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ENVIRONMENT

Routes in Empordà

The majority of excursions that we propose are in the comarca (county) of Alt Empordà. This region, on the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula is a privileged place that brings together sea and mountains.

Empordà presents a variety of landscapes, which include forests, a volcanic region, an extensive plain, some of the wildest sections of the Mediterranean coast and wetlands, which are an important staging point in bird migration.

Wine yards and Olive trees are also part of the landscape, which have given its own designation of origin and P.D.O for wines and oils respectively.

There are 3 protected areas in the region: The Aiguamolls Natural Park (wetlands), the Albera Massif and the the Cap de Creus Natural Park (a both maritime and terrestrial natural reserve).

Aiguamolls Natural Park

They are the second biggest wetlands in Catalonia. In 1976, a group of citizens started a campaign for the protection of this area. After a lot of social pressure, in 1985 the Parliament of Catalonia passed a law recognising the national interest of this natural reserve and it was declared a Natural Park a year later.

The park consists of three areas considered undeveloped natural reserve: the Caramany island, Llaunes (brackish lagoons) and the area of the ponds. A total of 4866 hectares, lying between the river Muga to the North and the river Fluvià to the South.

The following villages and towns are within the area of the park: L’Armentera, Castelló d’Empúries, L’Escala, Palau-Saverdera, Pau, Pedret i Marzà, Peralada, Roses and Sant Pere Pescador.

Albera Massif

At the north-east of Empordà, can be found the Albera Massif, which is the eastern section of the Pyrenees, going from the french town of el Pertús until the Mediterranean Sea. It separates the plains of l’Empordà and of Rosselló. Its crest line constitutes the current border between France and Spain.

Alongside the flora and the fauna, this natural reserve offers megalithic monuments and fortifications in its 25 km of the length and 10.000 hectares of surface, which cover the municipalities of La Jonquera, Espolla i Rabós.

L’Albera consists of two well-differentiated zones. The western area has a central European type of vegetation, with beeches and oaks, whereas the eastern area presents a majority of cork oaks. In the park, there are two endangered protected animal species: the Mediterranean turtle and the Albera cow, of which there are only 400 specimens in the world.

Cap de Creus Natural Park

It is the first declared natural park in Catalonia covering areas of both sea and land. It is the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, in northern Costa Brava. After several initiatives, it was declared a protected Natural Park by a law approved in 1998.

This natural park has a total surface of 13886 hectares, of which 10813 are in the land and 3073 at sea and covers the municipalities of: Cadaqués, el Port de la Selva, la Selva de Mar, Llançà, Vilajuïga, Pau, Palau-saverdera and Roses.

This area of exceptional beauty, meeting point of land and sea, is defined by its biologic, geological and landscape richness. It has been described by many as a unique place. The strong northern wind which often blows in the region, tramuntana, has not only shaped the landscape, but it has also inspired many artists such as the painter Salvador Dalí, who lived for long periods of his life in the area.

Montgrí, Illes Medes and Baix Ter

Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park (Catalan: Parc Natural del Montgrí, les illes Medes i el Baix Ter) is a natural park located in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. The park was established in 2010 and encompasses the Medes Islands, the Montgrí Massif and the mouth of the Ter river, covering a land area of 6,155.20 hectares (15,209.8 acres) and a marine protected area of 2,036.99 hectares (5,033.5 acres).

It stretches over the municipalities of L’Escala, Torroella de Montgrí, Pals, Bellcaire d’Empordà, Palau-sator, Ullà, Fontanilles and Gualta.