Castellfollit de la Roca Travel Guide
Sometimes we use words such as love and beauty too lightly, and without thinking. So when I tell you that the first images I ever saw of Castellfollit de la Roca triggered the following phrase to come into my mind, I do so, with thought and from my heart – for me it is – disturbingly beautiful. The stunning landscapes that embrace Castellfollit de la Roca are lush and mystical, and in the village are best seen from the amazing viewpoint, set right on the cliff’s edge at the Josep Pla square.
In fact the image is so spectacular that subconsciously you may already link it with Catalonia, as this medieval village and its surroundings are widely used to represent Catalonia. Castellfollit de la Roca seems to cling on for dear life onto a rock face, which is set between the rivers Fluvia and Toronell. The oldest part of the village is comprised of narrow streets, corners and squares, and can be traced back to the Middle Ages.
The village is situated on a basalt crag, which is around 1 km in length and 50 metres high. Originally, thousand upon thousands of years ago, lava flowed from volcanic eruptions, and then the erosive action of the two rivers formed the crag where the village lies today.
The houses in the old part of the village are predominately made from volcanic rocks. The medieval centre has narrow, shadowy streets, which seem to take their personality from the mystical appearance of some of the natural surroundings.
The picturesque village, and the unique landscape that surrounds it, should really be seen if you are within reach. There is one pension where you can actually stay, which has a total of 16 rooms. If you decide to visit during the summertime, there are areas for children to play within the village, and also a municipal swimming pool is open to the public.
If you are either flying into, or staying in the lovely city of to Girona, then this is 47 km away. If you decide to do the Dali Triangle, then at some stage you will be going to Figueres, which is 37 km. The delightful medieval and modern town of Olot, is only 7 km away, and is a great base to explore the many wonders of the Garrotxa Nature Reserve. The buzzing city of Barcelona is 147 km distance.
Things To Do
The Broken Bridge – Pont Trencat
The bridge is known as the Broken Bridge. The original bridge was constructed in 1908, but very soon after a number of abutments started to crack open. It turns out that the bridge had been built upon unstable ground, which meant soon after its construction it need to be rebuilt.
The Broken Bridge of Castellfollit de la Roca has a long, sordid history of misfortune. Of course it wasn’t alone, undergoing severe damage during the Spanish Civil War – the Republican forces demolished the bridge so that the Nationalists couldn’t advance over it.
Once again it was restored, and then not long afterwards in 1940 the Great Storm came and knocked down two of the bridge’s arches. After this it wasn’t rebuilt again. Instead another bridge, the one you can see today was built in the same place.
Castellfollit de la Roca Sant Salvador Church
The old church of St. Salvador (Sant Salvador Church) stands on one side of the cliff. Its origins can be traced back to the 13th century, although the building you can see today was rebuilt on many different occasions. It was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, and was in such a bad state afterwords that it was decided to build a new church, in the village’s modern area.
However a neighbourhood project during the 1980s meant that the old church underwent restoration, and was actually transformed into a cultural centre. It is predominantly late Renaissance, with a late Romanesque window, and it has a number of Basalt freestones, which were re-used. During the restoration project, both iron and glass have been used in conjunction with the original stones.
Believe it or not in a small town of around 1000 inhabitants, there are two museums. One is the Sausage Museum and the other is the Museum of Vietnam.
The Sausage Museum – Museu de l’Embotit
This Museum was opened as a celebration of the hundred and 50th anniversary of the local company J. Sala Riera, in 1993. If you visit the museum you’ll be able to see a wide range of tools that have been used to prepare meat throughout the years, as well as photographs, and diagrams that highlight the old processes. Admission is free, and you will also get to have a little taste of the local products.
Museum of the Vietnamese War – Museu de Vietnam
The museum is a fruit of love, if that is that right way to put it considering the horrific subject matter, of Mr. Demiquels, who has been studying the Vietnamese War for more than two decades. For those with an interest in this war or history, there appears to be a wealth of information.
Olot Where Medieval Meets Modern – 7km
An interesting town, which is capital of the Garrotxa region, this is where you can visit the Volcano Museum, apart from enjoying other charms of Olot – find out more here.
Don’t Miss Beautiful Medieval Besalu – 16km
This is one of the top medieval spots in the province of Girona, which also has a very important Jewish heritage. Check out the photos in the Besalu Travel Guide to see if it’s your cup of tea.
Bathe & Relax In Banyoles – 30km
The beautiful Lake of Banyoles is only 30km away, and this is a lovely spot to relax and take a boat out on the lake. Also check out the Banyoles Travel Guide as the nature is superb, but there are more points of interest close by also.
Discover Dalí & Figueres – 37km
Go To The Fine City Of Girona – 47km
If you are either flying into, or out of Girona, make sure to incorporate a night or two there. To see more go here.
Where to Sleep
Pension Snack Bar Ca La Paula – Plaça de Sant Roc, 3 – Phone: 972 294 032
The only place to stay in the village, which has 16 rooms. Rates from €39 for a single room. For more information contact the local tourist authority.
Parador de Vic Sau – Paraje del Bac de Sau
A stone’s throw from the village, is a striking Catalan country house, one of Spain’s Paradors.
Where to Eat
For those who love to walk and explore nature, Castellfollit de la Roca is the perfect starting point for a number of superb walking routes, as it is a gateway to the Garrotxa Natural Park.
This walking route takes you to the sanctuary, which is around 4 km away from the village. The path is well indicated with green markers and the walk will afford you absolutely superb views. It also takes you to the Castle, which dates to 1070, and the church of the Cós, which can be traced back to 1105. Walkies a leisurely rate of around 4 km an hour going to the sanctuary and back to the village will take around two hours.
Walk Route No. 13 of the Volcanic Area of the Garrotxa Natural Park
Route number 13 is a walk the takes approximately 45 minutes, and gives you the chance to get to know the immediate surroundings, as well is the culture and history of the village. The views are beautiful.