Dalí Triangle. Visit the Teatro-Museo Dalí in Figueres, and the permanent exhibit of jewelry designed by Dalí. In Portlligat you will find the Casa-Museo Dalí, open for visits with reservation. Museu- Castell Púbol (Gala’s Púbol Castle), also by reservation, is the castle that Dalí gave his wife Gala as a present in the Baix Empordà town of Púbol. The castle was hers alone, and Dalí was only allowed in when invited, which apparently was almost never! Our guest’s favorite visit: Casa-Museo in Portlligat.
For a mix of land and water, there is no other park like the Cap de Creus. On a clear day expect spectacular views from the lighthouse at Cap de Creus, the easternmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. The sea here is wild and untamed. Inland, you’ll find the abbey of Sant Pere de Rodes.
The Aiguamolls de l’Empordà (the Empordà Wetlands) is a natural reserve which hosts a number of protected species of plants, birds, and fish. The storks come to nest in spring, and you can see and hear them… they make a lot of noise with their clapping beaks! The park can be visited on foot, on horse-back, or Quads (out of pedestrian tracks, of course).
Not far away, the Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa (Garrotxa Volcanic Region), offers you the chance to visit extinct and dormant volcanoes, as well as the Fageda d’en Jordà, a beech forest, rarely found in these altitudes. We recommend this visit especially in autumn, when the leaves change color.
The Paratge Natural de la Albera (Albera Natural Park) is actually separated into two parts, both bordering France. On one side (to the interior) you’ll find the Requesens Castle. On the other side (closer to the Med), you’ll find the ruins of the abbey of Sant Quirze of Colera, as well as a project to raise and protect the Mediterranean turtle, which is in danger of extinction: the Mediterranean Turtle Breeding Center.
Near Figueres, in Vilabertran, the imposing Augustinian monastery of Santa Maria de Vilabertran. In the Natural Park of Cap de Creus, the Benedictine abbey of Sant Pere de Rodes. In the Natural Park of the Albera, in Rabós, the ruins of the also Benedictine Sant Quirze of Colera abbey, and in La Jonquera, the huge Requesens Castle (a bit of a walk to get there, and it’s visiting hours are short. This is best seen by booking a guided tour). The Sant Ferran castle, in Figueres, is Europe’s largest defensive fortress. In Torroella, in the Baix Empordà, the Montgrí Castle. In Peralada, the castle, with its museums and library, is worth a visit. The town of Peralada also houses one of Catalonia’s largest vineyard, and casino. En route to the Mare de Deu del Mont in Vilademat, find the ruins of the monastery of Sant Llorenç de Sous.
The small town of Sant Llorenç de la Muga in the Catalan region of the Alt Empordà is considered by the Patronat de Girona as one of the most charming ones in the province. It has remained a secret from the masses because of its remote location, and preserves its old world character.
Sant Llorenç is hidden in the valley of the Muga river, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is completely encircled by a 7 foot-thick defensive wall constructed in the 12th century, with 2 gated entrances and several watch towers. One of the towers is located within the hotel’s property and houses a unique hexagonally-shaped junior suite.
The houses have been restored in recent years and the town council has embellished every village square.
The Muga river forms a small beach on its way through the village, but the best places to swim are in the natural pools of Sant Antoni and Albanyà.
Behind the church of Sant Llorenç, there are two sources of mineral water. “The Pudosa” fountain, named after its smell, is sulphurous and beneficial for skin treatments. The “Palanca” fountain, accessed through the modern metal bridge, has some of the best drinking spring water in the region. The water is not controlled by laboratory, so drink at your own risk. The locals certainly do!
There are spectacular places to visit or picnic in throughout the course of the river. The small hermitage of Saint Anthony (Sant Antoni) is flanked by a beautiful medieval bridge. Small lagoons and waterfalls are hidden from the beaten path for those who are willling to explore in Albanyà. Further down the river, the Boadella reservoir offers several water sports available during the summer and early fall.
The mountains that shelter our town, suffuse us with an aura of peace and tranquility, but also offer the active hiker trails of differing difficulty. During the spring, a stroll around the countryside will surprise you with a bounty of wild asparagus. During the fall, compete with the residents of this region, and throw yourself heart and soul to mushroom “hunting”.
Charming nearby villages include Albanyà, Vilarig, Cistella, Boadella, Les Escaules and Lladó. Still in the Alt Empordà: Peralada, and Vilabertran.
Inland towns include Besalú, Castellfollit de la Roca & Santa Pau (in La Garrotxa), Banyoles (in Pla de l’Estany), Pals and Peratallada (in the Baix Empordà).
Coastal and near-coastal villages: Castelló d’Empúries, Cadaqués, Empúries, Llançà, Port de la Selva (Alt Empordà), Palafrugell, Palamós, Begur and La Bisbal (Baix Empordà) Blanes, Tossa de Mar (La Selva).