Drive towards Platges de Pals (Pals Beaches), following the green signs to Basses d’en Coll. Take the road leading to Platja del Grau and on the left hand side of the road you will see the Basses d’en Coll Information Hut and a small car park, where you can leave your car. The track leading into the protected area starts right here.
Carrying on along the route:
At the entrance you will see a panel with information on the protected natural area. Start the route by walking along a straight track with rice fields on either side. After a couple of hundred metres, the track crosses over one of the main irrigation canals, Rec de les Bassetes, which empties into the Bassa Gran (Large Basin) that you can make out on your right, partly surrounded by reeds.
Continue straight on until you reach a T-junction, where the left-hand track leads to the farm called Mas Gelabert and the right-hand track leads towards the sea. Turn to the right and continue walking parallel to Rec d’es Coll canal on your left. After a few metres, Rec d’es Coll joins up with Rec del Molí to form a deep canal inhabited by many wild birds. A little further on, you will find a wooden observatory wall through which you can observe the birds without disturbing them.
On the other side of the track there is a lookout construction on top of a pump house, from where you can sit and admire a view of rice fields separated by clumps of reeds and rushes, stretching all the way down to the coast.
Walk on for a while until you reach a point where the track widens out and appears to end. Behind the rope barrier there is marshland and reeds and towards the east you can just about see the sea.
Extended route (footpath only):
For the last stretch of the route, go behind the rope barrier and walk through the reeds along a narrow footpath for a few metres until the place where the Rec del Molí canal meets the Bassa Gran waters. This is the end of the route. You can see the sea from here, and observe the protected natural area of Pals Beach Dunes forming a striking contrast between the marshlands and the beach. Return to the starting point along the same track.
Rice cultivation in the Empordà region dates back to 1452, when permission was granted to construct a rice mill at Pals and irrigation canals in the surrounding area. The expertise of local farmers combined with unique environmental conditions of climate, sun and water have given Pals rice its well-deserved acclaim, while traditional Empordà cuisine boasts thousands of excellent rice dishes. The local speciality arròs a la cassola (rice stew) can be tasted at any of the restaurants in the area and makes a very good way to end this route!.
Observations and recommendations:
Wear comfortable shoes. Do not forget to bring drinking water with you, especially in summer. A pair of binoculars will come in handy for bird watching at the basins. Please show respect for the environment and do not depart from sign-posted tracks.