I inhale the fresh mountain air, smell the pine trees and the sea salt in the air. I calm myself at the thought of how small we humans and our problems are, in contrast to the breathtaking nature of earth. Once, the spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) said “ The way is always better than the most beautiful hostel“. This is a pathway, you should definitely follow an see the incredible nature reserve of Gavarras..
Geography of Gavarras
The Gavages massif has been a nature reserve since 1992. It is located in the north of the Catalan coastal mountain range, between Lower Empordá and Gironés. Well signposted routes take us from one historic village to another, past the Rio Daró, which runs through the area. Despite the serpentines, the wonderful panoramic view of the forest, mountains and sea don’t let me feel uncomfortable. The highest point above the sea level is here at 537 meters with the summit of Navarre. The rocks are made of slate and granite, which still originate from the oldest of the geological eras – the Paleozoic.
Flora & Fauna
I gaze over vast forests that shine bright in the sun. In every imaginable shade of green – from dark moss to matte green of olives, up to juicy apple green. These are holm- and cork oats that characterize the mediterranean forest and have been rooted here since a very long time. However, due the forest fires, forestry and rural exodus, the pines have gradually spread. Hazelnuts, chestnuts and alders grow in the shady dips of the landscape. The flora and fauna seem to be in splendor – this cannot be overlooked, nor overheard! The little woodpecker chirps and the nightjar purrs his delighted “quorroorroor”.
Villages and churches
We drive on, past idyllic picnic spots, free-standing masias and old farms that give us an idea of what this place used to look like. By the way, there is a spectacular Masia for sale at the moment.
From the sanctuary “Mare de Déu dels Ángels”, one has a marvelous view to the mountain range that one should not miss. We go from village to village, stopping at the most beautiful churches, such as Santa Pellaia, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the crystal blue sea. We see castles like El Bisbal, which let us get an impression of the (pre-)Romanesque and medieval remains of past centuries.
It is siesta time and life here seems to stand still. The catalan flags blow in the wind on the village squares and the pastel-coloured houses in pink, yellow and blue are reminiscent of cotton candy.
Cultural heritage of Gavarras
Also the Megalith cultural heritage (gr.: mégas “big”, líthos “stone”) impresses me. The mostly unprocessed stone blocks appearing in the landscape were once used as building blocks for graves and cultural facilities. Those who want to see more of them should definitely visit artefacts like the dolmens of the Daina cave in Romanyá or the menhir of la Mitra.
For lovers of international cuisine and good wine, we recommend a visit to the Can Roquet restaurant, also in Romanyá de la Selva.