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Banyoles lakeside walk

Banyols - lake view towards town The Lake of Banyoles is the largest inland freshwater lake in Catalonia and is situated about a hour from the Costa Brava. The lake and town are surrounded by wooded hills and make for a perfect Autumn stroll in amongst the golden leaves as the trees turn colour.

We park by the main sports centre where a festival or function is taking place, then walk across the paths through the sunken meadows to the side of the lake. The lake is about 5-6km around the outside so an easy flat stroll, but a large enough lake to really enjoy the water and views.

Banyoles autumn trees The lake itself has a number of boathouses that jut out into the water in fanciful shapes like castles above the water. We walk away from the town to start with towards the more natural end of the lake. This takes us past the reconstruction of a neolithic village that has been created to show how Banyoles' history goes back in time with exhibits of wattle and daub houses raised on stilts to protect them from flooding.

Banyoles Neolithic Village Our path continues around the lakeside into the woods which gleam in green with the light coming through the trees. We have our dog and given we're in natural woods its disappointing that she can't come off the lead, but that's also a challenge with a popular walk for families. The woods are full of ferns and water channels feeding into and out of the lake. And then we emerge at the other side by a sea of reeds and a modern wood design observation tower that's open for visitors. The extra height doesn't change the view too much but we can see the tourist boat on the lake taking tourists for short trips on the lake (€7 per person).

Banyoles - observation point over lake Banyoles Poqueres chapel Our path continues past the top of the lake and past the first of two bathing areas we would pass. This one is natural and open, but swimming is only allowed on the lake in July, August and the first parts of Septmber. We cross over a number of small streams that either feed or take water from the lake. The meadows are full of a white daisy-like flower that grows almost on vines.

We turn down the other side walking back in woods but with the sun in front of us. The occasional side path runs to a jetty or the waters edge. After a brief while the path emerges by the side of a a road and continues along the roadside (separated and a proper path) until we pass the chapel at Porqueres. For this part of the walk we can see the water through the trees, while on the other side of the road are freshly ploughed fields with a rich deep brown soil that seems to extend up to the hills in the distance.

Banyoles boat houses on the lake At Porqueres we get to the small church of Santa Maria and back into a more developed part of the lake with a campsite (still operating in October) and meadows that run to the side of the lake under a boulevard of plain trees. Along the edge of the lake we can see more of the boat houses and as we walk the area slowly becomes more commerical with sports stadium and bars and restaurants, and also more people walking and enjoying the sun. This is also where visitors can take a rowing boat or catch the boat trip on the lake.

Banyoles bar-restaurants over the lake If you want to stop and take a drink or something to eat there is a small bar or restaurant built out over the water. The path continues along past the boat houses until we reach the large installations of the Club Natacion de Banyoles - a swimming and sports club and also the location of the second lido on the beach, but this time more private. The sports club is large with boats, an indoor pool and tennis courts and has to be negotiated around the back.

Then it's back along by the sunken meadows - presumably sunked to act as flood controls, and back to the main sports pavillion. We never did know what the event was.

Nearby:  Sadernes and river pools of St Aniol d'Aguja - Sant Esteve d'En Bas (Olot) - Serinya and Illa del Fluvia - Olot - capital of Garrotxa - Palol de Revardit to La Mota

Walking route Lake of Banyoles

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