Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park

Nature area / Countryside / Open space, Natural parks, Nature reserve, PEIN (Plan for areas of natural interest), Natura 2000 network, Natura 2000 Network: Special Protection Area (SPA)
The Aiguamolls de l'Empordà Natural Park is the second most important wetland area in Catalonia, after the Delta del Ebro.

The Aiguamolls de l'Empordà Natural Park is the second most important wetland area in Catalonia, after the Delta del Ebro.

In the past these marshes covered the whole area of the plains of the Roses bay and the Baix Ter, so that the Montgrí massif, between l'Escala and Torroella -delimiting the Alt and Baix Empordà-, stood out like an island in the middle of the waters.

Until the seventies of the last century, the marshes had deteriorated considerably: the wetland areas of the Ampordà were disappearing due to the over urbanisation and creation of all sorts of tourism facilities. Therefore, in 1976 a popular campaign was started that, under the slogan of "Els últims Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, en perill", fought to recover these areas. There was such popular pressure that on 28 October 1985 the Generalitat de Catalunya declared it an Area of National Interest, and a year and a half later, on 13 June 1985, declared it a Natural Park.

A large part of the protected area corresponds to the district of Castelló d'Empúries, but the park also covers Palau-saverdera, Pau and Peralada, among other municipalities. The park has three nature reserves: the island of Caramany, the Llaunes (coastal saltwater lagoons) and the Estanques (among which is that of Vilaüt) and a partial area. In total it covers 4,866 hectares. To the north it is delimited by the Muga and to the south by the Fluvià.

The park is inhabited by varied flora and fauna. Most notable are the tamarinds (shrubs capable of living on salty land), the marine rush, reeds and salicornia.

With regard to the fauna, a large number of reptiles (toad-headed turtle, three-toed skink, water snake), amphibians (various frogs, marbled newt), fish and mammals (rabbit, weasel, badger, fallow deer). There are also the omnipresent insects and the most emblematic animals of wetland areas, birds, both those that inhabit the area all year round as well as those that are there for a time, on the path south, at the end of the summer or north, in spring.

Therefore, visitors can easily identify various species of duck, heron, egrets and cattle egrets, and see the harriers glide and the cormorant dry off its plumage and admire the elegance of the long-legged birds, such as cranes, flamencos, sandpipers and the conspicuous storks, reintroduced in the park in the eighties. The human effort to recover the last Aiguamolls of l'Empordà has also led to the successful reintroduction of other species, such as the purple swamphen and the otter.

From the office in El Cortalet, on the Sant Pere Pescador to Castelló d'Empúries road, various activities and guided tours can be signed up for, to discover the marshes. Information can also be obtained in the tourist offices of the local towns (L'Escala, Peralada, Figueres, Roses).

  • Year of declaration: 1985
  • Regulations: 

    Law 21/1983, 28th October, declaration of the complete zoological and botanical reserves of Aiguamolls de l'Empordà as natural sites of national interest.
    Law 12/1985, 13th June, of natural spaces, which, in the first final provision, modifies the designation of Garrotxa and Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, as natural sites of national interest, to natural parks.

  • Area: 10828
  • Ownership: Public
  • District: Castelló d'Empúries; Sant Pere Pescador; Palau-saverdera; Peralada; Pau; Pedret i Marzà; Escala, l'; Roses; Armentera, l'; Riumors; Vilamacolum; Fortià.
  • Visitor centres: S
  • Annual closing: Open all year round
  • Opening hours - summer : Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 and 16:30 to 19:00.
  • Opening hours - winter: Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 and 16:30 to 18:00.
  • Languages: Catalan, Spanish

Facilities

Access for disabled people

Parking

Picnic area

Camping area

Classrooms

Toilets

Observatory

Children’s playground

Viewpoint

Signposted itineraries

Flora

We can distinguish between three large areas of vegetation within the boundaries of Aiguamolls: that growing on the coastal sands, that of the marshes and the aquatic vegetation. Among the first of the three, we can find communities adapted to salty ground, like saltworts, Spartino-Juncetum maritimi, halophilous reedbeds and limonium. The network of irrigation canals and canals is mainly occupied by reedbeds; further inland there are sedge grasslands surrounded by elms or narrow-leafed ash trees, whilst the riverbanks present typical riverside plant life like poplar groves with bulrushes or willows. In the aquatic environments and inland lakes we can find species that are quite rare in Catalonia, not only of superior plants but also lichens, fungi and mosses.

Fauna

Aiguamolls de l’Empordà is an area with a wealth of wildlife, especially birds, which provides attractive habitats and a place of refuge and rest for migratory birds. The majority are birds linked to aquatic and marine environments (herons, passerines, ducks, gulls, waders, etc.). Among the hibernating, resident and nesting birds, there are also some species of interest, such as the red-rumped swallow, the northern lapwing, the purple swamphen and the garganey, to name just a few. The natural park also boasts a wide array of other animals like crustaceans, molluscs, insects and fish, and particularly amphibians and reptiles, the herpetofauna here encompassing almost 80% of the species in Catalonia. Small mammals like the otter, the polecat and the mole can also be seen.

Routes

A bird watching stroll, from Cortalet to the Mas del Matà, from Mas del Matà to the beach of the Llaunes, the Closes literary route.

Bird-watching tourism

El espacio es muy relevante en lo que a observación de aves se refiere, con cerca de trescientas especies diferentes, noventa de las cuales se reproducen en la zona. Cobra importancia como punto de reposo y refugio de pájaros migratorios cuando, especialmente en primavera, las fuertes rachas de tramontana impiden el paso por el Pirineo. Otras épocas del año, como, por ejemplo, el invierno, son también buenas para ver grandes concentraciones de avifauna. El Parque Natural dispone de treinta puntos de observación diseminados por su territorio, ya sean refugios, observatorios o torretas de observación.

Disabled access

Accessible area classifi
Facilities available for wheelchair users
Facilities available for people with reduced mobility
No facilities available for the deaf or those with hearing impairments
No facilities available for the blind or visually impaired
Types of inspection
Invalid
WHAT IS AROUND HERE?
Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park
  • Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park

  • Address:Road de Sant Pere Pescador, quilòmetre 13,6 (El Cortalet)

  • 17486 Castelló d'Empúries

  • Girona / Costa Brava

  • Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park
  • Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park

  • Address: Road de Sant Pere Pescador, quilòmetre 13,6 (El Cortalet)

  • 17486 Castelló d'Empúries

  • Girona / Costa Brava

  • Telephone:972 454 222

  • Fax:972 454 474

  • E-mail:pnaiguamolls@gencat.cat

  • Web:http://parcsnaturals.gencat.cat/ca/xarxa-de-parcs/aiguamolls-emporda/inici/

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