Cruïlles, Monells, Madremanya and Bordils
Cruïlles is famous for the very handsome Romanesque monastery of Sant Miquel de Cruïlles, 1km or so outside the village itself. Though your map may not show it, there is a road between Cruïlles and the far more interesting little town of Monells, a couple of kilometers to the north.
Sant Genís de Monells church
Follow the road going around the walls of Cruïlles to the right. Monells is lovely. The square only has one quiet bar with a few tables under the arches, and the town’s two restaurants are low key but excellent. Beyond Monells there are some lovely back roads through rolling farmlands and lush forests, dotted with little Romanesque chapels and unspoilt villages. Madremanya is a beautiful little walled town with perfectly restored townhouses and a rather chic restaurant/bar, called La Plaça, on the main street. Nice cottages to stay in Madremanya here.
Other villages of interest in this area include Bordils (with a splendid fortified Gothic church of 1561); Sant Martí Vell (small medieval nucleus), Sant Mateu de Montnegre (ditto), and Quart (locally famous for the quality of its ceramics of blackened earth). There are some great restaurants around here.
The Convent de la Madre de Deu dels Àngeles provides spectacular 360º views of the Costa Brava, the Pyrenees, the Ampurdan and a large part of the rest of Catalunya. At 485 m, the terraces surrounding this hilltop convent are among the most popular picnic areas in Catalunya. The plain hilltop church was where Dalí and Gala were wed in secret in 1958.
Another spectacular mountain road connects Cruilles with Cassá de la Selva, a large and not terribly interesting agricultural town with a well-preserved church dating from the 16th century transition from Gothic to Renaissance. The road from La Bisbal to Calonge is also exciting.
There are some very pleasant walks in the Vall d’Aro.
El “Carrilet” was the name of the train which used to link Sant Feliu de Guixols to Girona from 1892 to 1969, along a 37km route which has now become a “green road”, a sand track specially built for hikers and bikers, and goes through Castell d’Aro, Santa Cristina d’Aro, Font Picant and other towns and villages and continues as far as Olot..
This article was written by Francis Barrett. See also Francis' excellent guide to Ireland irelandbyways.com
Information about the Ampurdan
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Accommodation in the Ampurdan and the Costa Brava