|• Total||734.2 km2 (283.5 sq mi)|
|• Density||65/km2 (170/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Garrotxa is a comarca (county) in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Its population in 2001 was 47,747, more than half of them in the capital city of Olot. It is roughly equivalent to the historical comarca of Besalú.
Garrotxa borders the comarques of Ripollès, Osona, Selva, Gironès, Pla de l'Estany, Alt Empordà, and Vallespir. It includes the upper basin of the River Fluvià and the headwaters of the rivers Muga, Amer and Llémena.
From both the human point of view and that of physical geography, the comarca has a clear division into two subcomarques. Extending north from the valley of the Fluvià, is Alta Garrotxa (Upper Garrotxa), while the southern part is sometimes called the comarca of Olot, after the capital city.
The Fluvià flows toward the Mediterranean, and has a relatively small flow of water (1.07 m³/s at Olot).
The high humidity of Garrotxa contrasts with the that of the neighboring comarques. Annual rainfall is over 1000 mm (about 40 inches). It is said that "Si no plou a Olot, no plou enlloc" ("if it's not raining in Olot, it is not raining anywhere."). Winter temperatures hover around freezing; in August, temperatures average 27.7°C (about 80°F). Thermal inversions are relatively common; Alta Garrotxa and Puigsacalm, particularly, have more of a mountain climate, with snowfall figuring more prominently.
Vegetation varies with the climate. Alta Garrotxa and the east part of the comarca have typically Mediterranean climate and vegetation; the rest has a sub-Mediterranean climate, tending toward an Atlantic climate in the most humid areas.
In the western part of the comarca, the land around Olot and Santa Pau contains some 40 well-preserved volcanic cones at Croscat, important flows of basaltic lava, and the volcano of Santa Margarida. This zone is protected within the 120.07 km² Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa.
The populated areas are mostly located on the plain and hillsides of Olot. A field of lava covers most of the plain (some 25 km²), and lava flows continue down the valley of the Fluvià to Sant Jaume de Llierca. Another important sector is in the tectonic valley of the River Ser, at the foot of the faultline escarpment of the Corb and Finestres ranges, with the volcanoes of Santa Margarida and Croscat. Lava flowed down the valley, past Sallent de Santa Pau to the Gibert mill. A third group of volcanoes lies in the Llémena river valley and the stream of Adri.
The field became active about 700,000 years ago, with the last eruption occurring 11,500 years ago.  There appear to have been old eruptions around Olot, because one can find basalt boulders from the Pliocene era in the valley of the Fluvià.
In 1982, the Generalitat de Catalunya declared the zone comprising the valleys of the Fluvià and Ser and the upper part of the valleys of Aiguavella and Sant Iscle to be Natural Places of National Interest. They also declared most of the volcanic cones and the Fageda d'en Jordà (beech woods rooted in lava) to be Integral Geobotanical Reserves.
Population and economic activity
9.4% of the population are engaged in agriculture and primary production, 59.4% in industry and energy, and 31.2% in the service sectors. Agricultural land has been shrinking, but Garrotxa remains the leading producer of maize. The livestock sector is actually expanding, especially pigs and cattle.
Industry, centered around Olot, Sant Joan les Fonts, and Besalú, has been generally on the rise since 1940. The most important industries are textiles, especially knitwear, the processing of locally grown food, and metallurgy. Behind these come papermaking, chemistry, and plastics.
Arts and crafts are traditional also, being the Olot Art School (Escola d'Art i Superior de Disseny d'Olot) one of the oldest ones in Catalonia.
Populations are from 2005.
- Argelaguer - pop. 408
- Besalú - pop. 2,211
- Beuda - pop. 147
- Castellfollit de la Roca - pop. 964
- Maià de Montcal - pop. 374
- Mieres - pop. 352
- Montagut i Oix - pop. 875
- Olot - pop. 31,271
- Les Planes d'Hostoles - pop. 1,754
- Les Preses - pop. 1,657
- Riudaura - pop. 426
- Sales de Llierca - pop. 117
- Sant Aniol de Finestres - pop. 286
- Sant Feliu de Pallerols - pop. 1,223
- Sant Ferriol - pop. 206
- Sant Jaume de Llierca - pop. 785
- Sant Joan les Fonts - pop. 2,631
- Santa Pau - pop. 1,541
- Tortellà - pop. 714
- La Vall d'en Bas - pop. 2,616
- La Vall de Bianya - pop. 1,228
- Dades del Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa, Department of the Environment and Housing, Generalitat de Catalunya, April 2006, retrieved 2009-10-11.
- "Descubren que volcanes Croscat y Santa Margarida los formó la misma erupción" [They discover that the Croscat and Santa Margarida volcanoes were formed by the same eruption]. EFE (in Spanish). abc.es. 27 January 2011. Retrieved X March 2012. Check date values in:
- Martí, J.; Planagumà, L.; Geyer, A.; Canal, E.; Pedrazzi, D. (2011). "Complex interaction between Strombolian and phreatomagmatic eruptions in the Quaternary monogenetic volcanism of the Catalan Volcanic Zone (NE of Spain)". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 201: 178. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.12.009.
- Instituto Nacional de Estadística (in Spanish). Reference for populations of municipalities as of January 1, 2005.
- IDESCAT: statistical information about Garrotxa (in Catalan). Reference for list of municipalities, surface area.
- La Garrotxa Video
- Official comarcal web site (in Catalan)
- Tourist association of La Garrotxa
- Information about Garrotxa from the Generalitat de Catalunya (in Catalan)
- Official site of the Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa (in Catalan)
- Official site of the Llemena Valley (in Catalan)
- A guide La Garrotxa (in English)
- Escola d'Art i Superior de Disseny d'Olot