Located north of Banyoles, at 242 metres above seal-level, the Puig de Sant Martirià and the viewpoint of the Cross offer fantastic views of the Lake and the surrounding region. With a 360º view, you can pinpoint all the local landmarks and situate them in the territory, depending on how well you know the local mountains.
It is the Pla de l’Estany’s best viewpoint, with extensive views of the Pyrenees and Pre-Pyrenees, with Canigó and the Mare de Déu del Mont to the north, the region of Alt Empordà to the east, the Baix Empordà region and Les Gavarres mountain range to the south, and the Serralada Transversal, with Sant Patllari in the foreground and Rocacorba further back, to the west.
On top of the Puig de Sant Martirià, there are the ruins of the Old Friary (17th century), the solitary oak of Teixidor del Terme, and one of the few olive groves that survived the “cold year”, 1953, which killed most of the olive groves in the region.
On the slopes of the Puig that are more exposed to the sun, there are abandoned terraced fields with kermes oak, long grass meadows, rosemary, Spanish broom and thyme scrub, and the odd olive tree stump. There are also small patches of pine trees and evergreen oaks, and a few clumps of the original oak vegetation in the more humid parts.
The Old Friary (Convent Vell)
The origins of the Old Friary go back to the church of Sant Martirià, the town’s patron saint, which dates to before 1279. In 1582, the site was given to the Capuchins, who built a friary where relics of the saint were venerated, between 1583 and 1638. Between 1638 and 1808, it was occupied by the Servites, and after that, it was demolished for strategic reasons. In 1649, and until today, veneration of the saint was transferred to the church of the monastery of Sant Esteve.