Day 1: Arrive Santa Pau
Fly into Girona Airport, and make your way to Santa Pau by bus (approx 1h 45m).
Centred around its medieval castle, Santa Pau is a picturesque little village in the heart of the La Garrotxa volcanic region. Enjoy a stroll around its main square, narrow alleyways and the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Maria.
In the evening enjoy a delicious meal sampling some of the ‘cuina volcanica’ this area is known for. The rich fertile soil produces some of the finest produce including the famous Santa Pau beans, truffles, endives and chestnuts to go along with mouth-watering pork or wild boar.
Dinner & Overnight: Santa Pau
Day 2: Loop walk from Santa Pau
Enjoy a walk from Santa Pau up to the summit of Finestres, for some of the finest views of La Garrotxa. Walking through leafy beechwoods and holm-oak forests, you ascend to the Santa Maria de Finestres, a small sanctuary with panoramic views across the mountains.
This is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch before returning to Santa Pau for a second night in this atmospheric Catalan village.
Walk: 12.7km, 480m Ascent/Descent, 3-4 hours.
Dinner & Overnight: Santa Pau
Day 3: Walk to Olot
Head through the heart of the “Zona Volcanica” region of La Garrotxa today, passing several of the regions dormant volcanoes which now lie cloaked in thick woodland. This fascinating area is home to over 40 ancient volcanoes and lava flows and makes for a fascinating walk. Climb to the top of Santa Margarida volcano for views over the crater and the chapel built right in the centre of it.
Continue along the flanks of Volcano Croscat before entering the Fageda d’en Jorda, a beech forest growing on the ancient lava flow from the Croscat volcano. Pass fields with grazing cattle and peaceful farmsteads before arriving in Olot, capital of La Garrotxa.
Walk: 17km, 337m ascent/383m descent, 4-5 hours
Day 4: Bus to Castellfolit de la Roca, Loop walk from Oix
No tour of La Garrotxa is complete without visiting the fascinating village of Castellfolit de la Roca, which sits balanced on the edge of a basalt cliff. A short bus ride from Olot will take you to Castellfolit where you can enjoy a wander along its narrow streets and perhaps enjoying a a picnic lunch and some of the tasty Garrotxa sheep’s cheese before continuing by a short transfer to the tiny hamlet of Oix.
From Oix, follow quiet rural paths and walk towards the steep cliff faces, mountains & valleys to eventually reach Mare de Déu d'Escales. Return by an easy going farm track.
Return to Oix and overnight in this remote hamlet surrounded by mountain views in a 16th century farmhouse now converted into a cosy rural hostal.
Walk: 11.6km, 313m ascent/304m descent, 3-4 hours.
Dinner & Overnight: Oix
Day 5: Walk to Sales de Llierca
Leave Oix on the GR1 Sendero Historico route, and ascend to the forested mountain tops surrounded by panoramic views of the limestone cliffs. Descend through oak forest to the Puente de Llierca, a Romanesque bridge dating back to the 11th century before reaching the village of Tortella and finally Sales de Llierca, where your home for the night is a beautiful 18th century stone manor house hotel.
Walk: 17.5km, 347m ascent/488m descent, 5 hours.
Dinner & Overnight: Sales de Llierca (or Tortella)
Day 6: Walk to Mare de Déu del Mont
From Sales de Llierca you have a long, tough climb ahead through rural farmland and forest to Serra del Mont - at it's steepest just before you reach the summit. At 1123m this is the highest point reached on the Foothills of the Pyrenees walk. The effort in getting here however will be more than repaid by the magnificent views from the summit. From the snow-capped high Pyrenees range across the entire Garrotxa region and to the coast at the Bay of Roses you can enjoy some truly stunning vistas from the summit.
Walk: 12.5km, 965m ascent/130m descent, 6-7 hours.
Dinner & Overnight: Mare de Déu del Mont Sanctuary
Day 7: Walk to Besalu
The upper section of the decent is steep, but fortunately you will find the climb down much more forgiving with sections following the road up the mountain. Continue to the small rural communtiy of Beuda - a peaceful village with a lovely main square set next to the church. Head towards Besalu, passing the Santa Maria de Palera and Sant Sepulchre de Palera churches. Besalu is a charming and fantastically well-preserved medieval town, complete with an impressive 11th century fortified bridge over the River Fluvia.
You should arrive in Besalu to have plenty of time in the afternoon to wander around the cobbled streets lined with artisan craft shops, admire the impressive architecture or simply sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere of the bustling main square, the Placa de la Libertat.
Walk: 16.8km, 110m ascent/1065m descent, 4 hours.
Day 8: Onward Travel
Check out after breakfast and make your way to Girona for onward flight connections. If you have the time, we highly recommend adding on a couple of extra nights in this vibrant city, home to some of Catalonia’s finest cuisine.
You can start your walk anytime between the beginning of April and end of October, subject to availability.
Please note that this tour is only available for departures from June 2019.
Time of Year
The climate of La Garrotxa can be described as mountain Mediterranean with plenty of sunshine but cooler summers than on the coast. In springtime the meadows and woodland in the Zona Volcanica region will be filled with flowers. Whereas in the autumn months of September and October, you can expect to see a wonderful profusion of golden brown and yellow colours.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
This trip is available to solo walkers although there is a supplement applicable and we recommend that you are experienced walker comfortable with navigation. Single rooms are also available and a single room supplement is payable.
Grade & Terrain
This walking tour is graded Moderate overall. Walks are between 3-7 hours with an ascent of between 110 and 965m each day. Some of the terrain is quite rocky and there are a few steep drop-offs.
Day 6 is a more moderate-strenuous grading with a steep ascent involved
Paths can also become slippy in poor weather going over tree roots and mossy stones.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
The routes on this trip are generally way-marked but we will also provide detailed route notes and maps. You will also have access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone’s GPS so using this combined with the provided route notes and maps means you should have no problems finding your way.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight stay. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, there is the option to be accommodated at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere we will advise you of this before confirming your booking.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.