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The Illes Medes Integral Nature Reserve. A treasure in L’Estartit

Illes Medes Integral Nature Reserve
The Medes Islands is an archipelago located one kilometre off the coast of L'Estartit. It forms part of the Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park and comprises 21.5 hectares of land and 511 hectares of sea of exceptional ecological value, making it a unique place in the Mediterranean.

The Medes Islands is an archipelago located one kilometre off the coast of L’Estartit. It forms part of the Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park and comprises 21.5 hectares of land and 511 hectares of sea of exceptional ecological value, making it a unique place in the Mediterranean. The emerged part is made up of seven islets: Meda Gran, Meda Xica, Carall Bernat, Tascons Grossos, Tascons Petits, Medellot and Les Ferranelles. As a whole, the last buttresses of the Montgrí massif on its way to the bottom of the sea.

It is precisely this seabed that gives the Medes Islands their exceptional value and makes them a unique place in the Mediterranean, highly appreciated by divers from all over the world. This seabed is home to populations of algae, posidonia meadows, corals, various species of fish, crabs, starfish, etc.

Historically, the Medes Islands have been a place that has captivated human beings and encouraged them to come here, as revealed by the shipwrecks found in the surrounding waters. In fact, sunken Greek ships have been found, while for centuries the islands have hidden remains that suggest they were used as necropolises.

From the 15th century onwards, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre built a fortification on the Meda Grande, which was abandoned a few decades later. The opportunity was seized by the numerous pirates of the time, who used the islands as a base for raiding the coast. In the 18th century, the remains of the building were used as a prison and housed a military garrison until 1890.

Since its last inhabitants abandoned it in 1934, the archipelago has been uninhabited, and since 1983 it has received special environmental protection from the Generalitat de Catalunya. This initiative has contributed enormously to recovering the richness of its valuable seabed.

In order to enjoy all the underwater wonders that the Medes Islands have to offer, you can go scuba diving or take part in an excursion on a boat with a transparent bottom. The practice of scuba diving is regulated, although it can be done with your own boat or through one of the authorised concessionary centres, which also offer commented marine itineraries, practising light immersion (fins, goggles and snorkel) or the underwater itinerary (in groups, with a previous theory session).

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