Nature parks

garrotxa nature park


The Garrotxa's Volcanic Zone is the best example of volcanic terrain on the Iberian Peninsula. It has 40 volcanic cones and more than 20 lava flows (video). The mountain landscape, the sun and climate provide a variety of vegetation, often exuberant, with holm oaks, common oaks and beech trees of exceptional value to the landscape. At La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park there are 28 walking routes that pass through the Natural Park's most interesting places. The majority are signposted, except some of the longest that, if you are used to it, can be followed easily with the help of the guide map for the Natural Park. The Natural Park has an extensive range of publications available. The Natural Park's routes often join with those of the Itinerànnia network of trails. So, from the routes of the Natural Park it is possible to gain access on foot to any other part of La Garrotxa, Ripollès or Alt Empordà through Itinerànnia.


aiguamolls nature park


The Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l'Empordà (created by the Law 21/1983, 28th October, for the protection of the marshes of l'Empordà) was declared a protected area after a long and intense defence campaign begun in 1976, intended to avoid the development of the area.

The Parc itself is made up of three principal areas:
The "Estanys" reserve: With great areas of cane fields, bullrushes and floodplains.
The "Llaunes" reserve: With coastal lakes, saltmarshes and dunes.
The "Illa de Caramany" reserve: Situated in the middle of the Fluvià, where a large quantity of birds nest.


The flora in this protected area is found to be associated mainly with the semi-flood- or flooded plains, and therefore it is possible to see the presence of plants typical in this type of environment such as salicor (Athrocnenmum, on the seabed), European Beach Grass (Ammophila arenaria, found on the sands along the beachfront) and the Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus).
Finally, one must not leave out the considerable representation of fauna which can be found in the area, and it is necessary to emphasise the presence of the Otter (Lutra Lutra) and the White Stork (Ciconia Ciconia), species which were successfully reintroduced some years ago, and the Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeafus) and the Killifish (Aphanius iberus), two fish which are typical in these waters and unique to the area.


lálbera nature park


The Paratge Natural d'Interés Nacional de l'Albera (created by the Law 3/1986, 10th March, by the Parliament of Catalonia), although it does not form part of the municipality of Roses, it is found only a short distance away, a fact which means an interested visitor can get there easily.

The Albera's PNIN consists of two parts: the western side (Requesens - Baussitges), with an important tree-covered area and great diversity of mid-mountain vegetation, and a drier, lower part (Sant Quirze de Colera - Balmeta), with a clear predominance of bushy vegetation.

Therefore, in the first zone we can find species of flora typical in humid environments, such as Holly (Ilex aquifolium, protected by law), the English Yew (Taxus baccata) and numerous orchids, whilst in the second zone species adapted to drought prevail, all lumped together in what is named the Mediterranean undergrowth, such as Spiny Broom (Calicotome spinosa) and Rock Rose (Cistus sp).
With regards to the fauna, it is worth pointing out an emblematic specie: Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermanni), as it is only found here and in the Creus cape and Garraf, where this specie was successfully reintroduced.

Historical and monumental heritage 

The Albera Hills possess one of the most important concentrations of megalithic monuments in Catalonia (110 dolmens, 19 menhirs, 7 cists and a Neolithic settlement). The area also enjoys a rich heritage of Romanesque art in the form of chapels, churches and monasteries. The most notable monument is the old Benedictine monastery of Sant Quirze de Colera, from the 10th century.
Within the natural area there are notable remains of castles from the 14th and 15th centuries: Rocabertí, Requesens and Canadal.


cap de creus


The Creus cape peninsula is one of the largest, protected, natural reserves in Catalonia (formed in 1998 by the Law 4/1998, 12th March, for the protection of Creus cape), with a total area of 13,886 hectares, divided into 3,073 of coast and 10,813 of land, a fact which gives it the distinctive feature of being Catalonia's first foreshore natural reserve.

Inside the Parc, there are two integral land reserves, which evidently protect the most valued parts: the Creus cape point (with the mythical Creus cape lighthouse, where the film The Light at the Edge of the World (1971) by Kevin Billington was filmed), and Norfeu cape, a place of exceptional geological and biological marvels, where even recently traces of volcanic activity from 10 million years ago have been discovered.

With regards to the marine part, three areas of great underwater splendour are protected: Gros cape, Creus cape point (where the northern part of s'Encalladora island is protected in its entirety) and Norfeu cape.

The spectacular geological outcrops are one of most significant features of the Parc Natural, with its complicated and beautiful forms which often cause the visitor's imagination to get carried away. One sees images of real or mythical animals in the area (lions, dragons, camels, eagles, cats, rats...), despite the fact that it is the wind and the sea, and not the Gods, which have gone on shaping the geological landscape of the Creus cape right up to the present day with their incessant activity begun thousands of years ago.

For nature lovers, the territory of the Creus cape has great floral diversity, notable for its endemic species such as Saxifrage (Seseli altum subsp. farrenyii) or Statice (Limonium geronense), although we mustn't forget the presence of Tree Spurge (Euphorbia dendroides) or Goat's Thorn (Astragalus massiliensis), or attractive sub-aquatic species such as Neptune Grass (Posidonia oceanica).

With regards to the fauna, neither can one avoid the great quantity of important species, such as the Stripeless Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis), the European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the Dusky Perch (Epinephelus guaza).


Park del Montseny


The main part of the Montseny Biosphere Reserve, awarded the designation by the UNESCO in 1978 and with an area of 30,117 hectares, lies inside this protected natural space. Montseny Nature Reserve forms part of a network of protected open spaces that make up a green ring.

Macizo del Montseny lies in the Catalan pre-coastal mountains, over 3 districts: l´Osona, la Selva and eastern Vallès. It comprises materials of highly diverse origin. Three big mountainous groups make up the massif: Turó de l’Home (1,706 m) and Les Agudes (1,703 m) , Matagalls (1,697 m) and Pla de la Calma. The abrupt relief, that contrasts with the mountains and valley cut by streams, the leafiness of the forests, give rise to a spectacular and exceptionally stunning landscape. The weather differences in Monseny have brought about a wide range of landscapes: holm oak groves (on the lower slopes), cork oak groves (in the granite areas), pine groves, sub-Mediterranean oak groves, beech and birch trees, besides riverside vegetation and rock formations. With respect to the fauna, communities of Mediterranean and central European dominate the Reserve. The shrew, badger, grey dormouse, bullfinch, woodcock, Pyrenean newt, common frog, Aesculapian snake and wild boar.


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