The fifth stage of the GR 1 Transversal route begins in the beautiful town of Besalú and takes us to the town of Oix, in the heart of the Alta Garrotxa. This stage represents the definitive goodbye to the plains that you have walked through over the first few days, and you now head into mountainous territory at the heart of the Pre-Pyrenees area. Along this stage you go through the beautiful town of Tortellà, famous for its master spoon makers, and you cross one of the most emblematic parts of the entire GR 1: the sensational Romanesque bridge of Llierca, a construction that is declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. You will also tackle the first really demanding ascent of the journey: Palomeres hill.
Considerable Due to the distance and ascent to overcome. This stage runs along tracks, roads, paths and short paved stretches. There are frequent path changes, you need to pay a lot of attention to your direction.
No special equipment needed.
Alta Garrotxa 1:25.000. Editorial Alpina.
Regional map of Catalonia 1:50,000 Garrotxa - 19. Geological and Cartographic Institute of Catalonia (ICGC).
You begin the fifth stage of the GR 1 route in Plaza de la Llibertat in (1) Besalú (0:00h - 148m). Following the white and red GR signs at all times, you leave Besalú along Calles Canó, Olot, Pere Bosch and Llabrús and, finally, the Camí de Can Batlle, which is no longer paved just after the football pitch. You walk in a northwest direction and pass Can Batlle. Further along, in the absence of a path, you follow the outline of the abandoned estate of Can Güell, first along the side of a field and then down towards a stream with lots of vegetation, where you should take extra care not to get lost.
Continue along a paved path that will take you to the A-26 dual carriageway. Walk along a secondary route next to the dual carriageway and you will pass La Teuleria. You soon arrive at a point where you go down to the bottom of the ravine of the river Borró and cross the road below. You climb a few metres and reach the (2) N-260 road (1:05 - 200m), that you follow towards the left (W). You cross a bridge over the river Borró and a few metres after crossing it you take a detour off to the right which rises (paved path) towards the woods of En Terrats and the Pla de Banyils. Afterwards, you go around the estate of Banyils and enter a wood pine trees and holm oaks. This marks the start of a path stage where you have to be very careful: you need to overcome a total of four streams with their respective banks. After crossing the fourth and final stream, you climb a few metres and reach a street. You go through an industrial estate, cross the GI-523 road, and after about 500m, you reach the Plaza del Mercat in (3) Tortellà (2:10h - 275m).
You leave Tortellà via its northwest extreme and will soon find yourself at the GIV-5232 road, which you cross. Always heading northwest, you progress through fields and woods until you descend to the bottom of the so-called Clot del Infern. You cross a river and climb up to the Pla de la Quintana. You cross this plain and head down a few metres to the spectacular (4) bridge of Llierca (3:10 - 230m), the entry point to the solitary valley of Sant Aniol and the Alta Garrotxa Space of Natural Interest.
You cross the medieval bridge and the narrow GIV-5231 road. At this point you take the Camí de Plansalloses, a track that climbs westward and that soon turns into a path. You now begin the climb to the hill of Palomeres, the first demanding ascent of the GR 1. You leave behind the ruins of the house of Plansalloses (430m), you pass the hill of Polí and once again back on the dirt track, you reach the solitary (5) hill of Palomeres (4:35 - 616m), the top height you will reach during this stage. From the pass, you continue along the path that flanks the mountain heading westward, and that will lead you to the ridge that descends from the peak of Palomeres (667m) on its western side. You pass the unclear hill of Teula and descend the mountain side until you almost reach the bottom of the valley. You walk a final few metres along the GIV-5221 road and reach the picturesque town of (6) Oix (5:20h - 410m), the end point of this fifth stage.
The old quarter of Besalú, with its streets and plazas, the Jewish baths, castle, Royal Court, gateways and churches.
The magnificent views over the mountains of Mont and Malveí.
The charming town of Tortellà: The Plaza del Mercat, the Casino, the public wash house, the church of Santa María, ...
Walking over the impressive bridge of Llierca, one of the most spectacular points of the GR 1.
Solitude and the silence of the hill of Palomeres, Alta Garrotxa in its purest state!
The town of Tortellà is known for its wood industry? Specifically, it is famous for its kitchen utensils made from boxwood, a very abundant bush found in the woods of Garrotxa. It has properties that make it ideal for the design, creation and production of small utensils. In 1762, the artisan Joan Illamola arrived in this town in Garrotxa, and became the first master of a line of spoon makers that has survived down to the present day. Even now, there are several companies in Tortellà specialising in this activity. You should look closely at the public lighting on the main streets in the town, as it has been made into the shape of two spoons!
The magic of the paths of Alta Garrotxa. When walking, we sometimes tend to be obsessed with reaching the next destination or objective: the next crossroads, the next monumental tree, stream, hill, town, country house, hermitage, refuge... However, walking the GR 1 route is about forgetting about that and enjoying every detail, from the song of blackbirds to the reflection of the evening sunlight on the green leaves of mastic trees. Walking is nature is about composing a visual poem in free verse and being carried away by intuition. Only by doing that will you be able to feel and experience the magic of the route.
Part of the rout of this stage is quite exposed to the sun. If you undertake the route during the summer months it is important to drink water along the way and protect yourself from the sun in order to avoid heatstroke.
You should pay special attention during the stretch of the abandoned house of Can Güell: before you enter the enclosure you should take a detour off on the right -following the wall of the estate-, pass over a small canal and immediately turn to the left, advancing between the bank and the field, taking care not to tread on it. After about 50m, you have to jump over the bank again and follow a path that is very unclear (some white Repsol tanks can be seen on the other side). You reach the bed of a stream. A very dense path emerges on the left (pay attention to the nettles), which in 10m takes you to a path that goes around a residential house. You follow this path heading towards the right and arrive at a second path, this time a paved one.