Halfway between the city of Girona and the coastal towns of the Costa Brava, at the foot of the Gavarres Area of Natural Interest lies L’Empordanet. This region is made up of La Bisbal de l’Empord, Forallac, Cora, Ullastret and the grouping consisting of the municipalities of Cruïlles, Monells and Sant Sadurní de l’Heura. Undoubtedly an area of great value in terms of landscape and heritage, it has a lively culture promoted by its museums and institutions, but even more so by its people, the essence of L’Empordanet.
L’Empordanet is one of those places that you visit and have to go back to, that captivate you and above all make you live experiences that help create wonderful memories. To explore its medieval paths and villages is to experience a journey through time in a region full of amazing legends and histories; a place to rediscover yourself, since, despite the popularity of the area, there are always incredible places for you to stop and enjoy the moment:
La Bisbal de l’Empordà
Known since Roman times under the name Fontanetum, it is now an important ceramics production and study centre. It has an interesting museum and several workshops from which a range of related activities are promoted. The Castle or the Jewish quarter around Carrer del Call reminds us of the splendour of an era and the importance of the municipality throughout the ages.
Cruïlles, Monells and Sant Sadurní de l’Heura
Combined in 1974 into a single municipality, these three towns retain features that are very characteristic of their medieval past. Monells was built around an old castle of which only the walls remain, but still retains its medieval character with its houses, streets and porticoed areas. Of note in Cruïlles is the Benedictine Monastery of Sant Miquel, built in Romanesque style and with some Gothic features, as well as its medieval wall and the old castle’s Homage Tower. Sant Sadurní de l’Heura meanwhile features 3 main points: the castle, the church and the menhir dated to the 4th – 3rd century B.C.
Ullastret is known, above all, for the Iberian Citadel of Puig de Sant Andreu, one of the most important archaeological sites in Catalonia. The museum, located in the same enclosure and managed by the Catalonia Museum of Archaeology, displays a virtual reconstruction in 3D that allows you to travel back 2,500 years. Also of interest is the municipality of Ullastret itself, declared a site of historical and artistic interest. It retains a clearly medieval structure, with walls surrounding the whole complex of narrow streets and a Gothic square.
Corçà’s medieval past can be clearly seen in the structure of its streets and houses, as well as the various inscriptions that can be read on many of its facades. On the other hand, the municipality is also notable for its colonising past, as evidenced by Villa Luz, a house built in the colonial style that bears witness to the adventure of a family that went to Cuba in the nineteenth century and on becoming wealthy returned to its beloved Empordà town.
Constituted formally in 1977 by combining the municipalities of Fonteta, Peratallada and Vulpellach, it is currently made up of eight dispersed settlements. It’s possible that the best known of all the towns is Peratallada, due to its great historical and architectural appeal; which led to it being declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest, thanks to its cobblestone streets, town walls, the castle-palace, and Romanesque church of Sant Esteve, or the spectacular moat carved into the rock. Vulpellach’s old quarter has also been declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest, highlighting above all the castle-palace and the parish church of Sant Julià and Sant Basilissa.