View of the Gavarres from the Era de la Llaca


With Begur, the Gavarres make up the northern part of the Catalan coastal mountain range. It sweeps in an arc which opens towards the north, lying between el Baix Empordà and el Gironès. It is about 350km squared over about 20 towns: Calonge, Castell-Platja d’Aro, Corçà, Cruïlles-Monells-Sant Sadurní de l’Heura, Forallac, la Bisbal d’Empordà, Mont-ras, Palafrugell, Palamós, Santa Cristina d’Aro, Torrent i Vall-llobrega al Baix Empordà, i Cassà de la Selva, Celrà, Girona, Juià, Llagostera, Llambilles, Madremanya, Quart and Sant Martí Vell al Gironès.

To the north, the Gavarres borders the plains of el Baix Empordà with a row of hills, known as the Pregavarres; to the north-east they link up to the Transversal Mountains, which separates the plains of the Empordà from la Selva. Then, to the west, the Gavarres runs alongside la Selva, and to the south la vall d’Aro, a little dip where the Ridaura separates the Gavarres from the Ardenya range. The Gavarres are rounded and Josep Pla called them “elephantine”. The highest points are the twin hills of la Gavarra and Arques, 533 and 527 metres respectively. Other peaks of note are la Mare de Déu dels Àngels (485 m), el Montigalar (467 m), Santa Pellaia (353 m), el Puig Cargol (363m) and el Montnegre (285 m).

Thus placed between highly populated plains and near a significantly altered coast, the  Gavarres offer an extensive woodland landscape, which can be seen from everywhere.

Like any natural habitat the Gavarres is and has been a reflection of the activities and ways of life of the people who have lived there. The houses mirror the importance of family life in society; the plots of land, the irrigation channels, the mills, ovens etc show how these famílies have survived; the churches and paths show how famílies have organised themselves; and the placenames and legends reflect a way of thinking and seeing the world.

Studying the landscape from a historical point of view uncovers, beneath the lush vegetation covering the Gavarres, traces of other ways of life which coincide with the thread of history in the mountain range.

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