: Girona Costa Brava
: AP 7
: Sant Marti de Empuries
: La Molina
Welcome to Can Mademon, a Catalan masia situated just North of Girona, with easy access to Barcelona, the Costa Brava and France. The house is surrounded by beautiful countryside with superb views to the snow capped Pyrenees, the river Fluvia with its abundance of wildlife is a short stroll away; an absolute must for nature lovers.
Esponella, the nearest village is a short distance away along sunflower lined roads, here you can enjoy a freshly made coffee and eat delicious bread and cakes baked overnight in the bakerys own oven (Forn de Pa) or eat in Can Roca, an important stop of any gastronomy tour of the Pla d'Estany, In fact Masia Can Mademon has several of the restaurants featured in important gastronomy guides in the near vicinity, including El Celler de Can Roca –just named the best restaurant in the world. This is a beautiful part of Catalunya and a trail of BTTs (Official bike routes) easily accessed from the house allow one to drink in and enjoy the sights, smells and tranquility of the beautiful countryside, There is a large variety of supermarkets, local shops, weekly markets, organic shop, cafes, restaurants and bars all within a 10 minute drive of the masia.
The nearest large town is Banyoles, with its glistening olympic lake. The lake is popular amongst locals and tourists alike, the water is very clean and there are several places to swim, with and without lifeguards, there is even a bar where patrons can pay a small fee for the pleasure of taking a cooling dip before or after their fayre, If swimming is not your thing, many bars offer shaded terraces by the side of the lake to read the papers and have a coffee or beer in this wonderful setting. Here it is also possible to rent bikes and traverse the perimeter of the lake for some gentle exercise, highly recommended, indeed several riding centres offer horse riding trails in this area, for an hour or more, tailored to your wishes and abilities, Banyoles also is full of historic churches and small narrow cobbled streets to explore. There there is a weekly market where one can buy all sorts of freshly picked vegetables and products straight from the farmers.
A little further from Can Mademon the possibilites are endless, the Costa Brava has some of the most wild and beautiful beaches in all of Spain, all are easily accesible from the Can Mademon, north of Roses is the national park of the Cap de Creus, full of rocky bays, pine trees and the sparkling meditterean, some only accesible by foot or boat. Here is where the famous restaurant of Ferran Adria, El Bulli (now closed until reopening as a training centre for chefs) stands, Highly recommended is St Marti d' Empúries, miles of golden sand met by the crystal waters of the med and behind just sand dunes, not built up in any way with only the charming stone village of St Marti at its side where there is a selection of very good restaurants, an absolutely stunning setting to dine alfresco. The historically minded can visit the remains of the roman settlement that once stood here, very well preserved and lots to see. The coast line caters for every taste, windsurfers paradise at St Pere Pescador, markets, shops and excellent seafood restaurants in L'Escala, the bustle of L'estartit.
There are many historic towns dotted around that are a must to visit including Beasalu where entering the village along its breathtaking stone bridge with its huge ramparts one is almost transported back in time, the village holds many medieval fairs and festivals that are worth visiting and exploring the village you will find many small shops selling interesting medieval themed items and pottery.
The ancient city of Girona with its magnificent Cathedral is also a short drive, a visit to this historical city is recommended, take a stroll through its beautifully preserved jewish quarter with tiny stone alleyways over hung with wisteria, small independent shops are brimming with hand made and unique items to tempt you. Order a coffee in one of the many cafe lined sqaures and watch life go by. Girona, the capital of the Provence has a bustling nightlife and several nightclubs and bars.
Equidistance in the opposite direction is the city of Figures, famous for all things Salvador Dali. At its centre is the Dali museum where the artist himself was laid to rest, some of his most important works can be found here and it is well worth visiting (it is a very popular attraction so go early or book in advance to avoid queueing, is the second most visited in Catalonia). Figures also holds a wine festival every august to taste and buy the latest wines of the local vineyards and now the new station of the TGV fast train opens connecting the city to Paris and Barcelona. Driving back from Figures to Can Mademon one appreciates why Dali was so attracted to this area, with the beautiful pastry coloured sky and sunflower and poppy fields.