Banyoles is the administrative capital of the district Pla de l'Estany in Girona. In 2010 about 18 000 people resided in the town. According to the study conducted by the university of Oviedo in 2011 Banyoles gets the top marks for the quality of life it offers: it is the best town in Catalonia and the seventh best city to live in across all of Spain, based on ratings of social services, housing, transport, environment, job market, health care, culture, leisure, education, security.
Getting to Banyoles
Banyoles is located 22 km away from Girona and 120 km away from Barcelona. Follow the highway A-7 (from Barcelona towards France), take exit #6 and continue along the highway C-66 for 13 km.
Tourist office on the lake Banyoles
The tourist office is found on the bank of the lake at Passeig Darder, pesquera #10
Phone number: 972 583 470
Opening hours during low season (02.01-23.06, 12.09-31.12): 09.00-14.00 daily;
Opening hours during high season (24.06-11.09): 10.00-14.00, 16.00-19.00 daily;
Opening hours during Easter holidays: 10.00-14.00, 16.00-18.00.
Lake of Banyoles
The lake L'Estany de Banyoles is the most prominent sight in town, its symbol and pride, and also the largest natural lake on the Iberian peninsula, formed about 250 thousand years ago. The body of the lake occupies just over 1 sq. km, the maximal depth is 62,5 m. The lake of Banyoles often serves as an arena for water sports, at times international, - in 1992 Banyoles hosted rowers of the 25th Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, and in 2004 the Rowing World Cup took place here. You can download the brochure detailing a hiking route around the lake here.
Historic and cultural monuments
The most important sights of Banyoles are the church of Santa Maria dels Turers and the monastery of Sant Esteve. You can download the brochure with a walking tour of historic Banyoles here.
The local history museum Darder offers an excellent understanding of the town of Banyoles and the district of Pla de l'Estany, of which it is the capital. The museum is one of the oldest in Catalonia, it has been open since 1916.
La Fiesta Mayor de Banyoles
The town celebration, or fiesta mayor of Banyoles, known as La Fiesta de Sant MartiriГ , takes place on the week of October 24. This is the time of traditional Catalan concerts and performances: circle dances of sardana, the processions of Giants (gegants) surrounded by Big-Heads (capgrossos), and fireworks, that conclude the celebrations on Monday.