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Costa Brava Living - blog area

Walks and other things

Walks on the Costa Brava - click for a larger version One of the joys of the Costa Brava is the variety of landscapes and we like to visit places and walk (a lot), particularly into and around the Gavarres. Sometimes we travel around on bike. In the summer, we swim and canoe.

These then are write ups of walks, hikes and activities that we've done since November 2012, with photos straight from the original walk or activity.

We like to make circular walks and our walks range in length from about 4km (an hour) to around 16km (four hours) - but probably about 2 1/2 hours on average - though if you want to reduce the length, there are usually shortcuts.

To find walks by location, click on the map, which goes to a full sized map with links to individual walks and visits. To our surprise, we were listed in the Sunday Times' Essential Costa Brava (Feb 2017).

The most visited walks are:

Fornells and Aiguablava walk (GR92)
18 Dec 2012

Fornells village looking back to Aiguablava on the Costa Brava Fornells and Aiguablava are small coastal locations in the municipality of Begur heading out towards Tamariu.

Aiguablava, where we're starting, is a small sandy beach under a Parador (a particular type of historic Spanish hotel) and is an archetypical sandy bay beach with turquoise sea under rocky cliffs, and is the main beach used on the adverts for Begur and its blue Mediterranean waters.

At the other end of this walk is the village or hamlet of Fornells (not to be confused with the village of the same name just outside Girona) is right on the coast and almost tumbles into the sea with a small pretty harbour cut into the rocks and two older Costa Brava hotels.

This is a walk we do regularly out of season, taking in one of the luxurious hidden corners of the Costa Brava past a variety of large houses and villas that seem to nestle into the sides of the hill above the sea between Fornells and Aiguablava.

If it was summer, Aiguablava's car park and small exquisite beach would be  full, but in December, when we are walking, it is empty, with practically no-one around.

This is one of the joys of the Costa Brava. Once the holiday season is over you pretty much have the place to yourself with the most beautiful spots shimmering in the winter sun, empty of anything but sand, sea and scenery.

The walking route we are taking follows the GR92 coast road (marked with red and white stripes on the paths). We tried the walk last spring (2012) only to find a rock fall had closed the path above the Aguablava end. This winter the path has been replaced with a short bridge over the gap.

Tiny sandy bay at Fornells So we start at the Aiguablava car park. The actual path, like many others here, might not be found on Google Maps - some times Google misses connections so it's not so good for walking off the beaten track, however, the route and GR92 is marked on walking maps and when walking the GR92 is marked by red and white flashes. The maps we normally use to check out routes are the Emporda Costa Brava 1:30,000 series, but even on these maps you'll find routes that aren't completely marked.

From Aiguablava (blue water) we follow the beach to the left and up steps over the cliffs to the next bay, full of large pebbles and rocks in complete contrast to Aiguablava. Being winter and so a bit wetter here, a small stream tumbles through the pebbles down to the sea and a small pile of whitened driftwood has washed to the back of the cove.

From the bay, the path then goes under a covered walk way beneath a luxury villa up a tunnel of stairs before emerging higher up just outside fields and an olive grove.

The path is larger and turns down into a pocket of terraced fishermen's cottages of Fornells so closely packed it feels like you're walking in people's yards. The red and white stripes of the GR92 are a reassurance you're on a genuine path.

Below the cottages, the path reaches a tiny little bay with barely enough sand for a sandpit and traces the rocks under the village before turning more cottages and up to the harbour and hotel above.

If you keep walking around the harbour you can continue across the rocks to another narrow cove where the rocks are in a chessboard of dark and light.

You then run into a natural looking 'infinity' pool (Es Cau) that uses the natural rocks by the sea with hidden wall to give the contrast of the still pool water with the sea beyond (it's a private pool).

Finally head up to the road and back out past the pristine gardens of the larger houses here. The final bit of the walk runs along the main road. Not so pleasant but not busy at this time of year.

Update: If you're walking this in reverse - Fornells to Aiguablava, someone has removed the signposts just below the orange houses as you leave Fornells. The path runs up the stairs and through what looks like the yard of the house.

Neighbouring walks: Sa Tuna, Cap de Begur, Begur - Palafrugell, Tamariu, Begur residential and Esclanya - Far de Sant Sebastia (Llafranc) to Tamariu - Begur, Ses Negres and Sa Riera

Swimming: Swimming at the beach at Aiguablava

Events: Begur - Festa d'Indians

Walking route between Aiguablava and Fornells near Begur on Costa Brava

Clots de Sant Julia (Vulpellac)
17 Dec 2012

Clots de Sant Julia quarries near La Bisbal The Clots de Sant Julia are a collection of spectacularly coloured small-scale pre-Roman quarries located just outside Vulpellac close to La Bisbal d'Emporda (a clot is a hole in Catalan). We'd seen it marked on a map without being able to find very much information as to what to expect, so to make a walk of it we parked at Sant Susanna de Peralt and walked out.

The walk (7.5km) is pretty flat past open fields with the Gavarres in the background and the castle and outside of the historic village of Peretallada to our north as we walked past a number of very large masia estates. To get to the Clots, the path turns up into a wood and initially the only visible sign that you've arrived is a board describing the Clots with no clear direction of where to go or quite what to look for. So we headed into the woods along some narrow paths. To the left we saw the first quarry pit - nothing much to look at. Then suddenly you turn down into a second pit at this great wall of bright yellow sandstone almost jumps out from the trees. The sandstone is soft enough to rub away with your fingers and so it has wear marks where previous visitors, and probably the original quarry makers had come for the colour and quality of the sand. The site is not too large and well hidden within the tree cover. Someone had laid sticks to mark off the edges of the pits so you wouldn't get too close, but most of the pits are 3-4 metres deep so nothing too steep or dangerous.

On leaving the Clots we followed the GR92 - the great Catalan coastal path (even though we're several mile inland) to Canapost - a golden stone village and from there to Peretallada with moat, bridge, castle, coves and myriad of restaurants in amongst the stone houses and cobbled streets. It's one of the most famous Catalan historic villages - though perhaps not that well known by foreign visitors.

Neighbouring walks: La Bisbal, Vulpellac, Castell d'Emporda, FontetaCanapost, Poblet Iberic and Ullastret - Palau-sator and Peratallada - Santa Susanna de Peralta and Sant Climent de Peralta - Llofriu, St Llop and Torrent - Mont-ras to Fitor and on to Fonteta and Vulpellac - Canapost to the medieval fair at Peratallada

 

Walking route from Santa Susanna de Peralta via Clots of Sta Julia to Canapost and Peratallada on Costa Brava

Pessebres
17 Dec 2012

Pessebres are nativity scenes that, in Catalonia at least, become very elaborate and large displays often taking in some aspects of local life. The village of Mont-ras just outside Palafrugell organises a competition of Pessebres each year with around 15-20 nativity scenes designed and made by local people, on display.

Pessebres aren't the only Christmas nativity scene. Several villages also have living nativity scenes on certain evenings close to Christmas with actors playing the part of Mary and Joseph.

Christmas is also celebrated somewhat differently from Northern Europe. The traditional Catalan christmas dinner is usually a vast assortment of fish eaten and a special selection of pasta de navidad cooked in caldo (stock). It can feel strange to see supermarkets advertising shellfish for Christmas dinner, and turkeys can be extremely difficult to find as a traditional English turkey dinner is definitely not on the Catalan menu.

Having said that, some aspects are creeping in. Traditionally Catalans do not have Christmas trees (the northern Spruce pine is not a native tree here), instead they have a caga-tio. That is a little log with a red barretina cap (the traditional catalan cap). The tio is covered by a blanket and the children hit the log with a stick and it 'poohs' (literally the meaning of caga) sweets for the children. It's not the only thing poohing at Christmas. In the traditional nativity scene there is normally a small figurine squatting with its trousers around it's ankles - usually based on some current famous person or celebrity.

Total found: 219
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Comments

adam@veggingoutwithadam.com
17 Feb 2014 19:46
What a great blog. I am planning a walking holiday in the region and wonder if you can recommend the best walking maps, like UK ordnance survey ones.

I shall be reading more of your walks over the coming days as we plan.

Many thanks
Adam
Saul
24 Feb 2014 17:25
Glad you're enjoying it. We have recommendations for maps in our 'Advice and FAQ' section
Saul
13 Jul 2017 12:46
Sorry I missed the comment, so I hope it's not too late - use the contact box if you'd like to send a message. For the coast, the GR92 is best and if you have driver you can just take it piece by piece. For hikers, around Cap de Creus is great, though it can be dry and hard walking in summer. For us, the stretch between Palamos and Palafrugell and on to Begur is the prettiest part of the whole Costa Brava and really good for walking. I'd probably also take the walk up and over Montgri, possibly starting at Pals, or L'Estartit to L'Escala. And though you said you prefer the coast, don't overlook inland routes as there are some wonderful villages and countryside out towards Girona, La Bisbal, or Olot.
Sven-Gunnar Furmark
24 May 2017 11:43
Hi,

My name is Sven Furmark. I am from Sweden. I plan to go to Costa Brava with some friends (totally about 10 people) for hiking for one week (5 walking days). We are experienced hikers and we usually walk 4-6 hours per day. We prefer to walk along the coast as much as possible. We plan to rent a house and travel to each days hiking with a bus & driver which we plan to book for the whole week. Which five hikes would you recommend for us.

Warm Regards
Sven
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