Welcome to Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa
The green-clad volcanic-origin hills surrounding Olot make up the 150-sq-km Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa (http://parcsnaturals.gencat.cat/garrotxa). Volcanic eruptions began here about 350,000 years ago, but the last one was 11,500 years ago. As the African and Eurasian tectonic plates nudge ever closer (at a rate of 2cm per year), the occasional mild earthquake still sends a shiver across La Garrotxa, and more than 100 small earthquakes set Catalonia trembling each year (most are barely perceptible). La Garrotxa's volcanoes, however, have long snoozed under a blanket of meadows and oak forests.
The park has around 40 volcanic cones, up to 160m high and 1.5km wide. Together with the lush vegetation (resulting from fertile soils and a damp climate), these create a landscape of unique verdant beauty. The park's most interesting area lies between Olot and the pretty village of Santa Pau, 10km southeast.