La Garrotxa is renowned for its Volcanic Zone Natural Park, its well-preserved medieval towns, good cuisine, and outdoor activities.
If you’re looking for a country escape from the city, a La Garrotxa day trip from Barcelona is the ideal getaway.
Explore one of Europe’s best preserved volcanic landscapes and the rich architectural heritage of charming villages such as Santa Pau and Besalú.
Here's everything you need to know about La Garrotxa, one of the most enchanting day trips from Barcelona.
The La Garrotxa region of Catalonia lies between the Pyrenees and Costa Brava region and is accessible by car and public transportation.
By car, the journey from Barcelona to Besalú takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes.
The local bus service runs to most cities and larger towns, but not some of the smaller villages. Consult the Teisa Bus website for the routes. The closest train stations are in Vic and Girona, but from there you’ll have to go by car, taxi, bus or guided tour.
For a more relaxed and hassle-free experience, though, you can also book a guided day tour from Barcelona.
From Barcelona, you will be driven to the La Garrotxa region, where you will visit historical Vic. You’ll see the ancient Roman temple, medieval city walls, the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle and the Market Square. You’ll continue to La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, with its about 40 volcanic cones, between 10,000 - 700,000 years old.
In the middle of the park lies the medieval village of Santa Pau. You’ll visit the fascinating old quarter with its narrow alleyways, the town's characterful main square and the beautiful Santa Maria Church. Experience the La Fageda beech forest or enjoy local Catalan dishes in a guest house along the way.
Finally, experience the charming Besalú, with its famous 14th-century bridge at the entrance. Also admire the old Saint Peter's and Saint Vincent monasteries. At the end of your country tour, you’ll be transported back to Barcelona.
Discover Catalonia’s rich medieval history and geology on this small-group day tour from Barcelona. Visit the historic towns of Besalú and Castellfollit de la Roca, and hike through the lovely forest landscape of La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park.
From downtown Barcelona, your group will be transported by air-conditioned minivan to explore La Garrotxa county. It is one of Catalonia's most fascinating areas in Girona province, with medieval villages and volcanos that shaped the area’s valleys.
You will visit three medieval towns, namely Castellfollit de la Roca, Sant Joan les Fonts and Besalú. You will also hike through the lava flows at La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park and be introduced to the local culture.
Explore the pleasant medieval cities and villages of the Pyrenees foothills on this guided day tour from Barcelona. Visit the well-preserved towns of Vic, Santa Pau and Besalú, as well as the beech forests of La Fageda. Admire the rich Romanesque heritage of the region, enjoy a picnic in La Fageda forests or taste homely dishes in a guest house.
A driver will pick you up at the designated pick-up point and your tour will start at the Vic sites. You will see the ancient Roman temple in the uptown area of Vic, the medieval city walls, and the Romanesque Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. Also visit the Market Square (Plaça Major), one of the best known sites in the town.
Next, visit La Garrotxa, the best example of a volcanic landscape in the Iberian Peninsula, with about 40 volcanic cones. In the middle of La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park lies the medieval village of Santa Pau. It has preserved the very interesting old quarter with its narrow alleyways, the Santa Maria Church and the town's main square.
Then choose to either enjoy a picnic in the La Fageda forest or taste the peasant dishes in a guest house along the way. Your tour finishes in Besalú, famous for its 14th-century bridge and monasteries such as Saint Peter's or Saint Vincent. To make the most of the visit, look for local products such as cheese, salami, churros and honey.
A 9-hour day trip costs around €120-140 per person, while a private 12-hour tour costs about €250 per person.
The 9-hour Medieval villages and La Garrotxa volcanic zone hiking tour costs €130 per person. It does not include hotel pickup and drop-off.
For a guided day trip to Osona and La Garrotxa, expect to pay €140 per person, which includes hotel pickup and drop-off, but not food and drinks.
Besalú is the best preserved medieval village in La Garrotxa. It’s situated on the banks of the Fluviá River, and contains traces of settlements since the Roman era. Evidence of a market exists from the 11th century, and three centuries later, it was the trading center of La Garrotxa.
It has several historical landmarks, such as the Romanesque bridge guarding the town entrance, and the Monastery of Sant Pere. Also look for the Sant Julià church, the Casa Cornellà, and the remains of a synagogue from 1264.
Santa Pau is a picturesque medieval village, dating back to the 9th century, when the region was a no man’s land between Christian and Muslim domains. It is characterized by narrow cobblestoned streets and old stone buildings.
From here you can explore the surrounding area, including the Fageda d’en Jordà forest, the nearby village of Besalù, and the Santa Margarida volcano. In the village center stands the 13th century Castle of Santa Pau. Another main landmark is the main square, El Fira dels Bous, with the 14th century Church of Santa Maria on one side.
Vic is the capital of the comarca of Osona, and is situated about 70 kilometers north of Barcelona. It has a long history and a colorful local culture with a number of historic monuments. These include the impressive Plaça Majos main square and the 14th century Gothic town hall.
The square is surrounded by vaulted arcades giving access to various shops, restaurants and cafés. Just a short drive from Vic stands the 11th-century Monastery of Sante Pere Casseres. Vic is well renowned for its gastronomy, especially its local cured meats.
You can visit the region any time you want, the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park is open at certain hours of the day.
The park is open all year round, except 25 December and 1 January.
The best time to visit is fall and spring when, conditions are most pleasant and it is less crowded, with most attractions open in the region. Both seasons are good for hiking and cycling. In summer, there will be more visitors.