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Foothills of the Pyrenees

The Garrotxa - Catalonia’s ancient volcanoes
Starting point:

Hotel Calitxo, Molló.

Day 1
Molló to Beget: 14km, 4hrs

Your first walk is a great introduction to the high Garrotxa, taking you up through lush pastureland with great views back to the Pyrenees, before descending through woodland into small valleys hiding abandoned and sometimes renovated mills. On the last stretch, follow a lovely wooded gorge, to reach the perfectly preserved, medieval village of Beget and the Hostal el Forn.
Please note: it’s worth having a small towel with you if you are walking here in spring as there is a river crossing where you just might get your feet wet!

Day 2
Beget to Oix: 13km, 4.5hrs

Take time to wander round Beget before following the River Beget down the valley. Climbing steeply up through shady woodland, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the mountains behind you, as you reach the remains of an old farm with a grandstand view of the Vall d’Hortmoier – a good spot for lunch. You continue via another idyllic spot by the river at Coll Joell where there is an optional detour to visit the chapel of Sant Miquel d’Hortmoier, before walking along an old stone road through a limestone gorge to Can Pei in the tiny hamlet of Oix (If you make the short detour to Sant Miquel, the towel may come in useful again!)

Day 3
Oix to Olot: 14.5km, 5hrs

Leaving the Alta Garrotxa behind, you enter the Zona Volcánica, climbing out of the Oix valley to the drier uplands of wild woodland of holm oak and pines. Your route takes you south-east across the flanks of the Serra del Totx and down the valley of the Vall de Castellar. As you follow the river from Castellar, the views of the dramatic site of Castellfollit de la Roca, set on its great basaltic cliffs, simply get better and better, and you arrive into the old town by a bridge and cobbled way. From here, you either catch a bus or take a pre-ordered taxi for the 15-minute drive to the Hotel La Perla in nearby Olot.

Day 4
Olot to Santa Pau: 17km, 5.5hrs

Today, you walk amid volcanoes, shrouded in trees, until you find yourself staring down several hundred feet into the bottom of a crater. You pass two information centres (unfortunately, descriptions are mainly in Catalan), before ending the day by walking into one of the most picturesque villages in the area, Santa Pau, soon arriving at the Hotel Cal Sastre, where you spend two nights.

Day 5
Circular walk via Santa María de Finestres: 13km, 5hrs

On your day here, we recommend a circuit into the surrounding wooded hills, the beech woodland giving way to Mediterranean trees as you reach the Sanctuary of Santa María de Finestres. There are good views from the nearby summit, once the site of a small castle, stretching as far as the sea and along the Pyrenees. Enjoy your picnic, before returning to the hotel – but keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of the spectacular red-capped black woodpecker as you walk.

Day 6
Santa Pau to Besalú: 15km, 5hrs

Your final walk starts with a short taxi ride to the village of El Sallent, from where you initially follow quiet country lanes near the River Ser, with plenty of opportunity for a quick dip in the river and have your picnic. After crossing the river at El Torn, you head up into the hills, walking through woodland of rosemary, holm oaks and juniper to reach the Sant Fruitós Romanesque church. After admiring the views, you descend through woods and farmland to reach the historic town of Besalú, accessed by a medieval bridge. You spend your last night in the Jardins de la Martana.

Extend your holiday

Why not add on a city break in either Girona or Barcelona if you are flying via one of these captivating cities? Alternatively, for a two-week adventure, you can combine this walk with our Catalan Pyrenees walk to create a 13-night Pyrenean Long Trail; or with our Pyrenees to the Sea walk to create a 14-night Mediterranean Trail from the Foothills to the Sea.

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 Grade 2 Walk
Local Map
 Walking Chart
Walking Chart:Foothills of the Pyrenees This is an approximation only. If comparing holidays, please note the scale of the chart as this can differ.