks of a GR (Grande Randonnée path). You come to L'Olivet d'en Salgueda, 1 hour 10 minutes, from where you have fine views of the city of Girona. A signposted road 
on the left goes up to Sant Miquel castle. You go down 400 metres and take a path on the left to Els Àngels. You come out onto the road from Girona to Els Àngels (la GIV-6703) after 1 hour 15 minutes, carry on for 60 metres to the left and take a signposted path. You pass Casa de les Figues, now deserted, along stretches of dirt and asphalt: you always follow the signs. After 2 hours 20 minutes you come to La Mare de Déu dels Àngels sanctuary, the end of the route. From here you retrace your steps. 

To cycle, see 'Cycling from Girona' section.

Figueres-Girona-Barcelona New Fast Train

15,70€  now takes you to the centre of Barcelona in 37 minutes by the new Ave fast train. It's 14 minutes to Figueres and 3 and a half hours to Madrid. Great from the apartment which is a 2 minute walk to the station. However it is interesting to muse on the fact that a garden snail could apparently have walked the distance from Orange in France to Madrid in the same time it took to build the whole track, started in 1992! We should take advantage of a system which has involved such a huge effort!