Peralada, Figueres, Cadaqués, Roses... History, culture, mountain and sea. Come and discover the Alt Empordà, a territory that does not leave you indifferent.
Alt Empordà is a region full of charm, contrasts and personality. Its border situation with France characterized the region as a passageway, a fact that has historically marked the area. It has a large quantity of cultural resources and a exceptional landscape (up to 3 national parks). In this region we have the sea and mountains that together with the north wind have characterized the nature of the population, its cuisine as well as culture and landscape.
Environmental tourist resources:
Area of natural interest Alta Garrotxa: this great prePyrenean natural area is accessible from the town of Albanyà, in the western part of the region. Is a vast territory barely populated. It basically presents steep landscapes with forests of oaks and holm oaks. We can also find a big quantity of cultural heritage that makes this region an ideal area for hiking or enjoy rural tourism.
Area of natural interest Las Salines: this area of natural interest, is located in the northwest of the region, exactly in the mountain border with the Garrotxa. It has a surface of 4.107ha with some mountain areas that reach 1500m high. We found very dense forest areas with a climate between the Mediterranean and mountainous climate. We emphasize the diversity of forest species and the large amount of mammalian animal
Natural Park of Aiguamolls de l'Empordà: This wetland area is one of the most important and emblematic parks of Catalunya. After a great struggle to prevent urbanism in this natural landscape, in 1983 got his protection. It is a wetland created by the end of the river Muga and Fluvià (between St. Pere Pescador and Castelló d'Empúries) where we can find a great diversity of fauna and flora, especially bird species. Its almost 5000ha consist of lakes, areas of crop (rice), ponds, etc. Is possible to walk in the park through different paths, on foot, horse or by bike and in certain areas we can find bird watching huts, ideal to observe them in freedom.
Natural Park of Cap de Creus: located in the eastern part of the peninsula, this park is considered the first marine-terrestrial park in Catalonia. With a surface of 13,843 hectares (including land and water reserves) we find very outstanding geological values, structures and outcrops unique in the world and a biological reserve of great interest. It also has a rich architectural heritage, such as the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes and several archaeological sites.
Natural Park of La Albera: in the Albera mountain range, we find this natural area of great interest, divided in two sections separated by a small moutain range. The eastern part (sector of Sant Quirze de Colera-Balmeta) with Mediterranean landscape characteristics, with the renowned monastery of Sant Quirze de Colera and the turtle breeding centre where live the last set of Mediterranean tortoises of the peninsula. The western part (Requesens-Baussitges) is more humid and high and present a variety of trees. There is great concentration of megalithic monuments such as small churches and monasteries. We can also fin the BTT centre of the Alt Empordà.
Outstanding beaches: Almadrava, Bramant, Calitjàs, Canyelles, Cala Monjoi, El Cau del Llop, Garbet, Grifeu, Jòncols, La Gola, Les Carboneres, Les Tonyines, Pelosa, Portlligat, St Martí d’Empúries, Castello d’Empuries, ...
Monastery de Sant Pere de Rodes: north of Cap de Creus and in a spectacular natural setting with fabulous views over Llançà Bay and Port de la Selva, we find this Benedictine monastery founded in the tenth century. It is a religious monument of great beauty, basically of Romanesque style, which was restored and listed as a national monument in 1930.
Monastery de Sant Quirze de Cólera: Benedictine abbey of the old county of Empúries founded towards century X, located in the wonderful surroundings of the natural reserve of the Albera. Its located within the municipality of Rabós term and is considered a cultural site of national interest. The church has three naves, with a barrel vault in the central part, the tower of defence and remains of the wall..
Ruins of Empúries: located in an incomparable setting, next to L'Escala, we can visit the ruins of the old Greek city and Roman city of Empúries. Founded around the 500 BC, this was the front door of these two important cultures in our peninsula. At the moment we can make a visit to the archaeological deposit and the museum, where we can discover objects and the history of this city.
Castelló d'Empúries: County capital during the Middle Ages, the village maintains the traditional aspects and the architecture of that time in its historical centre. We find many monuments and interesting aspects such as the Call (Jewish quarter), pieces of walls, the medieval prison and especially the church of St. Maria, initiated in the XIII century. It has the structure and dimensions of a gothic cathedral.
Cadaqués: located in the end of the Cap de Creus it has lived historically isolated of the rest of the Empordà, which has helped to conserve its almost virgin landscape. The streets are narrow and their buildings white, that next to its natural bay full of small boats makes this town one of the villages with more charm and personality of Catalonia. In the middle of the town the Church of St. Maria is raised, constructed in the XVII century with gothic style and painted totally white.
House Museum Salvador Dalí, Cadaqués: next to Cadaqués we find the house where Salvador Dali lived and worked most of his life. Its located in the bay of Port Lligat. An indispensable visit to discover the life of the great artist. In their interior we can enjoy the memories of the painter, their library, the factory and different zones from the house. It is necessary to call to reserve the day of visit.
Theater-Museum Dalí, Figueres: one of the most visited museums of Spain, dedicated completely to the famous author and constructed on the rest of the old theater of Figueres. This was restored at the beginning of the Seventies, with the participation and help of the artist, who was personally in charge of each one of the details. The surrealistic building hosts a great amount of art works, like paintings, sculptures, photography’s of the author, etc. Under the main level of the building, we can find the crypt of the author.
Traditional celebrations and Outstanding Activities:
Toy show of Figueres: It’s celebrated at the end of May in the Rambla of Figueres and expositors from Catalunya, rest of the state and countries like France, Italy, Belgium and Holland participate in this toy show.
International Music Festival Castell de Peralada: with more than 20 editions celebrated, every July and August takes place in the enclosure of the Castle of Peralada this festival with an international reputation and with a great variety of concerts, spectacles of theater, dances, jazz, etc…
Festival Acústica de Figueres: it is celebrated at the end of August in the different stages distributed in the city. It’s a music festival with actual music with emergent and consecrated artists.
International windsurf Championship and concentration of VW, Sant Pere Pescador: is one of the championships of the Professional Windsurf Circuit (PWA World Tour) of this sport. Simultaneously and during the same days takes place the Fair of windsurf and the Concentration of Volkswagens. Enjoy the good atmosphere, beach and shows. Principles of July 2010.
The great amount of natural spaces and the characteristics that this region offers, allow us to realise many kinds of sport activities in privileged surroundings. There is a great number of itineraries and routes apt for all the family in all the territory, as well as in the different natural parks.
These are ideal for lovers of ornithology and diving, for the great diversity of species that live freely. Those who like to try new experiences can enjoy the skydiving in Empuriabrava. Other high-profile sport in this region are windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing. The wind that blows constantly on their shores allowed to practice throughout the year.
Centre of BTT Alt Empordà, is situated in Maçanet Cabrenys: here you will find a hosts point where you can rent bikes, get information about the routes, services and more than one hundred km of sign paths all of them with free access.
Close to l'Alt Empordà...
Medes Islands: This group of islands located about 900 meters in front of the town of L'Estartit are protected by the Plan of Areas of Natural Interest due to its number of fauna and flora that lives in this area. Is one of the Mediterranean's most important natural areas. This islands offers caves and cavities of great beauty where all kind of natural species and animals lives, such as red coral. It is a strictly protected area where you can visit by boat or diving.
Pals: few kilometers from the coast you will find this villa high on a hill, which is characterized by his beautiful medieval structure. All the old town is well preserved, with cobbled streets, defense walls and several Gothic buildings as the church of St. Pere that makes this town a Historic Artistic Site.
Dance of death in Verges: every Holy Thursday, Verges celebrates a remarkable representation of a tradition that goes back to the European Middle Ages. Different religious personages parade on this day, highlighting the dance of the skeletons and the different sounds that accompany the procession. This festival is considered Festival of National Interest.
Girona: city that gives name to the region. It’s dimension allows visitors to enjoy all its charms bye foot. The Old City is an important historical centre as it contains a wealth of artistic and architectural heritage. It was the heart of the Roman city of Gerunda, surrounded by parts of the old wall, now forming a path that we can walk (Paseo Arqueológico y el Paseo de Muralla), with a spectacular view over the city. You can also visit the Arab baths of XII century (Romanesque style) and different religious buildings such as the Monasteri de St. Pere de Galligants or the Basílica de St. Feliu. In addition, Girona offers many museums, leisure areas, restaurants...
Main visits in Girona:
- Cathedral of Girona: Cathedral called Santa Maria, situated on the highest part of the city, the impressive cathedral was built between the XI-XVIII centuries and has the widest Gothic nave in the world. We also find other styles such as Baroque, Romanesque and Renaissance architecture.
- Onyar Houses: houses hanging over the river Onyar, were built over the centuries and painted with vivid colours and are a beautiful and colourful image of this city.
- The Jewish Quarter: the historical centre of Girona, is one of the best and extensive preserved Jewish quarters in Europe. Until the fifteenth century a Jewish community lived in this steep narrow streets and nowadays we can enjoy of this architectural legacy and the medieval atmosphere. Ça Porta Bonastruc Center is considered the former synagogue, now converted into a study centre and museum. It is essential to get lost in these streets and squares.
- Banyoles Lake: the largest natural lake in Catalonia and one of the few in the entire peninsula. It represents the most emblematic image of the town of Banyoles. It’s a lake with outstanding features, and nourished by underground springs that flow from its depths. It is a space with a great ecological value, rich in fauna and flora and is integrated into the Plan of Area of Natural Interest of Catalonia. You can walk, bike all around the lake (8 km)