Oliverars. Vall de Santa Caterina
Santa Caterina i castell de Montgrí
Passat agrícola. Feixes i barraques a la vall de Santa Caterina

Bellcaire to Santa Caterina Route

Index card


Ethnological heritage in the Santa Caterina Valley

This route takes you into the Montgrí Massif through the Vall de Santa Caterina, revealing its natural and architectural heritage. In among Mediterranean vegetation, you can see numerous dry-stone structures like old terraces, huts and several lime furnaces, evidence of use of the natural resources of the Montgrí Massif in the past. You can also visit the Hermitage of Santa Caterina and enjoy the panoramic views from the Puig de Carroig.

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  • Typology
    Anti-clockwise circular
  • Difficulty
  • Duration
    4 hours
  • Slope
    320.00 meters
  • Distance
    11.00 km
  • Theme
  • Activity
    By foot
  • Rating

Slope graph


Ethnological heritage in the Santa Caterina Valley


The route starts by the Church of Sant Joan de Bellcaire and straight away heads through the Plaça dels Comtes d’Empúries where Bellcaire Castle is located. The route goes past an old mill and a reservoir before leaving the streets of the village and heading along flat rocky paths, which skirt fields of cereals and olive trees on the way to the Montgrí Massif.

The route dives into a Mediterranean landscape where kermes oak, Montpellier cistus and spiny broom predominate, along with some Aleppo pines and holm oaks. The kermes oak and cistus vegetation is encouraged by the fires that have recently happened in the area as well as the abandonment of old crops established on dry-stone terraces. Throughout this route, you will see dry-stone huts and various lime furnaces such as, for example, the Forn de Santa Caterina, at the end of the valley of the same name. This is a good chance to enjoy the excellent view of the interior of the Montgrí Massif, with the Castle of Montgrí in the background and Puig Rodó to your right. As for the vegetation, grey-leaved cistus gradually takes over from Montpellier cistus and other species like mastic appear.

You join the trail from Coll de Santa Caterina, with stretches of well-preserved paving, until you come to the Hermitage of Santa Caterina, a key part of the heritage of the Montgrí. Next, the route climbs to the Puig de Carroig, from where you can see all of the mountain range, much of the Empordà, the Gulf of Roses and, on a clear day, the Pyrenees.

Finally, you follow the ridge, where garrigue with cistuses increases the diversity. On the way back you can easily see how humankind has adapted to the environment and has made the most of its resources, clearly differentiated between the fertile plain and the hard and dry mountains.



  • The route runs along narrow paths, some between abundant vegetation which can make route-finding difficult.
  • Try not to stray from the paths as you are in protected areas of the Natural Park.
  • The route climbs gently to Santa Caterina, with a slightly steeper climb to Puig de Carroig. No major accumulated climbing.


  • Take water with you. There are no fountains.


  • Respect the surroundings; you are in a Natural Park. Avoid the middle of the day in the summer and protect yourself well from the sun.
  • Parts of the route have plants with thorns, and so wearing long trousers is highly recommended to avoid scratches


  • Avoid days with strong winds or very hot days.


  • Rocky.


  • Comfortable, hard-wearing footwear.
  • Clothing to protect you if it is windy. The return leg is on a very exposed ridge.
  • Sun protection: cream, hat, sunglasses.
  • Camera and binoculars.

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What is there

What to see in: Bellcaire to Santa Caterina Route

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D’en Casas lime furnace

Point of interest

​​​​​​Lime furnaces are dry-stone structures where carbonate stone was heated to obtain quicklime, which was used to join rocks when building walls, cover façades and waterproof cisterns.

Montgrí was...

Limestone pavements

Point of interest

​​​​​The Montgrí is a massif of carbonate rock which arose at the same time that the Pyrenees formed. The carbonate rock gives rise to a karstic landscape with numerous interesting geological...

Wild goats

Point of interest

Flocks of wild goats have recently started to be found in the Montgrí Massif. These animals are most active during the morning and in the evening, and so it is easiest to spot them at these times. To...

Dry-stone structures

Point of interest

​​​​​Dry-stone huts and aixarts (the name given to the walls that are the result of clearing the land of stones to plant crops) are good examples of how people have made the most of the resources...

The Forn de Santa Caterina

Point of interest

The Forn de Santa Caterina is another of the lime furnaces found in the mountains. There used to be another one, close to the areas with wild goats, but the vegetation has hidden it.

The operation of...

Torroella to Santa Caterina Trail

Point of interest

​​​​The trail you are on links the town of Torroella de Montgrí to the Hermitage of Santa Caterina. On your left, dry-stone walls stabilise the ground, and in some stretches, a small paved section is...

Hermitage of Santa Caterina

Point of interest

Building of the Hermitage of Santa Caterina started in 1392 when three hermits left Montserrat owing to divisions with the Church. They decided they wanted to continue serving God in a solitary...

Puig de Carroig

Point of interest

From the top of Puig of Carroig, you can enjoy spectacular views of the interior of the Montgrí Massif and the Empordà. To the east you can see Roca Maura, l’Estartit and the Medes Islands in the...

1 vote
Ratings with comments Publish rating
Beautiful walk in May through fields of wildflowers and olive groves and then up to the hills near Montgri castel with broad views across Bay of Roses. Took us 3.5 hrs with a decent stop for lunch at Santa Caterina and a bit of slow navigation near the start. If you know the walk and don’t stop for a picnic you could easily do it in 3hrs.

What to see in: Bellcaire to Santa Caterina Route

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