Els Angels can be reached from many different sides as it is the highest point (484m) of the Gavarres protected area which straddles the counties of Girones and Baix Empordà. From Girona it is a hike of some 12 kms and is quite a climb considering you start at 40m altitude.
Just like the Castell de Sant Miquel hike this is suitable for mountain bikes as well as hikers and each group has their favourite routes.
There has been a chapel at the top since 1420 and over the centuries gained importance as pilgrims sought protection from natural and political catastrophes. Floods, plagues and harvest failures as well as wars and bandits were the usual disasters people came with a small offering to ask "La Mare de Deu" for help with.
This became such a visited place that a large hostel or sanctuary was added next to the expanded chapel to cater for the steady flow of visitors. During the French wars (1809-14) it also served as a hospital before it was burned down by an angry French general because Girona was resisting his siege.
Today there are picnic grounds and terraces to enjoy the spectacular views and you can eat or sleep at the recently restored hostel, although it still retains its rustic charm. The chapel has some interesting tile murals depicting hikers and picnickers with an impressive statue of the Lady herself surrounded by angels which dominates the gallery.
We were lucky to still see snow on the ground from the storms of a few days before, a contrast which will seem unbelievable to most people making their annual pilgrimage here on the 2nd of august when finding some shade and a breeze is the main reason to seek Her protection.
See and download the full gallery on posterous