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Mont-ras to Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc

Calella de Palafrugell view across Port Bo from the promenade Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc are two of the prettiest fishing villages on the whole of the Costa Brava with great restaurants and are almost totally unspoilt with no high-rises or other monstrosities.

As resorts they are chic and upmarket. Llafranc for instance has a Michelin starred restaurant. (Quick warning - don't mix up Calella de Palafrugell with the uglier Calella on the relatively feature-less Maresme coast on the way to Barcelona ).

There is an easy headland walk between the two villages that, in the summer has a steady flow of strollers and holiday makers enjoying the view of the cristal clear water.

This time though we take a longer version bringing in more of the surrounding countryside (this version is about 12km in length). It's relatively easy to take shortcuts if the thought of a longer walk is too much.

Mont-ras from the Ruta del Tren Petit path Instead of starting at the coast though, we start in the older part of Mont-ras just off the C31.

Mont-ras is a little known village/district bridging the gap between Palafrugell and Palamos, but offers an excellent range of walks and cycle routes from flat and simple to adventurous in the Gavarres.

From Mont-ras walk out across the fields initially along the route of the Tren Petit  (La Ruta del Tren Petit). The path was established in the areas of the route of an old small-gauge train line that used to run from the mainline railway at Flaca through La Bisbal to Palafrugell and then to Palamos.

Palafrugell church and Mas Roig from Ruta del Tren Petit path The line was discontinued in the 1950s or 60s, but is fondly remembered by older locals. The train itself was very small - so small they say they passengers had to get off to allow the train to climb the rise through Torrent/Llofriu. Famous local Catalan writer Josep Pla wrote of the amazement on visitors faces when they first saw the size of the train.

Now the Ruta del Tren Petit is a very pleasant path and cycle way through the fields that joins Palafrugell, Mont-ras, Palamos and Vall-llobrega to the beaches of Calella, Golfet, Castell and La Fosca.

We walk and cycle this area very regularly as there is such a variety of landscape within such short distances. The path is flat and quiet and we follow the path to the junction at Mas Roja - an imposing large farmhouse with a tower glued to one corner.

At the crossroads, the main Tren Petit route goes to the right. This time instead of following the Tren Petit route too far, we continue past Mas Roja to meet a tarmac/concrete road at the next crossroads.

Hamlet of Ermedas Following this to the right takes us down to the hamlet of Ermedas, a small hamlet in the plain with old farmhouses and a small chapel and field with horses.

Just before the chapel in the village between two houses is a turn to the left towards the woods.

Follow the path across a small stream (which is dry in summer and has water in winter), then a gentle climb into the woods past hidden houses fenced in and surrounded by cork trees.

Keep going through the woods and eventually you reach the top of a small hill and the outskirts of Calella village and the first houses, and the first glimpse of the sea.

Fields at the back of Ermedas Even in winter, out of season, Calella retains its charm, though it can be very quiet in winter. The houses mostly have gardens and flowers like Bourgainvilla continue to bloom through the winter months and the village remains spotless and litter free.

Follow the road/footpath as it takes you down the hill and into town - you can see the church in the centre from the top of the village.

The path should take you past Moby Dick's Campsite, still not entirely empty even in December and down to Port Bo.

Take the time to admire the view from Hotel Mediterranean before taking the promenade along the cliff then down to the restaurants and fishing boats in the tiny bay that is used for the Festival of Haverneres (Sea Shanty) in summer.

There are three or four restaurants here and even in December there are a few people taking coffee in the sunshine and enjoying the warmth of the sun.

Calella de Palafrugell beach of Canadell from the footpath to Llafranc We now follow the classic coastal route to Llafranc keeping close to the sea-line.

Firstly, going past Canadell beach (excellent for snorkling in the summer as the beach is sandy, but the bay is rocky with loads of fish in the water), then up the steps and around the headland.

In winter there are few people about. Two or three people are in swimsuits basking in the sun on Canadell beach, but except for them the village feels empty.

We are always amazed at how few people stay in Calella or Llafranc year round. If it was the Italian lakes it would be bustling with people all year long.

From Canadell beach (Calella) we round the headline and get our first view of Llafranc then walk down the long flight of steps into town.

Some brave soul is swimming in the bay while others watch from the restaurants by the water's edge.

Llafranc village from the headland walk The beach in Llafranc is bigger than in Calella and the bay has a sandier bottom. At about the location of the tourist information booth, you'll see a dry river (probably looks like a grass channel with bridges across it).

Turn up by the empty river and head out and back towards Palafrugell walking beside the road out past the diving centre.

The road itself is more of a back way into Llafranc and it's quiet even in summer and we only see a couple of cars pass us before we reach the turning to the left just before the Llafranc tennis club marked in the direction Palafrugell.

Off the road the path turns to a track again and we walk past the courts and farm houses.

Placa Nova in the centre of Palafrugell At the junction close to the last edge of the tennis club if you take the left hand fork up a small rise, you can get a view of the Pyrenees behind Palafrugell.

There's not much snow on them at the moment so they don't show up well in the photo, but it's amazing to realise you can see snow and sea on the same walk.

Going back to the main route we head into Palafrugell past the police station before cutting up into the centre.

Palafrugell itself is not so pretty. It was a working town making corks before tourism came in, and during the long Catalan lunch hours (about 1pm to 4pm) it can seem as dead as a dodo.

It comes to life though in the mornings and evenings. In the mornings there are regular markets and on Sunday a big market that snakes from the main Placa Nova out through the town. And then from the centre back to Mont-ras.

Update to clarify the route in Ermedas (see comment below)

Emerdas turning between houses View down the track
The route in Ermedas to Calella de Palafrugell is a turning between two houses about 30-40m before the chapel.

Though it looks a little like a driveway, the track leads though the woods to the back of Calella de Palafrugell. The photos show the turning and what the track looks like as you approach it.

Neighbouring walks: Calella de Palafrugell/Cap Roig to Castell - classic wild Costa Brava - Far de Sant Sebastia (Llafranc) to Tamariu - Mont-ras 'boar' walk - Mont-ras Fountain walk - Platja de Castell and La Fosca - Palafrugell, Tamariu, Begur residential and Esclanya - Eulogy to the Ruta del Tren Petit (Palafrugell, Palamos, Mont-ras and Vall-llobrega)

Swimming: Swimming at the beaches of Calella de Palafrugell

Walking route from Mont-ras to Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc on the Costa Brava and back via Palafrugell


07 Mar 2016 19:00
Hi, we tried to follow this route last weekend, and found the instructions hard to follow. We made it as far as Ermedas, but then could not find the path out, so had to abort. Its a shame, as we have done some other walks that we really enjoyed.
13 Mar 2016 15:04
Thanks for the comment. I've added an update showing the turning mentioned in Ermedas.
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