5 reasons you should visit Bañolas, home of Castaner
Besides being the home of our favourite espadrilles brand, Bañolas or Banyoles is also home to Catalonia's largest natural lake, making it a haven for nature lovers. Bañolas is relatively untouched by tourism and has been described as a place of nature, history and sport in its purest form.
If that's not reason enough to pay a visit, here are five extra reasons you should escape to Bañolas for a chance to experience authentic Catalonia.
Take a dip or watch the sunset at Estany de Banyoles
Any trip to Bañolas is centred around a visit to Estany de Banyoles. As the venue for rowing events in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, it's mostly visited by sporting tourists looking to row, swim, canoe or cycle.
With its beautiful clear waters and plenty of birds and fish to spot, locals prefer to head to the lake to cool off in summer instead of the beach. On top of being an aesthetically gorgeous place to go for a dip, there's lots of activities such as boat cruises, and rental rowboats, bikes and pedalos to keep everyone busy.
If you’d rather just take it all in, sitting by the lake and enjoying a coffee is totally an option. We hear the sunset is magical too!
Turn back the clocks and relax in the old town
To enjoy the cultural experience Bañolas has to offer, head to the beautiful old town that's built around the Sant Esteve monastery with narrow, winding streets leading to the Placa Major - Main Square. The placa dates back to 1275 and is a protected Cultural Property, meaning it's kept as traditional as possible.
This is the place to be if you're looking to experience Catalonia's gastronomy delights, with plenty of cafes and tapas bars to peruse. Watch the world go by in this unspoilt placa with a cooling glass of wine in hand and soak up the atmosphere.
Find fairies at Paratge De les Estunes
To venture on the slightly more adventurous side, Paratge De les Estunes is an oak tree forest where you can wander through tunnels of large rocks with natural volcanic cracks. Local folklore says that fairies hide within the rock cracks and the area makes sure to play on this theme if you decide to go exploring.
For those on a family trip, the folklore and pure sense of adventure in this forest will most definitely be a highlight for the children and young at heart.
Discover Bañolas' prehistoric origins
This area of Bañolas is also renowned for being home to prehistoric sites and holds great archaeological significance. There are two main spots to visit if you’re an archaeology fan. First is La Draga Neolithic Village, the only lakeside prehistoric site in all of the Iberian Peninsula. The remains date back to between 5,000 and 205,000 BC and the huts have been repurposed today as information and education hubs.
For an in-depth look at the area, the Museo Arqueologico Banyoles - Archaeological Museum, which can be found in the old town, brings together collections featuring Paleolithic, Neolithic, Roman and Medieval exhibits. The museum houses artefacts that date back as far as 80,000 BC!
Take a trip to the land of Dalí
To throw a wild card into the mix, any stay in Bañolas can be paired with an outing to Figueres, a short 30 minutes drive away. Figueres is the home of Salvador Dalí, and a perfect reason to swing by this town is to visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum, the largest surrealistic object in the world.
Even visitors who aren’t art fans can’t help but be amazed and sucked into the magic of the surrealist theatre-museum. What some perceive as madness, others see as pure creative genius, and that’s what makes a quick stop in Figueres so unmissable.
Castaner was born out of Bañolas in 1927 and has been going strong ever since, discover more about the story behind Castaner in our meet the brand blog post.
Featured image by haroldabellan on Instagram