This family friendly and inclusive route highlights the value of the recovered lagoons near the Medes Islands
In 1986, a promenade and six blocks of houses wiped the Pletera coastal lagoons between Estartit beach and the Deveses crop fields off the map. A few years later, Torroella de Montgrí i l’Estartit Town Council made a commitment to deurbanise and recover the natural area with support from the Life Pletera project (2014-2018). The recovery initiative has been a victory on all sides: for this flooded wetland area, which is now in pristine ecological condition, and for people like you, who can stroll through one of the most unique landscapes in Baix Empordà.
It’s a circular route covering about five kilometres that winds its way through Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park without any trouble spots or gradients. The starting point is the Ter Vell, where the old course of the river used to be and there is now an excellent viewpoint. From there it’s easy to see just how immense the area is, not to mention taking in it’s ecological importance. You’ll see numerous ponds and, if you look closely, you can make out wetlands, small watercourses, fabulous dunes, the beaches themselves and the current mouth of the river called Gola del Ter. And as you walk along the route, you’ll notice that there are hundreds of species of flora and fauna that have made each of these settings their habitat and refuge: the small bird known as the Kentish plover, for example; glasswort, reeds and rushes, to name a few plant species; and the Spanish toothcarp, a small fish typical of the lagoons along the Mediterranean coastline, which is currently an endangered species.
There are discoveries around every bend along this family friendly route that can be covered on foot, along with wheelchair users, by bicycle or even on horseback. Also providing something to marvel at are the installations, benches and the bird observatory that blend into the landscape, offering shade and rest to visitors at different points along the route, all wickerwork pieces by Tramats and its basket weaving artists and artisans.
La Pletera has one last gift in store: the Medes Islands and the shimmering skyscape at any time of day, even at dawn. Writer Núria Esponellà wrote a heartfelt article about the meditative walk she took there one winter morning. Her words are an invitation to follow in her footsteps: «Contemplating the sunrise is an emotional experience culminating when the sun peeks over the horizon, casting away the shadows. We often miss it because of the time or our own sleepiness or laziness, but getting up early like this sets us up for a good day. Every dawn we rise is a gift of life».