Friday, December 13, 2013


NEW YORK, NY (12/2013) On Foot Holidays, specialist in self-guided, designed walking and hiking tours through the hidden scenic byways of Europe, announces a walking tour of Spain’s historic Catalonia. The tour takes in the volcanic zone of La Garrotxa and the precipitous cliffs of the Cabrerès. Stays are in the medieval towns of Besalu, Santa Pau, Rupit, Joanetes and Olot.  Rates for the seven-night tour start at US$1316 and include seven bed and breakfasts, five evening meals, five picnics, and luggage transfers between hotels. Level: medium to hard with 4 1/2 to 6 hours of walking/hiking a day.

Catalonia is the picturesque region of Spain that encompasses the northeastern provinces of Girona, Tarragona, Lleida and Barcelona. Stefano Buonamici, writing for The New York Times, described it as, “….a Catalonia outside Barcelona, one tourists rarely see — a rural countryside, created in part by those volcanoes, with dramatic cliffs, verdant fields and untrammeled medieval villages.”
Hikers will savor Catalonia’s fabled hospitality and scrumptious Catalan cooking. The town of Girona, for example, features El Celler de Can Roca, one of the top-ranked restaurants in the world, while little Olot boasts Les Cols, a two-starred Michelin restaurant (reservations are a must). Hikers will also be ensconced for two nights in a Vogue-featured farmhouse. “What is more uplifting than walking through lands that have been untouched by time?” says On Foot’s Director Simon Scutt. “Throw in culture, fine food and accommodations full of character, and our walks are a perfect tonic for body and soul.”

The walk begins in the beautifully-preserved medieval town of Besalú, staying in a stylish hotel next to the old bridge. From here it’s through the heart of La Garrotxa Natural Park with its numerous (now extinct) volcanoes. Winding up through the beech woods and rolling pastures of the cliff-girt plateau of El Cabrerès, the views are over the Catalonian hills, the towering heights of Mount Puigsacalm and the often snow-capped Pyrénées.  The final stay is in a converted farmhouse in the rural calm of La Vall d'en Bas.

On Foot’s Catalonia tour was designed by wildlife and walking guide Mike Lockwood, who has lived in Catalonia for 25 years. Fluent in Catalan and Spanish, Lockwood authored the “Sunflower” walking guide to the area and designed much of the network of historical paths that this tour follows. Recently, he handed over the baton to Richard Calvin, a keen walker and sculptor in stainless steel, whose wife Sara looks after hotel liaison and runs her own villa rental company.

This trip can be combined with a visit to Barcelona.

Contact: On Foot Holidays at 011 44 1722 322 652 or visit

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