The ancient town of Banyoles lies near to the Benedictine Monastery of Sant Esteve founded in 812. This is a bustling place, especially good for shopping on the days when the market takes over the whole of the Plaça Major.
Located 120kms from Barcelona and 22kms from Girona, the town of Banyoles is probably best known for its lake, the largest on mainland Spain, which rises out of the subsoil, like the other small lakes nearby such as Can Sisó, la Cendra and La Nou.
The main lake is formed in the shape of an "8" and was the venue for the rowing events during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Indeed, nowadays it is widely used for watersports and boat trips.
It has a wide variety of fish (especially carp) and bird species and a 9km walk around the lake takes you through beautiful oak and elm forests, such as Can Morgat.
A peculiar feature of the lake is how the water changes colour due to the growth of red-pigmented bacteria.
The tiny hamlet of Porqueres is located not far from Banyoles. Its elegant 12th century Romanesque Santa Maria Church is well worth a detour.
Another striking example of Romanesque architecture can be found at the beautiful Sant Andreu Church in the neighbouring village of Serinyà.
Top attractions in Banyoles:
- Monastery of Sant Esteve
- Museo Darder de Historia Natural
- Museo Arqueológico Comarcal
Special dates to consider when visiting Banyoles:
- Fishing competition; first fortnight in May
- Flower competition; 24th May
- "Festa de la Sardana"; first Sunday in July
- Summer festival; 15 August
- "Festa Major"; third Sunday in October
Local market; every Wednesday
And more information in .... Banyoles