The best inland excursions in the province of Girona

The Ter Route or the long-distance footpaths (with red and white markings), like the GR1 or the GR83, are made up of a series of walks through various inland areas of Girona. They vary in difficulty, offer scenery and paths to admire and some of them are also steeped in history. They are all clearly signposted and are well worth exploring. Here are just some of the different walks.

GR 1

The GR1, also known as the Historical Route, takes you on a tour of such significant places as Castelló d’Empúries, Besalú, Ripoll and Sant Joan de les Abadesses. It consists of 26 stages, starting in Sant Martí d’Empúries and finishing in Puente de Montañana (Aragon), crossing Catalonia from one side to the other. Here are three walks of different levels of difficulty, suitable for everyone:

From Banyoles to Besalú

This walk goes from Banyoles, the county town of Pla de l’Estany, with its famous lake, to Besalú, one of the best-known villages in the Garrotxa and in Catalonia, with its famous emblematic bridge. It covers 15 km, with a very gentle total ascent of just 200 m. You start off by going up the hill of Sant Martirià, with some beautiful views of Banyoles and the Pyrenees. Then you go through the village of Serinyà, with its narrow streets, and into the Garrotxa area. The walk ends with a genuinely triumphant entrance into Besalú over the fortified bridge, which was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. With this amazing backdrop you are bound to want to take a photo to capture the moment!

Distance: 15 km

Total ascent: 200 m

Difficulty: Easy

From Oix to Sant Pau de Segúries

This walk is longer, covering 19 km with a total ascent of 900 m. It starts in Oix and follows the banks of a stream with crystalline water to the col of Toralles. Here you enter the Bac valley, renowned for its beautiful forests and Romanesque chapels. The walk ends in the village of Sant Pau de Segúries, not without first skirting the Gra de Fajol mountain and going past the chapel of Santa Magdalena del Coll. It is a slightly more challenging route but it is perfectly feasible if you take your time and do it at your own pace!

Distance: 19 km

Total ascent: 900 m

Difficulty: Moderate

Gra de Fajol.Albert Duch.Arxiu d'Imatges PTCBG

Crèdit: Albert Duch

From Camallera to Veïnat de Can Dalmau

This walk marks a change in scenery and features gentle rolling hills. You visit the village of Llampaies, with its well-kept vegetable gardens and you can enjoy the cool hollow around the stream running through Llampaies, with a pretty wood growing on its banks. After leaving Orriols you have superb views of the Montseny massif and the Mont mountain range, topped by its sanctuary, the temporary residence of the poet Jacint Verdaguer. The constant presence of tractors and heavy farming machinery will remind you that agriculture still plays a very important role in the area’s economic activity.

Distance: 16 km

Total ascent: 250 m

Difficulty: Easy

GR 83

This path is steeped in history, since it was the route taken by thousands of exiles between January and February 1939 as they fled to France. At the same time, it revives old paths used by people from several different trades, such as miners, muleteers, shepherds and millers. It starts in Mataró and climbs north through the regions of the Maresme, Vallès Oriental, La Selva, Garrotxa and Ripollès as far as Conflent. Here are three walks, which are a bit more challenging and go through the province of Girona.

From Riells i Viabrea to Arbúcies

This is the first part of the GR 83 or Northern Way as it passes through the province of Girona. It begins at the border between the regions of La Selva and Vallès Oriental and goes as far as the village of Arbúcies, in the Montseny Natural Park. Along the way you go over the Sant Llop stream and through the Mediterranean forest of Les Agudes and further on, you come to the wetter part of Catalonia. The charming scenery of Riells and the Torrent de Torroella will help you on the climb up to the house of Sant Climent. Once there, you descend, through chestnut and holm oak groves to your destination. The route covers 17.6 km altogether, with a 750-metre ascent, which will help you work up a good appetite.

Distance: 17.6 km

Total ascent: 750 m

Difficulty: Moderate

From Les Planes d’Hostoles to Olot

This stretch of the route is perfect for capturing the magic of the Garrotxa area and discovering its authenticity, since it goes past four volcanoes: Traiter, Can Tià, Santa Margarida and Puig Jordà. It is an ideal way to explore its volcanoes, its fertiles plains, rambling farmhouses and the mythical Fageda d’en Jordà beech forest. It is just the route to help you understand why, according to the Catalan dictionary, the word “garrotxa” refers to ground that is rough or broken, difficult to walk on. So, now that you know what to expect, put on some strong hiking boots and get ready to walk. You have 21 km and a 600-metre ascent to cover!

Distance: 21 km

Total ascent: 600 m

Difficulty: Moderate

Estany de Malniu. Alex Tremps. Arxiu Imatges PTCBG

Crèdit: Alex Tremps

From Arbúcies to Osor

This walk, mainly through woodland, will help you discover the heart of the Guilleries massif. The village of Joanet, nestling on the slopes of the mountain, with great views of Les Agudes, will surprise you and you will enjoy the peace and quiet that surrounds you. You also pass by Sant Hilari Sacalm, famous for its mineral water. The path takes you through mythical territory of Catalan bandits, where back in the 17th century Joan Sala (alias Serrallonga) and his gang got up to their tricks. Once past the col of Llevanyes and close to the hill of Sant Miquel Solterra (also called “de les Formigues”) you enter the shadowy depths of the Noguerola hollow. At the bottom of the valley, the picturesque little village of Osor awaits you, with its stream and quaint bridge.

Distance: 25 km

Total ascent: 900 m

Difficulty: Hard

The Ter Route

The Ter Route is made up of ten stages running along the river Ter, from the Ulldeter mountain refuge to Gola del Ter, where the river runs into the Mediterranean Sea. The length of the walks ranges from 14 km for the shortest to 33 km for the longest and they mainly follow long-distance GRs, short-distance PRs, greenways, forest tracks, historical paths and, in some places, tarmacked roads. The route’s website provides detailed information about the different walks and a list of places to stay. Even if you decide not to do the whole route, you can always do one or another of the walks and discover it bit by bit.