Sant Llorenç de la Muga and Albanyà are two of the most beautiful villages in Catalonia, located within a unique and magnificent natural environment in the Alt Empordà region, next to Alta Garrotxa area. Within these towns of medieval origin you will find a very pleasant place to escape from the city, as they are bordered by nature, mountains and rivers. Sant Llorenç de la Muga and Albanyà offer a perfect disconnection, since its people go at a different rhythm, and this makes time stop. One of the main attractions of these two towns is its location, next to the La Muga River, which offers a great diversity of pools of crystalline waters where you can soak in the warmer times and where to make unparalleled hiking trails throughout the year.

Sant Llorenç de la Muga

Sant Llorenç de la Muga has its origin in the year 972 and maintains a long tradition of summer since the Civil War. It has a triangular shape, which is protected by its wall of the XIV-XV century, and has three entrance gates and four watchtowers, thus giving faith of its medieval roots. From any of its towers you can enjoy privileged views of the valley, the mountains surrounded by pine forests, oak groves and alzinars.

Stands out the Hermitage of Sant Antoni, its Romanesque bridges and the many natural pools formed by the stream of La Muga, as well as its cuisine, since in the village you will find many restaurants of traditional cuisine for all tastes. If you like mountain biking, we recommend doing some of the routes that leave the town, or if you prefer a good walk, you can go up to the castle of Sant Llorenç to see 360º views of the area.

Albanyà

We really love Albanyà, since that is where we have one of our houses: Can Martinot, la casa del riu. It has the privilege of having the most spectacular natural pools just across the garden, and that happens to very few places. Albanyà is 239 meters above sea level and is included in the Alta Garrotxa PEIN (Natural Interest Special Plan), and the truth is that it does not surprise us the least. One of its attractions, apart from La Muga, is its church of Sant Pere, from the primitive Romanesque. As a curiosity, the municipality has an astronomical observatory with the distinction International Dark Sky Association (IDA) as the first dark sky international park in Catalonia and Spain thanks to its null light pollution, which makes Albanyà, also, a place ideal to contemplate the stars and the night sky.

Photo: observatorialbanya.com

If you have time, we recommend an excursion to Lliurona, a formerly uninhabited neighborhood of Albanyà, which in 1980 a group of young people began to repopulate everything, restoring their lives to this day. At present, around 50 people live there (mainly families and young people) and there is one of the smallest public schools in the rural area.

Can you think of a better plan than to enjoy the river full of life while you contemplate the starry sky feeling the silence? We are sure that Sant Llorenç de la Muga, Albanyà and its surroundings of the Alt Empordà area next to the Alta Garrotxa will not leave you indifferent.

Cover photo: salines-bassegoda.org