It's not just the beech forests and dormant volcanoes that make the little-visited Garrotxa natural park so special to us.
Here in the Catalan hinterland, you can spend all day walking through those peaceful forests, the medieval stone villages and the fertile farmland, then come back to a B&B which feels completely embedded in that very same landscape.
There's no sense whatsoever of shutting the door on it all.
There's Albert and Christine’s old 'mas' farmhouse, placed on the edge of thick woodland and next to a gentle waterfall. The inside is full of their quirky personality, but it's the very obvious love and care of a painstaking restoration that restored a sense of belonging to a house that was long abandoned. Sitting in the garden with a cool drink, watching the birds flitter and listening to the rush of the water sure does take the edge off a 16km walk.
Chances are you'll have arrived there from Goretti and Roy’s 800-year-old rectory house, tucked away between the hills. The pair met back in the nineties at Edinburgh's 5-star Balmoral hotel, he learning to be a chef and she learning to speak English whilst simultaneously becoming an expert in Scotch whiskey. A decade later they packed up their things and put those culinary and hospitality skills to good use in rural Catalonia. Theirs was a four year labour of love to breathe a renewed dignity and purpose into this grand old building.
Both properties are now precious monuments to Garrotxa's rural heritage. More than architectural works of art though, their homes are a means to share their way of life and help us to enjoy all the natural beauty which attracted them here many years ago.
They are both an absolute pleasure to work with and a true joy to stay with. You can do just that on our self-guided Girona to Costa Brava Inn to Inn walking vacation.