The Pla de l'Estany hides a few charms often unknown. The Lake of Banyoles is the heart of a region that maintains its landscapes and always quiet...
This region is an exceptional area with very good communications to enjoy all the delights of the surrounding counties (Besalú, Girona, volcanic zone of la Garrotxa, etc.). There are rural villages and outstanding natural areas, with the Lake of Banyoles being the most emblematic image of Pla de l'Estany.
Environmental tourism resources:
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 Areasof Natural Interest of Catalonia. You can walk, bike all around the lake (8km)
Banyoles: the capital of the region have an interesting medieval old town. It is recommended to walk through its cobbled streets where we will find very unique buildings and squares like the Plaça Major (XIII) with a quadrilateral and arcades. The Monastery of St. Esteve with a Neoclassica style and Santa María del Turers are notable religious buildings.
Neolític Park de la Draga: located in the central part of Banyoles Lake, the park reveals how was the life 7,000 years ago, through reconstructions of the houses and demonstrations about life in the Neolithic age. La Draga is the only historic site of lacustrine environment of the Iberian Peninsula. You can complete your visit with the Regional Archaeological Museum of Banyoles. Open April to November.
Prehistoric Caves of Serinyà: halfway between the towns of Banyoles and Serinyà, it’s considered one of the best sites in Western Europe to discover the lifestyle of the Neandertal man from the Middle Paleolithic and the modern man from the Upper Paleolithic. Recently considered of national cultural interest by the government, the park offers the opportunity to visit the caves and other services to make the visit very interesting for the whole family. It is advisable to complete the tour with the Regional Archaeological Museum of Banyoles.
Traditional celebrations and Outstanding Activities:
Festa de l’Àrbre de maig i el ball del Cornut, in Cornellà de Terri: Traditional Festival declared of National Interest. Every Easter Monday in Cornellà de Terri, and its a symbol of identity for the villagers. People dressed appropriately will find the tallest tree in the municipality and adorn it, and then planted in the middle of town square. That same day, the “Cornut” dance with a long history and tradition, where 6 couples and a “Cornut” dancer represents an ancient feudal lord and the people.
The perfect setting of Lake Banyoles, allows us to enjoy many sports and activities. This is famous for the competitions that took place in 1992 during the Barcelona Olympics Games and the many international competitions that take place. We can practice water sports like rowing, canoeing, water skiing, etc or you can fish. The lake is surrounded by a beautiful road that can be done on foot or bicycle (8 km).
Apart from the lake, hiking and biking enthusiasts can enjoy the Bike Centre of Pla de l'Estany, where we will find a welcoming spot with information and services, and more than a hundred km of signposted walks all freely available. Also in this region there is a Pitch & Putt, horse riding and many adventure sports.
Close to Plà de l'Estany...
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: a 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.
Parc Natural dels 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.
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.
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.
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.