Accessible nature

An aerial view of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, with several volcanic cones. Image by Juli Pérez – Vol de Coloms.

Natural environments such as green areas and blue areas improve people’s health and well-being. Contact with nature has numerous benefits for physical and mental health. Improving mood, boosting self-esteem and ageing more healthily are just some of them. On the Costa Brava and in the Girona Pyrenees we have landscapes to suit all tastes, green and blue landscapes. Today we propose four accessible natural areas.

Architecture and nature with sea views in the Baix Empordà

The coastal path of S’Agaró, in the Baix Empordà, links the Sant Pol beach with the cove of Sa Conca de S’Agaró on a wide, flat route. It is a walk between architecture and nature, a path between pine trees and cliffs that runs through small rocky coves. At Puig Pinell, there is a viewpoint from where you can enjoy the blue colours of the Mediterranean Sea and the aromas of the Empordà flora. A section of the path is adapted for people with reduced mobility and there is also an elevator platform that facilitates access from the Escala de la Gasela staircase to the Mirador square.

A panoramic view of Sant Pol beach in S'Agaró, with the colourful bathing houses in the foreground. Image by Oscar Vall.
A panoramic view of Sant Pol beach in S’Agaró, with the colourful bathing houses in the foreground. Image by Oscar Vall.

Iron and Coal Route in the Ripollès region

The old railway line from Ripoll to Sant Joan de les Abadesses, traditionally used to transport coal from the Ogassa mines, has become an ideal and accessible route to enjoy a walk through the industrial past of the Ripollès region. The route links Ripoll with Sant Joan de les Abadesses. The route is asphalted and flanked by vegetation. It’s twelve kilometres long, with a minimum gradient.

In Ripoll, there is the Can Guetes Tourist Reception Centre, located at km 0 of the greenways. It is a social project for training and integration managed by the Fundació MAP, with a restaurant, a bicycle rental and a farm shop. It has access, parking, communal areas and adapted toilets.

Biodiversity in Alt Empordà

The Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park is the second most important wetland area in Catalonia. It is made up of three nature reserve areas: the island of Caramany, the Llaunes (coastal lagoons) and the Estanys (lakes). The set of lakes, enclosures and floodable meadows that can be found in this area are a privileged habitat for birds, both migratory and those that live in the area all year round.

The park offers several signposted itineraries, two of which are accessible for wheelchair users: from the Cortalet to the Mas del Matà and from the Mas del Matà to the coastal lagoons or Llaunes. Along the way there are some bird observatories accessible with access ramps and a specific space for wheelchair users. The area allows you to contemplate migratory birds and wild flora, as well as to capture the aromas that fill the lagoons.

Inside one of the bird observatories in the swamp, a man in a wheelchair takes a photo with his mobile phone. Picture by Salvador Maynou.

Volcanoes in La Garrotxa

The Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park has around forty volcanic cones and more than twenty basaltic lava flows. The famous Fageda d’en Jordà is part of the park, which is a beech forest sitting on top of a lava flow emitted by the Croscat volcano. This volcano has a viewpoint that offers an exceptional panoramic view of the area.

Even though access to some areas of the park with motorised vehicles is forbidden, access is authorised if you can prove your degree of disability. The park also has a Joëlette wheelchair on loan from the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board. This is a one-wheeled all-terrain wheelchair that allows people with reduced mobility to enjoy hiking and other leisure activities in the natural environment.