xx.  Walking tours 
 Montsacopa Volcano   

Tour descripction   
Time and kilometres   

Montsacopa is one the Natural Park’s most characteristic volcanoes. Visitors are afforded a first-hand look at Strombolian volcano morphology, as well as the relationship that exists between nature’s systems and urban growth. The route to Sant Francesc, as this volcano is locally called, is a popular trek among the inhabitants of Olot. 

The tour 

This could be considered a semi-urban tour, since part of it passes through the city streets of Olot. The walk begins at Parc Nou. This park once formed part of the grounds of a great mansion which is now under the care of the Olot City Hall. The modernist Castanys House, designed by Barcelona architect Josep Fonseré, is inside the park. The Volcano Museum (Natural Sciences section of the Regional Museum of la Garrotxa) is located on the ground floor. Here visitors will find a permanent exhibition on volcanoes, earthquakes, as well as area plant and animal life. The Natural Park Information Centre and offices are on the first floor, also the site of an audio-visual theatre which shows the “Volcanoes of la Garrotxa” video. Part of the grounds surrounding this house compose the Botanical Garden that preserves, among other species, a magnificent stand of common oak, catalogued as a monumental grove. 

Exiting by Avinguda de Cuba, you will cross the Malagrida Extension (through the Plaça d’Amèrica, Colom Bridge and the Plaça d’Espanya). This was an urban development project, built along early 20th century noucentiste standards, completed in 1916 by Olot native Manuel Malagrida. The route keeps on, coming to the Plaça de Vayreda and the C. de Mulleres before arriving at l’Hospici, constructed in the late 18th century. 

Montsacopa Volcano 
Original: Volcano Museum   
The Regional Museum of la Garrotxa, located in the l’Hospici building, offers guests a view of the region’s most significant events from the period between the end of the 18th to the mid-20th centuries: forest exploitation (charcoal-makers, utensil craftsmen, wooden shoe cobblers, woodworkers), the textile industry, religious ornament workshops and the artistic movement. Among the most noteworthy components of this movement are the landscape paintings of the Olot school (Joaquim i Maria Vayreda, Berga i Boix…), and the modernist and turn-of-the-century sculpture (M. Blay and J. Clarà). Later, follow the route to the Sant Esteve church, the Passeig d’en Blay, the bull ring and the cemetery. Here, those who have driven to the nearby car park can pick up the trail. From this spot, nearby Sant Francesc hermitage can be seen atop Montsacopa. After it leaves the cemetery, the trail ascends Montsacopa’s western slope. At the top, walkers will be treated to a spectacular panoramic view of the City of Olot, a good part of the volcanic area and the Garrotxa High Country. This is also the site of the Sant Francesc church and hermitage, built in the 17th century and walled in during the 1812 French occupation. It was during this period that the two defense towers, the circular constructions positioned on the edge of the crater, were erected. 
You will come to a fork in the road: the left route circles the crater. The one on the right takes you to Sant Francesc church, continuing on until running into the original trail. Then it descends by the “Way of the Cross”, lined by birch trees, until reaching the Plaça de les Rodes and the Carrer de Sant Francesc.   

The trail now takes you through the heart of Olot, rebuilt after being damaged by earthquakes in the 15th century. At the Plaça Major, a split in the road either provides a way to the Municipal Information Bureau (Municipal Institute for Promotion of the City) or the bus station. The main part of the road continues toward Carrer Major, C. de Sant Rafael, Plaça Clara, Passeig de Barcelona (site of the Malagrida House, currently home to the Youth Hostel) and the Avinguda de Santa Coloma before returning to Parc Nou. 

The Montsacopa Volcano   

Montsacopa is a Strombolian volcano. In between the Garrinada and Montolivet volcanoes, it is located in the midst of the Olot Plain, rising 94 metres over an irregularly-shaped 600 m x 800 m base. During its eruption, besides projecting pyroclastic material (ash, cinders, flaming rock and debris), which formed the volcanic cone, a small column of lava erupted which ran north-west toward the present location of the Riudaure stream. The cup-shaped crater, 120 m in diameter and 12 m deep, is in the middle of the peak and gives the volcano its name. Today, the Montsacopa Volcano is one of the 25 nature preserves within the Garrotxa Volcanic Area Natural Park. 

You will notice that its slopes are deforested, At first, agricultural fields took the place of forests. Later, part of these fields gave way to cinder extraction operations. Today, it is populated by herbaceous and bush species (clearings and Scotch-broom undergrowth), country gardens and orchards, man-made canals and birch trees. 

The excavated areas behind the cemetery are part of the old cinder quarry, an important source of building material. They were closed in the 1960’s. Much of the City of Olot was constructed using such materials. These works arouse a great deal of geological interest, since they allow prime views of volcanic material. 

Time and kilometres     

    Km Place Time
    0 Parc Nou 0 h 00 min
    1,4 Regional Museum 0 h 30 min
    2,1  Car Park 0 h 50 min
    2,5 Sant Francesc Church 1 h 10 min
    5,4 Parc Nou 2 h 00 min
Trail  Markers: number 17, with dark brown pictographs 
Additional information:  Entre museus and Des del museu al Montsacopa brochures, published by the Regional Museum of la Garrotxa. 

Mountain bikes and horseback riding: only part of the route is accessible by these means 

Olot Tourism Bureaus: 

  • Municipal Institute for Promotion of the City
  • C. Bisbe Lorenzana, 15   
    17800 Olot   
    Tel. 972 26 01 41   
    Fax  972 27 00 56   

  • Centre for Touristic Initiatives (CIT)

  • C. Mulleras, 13   
    17800 Olot   
For additional information, visit the Natural Park information centres. 

Natural Park Information Centres 

  • Volcano House

  • Av. Santa Coloma, s/n   
    17800 Olot   
    Tel. 972 26 62 02 - 972 26 60 12 
  • Can Serra (Fageda d'en Jordà) 

  • Ctra. Olot- Santa Pau, Km 4   
    17811 Santa Pau   
    Tel. 972 19 50 74   
  • Can Passavent 

  • Volcà del Croscat   
    17800 Olot   
    Tel. 972 19 50 94 

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16th january 1998