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Medes Islands, Province of Girona

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#8 of 8 in Nature in Province of Girona
Island Wildlife Area
The Illes Medes is a small and craggy group of seven islets in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Administratively, the Medes Archipelago belongs to the Baix Empordà comarca, Catalonia, Spain.The islands are located close to the shore, east of the coastal town of L'Estartit.IslandsMeda Gran, the largest island in the group, has an area of 1.8km² and is the only island of a considerable size. It has some Mediterranean vegetation and a 19th-century lighthouse on it. The lighthouse was built on La Meda Gran in 1866; it had a resident lighthouse keeper until 1932 when the installation of an automatic light made him redundant. Currently the island has a solar-powered automatic lighthouse.Meda Xica, the second largest island, has a total surface of only 0.24km². Carall (or Cavall) Bernat, Tascons Grossos, Medellot, Tascons Petits and Ferrenelles are mere steep rocky outcrops jutting out from the sea.HistoryIn the 15th century the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem built a fortress on Meda Gran. They eventually left and pirate attacks in the 16th century damaged the fortress. The fortress became a prison during the 18th century and at the time of the Napoleonic Wars was again fortified.On 29 August 1811 General Joaquín Ibáñez Cuevas y de Valonga, Baron de Eroles, at the behest of Luis Roberto de Lacy and with the assistance of HMS Cambrian, a Colonel Green, and British troops, landed, captured, and destroyed the fort the French had built on Meda Gran. Green then ordered the fort abandoned. Several weeks later, on 11 September, de Lacy landed on the island. He rebuilt, garrisoned and fortified the fort, and symbolically renamed the islands the Isles of the Restoration. The last military garrison left in 1890.
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Where to stay in Girona

Consider lodging along the Onyar River for iconic views of the buildings that overhang the water. A guesthouse on one of the Girona's narrow old town streets is convenient for walking tours of the city.
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  • These islands are protected and cannot be landed upon, with the exception of one day in September, when a guided trip is organised. You can moor next to the islands for free, if you have a boat, with ...  more »
  • Only i km off the mainland,the seven outcrops are a paradise for divers and nature lovers with gulls,shags,hoopoes and cormorants in huge numbers. But its the underwater world that is more colourful b...  more »
  • The Islands are a reminder of what the mediterranean could be like if it was managed better. The fish life was in abundance and some huge fish as well. There are plenty of swim throughs and caverns , ...  more »