The writers and editors at World Words are seasoned travellers, yet the thrill of planning and embarking on a trip remains as exciting as ever. With that wanderlust constantly burning, we thought we’d create a space where our writers can share their experiences and discoveries, travels and trips with our audience. We call it… Our Travels.
We are a wonderfully mixed bunch with a common passion. We might travel alone, with a few friends or with our families. We might venture to intrepid, far flung locations or tootle down the road to see what’s on our doorstep. This month, World Words writer Samantha Wilson tell us of her most recent mini-break to the Province of Girona, Spain; an experience that she shared with her husband and her baby daughter. You can read all about it below…
Why I went to the Province of Girona
My husband, baby daughter and I were looking for a shoulder season mini-break with a nice short flight, warm weather and plenty of hiking. Having spent many years living in various parts of Spain. I had always wanted to visit this part of Cataluña, and now seemed like the perfect opportunity. Promises of bucolic stone villages tucked into Pyrenean valleys, old fishing ports lapped by the Mediterranean Sea, and the Iberian Peninsula’s only volcanoes, were more than enough of a selling point for us.
My highlight of the trip
La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park and, in its midst the irrepressibly pretty walled village of Santa Pau, were the undoubted highlight of the trip. Within the foothills of the Pyrenees, some 40 dormant volcanoes rise from the green valley like giant mole hills. They are small by volcano standards, the largest one rising just 189 metres (620 feet) high. But they are perfectly formed, tree-studded cones, spread across a picturesque volcanic field dotted with hiking trails, waterfalls, lava flows and an ancient beech forest. We hiked into the crater of Santa Margalida where there is a small hermitage, and then whiled away a couple of hours exploring Santa Pau’s medieval architecture and soaking up the mountain views from atop its castle.
What else I love about the Province of Girona
I loved being able to choose a completely different day trip each morning. One beautifully sunny day we walked the coastal path between the fishing villages of Calella de Palafrugell and Tamariu to experience the traditional side of the Costa Brava far from the modern resorts. Another day we explored the labyrinth of lanes and alleys that make up Girona’s old city and ventured inside the cavernous cathedral (famed both for having the widest Gothic nave in the world and for being the setting for several scenes in the Games of Thrones). We also headed deeper into the foothills of the Pyrenees to walk across Besalu’s 11th-century fortified bridge and into the medieval town with its cobbled streets and old Jewish quarter; home to one of only three surviving Mikvah’s in Europe.
Why you should go
Although I’m teetering on the side of cliché in saying this, the Province of Girona really does have it all. Blue flag beaches, bohemian fishing villages, medieval hamlets perched on clifftops, fascinating volcanoes, tranquil alpine lakes, fresh mountain air and a historic yet cosmopolitan capital. It is a perfect representation of Cataluña rolled into a very do-able mini-break. And of course the best part of any trip to the Iberian Peninsula is the food. Inspired by the sea and the countryside, Girona’s food is rustic and hearty, and the locally grown wines are not too shabby.
How you can visit
Thanks to nearby Costa Brava, Girona has one of Spain’s busiest airports. As such, you can find cheap flights from the UK and the rest of Europe all year round. We stayed in El Nus de Pedra, a traditional centuries-old farmhouse converted into six apartments. It’s just 30 minutes from the airport and ideally located in the heart of the province.
The World Worlds team often find themselves writing travel content about Spain – you can read some of our articles and guides on the country here. Keep up with our most recent adventures by following us on Twitter.
– Article written and photos supplied by Samantha Wilson.