Bellcaire d’Empordà, where I lived for a year, can also be reached from various directions, including another backroad from Albons. Bellcaire [beautiful rock, or, as explained in the Introduction, perhaps the rock of the goddess Bes] is a very ancient settlement, and local legend has it that Hannibal paused here with elephants en route to crossing the Pyrenees. There is a fairly well preserved 10th century church and a 13th century castle, also built by Count Ponç-Hug IV, but my favourite places were the Local Social, featuring no fewer than two local baseball teams, and the Bar Esportiu. At the end of an unpaved track on the other side of the main road is Sobrestany [“Above the Lake”], a tiny hamlet with two good restaurants. It is not difficult to see that these ancient settlements were once separated by a huge marshy lagoon.
From many angles the Montgrí massif looks like a bishop in repose, the castle being his ring. The northern side of the mountain is thickly forested. There is a very simple little church in the Vall de Santa Caterina, whose feast day in early November is the occasion of a major communal picnic. This is also the best place to access the castle, which was built by Jaume II, The Conqueror, in the 13th century to keep the Counts of Empúries in check. The unpaved road up to the valley starts just after the municipal cemetery on the backroad between Bellcaire d’Empordà and Ullà, another ancient village with some interesting buildings, now effectively a suburb of Torroella de Montgrí.
This article was written by Francis Barrett. See also Francis' excellent guide to Ireland irelandbyways.com
Information about the Ampurdan
Ampurdan main page
Information about the Costa Brava
Accommodation in the Ampurdan and the Costa Brava