I’m in La Garrotxa, the national park of northwest Catalonia, in the farthest corner of Spain. We can see the Pyrenees and the tops of the mountains of France in the far-off distance.
Catalonia’s Striking Volcanic La Garrotxa National Park
We have been learning about the seismic activity as well as the town of Olot, which is inside the park and has five of its own volcanoes within the city limits.
I’m one of the testers for DestiMED PLUS, an EU-funded eco-tourism initiative that created a series of eco-tours in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea several years ago.
This is the fourth test trip I’ve taken with the group.
I am here with a tour operator from Sardinia, two Greek women who work in the tourism business, and our local guide, Beth, who runs her own tour company in La Garrotxa, called Trescalia that organizes hiking trips in this region.
I have sent so many other of our travel writers to Spain so I was excited when the timing of this trip worked well with my planned three-week European adventure this month.
I finally am going to the country that I’ve been wanting to return to after many, many years.
This trip has been about walking the landscape, and Mike Lockhart, the British-born local guide, is certainly qualified to show us around.
He lives in nearby Besalu, speaks Castilian and knows all about the insects, flora, and volcanoes that make this area famous.
He also loves to walk, and rain doesn’t deter him.
We learned that today as we stood in the grassy crater of a volcano in a drenching rain…and then walked miles through the city in the same rain to get to our lunch stop.
This tour is true to its name, it’s an eco-tour, and that means being aware of and trying to do something about our carbon footprint.
So we take local buses, minimize our impact on the area, and avoid doing things that do more harm than they should.
This is a quite undiscovered part of Spain for Americans, and there are many great reasons to find out more about this beautiful slice of Spain.