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Hostalric stroll

Hostalric town walls Hostalric is a walled town with a large castle on the river Todera at the start of the Valles Occidental beneath Montseny heading towards Barcelona from Girona. Its location made it an important strategic post and the town retains its fortified walls and large castle. Despite its impressive history, the town is small and easy to bypass rushing through from Barcelona to Girona on the AP7 or on the train, so even for Catalans its an easy place to miss.

We've visited a few times, firstly from Barcelona as it's on the main train line and easily accessible. For visitors to Blanes, Lloret or Tossa de Mar, Hostalric is relatively close for the chance to get away from a beach to somewhere a little different. It would also be easy to combine with a visit to Montsoriu castle which sits high on an isolted hill with fabulous views all around, and to Montseny itself.

Hostaric castle Our aim was more a day out than a walk so we found a stroll rather than a long country walk, though there is plenty of walking and hiking nearby. The town has a main square with parking, but this was full so we parked down the hill closer to the station. This meant we had a good view of the impressive grey granite walls of the town from the outside. The walls are well preserved and in places have been converted into modern accomodation. There are a handful of gates into the town, but we headed to the main square area were a couple of cafes look out over the river plain below.

Hostalric castle walls We wanted to get down to the plain so we followed the Carrer Ravel down the hill past an isoltated, tall defensive tower. The tower has steps and presumably it would be possible to go up to the top, but when we were visiting it was closed.

We walked all the way down the street before we realised that there was no access to the river from the lower end. It was only as we were walking back up that we found the path and we walked down and across to the river. There was water flowing and the size of the river bed suggested that in spate it could get quite wide, but at the moment in January it was quiet and lititle more than a big stream.

The path follows the river under a few tree plantations before turning back across the fields. Above us we could see the castle - a proper fortress - dominating the view. Our path reached a road and we followed the signs up to the castle walls.

Hostalric town viewed from castle The castle itself is a ciutadella type castle with big earthern walls at jagged angles in the style of the 17th century fortresses, designed to resist cannon fire. The building of the walls is in brick with view points above the moats and spaces created by the angles. A signboard explained how the fortress was captured in the War of Spanish Succession in 1713 as the Bourbon Spanish king conquered Catalonia.

The castle has good views over the plain and Hostalric below, and through to the hills and Montsegur on the other side. Walking around the walls is free, but there is a restaurant at the heart of the castle with a bar and terrace if you want to enjoy the view.

The path down from the castle crosses the old walls and down into a corner of the old town. Hostalric's old town sort of only has two streets running in parallel down from the castle with cut-throughs from time to time. We took Carrer Major with it's houses tucked behind the town wall. It's quaint but still very much as working type town. And we emerged at the bottom by the placa to sit in the sun and watch the world go by.

Nearby: Palafolls castle - Lake at Sils - Castell de Montsoriu - Santa Coloma de Farners - Brunyola - Arbucies autumn walk

Walking route Hostalric

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