For those who book the 5-day option the walk ends at Santa Pau. However, we learnt over the years that ATG can be very flexible with their dates and as I was intrigued by what I had seen in pictures and read in books about Besalu I wanted to include the walk to, and overnight stay in, Besalu at the end of the walking part of our trip. ATG were able to oblige so we set off on the Tuesday morning :
Santa Pau to Besalu: Footpaths pass craggy peaks and mountain rivers (opportunities for swimming in natural pools), before climbing to a high ridge with views. Then oak and pine forests lead to the medieval town of Besalú with its 11th century fortified bridge, Jewish bath-house and 12th century monastery church (12.7 or 13.5 miles, 6-7 hours).
Leaving Can Batlle
As Can Batlle Guest House is a few miles out of Santa Pau on the route to Besalu we had a shorter walk than outlined above. We took a detour to view the waterfall and natural pool just below the guest house, passed the hamlet and church of Sant Vicenç de Sallent and dipped in and out of woodland. Soon our track was along a virtually traffic-free concrete lane in the broad valley bottom for quite some miles.
The Church at Sant Vicenç
At the next hamlet, El Torn, we took a brief break before continuing in the bright sunshine only now and again shaded by overhanging trees.
The road became slightly busier – perhaps 2 cars per hour! Eventually we began our first ascent and followed a level path that brought us out onto another road- this one high above ground level. It twisted and turned for some miles. The chapel of Sant Fruitos was another good place to sit in the shade.
We then followed paths downhill again which eventually emerged onto a plain and the city of Besalu came into view. We crossed the impressive bridge and arrived at our final (ATG) destination – Besalu.
Yes there was rain that night but the next day dawned with a clear blue sky … as will see!
Such well designed walks with something more to see, other than the glorious scenery every few miles.
That is what ATG do so well, along with the presence of a manager. Adds up to the perfect walking holiday. My next trip I’m going with another company so I’ll see how they shape up and compare with ATG.