The intense summer heat is an incentive to search for places to cool off, places where you can rest and at the same time get to know some of the other delights of La Garrotxa.
These places are accessible on foot, by bike or by car; furthermore, practically all the towns in La Garrotxa have shady picnic areas, all in beautiful settings and some even with swimming pools. Here we recommend a number of spots in La Garrotxa that you can resort to when you need to cool down.
The river Fluvià passes through Besalú and is a good place to cool down, although the river is not considered as such to be a good bathing area. There are two picnic sites: one under the bridge and accessible on foot from the main car-park and the other next to the river, accessible from Prat de Sant Pere, the starting point for Besalú’s Anella Verda (green ring).
Sant Joan les Fonts
Sant Joan les Fonts is one of the towns most closely connected to water in La Garrotxa. It takes its name from the multitude of natural springs (fonts) found in the municipality. The presence of water (although there is no bathing zone in the town) and the lava flows are the most characteristic features of this town. A good example of the town’s links with water is the Molí Fondo, an old paper factory with a waterfall that crashes over a small basalt cliff formed when the lava emitted by the volcanoes in Batet and La Garrinada cooled down and solidified.
Sant Joan has two picnic sites, while the Torre de Canadell on top of the mountain of Vivers is also a wonderful vantage point from which to view La Garrotxa.
The landscape of the Alta Garrotxa is one of the many attractions of this comarca. Walks through this Area of Natural Interest can be combined with a dip in the municipal swimming baths in Tortellà, Montagut or Maià de Montcal.
The Aiguamoixos de la Moixina (marshy woodland known to locals as La Moixina) and Parc Nou are two beauty spots in Olot where it is easy to find a moment of peace and quiet. Here, the branches of the centuries-old trees will protect you from the rigours of the of midday sun; alternatively, head for the springs at Les Tries or Sant Roc, or the recreation area at Tossols-Basil.
The park of Can Santaló and the main square behind the church are two of the coolest spots in Tortellà. Another shady spot is the spring of Can Cosí near the medieval bridge of El Pont de Llierca.
The waterfalls and bathing pools (gorgs) of Can Batlle can be reached from Santa Pau by following Natural Park itinerary 14. This route (12 km) begins in Santa Pau and after passing by these waterfalls returns to the village via the sanctuary of Els Arcs. For a shorter walk, leave the village via Sant Martí and you will reach the waterfalls and bathing pools after a walk of 8 km.
The swimming pool in Les Preses is one of the coolest places in summer in this town. Its modern installations offer shade and services, as well as a complete gamut of activities: night swimming, open-air cinema, live music, and so on. The Pedra Tosca Park is another relaxing spot in Les Preses. Its maze of paths, dry-stone walls and old stone huts offer a landscape that changes throughout the year and enables visitors to forget (albeit briefly) their troubles and concentrate on the wonderful restoration work that merited, amongst other awards, the Rosa Barba European Award for Landscape Architecture.
Sant Feliu de Pallerols
The river Brugent, a tributary of the river Ter, passes through the centre of Sant Feliu de Pallerols in the Hostoles valley. Around 50 natural springs are dotted around this municipality: the Vern, Rocalba and La Fàbrega fonts are just three of the natural springs that are easily reached on foot, by bike or by car. The best bathing spots are the Gorg d’en Duran and Gorg de la Mola: to get to these delightful spots, park at La Torre and continue on foot or by mountain bike. Another popular place to visit are Balmes de la Torra, a group of caves.
Les Planes d’Hostoles
The river Brugent has created many good bathing spots in and around the town of Les Planes. The best are at Gorg de la Plana at the entrance to the town in the area known as La Plana, and Gorg de Santa Margarida, on the outskirts of the town next to the Pirene factory. Also worth a visit is the waterfall at Molí dels Murris, 1 km after the turn-off to Els Cogolls.
Vall d’en Bas
Near Sant Privat d’en Bas there is a picnic spot accessible by car known as ‘Els Pins’, which has tables, barbeques and a bar. You can either park in the village of Sant Privat itself and walk the remaining 500 m to the picnic site or drive all the way to the picnic site. The path that leads to the bathing pools starts from beneath the pines at the picnic site.
If you have a little longer you can also head for two of this municipality’s best vantage points: Sant Miquel de Castelló, accessible –also on foot– from Hostalets d’en Bas, and Fontanils, accessible from Puigpardines.
·The municipal swimming baths in Besalú, Castellfollit de la Roca, Maià de Montcal, Montagut, Olot, Les Preses, Les Planes d’Hostoles, Sant Feliu de Pallerols, Sant Joan les Fonts, Tortellà and La Vall d’en Bas.
·The traditional Tossols-Basil swim is held every last Sunday in August, in which participants swim a stretch of the river Fluvià.