Vallfogona del Ripollès is a small village with charm that enjoys a privileged location halfway between Ripoll, the capital of the county of Ripolles, and Olot, which is the capital of the county of La Garrotxa. Both territories are of great interest and are very orientated to their culture, gastronomy, hiking, trekking, bike trails and paths in and outstanding beautiful environment. There is a wide variety on offer- from discovering Romanic Ripollès with its two emblematic monasteries of Ripoll and Sant Joan de les Abadesses, to the wonderful route of the volcanic area of La Garrotxa- There is skiing in winter at Vall de Nuria and Vall Ter, and the forest of La Fageda (beech forest), the Modernist buildings of Olot and the tasting of their outstanding gastronomy, which has many restaurants, including some with Michelin Stars.
However, if you would prefer a more quiet and peaceful stay without moving around so much, the surrounding offers infinitive possibilities. Some examples follow below.
A tour through the historic centre of the village of Medieval origins will take us back to the 12thC. It’s a must to visit the castle, the Medieval bridge, the old bell tower of the church of Nostra Senyora of the popular church of Sant Julia, the church and the fascinating Reliquier, a place of ancient worship, where the town would gather to call for rain and health.
The Josep Maria Jubelles fossile collection. He was the Rector of Vallfogona between 1984 and 1990, the year in which he died in a car accident. He was loved and respected by the inhabitants of Vallfogona. His family gave his collection of fossils and minerals to the village. The extraordinary geology of the area is prone to find fossils and minerals. Jubells brought together a superb collection of nearly 400 pieces of different kinds- shellfish, minerals, fossils, skeletal remains of sea organisms, obtained from his own findings, bought, exchanged or donated. The main and comprehensive collection has increased in size thanks to other private donations and the Geological Museum of Barcelona. You can visit the exhibition at the Council Hall of the village during office hours.
Visit the chapel of Santa Cecilia de Regord. Located in Mas Regord, 20 min from town, we found this little XI Century beauty. Although currently almost in ruins you can still see the pointed arch at the opening of the apse and arch door. It was damaged by the earthquake in 1428 and in the 17thC the entire roof was rebuilt.
Trip to the shrine of Santa Magdalena. We can start this pleasant walk from Vallfogona through beech woods and beautiful crystal clear streams. Without many complications the path leads us to the hermitage of Santa Magdalena (about 45 minutes) which was built in the 13thC, it was worshipped in the 16thc and 17thC. It has been classified as Romanesque although there is some controversy about it since there seem to be some traits which do not belong to this style. Its open atrium and the bell tower offer a picturesque image. It still contains a Gothic image in alabaster.
Walking through the forest we find La Teuleria del Pinetar. This is not archeological in the strict sense of the word. It is an old furnace used for the production of roof tiles and bricks that ran well into the 19thC. It is a dry stone rectangular building arranged in two parts- the lower was the oven and the upper part for cooking. It was found thanks to a neighbour.
Enjoy the flora and fauna of the area. It is a delight to watch the flight of Kestrels or Vultures, Marsh Tits, which is abundant in Ripollès and La Garrotxa but very difficult to see in other territories, or if you are lucky see the very rare Elizabethan butterfly which has found its ideal habitat in Vallfogona del Ripollès. The fascination we felt for this butterfly made us to spend a special section on this website and is the logo of our business. It is a night specimen of great size and beauty from which its deep green stands out.
Visit the Pinetar of Tosca. Close to the Tosca Spring, also known as the enchanted cave. It’s a legend and according to its folklore a kind of aquatic nymph lived here. The Pinetar of Tosca is a rock formation of several tens of meters thick, which has been formed by the slow and continuous deposition of calcium carbonate dissolved in the water over centuries. The rough stone or Travertine is a kind of very porous and light limestone caused by the precipitation of calcium carbonate around fountains and lakes. Often the dropping of these minerals occur in plants and moss, and rock traps take shape, hence the formation of fossils in that area.
Walk to the remains of Milany Castle. A beautiful hiking trail as long as 17 Km and 900 mt. Along the path, clearly signposted you can walk through a beautiful beech forest. This is spectacularly beautiful in autumn when the leaves fall. The most unforgettable are the pools in the streams of Vallfogona, here you can swim and are best in summer to cool off in its pools. Cross the medieval bridge. It was built by the Lords of Milany in the 14thC to join the castle to the village. The castle dates from the 10thC. During the 11thC and 12thC the Milany family lived there on behalf of the Counts of Besalú. Then it moved to the Counts of Barcelona and later to the Viscounts of Bas, but it was bought again by Raimon Milany in 1335. A few years later the lords abandoned the castle to live more comfortably in the village (in the castle located in the centre of the town. Currently only a few remains are preserved- a part of the wall of the tower and the ruins of their premises but they say there were a church and a cemetery too. The views from here are spectacular, we can glimpse the Pyrenees from the Puigmal to Costabona, the Serra Cavallera and the Taga, the Canigo and the mountains of La Garrotxa, Puigacalm, the Mountains of Montserrat, Pedraforca, Montseny and the Valley of Vic. An informative panel helps tourists to identify the mountains.
Discover the waterfall of the Torrent de la Masica, following the track, walk 2 km along the old road of La Barraca, around the stream of La Masica, to the old wagon road, that runs from Llastanosa to La Barraca. The route, which is well sign-posted will lead you through the pools to the spectacular falls of Llastanosa. Along the ways you will be able to enjoy the flora and fauna typical of falls in the Pre-Pyrenees.
Delving into the magic “blowers” of Beví. You will need to travel a few Km by car to reach the starting point of the tour. In a beech forest , on the border between the regions of Osona and Ripollès a very special place like taken out of a fairy tale is hidden. The Bevi blowers (or Babi) at the Northern slope of the Serra de Bufadors (in the municipalty of Santa Maria de Besora, Osona). They are a set of cavities or crevices where an unusual airstream is generated. You can hear hisses inside and cold air coming out. The blowers are located in shaded areas, with large rocks covered in moss, and with unusual vegetation around it due to the microclimate it forms. Because of its unique features you can find species that normally live at higher altitudes. This is the case of the Columbine (Aquilegia Vulgaris), the Martagon (Lilium Martagon) or buttercup (Ranunculus Repens). Although it is a tour without difficulty, we must be careful with these cavities, specially number 8, it is 52 meters deep, almost 400 meters long and has 6 holes.
Close to Llaers, visit the Baumes of Teixidor. You need to drive a few Km by car to reach the starting point of the tour. A bauma in Catalan is a depression on a slope or wall, which provides shelter through its concavity without reaching the depth of cave. These were inhabited by groups of people in the 20th C. First you will find the Bauma of Teixidor, then the Bauma of Baumassa, adapted to safeguard livestock, and finally the Bauma of Fleus, the most worked on. It has a backroom and water. The elderly tell that a disabled person lived in it, and is has running water so he could drink without difficulty.
If in addition to the itineraries indicated you want to explore more the area Vallfogona de Ripolles is part of Itinerannia– a network of trails of rural areas that helps you to reach any place in the area safely and freely. These connect the counties of Ripollès, Garrotxa and Alt Emporda.
It should be noted that Vallfogona belongs to the Natural Protected area of Serra de Santa Magdalena Milany- and Puigsacalm-Bellmunt, distinguished by the Catalan Government.