The Tour de Madeloc is a medieval watchtower on a 670 meters high summit in the hinterland of Banyuls-Sur-Mer. It is a two hours’ drive from Cadaqués, and it takes you almost three from Barcelona. Sure if you are in Barcelona, there are already many things to see and do, but if you are looking for a great contrasting outdoor activity and want to do a hike in the Pyrenees, it is definitely worth going to discover the borderland of France to Spain. French Catalonia, especially on the mountain slopes of the Pyrenees, is beautifully filled with green forests and wine cultivation. The hiking route to the Tour de Madeloc offers fantastic panoramic views from above on the sea and mountain biking in the area is also possible. To make it even better, time your hike to arrive during sunset – it will be less hot, and the colors of the horizon will take your breath away. Afterward, you probably want to stay overnight. There are a lot of camping sides in the area, especially in Argelés-Sur-Mer or stay overnight in the beautiful village of Collioure.
Arriving at the parking area, the following view will already reward you. On the left, you can see the bay of Argelés-Sur-Mer and on the right the village of Collioure. Take a deep breath in, enjoy the view over the area below you and then start your hike. You will need your breath climbing up, but the views will only get better.
The non-circular route to the watchtower of Madeloc isn’t very long, in total 4 kilometers, but it is at some points very steep. Just in case take a flashlight with you, because although going the 4 kilometers down again is less physically challenging, you have to be focused on the path and to see well is an advantage in doing so.
With the setting sun the colors of nature along the way show their beauty and diversity.
The Tour de Madeloc is well signposted on the D86 either if you are coming from Banyuls-Sur Mer or Argelés-Sur Mer. We were coming from the north and parked at the following place.
As I said the route isn’t very long and probably it’s the best opportunity to climb up a summit of the Pyrenees with reasonable physical effort. At the same time, great views and the fact on one’s side that you actually climbed a peak of the Pyrenees, is no doubt rewarding. But if you are up for even more, there are longer routes, including the Madeloc watchtower, which are signposted along the way. On the path, for instance, you can spot further in the north-west another lookout from the same medieval period – the Tour de Massane. You can see it as a tiny dot at the facing mountain range at the following picture.
There is also a hike to the Massane watchtower if you can’t get enough. It is 4.2 kilometers long and goes in altitude 550 meters up.
Unfortunately, the Madeloc watchtower itself can’t be climbed, since it is closed - nowadays it is used as a radio relay station. However, the impression of the Madeloc and Massane watchtowers as guards of the valleys beneath makes the hike worth doing!
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