The Gavarres Massif is very ancient, dating back to the Palaeozoic period. Although it presents a gentle relief, mainly shaped by river courses, and does not reach great heights, this massif acts as a true physical barrier between the plain of Empordanet and that of La Selva. Its highest peak, Puig de la Gavarra, is metres high, followed by Puig d'Arques, at 527 metres. The Gavarres Massif contains the most important cork oak and maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) forests in the whole of Catalonia and a wide variety of fauna species can be found although forest species clearly predominate.
The cultural heritage of the Gavarres Massif is rich and divers. The most important archaeological remains comprise more than 40 funeral monuments and megaliths dating back to between 5.000 and 2.200 BC. Iberian settlements, castles, rural houses and mediaeval mills are also found there.
As for religous heritage, remains of chapels, churches (including pre-Romanesque churches) and monasteries can be found in the massif. The mediaeval parish villages, such as Sant Cebrià de Lledó, Sant Cebrià dels Alls, Santa Pellaia and Sant Mateu del Montnegre are noteworthly, as are the churches around which the rural houses were arranged.
The massif holds great ethnological interest in the form of terracing, ice wells, farmhouses, stone kilns, mills, paths or fountains, which can be found all over the area. Some of the surviving contruccions are related to water use: wells, tanks, norias, cisterns, sluices, aqueducts, locks and water mines. The activity of stone and mineral transformation has also left a significant legacy that is visible throughout the area in the form of mines, mineralogical sites, lime kilns and tile kilns.
The forest of the Gavarres Massif provided raw materials for all sorts of activities, such as tile firing, lime and charcoal production, and the cork industry. From the 18th century onwards, cork production became the most important activity in the massif and the surrounding area. At one point more than one thousand cork production factories operated there.
If you feel like going for a walk or doing a cycling route in order to explore the flora, fauna and cultural heritage in the area of Les Gavarres, please contact the Vertical Emotions team. This Empordà-based company is expert in mountain sports; having all the experience and knowledge of these mountains and the whole area, they offer tailor-made routes of two, four or eight hours.