Located to the north of the Natural Park, Sant Joan les Fonts has a combination of nature and culture that makes it a very unique village. It is home to a large number of points of interest, from spectacular basalt formations to Romanesque buildings.
The route starts at the Tourist Office located alongside the medieval bridge. From here, climb the steps up to the vantage point at Molí Fondo, from where you can see the old paper factory that used water power to move its machinery and a large basalt wall formed by three lava flows spewed out from different volcanoes thousands of years ago.
The large amount of lava in the second flow caused a tunnel or blister – a unique formation in the volcanic zone of La Garrotxa and in continental Europe –, the remains of which can be seen alongside the lock.
The route takes you to the old El Boscarró quarry, at the top of which had been an Iberian settlement, the spectacular Fontfreda cliffs and the area of Verlets, from where you return to Sant Joan along a path that runs through wetlands and cropland.
If you return to the starting point, the medieval bridge of Sant Joan, and you cross it to head towards the village, you will be able to see most of its cultural heritage. Follow Carrer de Santa Magdalena to the right to reach Juvinyà Castle, a medieval fortified manor house that is now home to the Territori de Sant Joan les Fonts Interpretation Centre.
Head for the bridge and, in the Plaça Major square, you will come to the path the leads to the church of the old medieval monastery. This is a Romanesque building in the form of a basilica with three naves that contains a replica of La Majestat de Sant Joan les Fonts, a multi-coloured wood carving from the 12th century.
The cliffs were formed by the overlapping of different lava flows. When it solidifies, lava turns into a very hard rock known as basalt. During the cooling process, lava contracts, cracks and is shaped into columns and slabs.
The earthquakes in the 15th century damaged the cloister and almost all the monastery buildings. They were all eventually demolished, except for the Romanesque church.
Tourism for everyone
Molí Fondo - Boscarró (Sant Joan les Fonts): The route is made up of a set of educational panels and supporting material for people with visual impairment. The aim is to help with the interpreting of each of the points on the route.