banyoles (Lake)

Lake Banyoles, the main lake of Catalonia, is located in the northeast of Iberian Peninsula, near the town of Girona (100 km from Barcelona). The lake belongs administratively to the City Council of Banyoles. It is the largest lake in the complex karstic system of Banyoles, with a surface area of 1.12 km2 and a maximum depth of 46.4 m. It is the last remnant of a much bigger lacustrine system developed during Pliocene Quaternary periods, and was formed due to the dissolution of underground gypsum bed and the collapse of overlying layers.

The lake is used as a source of potable water for the town of Banyoles with a population of about 13,000, located to the east of the lake outside its catchment area. Recreation, sightseeing and tourism are also the use of the lake of great importance. Rowing events of 1992 Olympic Games were held here, and works for improving rowing track and restoring reed belt are currently going on in the lake.

On the shore of the lake, between the weeping willows and the woodhouse (Caseta de Fusta), a series of emblematic buildings can be found standing in the water. These are the fishing houses (pesqueres).

The pesqueres of the Estany de Banyoles are small buildings erected on the East bank of the lake, on the side which leads to the town. Each of them has its own individual name. The construction of the pesqueres began in the mid-19th century and continued until 1931, when the Town Council prohibited any new construction of this type. In any case, these buildings have been altered and refurbished over the years, following different styles, until the 1960’s.


In theory, these small buildings played a purely functional role; they were used for fishing purposes. Later, however, they were modified by increasing in size, in order to be able to store a boat (a symbol of wealth and social class). Finally, with the arrival of water sports and the rise of the Banyoles bourgeoisie, some of these basic buildings were expanded even further in order to store one or two boats, to be used for swimming and even for accommodation purposes.

At the lake you will find several restaurants from were you have a view over the lake.
You can also have a boottrip on this lake that will take about 40 minutes.

Banyoles’ historical centre houses the origins of the medieval town and the town itself.
It is an historical nucleus built in the shade of the Sant Esteve Monastery. The Benedictine cenobium eventually led to the foundation of the old town, which took place from the 9th century onwards.
Cobbled streets, little squares and cozy corners, civil and religious buildings, art and the water flowing through the canals from the lake all come together in a unique town centre that merits special attention.

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