Arts & Artisans: Natural and cultural landscapes that inspired Salvador Dalí

Welcome to the Catalonia Natural Parks

This package was coordinated by MEET project parnter Catalunya Region – Parks Service and created by the managers and the people of the protected areas of Cap de Creus, Aiguamolls, and Montgrí-Medes Islands.

The tour is provided by the local tour operator  Inytur.

This test tour is a result of the MEET project’s objective to develop an integrated strategy to settle an Eco-Tourism Development Model for the Mediterranean Protected Areas that boosts a better seasonal distribution of tourism flows. By participating in this tour you will be part of a small group contributing to the development of a new sustainable travel concept which aims to support conservation and benefit the local communities…

NOTE: For active travelers with medium fitness and general interests, this is a longer product with a broad variety of attractions and activities. Not suitable for children under 12.

Discover this unique natural terrestrial and marine landscape full of cliffs and beaches, marshes and forests, rocky outcrops, vineyards and olive fields. This is an amazing landscape of contrasts which inspired the international artist Salvador Dalí and where nature, culture and local life are subtly fused.

Enjoy walking through this natural scenery, discover the wildlife, get to know the local people, their fishing activities and gastronomic specialties, and acquaint yourself with the history and heritage of the small villages and roman ruins. Every night recharge and take pleasure in charming accommodation that will make you feel at home.

The MEET test tour in Spain

Start your route in L’Empordà, a special and unique land because of its history and culture. This landscape hides natural treasures that are very different but in a small geographical region which includes three natural parks. The aim of this itinerary is to discover this land but from a different point of view, that of the natural treasures, the values that inspire the protection of this area and the relationship of people with the land, its products and gastronomy.

The sea becomes the link between these three areas, it makes them unique and unreplicable and that is why a big part of the effort put into the management of the areas is based on the conservation of the marine biodiversity. The conservation of the littoral wetlands, marshlands and dunes pose a real challenge, as does the Mediterranean mountains area.

How does this tour embody the MEET Brand Values?

The accredited guide is an essential piece to work on the MEET values, as he has been specifically trained by the park. The guide knows perfectly and is able to explain the value of the protected areas, how they are managed and why. He also knows the relationship between the protected area, its inhabitants and the story of its protection.

Besides, he is able to connect with the local people. The guide is the most important person in the transmission of this knowledge and he is able to motivate toward the sustainable tourism and the conservation.

In particular, the connection with the local population comes through the fishermen association of L’Escala and, specifically, with the anchovy union with the visit to its facilities; as well as at Cadaqués with the visit to a DO Empordà vineyard owned by a family who produce ecological wine.

This area stands out for the beauty of its landscape and its natural values and also for the normal tourism (beach tourism). The main objective of this project is exemplified the interest that another type of sustainable tourism has with the local population, the economy and the enviroment. Throughout the whole journey, it is hoped that a better understanding and respect towards nature conservation will be promoted and instilled in the participants.

The MEET project has allowed the protected areas to restore and prepare paths and facilities for visitors, develop graphic materials that are used to inform visitors about the natural values and their preservation and improve the knowledge about some aspects of geological interest in the area.

Who will you MEET?

Visitors will be able to contact and learn directly from Mr. Quim Farr, owner of the boat Nuria from L’Estartit, an old fishing boat restored by his family and dedicated  to bring visitors along the most wild and rugged coastline of the Medes Islands. MEET guests will have the chance to hear unique and unexpected fisherman’s stories and adventures.

The Protected Areas

Between land and sea, Cap de Creus is a place of great beauty, with a unique geological setting of structures and outcrops that form the only one of its kind in the world. The effect of the north wind drives capricious forms of erosion and has transformed the landscape in a very special way.

Montgri National Park is world-renowned for its marine life and diving, with a myriad of flora and fauna to enjoy. The land and seascapes maintain a stable, sound ecosystem. It is a unique natural place, where man’s footprint has left a unique cultural heritage.

The Natural Park of Aiguamolls del Empordà is the second largest wetland in the Catalonia region, formed by a group of ponds, enclosures and prairies that are flooded by the Muga and Fluvià rivers. It makes up a privileged habitat for the fauna, especially the aquatic birds.

LOCATION

Biodiversity & Conservation

Biodiversity is a strength across all three parks. The impacts that Mediterranean coastlines  have suffered from development over the years have resulted in habitat loss and disappearance of species. Behold the importance of these protected areas, which include a number of endangered species such as the Bonelli’s eagle Aquila fasciata, the Roller Coracias garrulus and the lesser kestrel Falco naumanni.

Among the wetland species is the turtle Emys orbicularis, the Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus the Cyrcus aeroginosus harrier, bittern Botaurus Stellaris and Squacco Ardeola ralloides.

In the marine environment, there is a long list of vulnerable fish such as grouper Epinephelus marginatus, croakers Sciaena umbra, the dentex Dentex dentex, whales, bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus and Caretta caretta loggerhead turtle. Seagrass Posidonia Posidonia and associated species such as the pen shell Pinna nobilis are also very important within and around these protected areas.

In all three parks there are two species of endemic flora and both related to the sea cliffs: Limonium revolutum and Seseli farrenyii.

Conservation Threats & Opportunities

Conservation challenges include preventing forest fires, hunting and pasture management, improved management of marine and nautical activities, rural practices and conservation of species.

Putting a stop to construction and focussing on environmental restoration in the area of Tudela and Pletera (part of the EU-funded Life project) to restore coastal systems has presented a great opportunity for conservation and sustainable tourism initiatives such as MEET.

PRE DEPARTURE GUIDE

Before you depart, please have with you:

  • Passport
  • Air/travel tickets
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Visa (if necessary)
  • Pre-departure information
  • Local Currency

Visa requirements

No Visa is needed for Spain if you come from countries in the EU. Please check the information with the Spanish Embassy in your country if you need visa, as well as the validity of your passport or ID.

Currency

Currency in Spain (and all the European Union) is Euro.

Weather Conditions

The temperature averages usually range between 7°C – 18°C during this period. For more information visit www.eltiempo.es.

Clothing and equipment tips

Appropriate clothing and other suggested equipment include: walking boots, spring clothes, comfortable sport shoes, cap, sunglasses, swimsuit, warm jacket at night, light rain coat just in case and a medium size backpack. Remember that it could be rainy and windy at this time of year, as well as very sunny. So do not forget the sun cream!

Insurance, Health & Safety

It is advised that all guests take out personal travel and safety insurance to cover any unforeseen expenses (especially medical or accidental) that may occur.

Tipping

In Spain, it is normal to tip around  5%-10% of your bill, but it is not obligatory.

Electricity/adaptors

Information on electricity and adaptors: Residential voltage: 220 V, Frequency: 50 Hz,, Plug type: C, F, L, Plug standard: CEI 23-34 CEI 23-50

ON ARRIVAL

Final Tour Itinerary

Click here to view the tour itinerary for your MEET experience.

Transport and Pickup

Your tour leader will pick you up at the following times to start and end your tour:

Pick-up:

  • Barcelona airport: 15:00h (Café Jamaica – T1)
  • Girona airport: 16:15h

Drop-off:

  • Barcelona airport: 12:00h
  • Girona airport: 10:00h

Map of the route:

.View a map of the route.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in hotels with charm. Double and single rooms, bathroom en suite. Towels and bed linen provided.

Food

Local cuisine with fresh fish, vegetables, variety of tapas and typical receipts from the grandmothers with slow food products from local farmers.

Shopping & Local Products

There are some typical places to buy local food products with the visit to a winery, anchovies factory, fish market.

Your MEET Tour Leader

Your MEET tour leader will meet you upon your arrival and be with you until your departure. They will be the connection between you – the traveller – and the local people & territory, sharing their local knowledge and advice on how best to enjoy your unique experience. Their role is to ensure that all aspects of your trip run smoothly. It sometimes happens that unexpected situations may occur, in which case your leader will keep you well informed and may require your cooperation and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns at any point, they are there to assist you, so don’t hesitate to ask!

USEFUL PHRASES IN SPANISH

Basic greetings:

English Spanish
Hello Hola
Good evening Buenas tardes
Goodbye Adiós
See you tomorrow Hasta mañana
Please Por fav
Excuse me / sorry Disculpe / perdón
Thank you Gracias
You’re welcome De nada
Have a good day Que tenga un buen día
Enjoy your meal Buen provecho
Cheers Salud

 

Introducing yourself:

English Spanish
Hello, my name is… Hola, mi nombre es…
What is your name? ¿Cómo se llama usted?
How are you? ¿Cómo está usted?
Nice to meet you Encantado de conocerle
I come from Italy, France, Germany.. Yo vengo de Italia, Francia, Alemania