The Devesa and Ribes del Ter parks are the lungs of the city of Girona. A walk through these two large green areas allows you to discover the Devesa, the largest urban park in Catalonia, located between the rivers Ter, Onyar and Güell, to the west of the old town. The word “devesa” means an extension of land, covered in natural vegetation, destined for grazing and collecting firewood. In fact, these were some of the ways the Devesa was used at its beginnings. It was only later that it became a place for leisure and walking.
Declared a cultural asset of national interest, it covers an area of 40 hectares, of which nine are shaded walks. The park has more than 2,600 plane trees, hybrids of the eastern and western species, most of which were planted around 1850 and so now are some 170 years old. These trees, which characterise the park, reach spectacular heights, taller than these specimens usually reach, because they were planted very close to each other and have grown seeking the light.
The Devesa gardens date back to the 19th century. The French-style gardens are today still very similar in structure to the originals, surrounded by a channel and marked out with geometrically planted hedges.
On the other side of the river is the Ribes del Ter park and a large open green area in front of the Pavelló Municipal Girona-Fontajau. The park is part of the natural space of the Ribes del Ter, and it follows the river from Fontajau to the meadows of the Pont Major, a wetland which comprises the banks of the river as it passes through Girona. This sector, which is also well preserved, is of great importance to the city from an ecological and environmental point of view.
A day out with the family or doing some sport provides the ideal opportunity to discover a wide array of routes that are arranged to reveal the city, both on foot or by bicycle.
The city council has also organised 10 activities that are addressed to children and related to local nature, where the passage of the river has favoured the emergence of a wide variety of plants and animals.
The Ribes del Ter walking route is about 3.5 km long and is flat and suitable for people with reduced mobility. For more detailed information, check the application “Natura Local”.
out & about
Napoleon’s plane trees
It is often said that the plane trees of the Devesa were planted on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte, although there is no record of it. What is known is that during the Peninsular War (1808-1814), the French conquerors established plantations, especially of poplars, in some areas that are now part of the main park. It seems that the first plane trees of the Devesa come from there too, in particular those located in Les Botxes square, and that are now over 200 years old.