From the Girona-Nord motorway exit, take the Banyoles highway (C-66). After passing Banyoles, you will come to a turnoff on the right which takes you to Fontcoberta, Esponellà and Figueres. This is the GIP-5121 highway. A long straightaway cuts through the Pla de Martís. You will see a sign on your left indicating the all-terrain cycling centre “Centre BTT, 1’5 km”. Take the left at the sign and continue to the Pla de Martís home for the elderly, where you can leave your car. The old Centre BTT (Casa dels Enginyers) entrance is located in front of the home.
Start walking down the road you came down; leave the home for the elderly to your left and the Centre BTT and the entrance to the Les Heures Restaurant to your right. The paved roadway ends 100 metres farther down, where a wide dirt track begins. You will see blue and white markings.
Following the Route:
You will soon come to a 90º bend to the right, leaving behind a crossing which leads deeper into the woods towards several farmhouses. The path runs through holm oak and pine groves on one side and the riverside vegetation on the other, as you will have the Fluvià River to your left. A short distance away there is a small lock in the river, and a bit farther ahead there is a spring called the Font de la Central. Follow the path until you reach the Càmping Esponellà campground. The path ends at the highway in front of the entrance to Esponellà, where you will arrive 30-45 minutes after starting out. Retake the route at the big roundabout in the new section of the town, the site of a major crossroad (from here the roads lead to towns like Bàscara, Crespià, Figueres, or Banyoles). Take the road that leads to Banyoles, which rises slightly. At the first large bend, leave the roadside and follow the posts you will see to your left, right next to a panel with mailboxes. From here you climb up to the Esponellà Castle, of which only ruins remain. You will find explanatory signs that mark the points of interest.
Coming down from the castle ruins, turn left onto the road, and after about 1 km you will reach the Pla de Martís, where you will come across the same turnoff from where you started the itinerary (Centre BTT), but coming from the opposite side, so it will be on your right. Continue down this paved road back to the starting point of your walking tour.
Extended Route: Observations and Recommendations:
The simplest option to continue walking is by continuing down the Pla de Martís or walking to Banyoles and circling the lake, although you can also follow a number of different marked all-terrain cycling routes that branch out from the old Centre BTT.
The start of the route is known as the Camí de les Rescloses (Lock Road), because three locks were built along the river to produce electric power.
The Esponellà Castle (11th-17th centuries) dates back to medieval times. Originally a watchtower, in 1250 AD King James I granted a licence to build a fortress there. It dominates the Esponellà and Banyoles plain. In 1495 there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Mother of Hope, who is worshipped in the area. Mass was no longer celebrated after 1647, when the rector of Esponellà was murdered. After a variety of events throughout its history, the castle was finally abandoned for good in the 18th century.
is a small town located very near Banyoles, which was the centre of an important barony created in the late 14th century. The Sant Cebrià church
has Romanesque and Gothic elements, most notable of which is the portal displaying Romanesque forged work. The 156-metre span of the medieval bridge over the Fluvià River is another interesting landmark. The town preserves its full rural flavour, with fields that reach right into the centre of the village.