The PEIN Massís de Les Gavarres has a total surface area of 28,548 hectares, 16,719 of which are in the Baix Empordà, taking in eleven municipalities in our district: Calonge, Castell-Platja d’Aro, Cruïlles-Monells-Sant Sadurní de l’Heura, Forallac, La Bisbal, Mont-ras, Palafrugell, Palamós, Santa Cristina d’Aro, Torrent and Vall-llobrega.
Much of the Gavarres hills is covered by the Baix Empordà hiking network, while there is also the Baix Empordà Mountain Bike Centre. The historical, cultural and social importance of this mountain range is considerable. In former times it was more densely inhabited than it is now, and was the scenario of much human activity: charcoal stacks, ice pits, limestone kilns, cork exploitation, stock rearing, transhumance, etc. Even today, despite abandonment of the zone, there are notable large farmhouses, fine Romanesque churches and many megalithic tombs.
The highest point is Puig d’Arques, at an altitude of 532 metres. The Gavarres have a climate of the maritime Mediterranean type.
The flora basically consists of groves of evergreen oaks, cork oak and pines, although in the moister part there are also deciduous oaks, alders, hazels, aspens, willow, elms and mushrooms typical of Mediterranean woodland.
The forest floor is jungle-like, with laurustine, madrone, buckthorn, liana, etc. Pines are nevertheless the trees that occupy the largest area of the Gavarres hills, with a clear predominance of nut pine, Aleppo pine and pinaster.
The fauna includes birds such as the sparrow hawk, the tawny owl, the green woodpecker, the jay, the blackbird and the nightingale, among others, and mammals such as the wild boar, the badger, the fox, the squirrel and the genet. There are also amphibians and reptiles such as the salamander and the green newt, while some specimens of the Mediterranean tortoise have also been located.
This mountain range is an ideal place for hiking and cycling, for the paths are clearly signposted and the terrain is well-suited to this type of activities. These routes can take you to beautiful natural or historical spots (dolmens, churches).