Posted: 02-10-2018 Written by: Editorial office Reading time: 6 minutes
La Garrotxa: the volcanoes behind the Costa Brava

La Garrotxa: the volcanoes behind the Costa Brava

50 kilometers behind the golden beaches of the Costa Brava lies a nature reserve that sun worshipers hardly know about: La Garrotxa. Flip-flops off, mountain boots on. Hiking, on a volcano!

Of course: everyone knows the Costa Brava for its golden beaches and hidden bays with crystal clear water. From sea urchins, shells, but also from tapas and fried Churros, which you can dip in chocolate. But behind that rushing surf, an hour's drive from the tourist boulevards, you can still discover the truly unspoilt nature of La Garrotxa: a surreal landscape with extinct volcanoes and petrified trees.

The volcanoes of La Garrotxa

La GarrotxaThere are forty of them: forty volcanoes that fell asleep tens of thousands of years ago - the last eruption was about 13 thousand years ago. So don't expect the classic volcano, because over the centuries the fertile lava slopes have been overgrown with forests. La Garrotxa National Park is divided in two by the Río Fluvià river, with the Alta Garrotxa to the north and the Baixa Garrotxa to the south – here you will find one of the most famous volcanoes of the 'Parc Natural de la Zona Volcanica': Santa Margarida. The volcano is 632 meters high and has a circumference of two kilometers. It is quite a climb, but once on top of the rim you can see the chapel below, which was built in the middle of the round crater. And you can also get there, if you want, via a steep descent.

Hiking on a volcano

Another frequently visited volcano is El Croscat, which produced its last plume of smoke 11.500 years ago. The crater is horseshoe shaped and this volcano is also completely covered with holm oaks. Unlike the Margarida, you are not allowed to climb the Croscat crater, but there is a hike around the volcano, through the Fageda d'en Jordà beech forest. You can also book guided tours, with an English-speaking guide, from Olot (website: But all kinds of walking routes have also been set out; most start at the parking lots around the area – and from there it's just a matter of following the signs. You will also pass excavations that have exposed the interior of the volcano: a complete slice of the volcano disappeared before it was given the status of a protected area. At the cake slice you can read more about the history of El Croscat on information panels.

Medieval discoveries

La GarrotxaNice trips in the volcano park are to Besalú, one of the oldest towns in Catalunya, with just about the most photographed arch bridge in the region, which provides access to the steel city gate. In the village you will find numerous restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food. The village of Santa Pau is also worth a visit. Less known than Besalú, and therefore quieter in terms of tourists. And it is not far from the city of Olot, where you can enjoy shopping. And how about the famous hamlet of Castellfollit de la Roca in Catalunya, which is built on top of a steep rock, with the Fluvià river below? Nice place! From the winding mountain roads you always have a spectacular view of the village - here you take photos that your visitors will never be able to believe that this is the hinterland of the Costa Brava...

Camping Tips

1. Camping Laguna

The luxurious family campsite Laguna is located in the Aiguamolls de L'Emporda National Park, directly on the beach. The campsite - near the town of Empuriabrava - has several swimming pools, you can enjoy plenty of sports and the terrace of both the bar and the restaurant are located directly on the water. The campsite has two fishing ponds, there is a windsurfing school and you can even go horse riding in the area. Also plenty of rental accommodations available.

2. Camping Las Dunas

Playa Las Dunas campsite is located in Sant Pere Pescador, a luxury holiday park for families. The campsite is located by the sea, you only have to cross the boulevard to roll out your towel. The campsite has a large swimming paradise, with an outdoor swimming pool and paddling pool and a water slide. Las Dunas has all possible facilities, including restaurant, snack bar, pizzeria and a large supermarket. Also rental accommodations.

3. Camping Can Banal

Those seeking peace and quiet can go to Camping Can Banal, north of the Fluvià river, on a 400-metre high hill. The nature campsite – with Dutch management – ​​is surrounded by forests and an El Dorado for real nature lovers: here you can feel the silence! In the area you can enjoy sporting activities such as steep wall climbing, horse riding and mountain biking. Nice: 5 Catalan donkeys graze on the campsite estate.

4. Canyelles campsite

Camping Canyelles is not a standard campsite. The fantastic view of the sea from your camping chair and the various fragrant deciduous and coniferous trees form the basis of this campsite. The terrace campsite is located on a mountain near the picturesque bay of Cala Canyelles with rock formations, a small harbour, a nice bar and a good restaurant. This is one of the most beautiful bays in Girona. Your calf muscles can be well trained during a stay at this campsite. Do you want to avoid the climb? That is also possible. There is a train up and down the mountain every day, at various times, so you don't always have to walk. The campsite has a supermarket, restaurant and entertainment for children. The swimming pool is the vibrant center of the campsite where everything comes together. If you want a bit more action, Lloret de Mar and the atmospheric Tossa de Mar are 'around the corner' and... within an hour and a half you can be in Barcelona!


La Garrotxa

That's how you get there

Distance Utrecht – Girona: approximately 1.420 km

The La Garrotxa volcanic area is more than an hour's drive from the Costa Brava beaches and 50 km northwest of the city of Girona. From Utrecht you drive through Antwerp and then Lille, Paris, Lyon and then via Montpellier, following the signs for Girona. From there to the campsite of your choice. Or you drive from Utrecht via Luxembourg (cheap fuel), via Metz/Nancy/Dijon and then towards Lyon and then as described above.


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