3. Castellfollit de la Roca
The main road from Besalu to Olot passes through several interesting places, most notably Castellfollit de la Roca, spectacularly perched on top of a steep cliff. The best view is from the bridge over the river Fluvià. The cliff is illuminated after dark until midnight for about 6 months of the year. I am told that road widening near Castellfollit has done away with the very weird and wonderful privately constructed free children’s labyrinth beside the river that used to make drivers stop and stare. Castellfollit itself has a spectacular old church, some narrow medieval streets, a parador and a fonda, but in my personal experience is a very unfriendly little dump.
There are several turn offs as you approach Castellfollit that lead to various parts of the valley between the Serra de Monars and the Serra Pineda, right up to Monars itself on the French border. The main village of Montagut de Fluvià has a Romanesque church, a ruined castle and a very good restaurant. There is a spectacular Gothic bridge over the river Llierca on the road to Sadernes, which has a couple of impressive buildings, and from there an unpaved road to the imposing Castell S’Espasa and the lovely medieval bridge of Valenti. Continuing on foot you can reach either the solitary chapel of Sant Anoi d’Aguja or the Vall deRiu, at the foot of Puig deBassegoda, where there are remarkable views. By taking a turn off just at the entrance to Castellfollit you can drive up to the tiny but delightful village of Oix, surrounded by high cliffs and with a restored castle, an ancient Romanesque church with a renaissance altarpiece and a great restaurant.
From Castellfollit, the road via Sant Joan les Fonts (where the Romanesque church, originally part of a 12th century Bendictine monastery, has a very interesting baptism font) provides an alternative scenic route to Olot and is also a shortcut to get onto the main road via La Vall de Bianya to and thence Camprodon. But the road via La Vall de Bac to Sant Pau de Seguries, although unpaved in parts, is really spectacular, but not advisable in winter.
This article was written by Francis Barrett. See also Francis' excellent guide to Ireland irelandbyways.com
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