Estany de Banyoles

One of the most beautiful landscapes in Pla de l’Estany opens out into the town of Banyoles. We’re referring to Lake Banyoles and we explain everything about it here.


Lush green vegetation, the rippling sound of the water and amazing scenery. This leisurely calm is what you’ll find when you come to see Banyoles Lake. 

It’s not surprising that all the residents of Banyoles boast about it puffed up with pride, as they have good reason to do so. The lake is definitely the municipality’s sign of identity. It’s a special place that captivates the locals and visitors from all around in any season of the year. The nature and scenic beauty of the area will become engraved on their eyes and in their cameras, with spectacular images that don’t leave anyone indifferent. 

What can be said about Banyoles Lake?

Banyoles Lake is the largest natural lake in Catalonia and one of the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, covering a surface area of 107 hectares. 

It’s located in the county of Pla de l’Estany, lying between the municipalities of Banyoles and Porqueres. The most curious thing about its formation is the source of its waters, which come from underground filtrations from the Alta Garrotxa through underground flows that cause them to come out from the subsoil.  

What to do at Banyoles Lake

The land and water at Banyoles Lake form an ideal environment to be enjoyed all the year round with your family and friends, your partner or, why not, even by yourself.

Kayak hire at Banyoles Lake

In summer, the fine weather and high temperature encourage you to choose water sports. 

If you feel like reviving the Olympic spirit of Barcelona 92 you can hire a canoe or kayak and paddle from one side of the lake to the other, or, if you’re with a group of friends and want more action, you can take part in a Dragon Boat race, a form of canoeing with a dragon-shaped canoe and you have to row to the beat of a drum to reach the finish line before the other team.

Boat hire at Banyoles Lake

If you’d rather enjoy a quieter and more romantic activity, you can rent a rowing boat and enjoy the lake at your own pace. 

Besides, if you want to have a more comfortable ride, you can buy a ticket to board the Tirona, a catamaran that will enable you to admire the beauty of the lake without the slightest effort. 

A swim at Banyoles Lake

In addition, during the summer months the lake provides three bathing areas: the wooden hut, free of charge, Banyoles Swimming Club, priced at 11 euros for the whole day for non-members, and Banys Vells, a restaurant that also has an area for bathers. 

This is one of the best ways of combating the heat in summer.

A trip around Banyoles Lake

If you prefer to enjoy the lake from land, you can go on a guided tour around it and the children will learn to identify elements of nature and show respect for the environment. 

If you prefer to expend some energy, you can walk or cycle along any of the routes allowing you to view the lake from all possible angles and discover the legends surrounding it. 

For further information on the routes and activities, you can find out more here.

The Banyoles Lake legend

There are numerous legends that imbue the aura of this place with mysticism, but there’s one that’s penetrated deep into the imagination of locals and visitors alike. 

This is the legend of the Monster of Banyoles, a Dragon that terrorised the people of the town because a child had to be sacrificed every day to enable it to eat. Out of fear, the townspeople called for a monk who bewitched the dragon with a prayer, making it docile and vegetarian. So the people of the town were saved from the ferocious beast and fed it with the vegetables from their gardens.

Where to eat at Banyoles Lake

Around the lake there’s an excellent range of restaurants for all tastes from where you can enjoy the spectacular views. 

If you’re looking for cuisine with local products, the Vora Estany at Banyoles Swimming Club and La Carpa are great choices. On the other hand, if you prefer tapas, the Set Cafè and Els Banys Vells serve excellent dishes to be shared beside the lake.

As we were saying, the array of gastronomy in Banyoles is wide, which is why we suggest exploring all the restaurants, as they’re sure to suit you.

Parking at Banyoles Lake

Parking at Banyoles Lake is usually a simple task. Both next to the lake itself and in the nearby streets you’ll find various areas with free parking

Another option is to leave your car in the sand car park at the Draga Pavilion, just before you get to Draga Park, and go to the lake on foot. 

Otherwise, you can drive down one of the small streets in the town and you’re bound to find a place to park.

How to get to Banyoles Lake

To get to Banyoles just follow the C-66 road from Girona or Olot. To get to the lake, take the northern exit for Banyoles (the last exit if you’re coming from Girona or the second one if you’re coming from Olot) along the road to the cemetery, which will take you to the Draga Park area and Banyoles Swimming Club.

An alternative to your car is to go by train to Girona Station and take the bus that will drop you off at Banyoles Bus Station.

Camping in Banyoles

Staying at a campsite in Banyoles is a privilege! Nature, the charming lake and all the facilities in the town within just five minutes. 

In Banyoles you’ll find the Lake Campsite, located in a privileged setting, surrounded by woodland and right beside Banyoles Lake. This is a family campsite, ideal for getaways to switch off from your daily routine and reconnect with nature. 

The campsite provides all the services and activities required to enable the whole family to enjoy a comfortable and pleasant stay.

Find your campsite

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