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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:

Day trip to Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis in France
11 Mar 2013

Villefranche de Conflent exterior One of the advantages of being on the Costa Brava is how easy it is to get to France for a day out. The border is about an hour away and in another thirty minutes you can be in Perpignan. Historically speaking this is still Catalonia, and is now rebranded as Catalonia North, but culturally it feels French and there is a strong sense of being in a different country and culture to the Spanish side of the border. One of the big differences is rugby which is the main sport (in league and union forms) north of the border, but practically non-existent on the Spanish-side of the border.

Villefranche de Conflent portcullis The other big change is in shopping. Though the French supermarkets Carrefour and Al Campo (Auchun in France) have crossed the border, the selection of products can be very different in range and quality to the products you would get in France. So from time to time we go across the border just to fill up with things we struggle to find locally, like syrup for squash, a joint of beef, duck or some more exotic cheeses that just don't seem to cross the border. And it would seem a shame not to make a day of it.

Villefranche de Conflent tower and walls So this time we crossed the border, reached the outskirts of Perpignan and then turned towards the mountains in the direction of Prades and Andorra. It's currently ski season so there is snow across the top of the Pyrenees and a steady stream of cars coming towards us with skis on their roofs.

From the Costa Brava there are really four possibilties for skiing. The closest is to Valter 2000 which is above Camprodon about 4-5 km above the closest village of Setcases. The second is Val de Nuria above Ripoll on a fenicular railway both are a little less than 2 hours from the coast. Next on the Spanish-side, the next is La Molina/Masella, but this is a very bendy road from the Ripoll-side and is best reached from Berga through the Tunel de Cadi, and if you're going this way you could also reach Andorra. The alternative is to cross the border into France and head up to Font-Romeu.

Mont-louis in the Pyrenees We weren't going skiing ourselves, but more sightseeing with the aim of visiting Villefranche-de-Conflent which is a walled town/fort situated in the valley that leads up to Font-Romeu that dominates the access to the valley. It sits just beyond Prades which is famous as the adopted home of two notable Catalans - Pau Cassals a world famous cellist, and Pompeu Fabra who wrote the first description of the grammar of the Catalan language. They came to the French side of the border as exiles from the Franco regime.

 Villefranche-de-conflent sits on the confluence of two rivers and is a world heritage site. The area of Roussillon/Catalonia Nord has changed hands several times between the Catalans/Spanish and the French, finally becoming part of France in 1659.

View from Mont-Louis to the mountains The town as it remains is unspolit in original condition reflecting the strengthening of the castle by Vaubon in 1700s. It's not large - about four streets wide each of about 150m length, so it doesn't take long to walk around and there are several cafes and artisan shops. At the sites of the drawbridge and portcullis you can still see the chains inside the gate house. There is a higher fort across the railway bridge above the town, but we chose not to visit.

Instead we decided to continue another 30km up the vally to Mont-Louis. This is another Vaubon fort but sits just above the col at the highpoint of the road - about 1600m. To reach it, the road curls up the valley and is bendy in places and broad double lanes in others. As mentioned, there was snow on the mountains and so when we reached the top there were the remains of snow piles built up next to the walls and houses, a huge contrast to the warm spring conditions back at the coast.

Mont-Louis is another fortress town, but with relatively few houses and a still occupied army barracks right at the top. From the ramparts you can look across to the mountains which were covered with snow at the top, and across the valley you could see chair-lifts and ski-ers on the pistes opposite.

On the way down we visited Ille-sur-tet, an old catalan town in the Spanish style, but not quite as interesting as it looked from the road as we passed. The shopping we did in Le Boulou (Le volo in Spanish) which is close to the border and saves having to go all the way to Perpignan.

Walk nearby: La Jonquera to Fort de Bellegarde (France) - Mollo (Camprodon) - Pyrenees to France

Neighbouring visits

White water rafting in Quillan (France) - Collioure (France)  - Perpignan - Elne (France) - Ceret (France) - Andorra La Vella - Ribes de Freser and skiing at Vall de Nuria - Visit to Setcases - Puigcerda and Bourg-Madame

Escala, St Marti d'Empuries and beyond
04 Mar 2013

lEscala Platja del Rec L'Escala is one of the major towns on the Costa Brava and is famed for its anchovies. It is also the location of Empuries, a large ancient Roman town with Greek origins that sits just outside L'Escala. The town is sort of into two parts - the original fishing town/village which is to the north and the more modern estates of Riells that cluster around the southern beach of Riells and run down to Montgo. The two blend into to one another but there is a strongly different character between the more holiday focused modern town and the more work focused old town centre.

Bays between lEscala and Empuries For this walk we started at the fringes of L'Escala old town as we really wanted to go north past the Empuries archeological site, on to St Marti d'Empuries and then onwards along the coast. The path is made for a Sunday stroll with tarmac underfoot and paths across and around the dunes on purpose-made wooden paths. This strollers path runs all the way to St Marti and is perfect if you have a pushchair or are just looking for a passeo.

Ruins of Empuries from the beach path As mentioned we started at the the outskirts of the town and the path follows the coast past low rocky cliffs and then around to the four or five small sandy bays that lay nestled under the dunes, with rocky outcrops reaching out into the sea. We walk past the Hostal d'Empuries hotel and restaurant where it can be pleasant just to while away the time watching the sea and the passersby.

Immediately after the Hotel is Empuries. Founded by the Phoenicians and then extended by the Greeks and Romans, you can see the layout of the Roman town from the path as you pass, but to visit properly you have to go inside to the museum. You can tell from the outside that the town was very large, but in fact the part you can see from the beach path is only about one third of the entire site.

Empuries was a very important trading town and would have been comparable size and importance to Tarragona and Barcelona during the Roman period. The word Emporium for a large shop shares the same route as Empuries, and ancient writers mention the city and its contribution to the Punic Wars, giving some idea of the importance of the city to the Roman Empire. After the Romans left, Empuries remained the chief town in Emporda and was the seat of the counts d'Empuries until the 10th Century, at which point raids by Vikings(!) and muslim navy led to the town being abandoned in favour of Castello d'Empuries to the north.

Portwall at Empuries showing the change in sea level Just after last houses of Empuries, if you look to the sea you'll see the remains of the ancient Greek/Roman port wall standing on the beach. Originally, Empuries would have had a very impressive harbour. The position of the walls relative to the sea level also show how changing coast lines have directly affected the history. At one point Empuries and Sant Marti were on an island surrounded by water. But drainage, sedimentation and changing sea levels now mean the surrounding area is fertile farmland.

Sant Marti dEmpuries full for Sunday lunch in early March After the port, the path continues up to St Marti d'Empuries, a small walled Catalan village. We walk up into the village to see the church and around the old houses, and even in early March it's teeming with people visiting the restaurants. Behind the restaurants, you pass the remaining walls of the town. Being on the sea, Sant Marti would have been at risk of attacks from pirates. From there we head out towards the long broad beach that extends all the way along to Roses about 20km to the North, taking in the path we walked by the Aiguamolls and still going round.

Bridge from Empuries to beach To reach the main beach you have to cross a metal bridge over the river. We walked along the beach watching the campsites to our left. There are two very large campsites that run along the beach. The first is the Balena Allegre (Happy Whale), and the second Les Dunes. In the summer they would be full with people, but out of season we're almost the only people on the beach. Just a handful of long-distance walkers making the hike down to L'Escala walk past.

Cortal Gran near the campsites of Les Dunes and Balena Allegre The only problem though is the size of the campsites. On the map there's a break point between the two campsites, otherwise you're hemmed in all the way almost to Sant Pere Pescador. The challenge from the sand is working out where Balena Allegre ends and Les Dunes begins. Fortunately we find the right spot. As you're walking there's a big blue building labelled as the Discoteque Fata Morgana (a Fata Morgana is a mirage). The path runs from the beach up by the side of the disco and from here we're out onto a small narrow road. There's a path behind the crash barriers that's used by cycling campers in the summer. We walk north, hoping to find a way to link to the GR92. There's a path marked on the map that reaches down towards the road. Unfortunately, to reach the path you have to cross a broad stream and there's no bridge link.

The only place to reach the GR92 is to go further north past the fields of espaliered fruit trees. The only problem is the path runs out and you have to follow the road which is precariously narrow with little space to pass pedestrians. Fortunately it was quiet and we walked on to reach a left hand turn past the big house of Cortal Gran.

Village of Cinclaus outside Escala From this point the walk is very very flat and relatively long, through the fields and past more fruit-trees with relatively little variation. After a couple of kilometres the path finally arrives at Cinclaus - a small nest of masias with a chapel built at the site of a former castle, which itself was built on the site of a former Roman villa. Like many old masias, one has been converted into a restaurant and families are just leaving after their Sunday lunch. Cinclaus is also the point where the GR1 path from Finistere in Galicia meets the GR92 long distance coast path.

We walk back to L'Escala past the riding centre and up, off the road and past a farm. From the crest of the hill we realise that we are right next door to the ancient walls of Empuries - not the part we walked past on the seaward side, but a different part of the town. The walls are 3-4m high and several hundred metres in length. We can just make out the ampitheatre built outside the walls. We follow the path down and walk past the entrance to the Empuries Museum/Archaelogical site, then back along the beach to L'Escala.

Visit: Empuries Greek and Roman remains

Neighbouring walks: L'Escala Riells to sea cliffs and viewpoint of Montgo - Aiguamolls d'Emporda (Empuriabrava) - L'Estartit to Cala Pedrosa and Cala Ferriol - Bellcaire d'Emporda, Tor and Albons - Castello d'Empuries - Sant Pere Pescador river Fluvia - Sobrestany, Montgri and Bellcaire d'Emporda

Walking route Escala, Empuries, Sant Marti, campsites and Cinclaus

Cruilles, Monells and Sant Sadurni de l'Heura
04 Mar 2013

Tower in Cruilles In the early Medieval period La Bisbal was important because it was the seat of the Prince-Bishops of Girona and the area and villages around, rather than being under the control of the Count of Empuries (Comte d'Empuries), were directly under the control of the bishops. As such a number of the bishops had names associated with the local villages (de Monells or de Cruilles). One of the most important of these was Berenguer de Cruilles - the bishop of Girona in 1349 and the first president of the Generalitat de Catalunya - the government of Catalunya - in 1359. People named de Cruilles occur numerous times in Catalan history including important participants in the conquest of Mallorca by the Catalans and as inquisitor general for Spain.

Monells street The town of Cruilles now is another pretty, stone-built Catalan village with a large tower in the centre. It's not so large and easy to walk around, though with the exception of the tower and church it's mainly smaller houses so it's not as illustrious as its forebears names would suggest. On this visit, the church tower was under cover behind scaffolding. However, a short walk away is St Miquel de Cruilles, an early Romanesque monastery. We come back this way on the walk.

From Cruilles we head out towards Monells. As far as we can see on the map, the only option is to follow a road that links the villages. We tried to make a diversion up the hill then navigate a couple of dotted line tracks, but got stuck and ended up having to walk by the edge of fields to get back to the road, so it's probably best to stick to the road.

Monells square and arcades Monells we have mentioned before in the walk up to Montnegre. The village from the road doesn't look very interesting, but the centre hides arched arcades and stone gates. We walk down one of the old streets to the gate at the bottom to see the stream, before going back under the arches and into the inner court yard where people are eating under the arches.

Sant Sadurni church We follow the path out along the stream (similar to the other Monells walk), but take a left hand road past a small cluster of farm buildings. This takes us towards Sant Sadurni de l'Heura, the third of the towns on the route. Sant Sadurni has an impressive 18th century church, and is the chief village of the poblacio made up of the three villages, but compared to both Cruilles and Monells feels a little more run down with fewer hidden streets to explore.

We leave the village and cross the main car road, going past two or three restaurants. The car-parks are full with locals out for lunch. We continue on the track indicated to Cruilles, passing the small chapel of Sant Joan de Salelles (named after Saint John the Baptist - Joan is Catalan for John, a boy's name). As we pass a large masia we reach a crossroads and the flat fields spread out in front of us, framed by the Gavarres hills in the background with views to La Bisbal.

Chapel of Sant Joan near Cruilles Along the track we turn up to the left to visit Sant Miquel de Cruilles. The monestary is famous for being one of the early Romanesque buildings (Romanesque is known as Norman architecture in England). Built in 904, the style is quite muscular and plain, but is characteristic of many older buildings in Catalona and is a style that almost emerged from this part of the world. It was superceded by the Gothic style - much more pointed arches. Sant Miquel itself is a small hamlet of 10-15 renovated buildings. The path then runs down the hill, past the pig farm (which sort of ruins the view of Cruilles) and back to the car.

Neighbouring walks: Monells and Mont-negreCorça, Casavells, Matajudaica - La Bisbal, Vulpellac, Castell d'Emporda, Fonteta - St Pol de Bisbal and Santa Lucia - Mont-ras to Fitor and on to Fonteta and Vulpellac - Madremanya, Els Angels, Sant Marti Vell - Canapost, Poblet Iberic and Ullastret - Cruilles and masias and streams

Walking route Cruilles, Monells and Sant Sadurni

Bell-lloc and Castell de Vila-Roma (Palamos)
04 Mar 2013

Castle of Vilaroma (Palamos) and Bell.loc In the walk from Calonge into the Gavarres, the aim had been to reach the Castle of Vila-Roma just to the north of Palamos. The castle itself is long since ruined, but beneath the castle is the old convent of Bell-loc which has now been converted into a private residence, hotel and vineyard.

This is a walk we've done several times before, but we like to do it in spring when the ground isn't so dry and the flowers and wild asparagus are starting to appear in the woods.

The castle itself sits above a stream and looks down the valley to St Joan de Palamos. You can see it from the dual carriageway if you know where to look, but it's very easy to miss the rust-coloured stone in among the trees if you're just passing for the first time.

To reach the castle it would be an easy walk from either La Fosca or Palamos itself - there is a footpath under the new dual carriageway by the La Fosca junction up into the Vila-Roma area.

Castle of Vila-Roma Instead, we start a little closer and park just outside the Hutchinson factory which is a little incongrous to see the factory in among the fields (the company is French and makes advanced materials for things like pipes and seals and clutches among other things).

Walk along the lane past the picnic area and take the signposted path to the left and into the woods. The road forks a little way along and we take the right fork (we come back down the left side). The path climbs into the woods and curls around the valley side to give the first view of the castle.

The castle itself only has about one and a half tower-bits standing, so it's quite decrepit, but it looks like a proper ruined castle, albeit on the small side.

Below the castle is a white building and vineyards. This is the old convent of Bell-loc which we will pass on the way back.

There would have been castles and towers along all the eastern edges of the Gavarres in medieval times. To the south is Castell d'Aro. On the coast is Torre Valentino. Palamos itself was a royal garrison port, but before this had the castle of Sant Esteve at La Fosca. Mont-ras had a watch-out tower and there was a castle at Sant Susanna de Peralt and obviously the castle at Begur.

View to Bell.loc and down to Palamos The path continues right to the edge of the castle itself. It's relatively overgrown inside with masonery on the floor, but with some arches and windows still standing.

The castle is open to explore (update: signs say keep out now) and gives views down the valley and out to sea.

On the far side from the footpath, the castle stands on a bluff above the stream below (a sharp drop so watch if you're with small children).

Having explored and taken a few photos we continue along the track. A signpost points to the dolmen to the right, but we continue. There are two paths from the castle both marked with poles topped with yellow in an attempt to stop mountain bikes.

We take the upper path which is now a narrow track into the woods above the stream to the left.

At the first left junction we turn down the valley. A sudden burst of noise and screeching brakes as a coven of mountain bikers come heading down the path. The tracks very small and bumpy but they some how manage to get their bikes down the tracks and pass with a 'Bon Dia' salutation.

At the bottom is a small stream, swollen by the recent rain and we have to skip across the stepping stones to get to the other side. Then we follow the stream down through what seems like a wide river bottom littered with branches and bits of old trees as if it's a valley that gets sudden torrents of water rushing through it at times of peak rain.

Underneath the castle, the path turns up and out to Bell-loc convent now hotel and vineyard. The signs outside say there is a small chapel and the people of Palamos used to come up to the convent once a year for a festival. Now it's a simple walk along the lane by the stream and past the vineyards. We see the path up to Calonge we would have arrived at if we'd continued the other walk.

Finally we return to the fork and back past the farmhouses and picnic area and back to the car.

Update (June 2014): The Fire on the Costa Brava in March that we reported affected most of the area around Bell.lloc and Castell de Vila Roma with much of the woods burnt by the fire.

What's remarkable is that walking in June while many trees are still black from the fire, vegetation is returning and the fire-resistent cork trees are showing foliage from behind the black-burnt bark. With much of the undergrowth and scrub having been burnt away and trees still recovering, the area is much more open with big vistas out towards the sea, particularly if you go up from the Castle to the Dolmen on top of the hill (Montagut).

What's more remarkable is that in clearing the ground, the fire has revealed a hidden history.

In the woods to the back of the castle, it's possible to see man-made terrace walls and the outlines of buildings that would have been in what is now forest suggesting that in the past the valley might not have been wooded to the extent it is now.

Neighbouring walks: La Fosca to Palamos - Calonge into the GavarresMont-ras 'boar' walk - Platja de Castell and La FoscaCalella de Palafrugell/Cap Roig to Castell - classic wild Costa BravaEulogy to the Ruta del Tren Petit (Palafrugell, Palamos, Mont-ras and Vall-llobrega) - Mont-ras to Fitor and on to Fonteta and Vulpellac

Walking route for Palamos Vila-Roma to the castle and Bell.loc

Vilopriu and Valldavia
25 Feb 2013

Vilopriu castle from the village February is the month most likely to see snow. It also marks the first signs of Spring with the first blossoms in the almond orchards, and meadow flowers starting to appear in the fields. In past years the snow has reached right down to the coast and in one year it combined with a strong wind and took down electricity pylons leaving a few towns without electricity for a few days. Having said that, snow is normally so fleeting and unusual by the coast that it is greeted by an almost childish enthusiasm and excitement.

The weekend of this walk was the one the forecasters estimated as being the most likely to have snow. We were looking forward to it and then the day turned out to be just hung with overcast cloud. Which meant that for the walk, the views and landscape tended to disappear into the haze, which obviously doens't make for great photos.

Valldavia from the radio mast viewpoint Vilopriu is a small village off the beaten track in the hills between L'Escala and its motorway junction at Orriols. It's an area we'd not visited before as the roads skirt around the hills, either to Colomers to the south - which is where you can hire canoes to meander down the river Ter to Verges, or past Camallera to Viladamat to the North. The village itself is small but perfectly preserved. There are no vilas or urbanisations nearby just the old stone houses of the village that have been restored. We parked just under the castle in the 'main' square. The castle itself is not the ajuntament building and there is even a lift access for wheelchairs to get to the main level of the castle where there are views across the fields and out to the Gaverres in the far distance.

The walk starts to the west of the village and we had to go around the bottom of the castle to find the start of the track as it runs past a farmyard. The track is broad and easy to follow out towards the woods and fields around the village. It's a rolling countryside, with meadows adjoining small copses and has a feel of a walk in the UK or even Germany or France. It's a very big contrast to the much more Mediterranean walk of Espolla. We follow the path through the woods. It reaches a tarmac road and we turn left down into the hamlet of Les Pins - little more than 2-3 old masias and a chapel, but it seems that almost every other field has horses. At this point, the walk picks up the GR1. This is the first time we've been on this route. The GR (Grand Radonnee in French, Gran Recorrido in Spanish) are a network of long distance paths in Europe. The GR92 coastal path is the one we are most familiar. The GR1 runs from Finisterre at the most western point of Spain in Galicia across the country to Empuries.

View across to Vilopriu castle on a hazy day The GR1 takes us on a gentle incline up the hill past ploughed fields and with hazy views into the distance. As we reach the top a radio mast appears and we make a right hand turn. At this point going onwards would take you down into Valldavia. There's a castle marked on the map, but while we saw what looked like masia's we didn't really see a castle as such. It could have been than we needed to go down to the village to find it. From the area round the radio mast there are views out across St Pere Pescador and on towards Roses, but it was too hazy to make for a good photo. The area around the mast had obviously been subject to a forest fire and all the trees had been cleared. Summers are normally very dry, and the slightest flame can set of a rapidly spreading wild fire. Last summer, a wild fire that started with the borders of France spread over 40km almost to Figueres and was visible from Begur. The smoke reaching down even as far as Barcelona, so there are very strong prohibitions on fires in the woods and forests during the summer months. However, having had the fire, and without the trees, the views were much more extensive than they might have been.

We walk down from the viewpoint and out along past the municipal open-air swimming pool. The GR1 takes us to a tarmac road and we cross the road, while the GR1 would head to the left. The path continues through the woods giving a view of Vilopriu through the trees, before we turn back to the village.

 Neighbouring walks: Verges, Tallada d'Emporda and Maranya - Colomers and Jafre

Espolla to Rabos
20 Feb 2013

Vineyards close to Espolla This time we have something different from the green fields, coast and cork hills of the Baix Emporda. Espolla and Rabos are towards the mountains that border France in the Alt Emporda region. As you move northwards off the Empordan plains, the routes into the mountains both at Espolla and out towards Cap de Creus become more barren with sharper stones under foot. The fields give way to vineyards and olive groves built on levelled fields surrounded by dry-stone walls that look as they were built hundreds or thousands of years ago.

We headed towards Espolla on a whim after having visited Peralada. Our map at 1:50000 wasn't so great so we really lacked any good walking directions, but the route between Espolla and Rabos seemed as if it would at least give a taste of walking in this area and perhaps provide some experience for planning some other walks up towards the Albera mountains.

Espolla is a small town surrounded by vineyards with a small castle and a prominent church. It's feels far from the tourist track and is more of a regular work-a-day Catalan village. The paths are well marked from the village and there is a route over the mountains to Banyuls sur Mer (Banyuls de la Merenda). The day was quite overcast - February is the month with the greatest chance of snow and days oscillate between warm sun-filled days and chilly evenings presaging the start of spring, and overcast days with threats of rain or sun.

Rabos village and church The path follows a track among the vineyards and olive trees into the hills. It feels quite dry and isolated and there aren't many specific points of interest. The olive groves and vines are well tended   though (we discovered later than Espolla olive oil is renowned in Catalonia) and there are shotgun cartridges almost all the way along the path indicating its attraction to hunters - when we got back to Espolla a large group with dogs and 4x4s was preparing to go out. As the path turns over the hill and back down towards Rabos, there are the first glimpses of views down towards the sea and the Emporda plain, though it was too overcast for us to be able to see clearly.

The path runs down to Rabos. Rabos is a village built on the slopes that runs down to an old bridge and river. From the bridge, Rabos has some charm with what looks like a church crossed with a castle, with parapets above the nave. There are footpaths and roads towards the monestary of Sant Quirze de Colera

For the walk back to Espolla we followed the road. It wasn't busy, but next time we come up here we really have to have better maps.

Neighbouring walks: Peralada - La Jonquera to Fort de Bellegarde (France) - Port de la Selva - Roses and Roses Ciutadella -  Llança - Cadaques and Port Lligat  - Port de la Selva - Cadaques to Roses - Sant Pere de Rodes - Waterfall at Les Escaules (Boadella) - Castell de Requesens

Walking route Espolla to Rabos

19 Feb 2013

Peralada castle Peralada is a town located to the north-east of Figures just off the road to Llanca. The town is the home to the castle of the counts of Peralada and Rocaberti (Rocaberti is a castle, now in ruins, close to the modern French-Spanish border at La Perthus) and the wines of Peralada, part of the DO Emporda wine appelation.

Square in Peralada In around 1000 (so close to the time of William the Conqueror in England), Peralada was the capital of Alt Emporda. At this time Catalonia was a collection of counties (literally ruled by counts). The history of Catalonia and its formation and development is bound up with the counts of Catalonia and feudal lines of homage, caught up with marriage and alliances. The count of the County of Barcelona was the dominate county, but this did not stop disputes with counts such as Urgell or Empuries (the count of Peralada was a vassal of the Count of Empuries). Marriage between the Count of Barcelona and the daughter of the King of Aragon, lead to the creation of the Aragon empire which, at its highpoint in the 1300s included Sardinia, Southern Italy and Sicily, and even out to Athens and parts of Greece. A succession dispute led to the crown of Aragon being entwined and then finally joined with kingdom of Castille, to the disadvantage of Catalonia. As Castille rose in importance and promenence though both the discoveries in America (which were only accessible to Castillans), and the joining of the Spanish crowns and the crown of the Holy Roman Empire under Carles V - which gave Spain its Dutch and Milanese territories in Europe, Catalonia became relatively peripheral. The Castillanisation of Spain causing simmering resentment in Catalonia that eventually blew up in the Reapers Wars of the 1640s. The role of counts, their marriages and their disputes and feuds is then a key part of Catalan history.

Storks and parrots outside Peralada Castle walls Modern Peralada has the, still privately-owned, castle of Peralada still in the possession of the original family. The current castle is was built in the 19th century on the site of the original 9th century castle in a French Chateau-style so compared to most of the Catalan castles we see which retain their medieval origins, this one is quite refined. In keeping with the Chateau style the castle has grounds and gardens. We had hoped to be able to visit, but these were closed to the public. In the summer, the castle has a museum that is open to the public, and also has a number of music festivals. The best we could do was to visit the courtyard, just off from the casino entrance - the casino is open all year around, at least to get a glimpse of the castle.

The town itself is just behind the castle and has its own town walls. It is a typically Catalan town with a church on the high point, and a network of squares and small streets through the centre. The town museum has the well preserved remains of a cloister from an abbey that was in the town - you can just get a glimpse from the back streets. Unfortunately being Sunday much of the town was closed so we couldn't explore much further which meant that we just did a lap of the town. Though we did get the remarkable site of parrots sheltering under stork nests as the storks used their beaks as castanets to chatter to each other.

Originally we had planned on walking direct from Peralada, but the only map we had was a 1:50,000 which doesn't give very good walking resolution and the marked paths seemed to be walks of 6-7km with no obvious circular-route back. So instead we decided to go on into the hills.

Neighbouring walks: Espolla to Rabos - La Jonquera to Fort de Bellegarde (France) - Port de la Selva - Roses and Roses Ciutadella -  Llança - Cadaques and Port Lligat  - Port de la Selva - Cadaques to Roses - Castello d'Empuries - Llança - Castell de Requesens

City visit: Figueres and Castell de Sant Ferran

Palau-sator and Peratallada
18 Feb 2013

Palau-sator Palau-sator and Peratallada are small very picturesque medieval towns/villages situated just outside Pals (which is itself very picturesque). Of the two, Peratallada is the prettiest and for me, is actually prettier than Pals, though because it sits in a shallow valley, it lacks the prominence of Pals village. Peratallada (which I believe means cut stone - pedra tallada) has a moat around one side literally cut into rock, and walls and gates surrounding a maze of cobblestone streets and golden stoned houses. Palau-sator is smaller and less refined and has rings of houses around the central castle/tower.

Clocktower and gatehouse at Palau-sator A feature of the two villages, and a number of other rural villages and masias (farmhouses) is the number of restaurants. Both villages, though small, have a disproportionate number of restaurants in the villages. Though tourists use them, in reality, unlike the coastal resorts which are mostly geared towards the influx of foreign holidaymakers, these restaurants are much more local and authentic. And so on a weekend at lunchtime they tend to fill up with Catalans out for lunch.

We sometimes hear of people looking at holidays on the Costa Brava who worry about coming out of season in case places will be shut. Well yes, some places in the coastal resorts do close through the winter months, particularly the more tourism-focused places. The better restaurants and bars that can and do attract a more local and year-round clientele tend to stay open. And in practice you find many more of these inland than you do at the coast.

Castle building in Peratallada However, to appreciate and get to the restaurants you have to be appreciative of the Catalan hours and eating habits. Broadly speaking, people in Spain do not eat in the early evening and in particular, around the Costa Brava, locals will tend to have their main meal during the middle of the day and will take their time over the meal - so say start at 2pm and finish some time at or after 4pm (the Catalans have the same breakfast-dinner-tea-supper pattern as Northern England - alternatively imagine every day is like Sunday or Christmas dinner, eaten in the middle of the day). If they go out again it will be after 9pm and often only at the weekends.

Cart tracks worn into the rock in Peratallada You would think, having been here for a while and having done a reasonable amount of walking, a simple walk like Palau-sator to Peratallada that we've done before on bikes couldn't go wrong. The distance between the two villages is around 2-3 km, so not far The idea was to make a circular walk - the main route would be the GR92, but there's a path past the church outside Peratallada so we should be able to make a loop. We got hamstrung with two problems - firstly we took the wrong map, and secondly we took the wrong turn, so we didn't quite do the walk we wanted and ended up having to track across fields to make the link.

Cobbled street in Peratallada The other thing is, that by our standards, it's actually not that great a walk - the countryside is fairly flat and level and mainly fields, so it's much more of a gentle stroll through the farmland without many points of interest on the way, unless you count the pig farms and the wafting country smell they generate.

We started at Palau-sator. Palau means palace, but really refers to a large house or castle in the town (Palafrugell and Palamos have the same Palau root). The restaurants were busy, so parking was haphazard though there was space. We took the time to take in the town including the odd stone igloo well and clock tower. From the village we followed the path towards Ullastret to start with - this is mainly tarmac but quiet. Having bought the wrong map and relying on memory we knew we needed a left-hand turn. Unfortunately we took the turn too early and looped around the village. Which then bought us back to the GR92. This was supposed to be the route back, so instead we took the flat walk down to Peratallada.

Bridged street in Peratallada Peratallada is one of the hidden and lesser-known gems we always take relatives too. Often they've heard of Pals, but know nothing about Peratallada. We followed the river to the ford, and then entered into a small square with an arched arcade that represents the main entrance. In summer or when they have craft markets, the town throngs with people. It's then a question of exploring the myriad of narrow streets, archways and bridges over the road and the part where carts have worn tracks into the stone of the road. The exit point it to the north, the roads in the town wind their way to the top and a stone gate. If you go through the gate, you find yourself on a bridge above a moat cut out of the stone. What with the French, pirates and brigands almost all catalan villages had to be able to defend themselves from attack.

Leaving the village we head past the church and out to the north. This path is slightly raise with a wood to the left, so has a little more character. Once again though we got lost. We thought we could find a short cut and took a track to the right, only to find ourselves at the edge of a field. Rather than go back we went around the field to link up with the path we came on. If we'd continued on the route would connect to the Gualta, Llabia, Fontanilles walk to the north. Or for another extension, from Peratallade, it connects to the Clots de Sant Julia walk to the south.

Neighbouring walks: La Bisbal, Vulpellac, Castell d'Emporda, Fonteta - Canapost, Poblet Iberic and Ullastret - Clots de Sant Julia (Vulpellac) - Gualta, Llabia, Fontanilles and the lake of Ullastret - Evening walk Pals to Sant Feliu de Boada - Santa Susanna de Peralta and Sant Climent de Peralta - Canapost to the medieval fair at Peratallada

Walking route Peratallada to Palau-sator Costa Brava

Masos de Pals, Begur, Sa Riera and Platja de Pals
11 Feb 2013

Sa Gavetes behind Masos de Pals Though Pals and Begur are neighbours near the coast, in driving terms they seem quite distant and a long way apart. The aim of this walk was to link the two. Pals as an area splits into three or four 'subvillages' depending on how you count them. There's the main old town with the tower on the hill. From the historic centre across the bypass and roundabout by the Tourist office is the church and the subvillage of Masos de Pals including the hill of Mas Tomasi, and then separate again down to the sea is the area of Platja de Pals including Pineda de Pals. We've already described the walk to Pals from Regencos via Quermany to Pals. This walk skirts the base of the hills and up to Begur.

Dune path between Pals and Begur We parked and started at the church in Masos de Pals, then followed the road just below the church past the masias behind Masos de Pals. Eventually the tarmac roadway (it's very quiet) becomes the GR92 and then turns into a dirt track running around the base of the hill of Mas Tomasi. The hill itself seems to be covered by villas straining for a view. The path passes by Sa Gavetes - a rural hotel converted from a masia with a turret on one corner and into the woods. As we've mentioned elsewhere (eg the walk from Sobrestany), while the southern side of the hills can be quite stony, close to the coast, the northern side is often very sandy. And in fact the whole of the walk through the woods is like climbing one enormous sand dune that has been covered with pines. As the path climbs, the sand underfoot seems to become softer and it's almost like walking on a soft beach - which makes the walking heavy footed. The path takes you past sand quarries and you can see the depth of sand that makes up the dune. In the woods we see a few people out with long poles aiming to collect pinecones for pinenuts, and in many areas there are signs saying warning people not to collect them, as many of the woods are private though without physical separation between the plots of land (no building is allowed) and a general freedom to roam.

Stream down to Sa Riera from Begur We also notice lots of horse tracks and as we climb back towards civilisation from the woods we pass Hipica Begur, a large riding centre. Horse riding is popular in the Costa Brava and would make an alternative to walking for those who ride. The path then runs up into the outskirts of Begur.

Begur itself is a district as well as a town. The historic town sits on a hill under a ruined castle and has views all around. The town itself has a main street with many 'Indianer' houses - these are houses built by returning Catalan families who had made their fortunes in Cuba.  Around Begur are a range of other villages and beaches and there is a connecting walk joining the various coves and bays from Sa Tuna to Aiguafreda around to Sa Riera. We'll redo that walk sometime later in the year.

Beach of Sa Riera Begur This time we wanted to follow the path down to Sa Riera. The first times we walked this we followed the road down which isn't very pleasant to walk. Last time we discovered a path down by a stream halfway down the road. So this time we're looking for the start of the path as it's not marked on our maps. So instead of going into Begur, we follow a green-white path into the Parc d'Arbreda - a park under a raised building built in rust-coloured oxidised steel. The park has a range of play areas, and to begin with I missed the signpost, but the path sort of skips out off the edge of the park and down.

We follow the stream down the valley. To start with the stream is dry, but as you go down water starts to flow and soon there are pools and waterfalls and even a semi-gorge through the rocks. Towards the bottom the path almost seems to pass through someone's garden before popping out among the buildings of Sa Riera.

Beach of Platja del Raco between Pals and Begur Sa Riera itself was almost completely closed - it's really a beachside holiday area. The beach itself is broad and sandy with luxury villas up each side of the bay. We head to the left of the beach towards the cliffs. There is a man-made path up along the cliff edge by the side of the bay. Going up it climbs quite high and is quite steep down to the side. Over the first headland you look down over the Plajta del Raco with a single large red 'island' standing up out of the beach almost like a Thai island. The path runs over the top of the beach before coming down on the other side to give you access to the beach. This is anudist beach in summer, and though strikingly pretty, it gets shady in late afternoon because of the cliffs.

View over Platja de Pals Instead of going on to the beach, we follow the path around the headland and out over the rocks. We could continue over the sand to the main Platja de Pals centre. Like many areas that are dedicated to tourism, it's closed during winter. If you do come out of season, try to stay in one of the older towns and villages like Begur, Pals itself, Palafrugell or Palamos as these are working places and open all year round. Instead, we head up into the estate and follow the road past the houses that sit above the beach. Being close to the sea, these are expensive houses and well-kept. The path heads out from Platja de Pals past the various estates - there are a lot of houses around here but with few of them with year-round inhabitants. As you come to roundabout by the Spar Supermarket we cut off the main road and return to the woods.

As we approach Mas Tomasi we skirt around the other side than the side we went out. We run into a group of older people out collecting wild asparagus - it's common to see people collecting in the woods during spring, with wild asparagus being relatively thin compared to its cultivated cousin. The path cuts through the estate and out through the woods on the other side before returning to the roadway and then back to the church. In reality we probably could have started closer to Mas Tomasi and shaved a couple of kilometres without losing too much from the walk.

Neighbouring walks: Sa Tuna, Cap de Begur, BegurPals beach to Gola de TerRegencos to Pals via Quermany Gros and PetitEvening walk Pals to Sant Feliu de Boada - Fornells and Aiguablava walk (GR92) - Begur, Ses Negres and Sa Riera

Swimming: Swimming and beach at Sa Riera (Begur) - Swimming at Platja de Pals and Platja Illa Roja

Events: Begur - Festa d'Indians

Walking route Masos de Pals to Begur Sa Riera and Platja de Pals

Caldes de Malavella
11 Feb 2013

Balneari Vichy Catalan Caldes de Malavella When we first seriously started coming up to the Costa Brava to see properties, we found a hotel deal in the Balneari Vichy Catalan in Caldes de Malavella. This won't make a bit of sense until you discover that Vichy Catalan is the most popular prestige mineral water in Catalonia and a Balneari is a hotel with natural mineral water spa and baths, in this case with natural thermal waters.

In the early part of the 20th Century prior to the 1930s, the prime resort and holiday locations for Catalonia weren't the sea or the coast, but water spas and water health treatments (similar to Bath or Malvern in the UK which had been established since the 18th Century). Towns like La Garriga closer to Barcelona and Caldes de Malavella became popular luxury resorts catering to the wealthy (other towns called Caldes also have hot springs, as does Badalona).

Caldes de Malavella is also a Roman town, a staging point on the Via Augusta that links Cadiz to Rome and as such it has the remains of the original Roman baths. It actually has several hot springs and several Balnearis in the town - one public and three others that have been taken over by spa-hotels or for hospital use - thermal and mineral waters for a long time have been considered to have health properties.

Roman baths Caldes de Malavella These types of spa and the use of mineral water for health benefits are extremely popular in France known as thermalisme and for preventative purposes thalassoterapie. So a local entrepreneur started bottling the water and named it after the most famous French Spa - hence Vichy Catalan. (Side note that Vichy, just north or Clermont Ferrand is a worthwhile overnight town if you are driving between the UK and Spain).

From the time, and because of the type of people who took the cure, the hotel for Vichy Catalan itself is very grand, built in a modernista fashion with parkland and is just next to the station. Unfortunately, somewhat later the company built a rather ugly bottling plant right next to the hotel so its splendor is diminished if you get the wrong viewing angle.

As mentioned it's not the only spa - Balneari Prats closer to the centre of town also offers a naturally heated outdoor swimming pool/spa. And there are actually several brands of mineral water companies from here - San Narcisco, Imperial and Malavella.

The reason for this walk though was the train station. Caldes de Malavella is now the most practical station for trains to Barcelona and Barcelona airport. Until the dualling of the C66, most people would have recommended using Flaca for trains, but with an easy quick ride, Caldes saves about 5 stations and half an hour on the train.

The walk starts at the station, and heads into town past the Balneari Vichy Catalan and across the main road and then past Balneari Prats. The town itself is not tourist-y and relatively small and indistiguished. However take the chance to explore and find the Roman baths and the church and some of the remaining markers from the town's former heydays.

To head out of town we followed the Rambla Recolons which turns to the left to become Rambla Rufi before finishing in a field. Walk across the field and follow the path through the woods following a small stream. We then found a path to the right  up away from the stream and followed this until we reached a sand-track road at the top. From the road there are views across the valley of the Onyar south of Girona and across to snow capped Pyrenees (it's February which is the time of most snow - last year it reached down to the coast - but normally it's mild on the low lands with snow in the far distance). We then followed the path back and through some of the new estates through town.

In fact Caldes is surrounded by a number of urbanisations (housing estates), but with poor connections between the urbanisations and the town itself. We find ourselves walking through a lot of estates and while individual houses can be quite striking, the overall impression is often of a mish-mash of isolated houses with relatively few facilities.

Whereas UK estates tend to be built by one developer and so have a unified look, Spanish and Catalan urbanisations are usually sold as individual plots of land. Consequently they have a wide variety of building looks and types with not much thought to creating a coherent look, and with most of them built on a grid system, they can feel like they lack a centre and amenities. For a town like Caldes it means much of the population is not in the centre making the whole town feel disjointed despite its historic attractions.

Other visits: Cassa de la Selva - Hostalric stroll - Arbucies autumn walk - Lake at Sils - Castell de Montsoriu - Santa Coloma de Farners - Brunyola - Arbucies autumn walk - Llagostera to Sant Llorenç

Walking route Caldes de Malavella

Calonge into the Gavarres
04 Feb 2013

Castle in Calonge This time we have a walk that didn't really work out. The aim was to walk from Calonge up and over the first ridge of the Gavarres and then down to the ruins of the castle of Vila-Roma above St Maria de Bell-loc. We've walked to the castle before from Vila-Roma (just outside Palamos) and it's a very pleasant spring or autumn walk through the woods up the valley. In principle, it's also possible to reach the castle from Calonge, or from Vall-llobrega going over the hills at the side of the valley. Unfortunately we've now not managed to complete the path from either side. On the Vall-llobrega side we spent so long trying to navigate the housing estate that we ran out of time and now, on this walk, it felt like we were almost blown off the hill by the Tramuntana wind which was gusting at 60+km/h. And I don't know if it was just the wind, but once into the woods, the path just seemed a little dull up and down.

Obviously we knew there was a strong wind before we started, but we had decided to start from Calonge to be on the lee-side of the hills, hopefully having a little protection. It worked in some places but the wind was a problem. In reality we shouldn't have attempted a walk in the woods in a strong wind.

Vineyards for DO Emporda Calonge wine Calonge itself is a town I find a little odd. The old heart of the town suggests that at once point it would have been quite a prosperous place - it has a castle, a large prominent church with ornate carvings around the door and used to have a historic hospital from pre-industrialisation times. Unfortunately, though there has been restauration for some of the properties, in the centre there are still delapidated buildings and a faint sense of disrepair. The area around Calonge though is covered by urbanisations of villas all across the hillsides, all slightly disconnected from the town itself. And at the sea is St Antoni de Calonge - another area with large amounts of development. The presence of 'Indianas' - that it houses built towards the end of the 1800s and early 1900s by returning Catalans who had made their fortunes in Cuba, is another indication of how desirable this area once was (the most prominent Indiana house on a small hill above the plain can be seen from the C66 dual carriageway looking towards the sea). Despite this investment the village nucleus itself feels neglected and some of the estates and building projects feel badly planned with little thought to their overall visual impact.

The walk then starts in the centre of the town. Next to the front of the church, a small archway leads through to the castle, once one of the largest in the area. The castle is from the 12th Century, and can be considered with the Castle at Castell d'Aro and the castle we were trying to walk to at Vila-roma. The port of Palamos was also a garrison town and naval base.

Urbanisations near Calonge from walking path Head out along Carrer Major which becomes Carrer Pompeu Fabra. We're following a green-white local route, but it isn't marked with signposts until you're out of town a little, so it was a little confusing to get the first directions. Once out of town we head towards the hills past a farmhouse with a big wine-barrel outside it. The lower part of the walk is through vineyards and Castell de Calonge is one of the DO Emporda wine appellations (others include Mas Oller near Torrent and areas to the north such as Peralada).

The path is easy to follow and quite broad with rolling countryside and views towards St Antoni to start with. Eventually the path turns up into the woods and into the hills, but seems relatively unremarkable - there are nicer bits of the Gavarres to walk. There are views towards Palamos and it's port and high-rises, but it feels more like a city viewscape. On this day though the sea looked extremely choppy, even from the hills. At the top of the path you come to the ridge. At this point the wind was gusting strongly and the children weren't too happy so rather than add to the length by going down to the former convent of Santa Maria de Bell-loc and the ruined castle, we turned up the road for a shortwhile until the next farm then came down to the left on the lee-side of the hill. The path down has views over the southern Gavarres and across to the estates (eg Mas Pere) around Calonge. The path winds through the woods, on occasion getting quite stoney underfoot. On a different day it would probably have been more enjoyable - but we were feeling a little wind-swept. At the bottom you come back down to the vineyards and an easy stroll into town.

Neighbouring walks: Calonge (Cami de Molins and over Cabanyes) Bell-lloc and Castell de Vila-Roma (Palamos) - Mont-ras 'boar' walk - Mont-ras to Fitor and on to Fonteta and Vulpellac - Romanya de la Selva to Puig d'Arques

Walking route from Calonge into Gavarres and Bell-loc

Platja d'Aro and S'Agaro
03 Feb 2013

Carnaval masks in Platja dAro Sometimes the Costa Brava can surprise you if you're prepared to explore.

The two main package holiday resorts to the north of Tossa are St Antoni de Calonge and Platja d'Aro. Both are built on big sandy bays and are family friendly places, but they were built as typical high-rise high-volume resorts in the 1960s and 70s.

It would be fair to say that over the year's they've mellowed - they're not party-party towns like Lloret (or Salou south of Barcelona) - but they remain package-holiday territory. 

For Costa Brava locals Platja d'Aro (known as Fenals d'Aro until the 1960s) is actually one of the main shopping areas. Unlike other towns on the Costa Brava it has more of the standard Spanish high-street shops and it has the only McDonalds (or actually any chain fast-food restaurant) north of Lloret.

For locals the alternative is the longer trek into Girona or Figueres so as a town it remains busy throughout the year and in places has a somewhat upmarket feel.

Platja dAro main beach and passeo Having said that, it is still a relatively high-rise town (though nowhere near being like Benidorm) built broadly as a strip along the beach with estates of villas behind.

Holiday makers could spend their whole vacation in the town and on the broad long beach. Which would be a pity because to the north and to the south are a couple of gems.

The northern path (we'll add this later), is a series of small bays and rocky headlands. This walk we take to the south into the estate of S'Agaro - almost the Beverley Hills of the Costa Brava, a description which might surprise those who've only driven around the areas on the road between St Feliu and Platja d'Aro.

In reality, S'Agaro is one of the oldest estates on the Costa Brava. Conceived around 1916 with construction work from the 1920s onwards it was designed and conceived as an upmarket and exclusive estate built to an architect's view of idealised Catalan mansion-villa.

The S'Agaro estate itself is gated - to get access by car you have to pass through a security check point. And it has within it the Hostal de la Gavina 5-star hotel, famous for the number of A-list of Hollywood stars that have stayed there including John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and more recent stars like the Black Eyed Peas, and is connected to several Hollywood films made on the Costa Brava in the 1950s and 1960s.

beach of La Concha just around from Platja dAro The walk itself starts in Platja d'Aro (we needed to go shopping), but if you just want to see S'Agaro and the next beaches, you could start near Port d'Aro marina.

We took the sea on the way out - a classic Spanish beach-side passeo to start with which, in summer, has bars and restaurants spilling out across the terrace from the feet of the high-rises above.

At the end of the beach, the path turns along the river Riudaro. This can be dry in summer, but in winter there is water flowing - it actually links to a pleasant lake/nature reserve that marks the split between Platja d'Aro and Port d'Aro - though the water can be a little smelly as it dries after a wet patch.

sAgaro walking path in the sun The path is now marked by the classic red-white flashes of the GR92. Don't turn back to the sea too early - you have to pass to the other side of the port, otherwise you won't be able to cross the marina's sea entrance.

The port itself was full with luxury yachts and the path takes you round the back past the new flats and houses built to match.

At the end of the port road, you final reach the woods and a headland. Across the headland and the first surprise - a long sandy beach with rocks at each end and a small rocky presque-isle in the centre - the Platja de la Concha - a classic unspoilt half-moon bay.

Steps in sAgaro We walk across the beach to the other side and then up the steps on the other side. The path is broad and specially built running past the houses of the S'Agaro estate.

To the left, the sea side is rocky with very occasional very small pebbly bays. To begin with the houses and the walls of the houses are high and you can't see anything, but as you walk towards the middle part of the path, you get a glimpse of the mansions and villas and their gardens.

A rotonda built above the sea is at one corner and there are viewpoints along the coast.

path near sAgaro and Sant Pol  Around the final headland, the path turns to give a view of the beach at St Pol. Another broad sandy bay - bigger than Concha and really the second (and prettiest) beach for St Feliu.

Instead of going to St Pol, we wanted to see some more of the S'Agaro estate and took the first path to the right past the Hostal de la Gavina. Initially we weren't sure how private the estate was, as it wasn't clear if the security staff would stop walkers, but there are paths (health walks) marked through the estate, so we think it's just cars that wouldn't be allowed in.

We broadly followed our nose through the estate, past a small church built at the high point, before finding more modern houses and then heading out and back to Platja d'Aro.

The route back into the town went past the attractions park (probably enjoyable for under 8s) and along the main shopping street.

Neighbouring walks: St Antoni de Calonge, Torre Valentina to Platja d'Aro (almost) - Platja Sant Pol to Sant Feliu de Guixols

Swimming: Swimming at the beach of Sa Conca (S'Agaro) - Swimming and beach at Platja d'Aro

Walking route for Platja dAro to sAgaro Costa Brava

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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
24 Feb 2014 17:25
Glad you're enjoying it. We have recommendations for maps in our 'Advice and FAQ' section
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

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
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