Alt Emporda Marshlands
(Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Emporda)
Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Emporda in the Alt Emporda region of Catalonia, is a wetland area of meadows, coastal lagoons and irrigation channels.
The park is a great place for birdwatching and there are several hides dotted around the park to allow quiet observation of the lagoons and meadows.
We come here quite often for peaceful relaxed walks.
There are four walks (that link up to make one long walk) that can be done within the park.
The itineraries of which can be picked up from the park information centre (at El Cortalet)...
ROUTE 1 - (roughly 2 km one way) covers part of the GR92 walking trail. It takes you from the information centre along a path that passes the meadows with the stork nests and several lagoons with hides.
The walk ends at the former rice silo observation tower.
There are cracking views of the Alt Emporda area from the top of the silo.
This walk is flat and can be done by pushchair or wheelchair (we took Jonnie’s Grandmother on this walk in her wheelchair).
ROUTE 2 - (roughly 2 km one way) covers part of the GR92. It starts from where Route 1 ends, passing shallow fresh water pools, coastal lagoons and ending at Les Llaunes beach (one of the quietest beaches on the Costa Brava) where there is another observation tower.
ROUTE 3 - (roughly 6 km one way). It starts from where Route 2 ends, but is closed from 1 April to 15 June for bird breeding. This route takes you back to El Cortalet along the beach and past salt marshes.
ROUTE 4 - Starts from El Cortalet and takes you to Empuriabrava.
The Alt Emporda Marshlands change with the seasons
The flowers bloom (whitethorn, yellow lily), storks sit on their nests, the birds migrating north arrive, the marshlands are bursting with life, the fallow deer take on a reddish colour.
It is best to visit early or late in the day in the summer as the heat makes the animals go to ground. In early summer the young of the birds and the deer can be seen, the first migrating birds from the north arrive.
The remaining migrating birds from the north arrive, the rains swell the lagoons, the fallow deer are in season, the leaves of the trees turn gold and orange.
The trees lose their leaves, the winter residents arrive, other than the birds, the park is very quiet in the winter.
What nature might you find in Aiguamolls Alt Emporda?
- flamingoes (may be found all year round)
- storks (who nest on high rise platforms from February to July)
- snipes (found in winter)
- gulls (found in winter)
- greylag geese (found in winter)
- many species of ducks (found all year round)
- purple swamp hen
- many species of waders (found in spring, summer and early autumn)
- marsh harrier
- fallow deer
- yellow lilly (flowers in April)
- sea lavender (flowers in Autumn)
- black winged stilts (found in spring)
- white storks
- little grebe
- purple heron
- cattle egrets
- cetti’s warbler
- la camarga horses
- iberian green frogs
- green lizard
- snakes (we’ve seen a grass snake and a ladder snake here)
El Cortalet, Ctra. De Sant Pere Pescador km 13,6, 17486, Castelló d'Empúries (Alt Empordà)
Tel. 972 45 42 22
There is a car park at the centre.
There is an information centre, toilets (at the information centre and at Mas del Mata farm), bird hides, boardwalks and paths, bar service in the car park in the summer months, drinks machine in the information centre.
Aiguamolls is open all the time. But the information office has set opening hours:
1st April to 30th September - everyday 9.30h to 14h / 16.30 to 19h
1st October to 30th March - everyday 9.30h to 14h / 15.30 to 18h
Free (although, they do ask for a contribution of 1€ for the car park, but sometimes no one is manning the entrance booth to the car park and so it is then free)
UPDATE: it now costs 5€ for the car park (see the Visitor Comment below for full details)
How to get to Aiguamolls Alt Emporda
Zoom in on Sant Pere Pescador on the map below to see the numbers and names of the roads on the headland. The nearest motorway is the AP7.
If you need car hire in the Costa Brava please click on this link.
View Costa Brava Spain in a larger map
From Sant Pere Pescador take the GIV-6216 (Carretera de Castello d’Empuries a Sant Pere Pescador) Turn right on to Carrer de la Carretera Fonda (Yeguada Claudio Pot - Equestrian Centre is on the corner of this road). C/ Fonda takes you to the car park.
To get to here by public transport is difficult. Your best bet is to get to Sant Pere Pescador
and take a taxi from there.
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