Guided Hike – Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Park South Hike and Picnic

Highlights

  • Travel north of Barcelona for a private guided hike in the wooded hills of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park
  • Visit the charming medieval town of Besalú where you can ramble along the winding streets, and discover the delights of Catalonia's medieval heritage
  • Experience the tranquil, magnificent countryside of Catalonia “away from the madding crowd”
  • Immerse yourself in the beauty of this Mediterranean region’s nature and heritage in a guided hike
  • Have a traditional Catalan lunch in a local restaurant or have a gourmet Catalan picnic
Private Guided Hike track outline, Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park South, Catalonia, Spain
Guided hike track outline, Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park South

Itinerary

Morning

Tour leader Killian Driscoll and your chauffeur will pick you up for your hike in the Garrotxa volcanic hills from your chosen location, and you’ll start your tour driving out of the city with Killian introducing the day ahead, and answering any questions you may have. Throughout the day, Killian will share with you his knowledge of the region, and the places you visit.

Your hike starts in the rural setting of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. The extinct volcanic field is formed by 40 volcanoes, the last one of which erupted about 11,000 years ago. The volcanoes now form a range of beautiful, green domes, making it a idyllic place to ramble through the countryside. The hike takes in the wheat fields and pasture on the rich volcanic soils in the fertile valley, and then you work your way up the hill of Coll de Boixeda. There you'll walk by the ancient 'masias' (farmhouses) built of the dark volcanic rock of the region, and follow the old medieval paths up the hills.

At the summit, you'll take a break by the small chapel of Sant Abdó i Sant Senen de Santa Pau where you can ring the bell. From there, you'll be treated to fantastic views of the extinct volcanoes and the Pyrenees Mountains beyond. You'll then make your way down the mountain along the western side, along the old medieval mountain paths.

Garrotxa Hike trail, looking down at extinct volcanos from the Sant Abdó i Sant Senen de Santa Pau chapel on Coll de Boixeda hill
Garrotxa Hike trail, looking down at extinct volcanos from the Sant Abdó i Sant Senen de Santa Pau chapel on Coll de Boixeda hill

Lunch

After your guided hike you'll relax and have a specially prepared, gourmet picnic of typical Catalan food and wine at a wooded picnic spot. Alternatively, you can choose to have lunch at a restaurant of your choosing.

Gourmet picnic, local food and wines, Barcelona, Spain
Gourmet picnic, local food and wines, Barcelona, Spain

Afternoon

After lunch, you'll visit the beautifully preserved medieval mountain town of Besalú, with the Fluvià River running through it on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. In Besalú you'll see the archaeology and history of this living medieval town. While exploring the winding streets and laneways, you'll learn about lives of the people who lived in the town and its environs, from the Iron Age (about 2,500 years ago), Roman period, medieval period, to the present day.

Among the wealth of historical sites to visit is the 800 year-old Jewish bathhouse, overlooking the 12th century fortified bridge. The Jewish bathhouse - mikvah - is one of the last remaining in Europe, and part of Besalú's medieval Jewish quarter.

12th-century Romanesque bridge over River Fluvià, Besalú medieval town, Catalonia
12th-century Romanesque bridge over River Fluvià, Besalú medieval town, Catalonia

Hike and Trail Details

  • Activity level: Medium
  • Walking Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours
  • Walking Length: 9 km (5.6 miles)
  • Elevation max: 777 m (2549 ft)
  • Elevation min: 496 m (1627 ft)
  • Total Uphill: 390 m (1280 ft)

Below is a map of the guided hike trail, with an interactive map that you can view the elevation along the trail. Overall, the hike is 9 km (5.6 miles) and takes about 2.5 hrs of walking, with plenty of time for taking in the scenery and photo stops.

The activity level is medium. Some stretches are quite steep. Comfortable footwear is recommended (hiking boots are not required, sneakers / trainers are fine).

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