A waymarked walking route included in the Itineraries of the Protected Natural Area of the Lake of Banyoles, a unique natural area that offers enormous geological, ecological, landscape and cultural value.
This itinerary takes in the Font de la Puda or Font Pudosa, the natural site of Les Estunes, a number of pools and an area inhabited by white storks and water buffalo that help maintain the wetlands.
Famed for its curative properties, the water that springs from the Font Pudosa has a strong smell and peculiar taste due to its hydrogen sulphide content (similar to the smell of rotten eggs or stink bombs).
The first reference we have to the Font Pudosa dates from 1419 but it was not until the 18th century that its waters’ power to cure illnesses was recognised. From then on, it was regularly visited by sick people in search of a cure and a spa was built there in the mid-19th century. It became Banyoles’ top tourist attraction and remained open until the 1950s. Its remains can still be seen.
As the spring’s water is not chlorinated, officially it is not considered safe for drinking. However, many people from Banyoles come to fetch water every day from this spring when it is flowing.
The woods of Les Estunes or Les Tunes are a picturesque, cool place to go in summer. Amongst the dense, shady vegetation, crevices, caves and hollows abound in the travertine rock, forming veritable stone palaces that offer a series of high-value natural, geological and social attractions, including the legends about them.
It is a travertine deposit that has formed crevices and small caves from the precipitation of carbonate salts dissolved in the water which can be visited. Altogether, it is a place of extraordinary beauty.
Les Tunes has also been a place that has inspired authors and the source of legends; according to popular tradition in Banyoles, this place was inhabited by water nymphs, a special kind of fairy who spent the nights spinning beside the Lake.
Photo of the water buffalo: Sílvia Puig