Itinerary around les Llaunes strict nature reserve. Ruta 12 Alt Empordà

  • Modality
    • By foot
  • Region
    • Alt Empordà
  • Towns
    • Castelló d'Empúries-Empuriabrava
    • Sant Pere Pescador
  • Time
    • Less than 3 hours
  • Difficulty
    • Easy
  • Estimated duration
    • 2h
  • Distance
    • 8,2 km
  • Hide elevation maximum
    • 3 m
  • Hide elevation minimum
    • 1 m
  • Ascent
    • 1 m
  • Descent
    • 1 m

This route provides a very accessible taster of the most emblematic habitats and species of the Park bordering the Les Llaunes Strict Nature Reserve. On this circular route you will learn about the habitats of freshwater ponds, animal enclosures and irrigation ditches as well as the rice fields, lakes, salt flats and the beach. This route is closed from 1st April to 1st July due to some birds nesting in the sands, especially the Kentish Plover. However, you can do this round route of El Cortalet, going as far as the beach, and at the same time, enjoy many of the park's ecosystems.

This route starts at the Information Centre of the Empordà Marshes Nature Reserve, El Cortalet, where you will find the «Itinerànnia» map and the yellow markers that you follow until reaching the beach. Begin your trek around an area of land where you will find several hides from where you vill be able to enjoy the scenery of the reserve's interior. After 10 minutes walk you will see a turning on the left that takes you to the observation point Aguait de les Gantes. From here you can enjoy a good view over El Cortalet lake, a freshwater lake where, depending on the time of year, you can see differents kinds of ducks, herons, flamingos, and even fallow deer. As you follow the route you will notice how the vegetation changes as youapproach the beach. After 15 minutes you will come to another observatory, that of El Pallejà, from where you can observe the Massona lake, the largest and deepest, and the landscape of reed beds and salt flats which reaches the sea. Continue the route heading right until you come to a tuning. Turn right here in the direction of Mas Matà farmhouse where you can climb u p to the Senillosa hide, old 22-metre high silos from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Les Llaunes Natural Reserve coastal lakes, as well as of the Empordà plain and the splendid scenery of the peaks and crests of the Pyrenees.

Very close to the old silos, on your right, you vill see and old transformer that has bee nturned into an observation point, the Matà observatory, a good place to watch the birds nesting and feeding by the ponds of Matà or in the old rice fields.

Next you take the path on the left that you had come off earlier, just in front of a small hill with a bech where you can take a rest. The route continues to the right where, after 5 minutes, you will come to the Aguait del Gall Marí hide. Carry on ahead and after 15 minutes you will reach the Aguait del Bruel, where you can still have a good view of the Massona lake and the birds that can be observed there: the day the seek shelter from the Tramontana north wind there are hundreds. Next continue along the route where you will start to see te typical vegetation of salt flats, such as, rushes, orache, marsh samphire and tamarisks, just before crossing the irrigation canal Masona Sirvent, on the left you will see a path hat takes you up to the Aguait de la Masson ahide, from where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful vies of the park: in the foreground the centre of the lakes with the Matà silos standing out above the reeds, and in the background the Canigó massif. Next continue along the path and shortly you will come to the Arpelles observation point, the last on the route before you arrive at the beach.

At this point you will see a «Itinerànnia» yellow marker on the left. At hte lookout tower with a view over the dunes and beach of Can Comas, you will see the AE242-Platja itinerary signpost.

Continue along the beach towards the left (Route closed from 1st/April to 15th/June). In this section you can see the typical coastal dune vegetation and the wonderful view of the bay of Roses. After about 35 minutes you will come to Rogera lagoon, another lake where, depending on the time of year, you can observe the birds that inhabit the area.

Continue along the beach until you come to the Can Comas car park, where there is a small lookout tower. From here you take the track on the left, which passes through salt flats and intermittent lagoons. Follow this track until it comes to a junction of tracks, where you will see the AE243-Can Comes signpost.

At this point take the track on the left. The flag indicates the way to Sant Pere Pescador, following the yellow «Itinerànnia» markers. Shortly you pass Mas Trencat, an old farm house in ruins, the Aguait dels Roncaires lookout point, from where you can see El lake from another perspective, and finally you will arrive on the information center of El Cortalet.