When the medieval stones of Girona start feeling like they are closing in on you, maybe you need to escape the Medieval city and take a little walk in the countryside. After climbing stairs and traversing medieval walls for a week, it was time to get out of the city and see some of the lush, green rolling hills that surround the ancient city.
Pete and I had been working on developing and shooting the Girona Vistas Photo Walk and we kept hearing about this great hike leading to an old castle with amazing panoramic views of much of the Costa Brava region, from the Empordà to the Pyrenees. Since we were covering Girona’s best views, we decided to hike the Sant Miquel Trail to see for ourselves if it would be ‘ebook worthy’. Like most unplanned hikes, it can lead you into new directions, and we didn’t just find a cool hike, we found an entirely cool afternoon of activities and stops along the way!
This is my favorite thing about photography projects, it puts me in an exploring state of mind, eager to go and look in all of the little nooks and corners to find little treasures.
Sant Miquel Trail
This 2 hour roundtrip hike will get you out of town and take you by a number of great sights along the way. It crosses the Sant Daniel Valley and passes through a landscape dotted with woods, small farms, and country churches. You’ll hike into the protected natural area of the Gavarres to climb the Sant Miquel mount, ending at the crumbling castle and stunning Costa Brava views.
Sant Miquel Hike Map
Sant Miquel Hike Highlights
Not only will you get a good workout, you’ll also get to see all of these highlights along the trail. Don’t forget to take your camera as these are beautiful things to photograph!
Sant Daniel Monastery
Leaving the Cathedral and old city walls behind we followed the road along the river, Carrer de Sant Daniel. It was there we encountered our first stop, the 1,000 year old Sant Daniel Monastery.
The entire complex is large and mass is held there regularly, however if visiting during the day just knock on the door and you’ll be greeted by a tiny nun who will show you around the cloisters and rooms if she has time. Soon we found ourselves exploring the cloisters, library, chapel, artifacts, and Inn of this old monastery. Only a few nuns are still living and working there; but they keep up he historic building and are excited to show it off.
You can learn about the art, history, and monastic life from them, however there is little to no English spoken. But the building is beautiful to see and photograph regardless of the language barrier.
The monastery offers a quiet space to anyone wanting to get away and escape the city. You’ll find students and locals there enjoying the peace and quiet.
Information on how to visit Sant Daniel Monastery – There is even an Inn/hostel there for those looking for a quiet, budget place to stay.
San Miquel Cemetery
It doesn’t take long to feel like you’ve left the city behind. As you walk along the trail leaving the monastery you’ll start to see green fields filled with bright red poppies in the spring months. Take note of the beautiful little chapel and cemetery, a great place to rest under a cypress tree or take a few photos.
Art in Nature
You know you are on the right trail when you cross under the highway and look to your left to see a big white sculpture in the middle of the countryside entitled Europe’s Threshold. I have no idea why it’s there or what it’s supposed to represent but it was a definite surprise on the trail.
Sant Miquel Castle and Costa Brava Views
After hiking uphill on the path, you’ll finally arrive at the castle. This fortification includes a deep moat surrounding a tower and a chapel in ruins There are only ruins left, but a good majority are in tact and a new staircase has been added so that you can climb all he way to the top of the fortress for the 360 degree views of Girona, the peaks of the Pyrenees and the Balearic Sea.
Restaurant El Cul de Mon For Post Hike
If you’ve hiked in the morning, then be sure to plan your hike back down to enjoy lunch at Reaturant El Cul de Mon on the outskirts of Girona near Sant Daniel Monastery. A popular local lunch spot, it’s a beautiful setting among nature along the river. You can sit on the outdoor patio and enjoy their Menu del dia – a perfect finale to your Sant Miquel hike and escape from Girona.
More Girona Walks and Photography
Want more Girona Walks ideas? Then check out the ebook I co-authored about Girona. It includes this walk as well as many others! Download it for free.
Take a journey through medieval towns of Costa Brava like Girona. How many times have you looked at photos from a location, and wondered: where did they take that shot? How did they get that angle? What time of day is the best time to capture that sight? How did they get that perspective? After following these photo walks by Hecktic Travels and Ottsworld, you’ll walk away from each of these towns with a gallery of professional looking photos and memories.
Girona is a city that should be admired from afar and above. In and around the city there are a number of trails which can lead to different perspectives of the medieval town and area. Ready to discover it?