The etymology of Olot is not clear and there are several hypotheses. According to the Crònica Universal de Catalunya, Olot was founded by Ulo, former king of the dynasty of Atlanteans, (then called Siculus), with the name of Ulot. Another theory, more spread, is that the name comes from ala (wing in Catalan), because the city has been documented with the names Aulot and Alot. For this reason, the coat of Olot has a wing in reference to the name of the city.
The municipality consist of the original city of Olot and old towns and neighbourhoods that now form a conurbation around the city (Sant Roc d'Olot, Sant Cristòfol de les Fonts, Sant Andreu del Coll, Closells) apart from different urbanisations (les Fonts, Mas Bernat, les Planoles, etc.) and the old municipality of Batet de la Serra, which was independent until 1971.
Olot is located on a plain surrounded by the mountain ranges of Valentí, Aiguanegra, the plateau of Batet, Marboleny and Sant Valentí de la Pinya. The plain is crossed by the Fluvià river and the Riudaura stream. There are four volcanoes in the city of Olot, called Montolivet, Montsacopa, Garrinada and Bisaroques.
The Fluvià discharges 1.07 m3/s into the Mediterranean Sea.
The area of Garrotxa is generally more humid than neighbouring regions. The annual rainfall is around 1000 mm. Popularly, it is said that "if it isn't raining in Olot, it isn't raining anywhere" (Si no plou a Olot, no plou enlloc in Catalan). The minimum in Olot in January is around 0 °C, and the maximum in August is around 28 °C.
The city of Olot has a rich cultural heritage. There are several fine examples of Modernist architecture and the "Claustres del Carme", the Carmelite Cloisters, which date back to the Renaissance.
With regard to painting and sculpture, the importance of the "Olot School" should not be left out. This artistic movement is well represented in the Museu Comarcal de la Garrotxa (the regional museum). Painting, sculpture and ceramics being the key elements in the art of Olot, not to mention the tradition of the Nativity Scenes or "pessebres" and the world famous sculptures of saints.