The city of Olot spreads out around the base of one of La Garrotxa’s best known volcanoes –Montsacopa– and climbing its slopes is a perfect way to rediscover nature without actually leaving the city.
Also known as Sant Francesc, this volcano is a reminder of the landscape that surrounds you in this surprising comarca and one of the best vantage points over Olot. A second must for visitors to Olot looking to enjoy the natural wonders of this comarca is the Parc Nou, home to the Museu dels Volcans.
Once you have visited the streets and squares of the old centre of Olot, take time out to climb one of the symbols of this city – the volcano Montsacopa or Sant Francesc – whose outline with church and watch towers looms characteristically behind the old city. It is only accessible on foot, but it is worth climbing for the view alone, and visitors should also take a turn around the lip of its crater and enjoy the 360º view of other points of interest in Olot – the volcanoes Garrinada and Aiguanegra and the peaks of Bassegoda and Mare de Déu del Mont in the distance to the east. The church of Sant Francesc was built at the end of the Peninsula War in the 19th century on the site of a military building, while the watch towers date from the era of the Carline Wars, also in the 19th century.
If the visit to Montsacopa has awoken an interest in the volcanoes, then we suggest you head for Parc Nou where, in the basement of the Torre Castanys house, you will find a museum, the Museu dels Volcans, that provides an explanation of the volcanic phenomena and natural systems to be found in La Garrotxa. In addition, the gardens of this elegant house are also of interest and this 4-ha green lung, replete with elements of classical English landscape gardening, mature stands of native trees and a garden of medicinal plants, is an excellent spot in which to relax and take a rest from sight-seeing.
If you still want to see more natural sights in Olot, head for the volcano Montolivet and the springs of Fonts de Sant Roc, where you can enjoy a shady walk along the banks of the river Fluvià.
·How? on foot or by bike (except for Montolivet to Fonts de Sant Roc)
·Duration: 4 hours for the whole circuit (Montsacopa, Parc Nou, Montolivet and Fonts de Sant Roc); 1 h 15 min if you only visit Montsacopa; 3 hours for the Museu dels Volcans, botanical gardens, Olot city centre, Montsacopa and return to Parc Nou
·Starting point: Montsacopa/Parc Nou
·How to get there: follow the signposts in Olot to the car-parks at Parc
·Nou or the cemetery, where you can park before climbing Montsacopa
·Observations: vehicles with special permission from the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park can drive up Montsacopa to the crater. Other than the climb up to the craters Montsacopa (40 metres) and Montolivet (50 metres), this itinerary is flat
·Signposted? Yes. Partly, Natural Park itinerary 17
·Olot tourist map
·Itinerary suitable for people with children
·In part, suitable for people with reduced mobility
·The city’s shops, its restaurants and their excellent volcanic cuisine, and the marshy woodlands of La Moixina