Summer afternoons and the Banyoles lake area, always a winning combination!
And what could be better than a leisurely stroll, taking your time as demanded by the seasonal temperatures, through a protected natural area that is lovely at any time of the year. This is an easy 2-kilometre route that passes through the Puda and Estunes wetlands providing an opportunity to discover a number of natural pools and the most unspoilt and magical area on the shores of a lake that, particularly during the summer months, buzzes with life and boating activities.
The trail starts from the shores of the lake, in front of the football field, heading towards Paseo Magdalena Aulina. This pleasant path, shaded from the sun by the leaves of large London plane trees, skirts around the lake’s fisherman’s huts, turning off at the Mata hut to the Cigonyes (stork) pool. A number of projects have been implemented in the area to promote the reintroduction of this species and you may be able to spot a few nests as you continue towards the Puda pools. At this point, you have the option of going on a little further and taking a round-trip through the Estunes forest of great oaks and exploring the tunnels and crevices of the huge travertine rock slabs found there.
The forest is the setting for numerous local legends about the sprites of the lake, fantastical water creatures known as ‘goges’. Follow the signs for the Puda pools to continue along the route.
This is a very special little place, as it is home to no less than three pools, which can be accessed by reed-lined wooden walkways set in a typical riparian forest. The stillness of this space will stay with you as you move on to the Pudosa Spring, which takes its name from the Catalan word ‘pudorosa’ or stinking in reference to the strong smelling sulphuric gases produced by the healing waters here, waters that prompted the building of a spa in the nineteenth century of which little now remains.
From here, the signposted path will take you along Passeig Dalmau to where the trail finishes on the shores of the lake.
Photos: Albert de Gràcia, PTCBG Image Archive