The Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park
The Aiguamolls de l’Empordà are wetlands that used to cover nearly the entire plain of the Bay of Roses and the Baix Ter. The Montgrí Massif was isolated because of the water and when the Greeks settled there, they did so on an island between the former estuaries of the Rivers Fluvià and Ter, where Empúries was later founded. The large marsh area gradually disappeared, mainly as a result of the growth of agriculture. The extensive Castelló Pond, with its three islands, and the small ponds in Siurana, Vilacolum, Riumors, Bellcaire, Ullastret and Pals are now history. In 1983, the Parliament of Catalonia approved the Law on the Declaration of Natural Sites of National Interest and Integral Reserves of the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà. This space, later reclassified as a natural park, is included on the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, and is cofunded by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER).
Its natural heritage is a space in which water, land, humans and nature all live together in harmony. A mosaic of interdependentecosystems which are all highly differentiated, this diversity is what gives it its natural wealth, making the Aiguamolls a natural oasis. The Gulf of Roses acts as a shelter for the flora and fauna when the strong north wind or tramuntanablows. Beaches and coastal sandy areas can be found along the entire coastal strip of the Park and are some of the only unspoiled beaches that remain on the Costa Brava. The ponds and the freshwater marshes are the current remains of the former Castelló Pond,the most emblematic of whichis that of Vilaüt.
Right next to the Information Centre there is a pond with three lookout posts to make viewing easier and to allow you to get closer to the wildlife and, in particular, the birds, for your full enjoyment.
Reminiscent of the former Castelló-Palau Pond that occupied a large area of the plain, it is a peaceful refuge for many species. The pond is at its very best on the arrival of the summer birds, when the yellow irises and the buttercups are in flower.
The Senillosa Observatory is on top of some former rice silos which are worth climbing to get a wonderful perspective of a large area of the Park, with excellent views of the wildlife, the habitats and the space as a whole, particularly Les Llaunes reserve —a series of brackish ponds—and of the white strip of the sandy beaches and the dunes that shape the coastal profile of the Bay of Roses.
In the final section of the River Fluvià, there is the third integral nature reserve of the Park, a meander that was shaped in 1979 and that resulted in an island with riverbank forest vegetation, a retreat for many birds.
Its inland situation, far from the sea, means that the water is fresh. The natural park has promoted the recovery and creation of new ponds, such as El Cortaletor the Europa ponds. The plant life on their banks is of clear botanical and wildlife interest. Crops occupy a large percentage of the Park’s surface area, such as the rice fields, which have been recovered since the creation of the natural park. Els Aspres are covered in dry land crops (such as vines), scrubland and pastures, cork oak, holm-oak and oak forests, as well as patches of pines in some zones, such as the Torre del Vent, the highest part of the Park. There are also numerous country houses, farmhouses and hamlets scattered all over the plain. They are often integrated into the landscape and provide refuge to the wild flora and fauna.
4,730 hectares, of which some 825 are strictly protected integral nature reserve, a reserve divided into three large spaces: Els Estanys integral reserve, Les Llacunes integral reserve and that of Caramany Island.
All year round, but the best periods are between March and June and between November and February
Castelló d’Empúries, Sant Pere Pescador, Palau-saverdera, Peralada, Pau, Pedret i Marzà, L’Escala, Roses and L’Armentera
Ctra. de Sant Pere Pescador a Castelló d’Empúries (GIV-6216), km 13
17486 Castelló d’Empúries
MAIN TOURIST ACTIVITIES
- Leisure activities:
- Strolls and easy trails
- Interpretive hiking
- Cycle touring
- Adventure centres
2. Nature activities:
- Observing the fauna and flora
- Photographing nature
3. Cultural activities and events:
- Visit to interpretation centres and museums
- Courses and workshops
- Chats, conferences and presentations