Itinerary 1

COSTA BRAVA (240 km)

Regions: Alt Empordà / Baix Empordà / La Selva

1. Figueres

To see

We suggest starting your route in Figueres, capital of the Alt Empordà region. It has about 45,000 inhabitants. We recommend the visit to the Fundació Gala Salvador Dalí and the Teatre Museu Dalí where surrealism is undeniably at its best! And also, a stroll through the Plaça de Gala i S. Dalí and along the Rambla. The Toy Museum of Catalunya is also a memorable place.

For more details visit the Town Hall website (Tourism Section) ca.figueres.cat

Accommodation

Duran Hotel & Restaurant ***

2. Peralada

To see

Take the C 252 to Peralada, which is the second stop of your route.

You should, however, stop briefly in Vilabertran to visit the Canonical Church of Santa Maria de Vilabertran, considered National Cultural Heritage by the Government of Catalonia. It’s a medieval architecture (11th and 12th Centuries). We can gasp at the recently restored and precious Creu de Vilabertran. The largest processional silver cross of Catalonia, with inlaid semiprecious stones from Roman times.

In Peralada the profile of the Castle of Peralada will certainly be a sight for sore eyes, already cited in the 9th Century as the residence of the viscounts of Peralada. It was rebuilt in the 14th Century at its current location. Nowadays it is famous for its gardens, its extraordinary Library, its casino, museum, wine cellar, restaurant and Music Festival in summer.

Peralada is the birthplace of Ramon Muntaner (13th Century), author of “La Crònica”, considered one of the great European chroniclers of the middle Ages. For more details visit the Town Hall website: www.peralada.org

Accommodation

Hotel Can Carbó de les Olives (Peralada)****
Hotel Mas Lázuli (Pau)***
Hotel Spa Vilamont (Garriguella)***

3. Port de la Selva

To see

This will be the third stage of your trip. You will drive along the C 252 and the GI 504 passing through Garriguella and until Vilajuïga where you will follow the GIP 6041 that will take you to the Monastery of St. Pere de Rodes. A few kilometers before reaching the Monastery, you can stop in the Recreation Area of ​​Mas Ventós at the top of the mountain range of Rodes to be able to feast our eyes on an excellent panoramic view of the bay of Roses and part of the plain of the Alt Empordà. There is also a picnic area and hiking suggestions.

Sant Pere de Rodes

On a slope of the Verdera mountain there is an impressive medieval monumental landmark formed by three elements: the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, the village of Santa Creu, and the castle of Sant Salvador de Verdera. The most important piece is the Monastery. Its imposing architectural height, ornamental richness, its location on the mountain and the view to the open sea, make the Monastery a crossroads of space and time that takes you back to the medieval past of Catalonia.

This Monastery cannot be cited without special mention of the wines of O.D. Empordà. This Monastery in its historical moment of splendour had jurisdiction over lands that produce wines of high alcohol content like those of Garriguella, Espolla, Vilajuïga, Llançà, Pau and Palau. The phylloxera plague devastated every vineyard in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. Nevertheless, since some decades ago these lands have restarted to produce wines of not only high alcohol content but also extremely high quality, greatly appreciated wines with their own denomination of origin (Empordà). In fact, this slate land -called “llècol”- together with the tonic winds of the north-west and the high temperatures of the Mediterranean summer, combined with the modern techniques of cultivation, selection and elaboration of wine, have made it possible to grow vineyards of respectable quality to many wineries in the Empordà. A similar story will be told in the region of Priorat with its famous wines of high alcohol content and exquisite quality led under the protection of the Carthusian Monastery of Escaladei. (See Itinerary 7).

Port de la Selva

It is a peaceful village with white houses facing a wide bay and sheltered from the Tramuntana or North wind. It is still an important fishing village and frequently visited by sailor holidaymakers. It has a notable fishing harbour as well as a good marina. It has a pleasant seafront promenade.

For more information visit the village website: www.elportdelaselva.cat

Accommodation

Hotel Spa Porto Cristo (Port de la Selva)***

4. Cadaqués

To see

Continue the route along the GI 613 from Port de la Selva until you reach the GI 614 and you will then head towards Cadaqués. You are touring the small and rocky peninsula of Cap de Creus, declared a Natural Park since 1985 due to its geological and natural interest. Its structures and geological outcrops and the eroding effect of the Tramuntana or north wind offer to the sight a landscape of pristine and wild beauty unique in the world.

Cadaqués

As you descend into the village, you can see dark mountain slopes, of slate ore -“llècol”- now replanted with olive trees. For centuries, vines had been cultivated on staggered terraces supported by hundreds of kilometres of dry wall built by dozens of generations of farmers. When the fatal plague of phylloxera hit, it turned all these terraces into a barren wasteland, devastated, desolate…

The ancient village centre is white, bright, steep, solitary, presided over by the outstanding church, facing south and very close to its small and sheltered bay, with dark shores and sea of ​​white calm. It is a refuge of painters, writers and bohemians. A memorable place not to be missed! Time ago, it sadly survived on fishing alone but now it is a mecca of tourism! It’s definitely worth wandering and getting lost in its steep, winding and enchanting alleyways! Visit the town hall website: www.cadaques.cat

Portlligat

At 2 kilometres from Cadaqués, you must make a trip to the cove or small bay of Portlligat and visit the Salvador Dalí House-Museum. You may like the genius of Dalí more or less but it never leaves us indifferent! It is worth visiting!

Cap de Creus

From Portlligat, if you are up for it, you can drive along the road of the Cap de Creus and cross almost lunar spots such as the so-called Paratge Natural de Tudela, declared a Natural Park in 1998, of wild beauty and dreamy shapes that inspired Salvador Dalí. We reach Cap de Creus, a prominent point, with a lighthouse and viewpoint of all the coves that surround it. Magnificent scenery!! If you want to walk a bit you can go down to touch the sea of ​​Cala Gambadora or Cala Fredosa!

Accommodation

Hotel Calma Blanca****
Hotel Blaumar***

5. Castelló d'Empúries

To see

In Cadaques take the GI 614 that will allow you to see the south slope of the Cap de Creus and will take you along many curves down to the C 260 already in the plain of Rosas. You will head to Castelló d’Empúries.

Castelló d’Empúries

In the 10th Century, Castelló d’Empúries became the seat of the county of Empúries and place of residence of the count of Empúries. Therefore, it is a city with many medieval monuments worth seeing and admiring. The walls, the Market, the Curia and prison, the Tower door of the Gallarda, the Basilica of Sta.Maria, the Convent of Sant Domènech and Palau Comtal.

For more details visit the Town Hall website www.castello.cat

Park of the “Aiguamolls de l’Empordà” (marshlands)

Take the GIV 6216 to Sant Pere Pescador. You will drive past the Natural Park of the “Aiguamolls de l’Empordà” created in 1983. It is an extension of marshland with lagoons and islands of zoological and botanical reserves and one of the most important wetlands of Catalonia. It is a refuge and resting place of many migratory species. It is located between the mouths of the rivers Fluvià and Muga. You can walk, hike, bike and bird watching etc. Relaxing, harmonious, and informative.

6. L'Escala

To see

Starting from Castelló d’Empúries on the GIV 6216 you have to get to Sant Pere Pescador. In this village, you have to take Sant Marti d’Empúries road which is narrow but not dangerous at all. You will reach Sant Martí d’Empúries.

Sant Martí d’Empúries

It is a small village located on a hill facing the sea. For three centuries (9th -11th ) it was the capital of the County of Empúries. In 1078, the capital was moved to Castelló d’Empúries, a place less exposed to the attacks. The historical site is declared Cultural National Heritage . The old walled citadel is still preserved in some very visible sections. The Church of San Martí d’Empúries, with a Gothic interior with its back to the sea and at the edge of the hill, is imposing. The whole package is worth a visit and deserves a calm walk.

Greek-Roman Ruins of Empúries

From Sant Martí d’Empúries there is an urbanized walk that runs along the coast and reaches l’Escala. It is worth taking the walk to feel the sea close and to contemplate the whole of the ruins of Empúries. These ruins are an open-air museum with 2000 years of history. They are part of the Archaeological Museums of Catalonia. It is a fascinating site that shows the remains of a Greek city – the colonial site of Emporion – next to those of a Roman city, the old Emporiae, erected in the first century BC. It goes without saying that the visit is little less than obligatory for history and archeology lovers alike…

L’Escala

The village of l’Escala is an attraction not to be missed on the Costa Brava. It is an seafaring village with an important fishing harbour and a marina and an old town centre full of history. Good beaches and famous for anchovies. Here the writer Catalina Albert i Paradís (Víctor Català) was born and lived. Visit the Town Hall website: www.lescala.cat

Punta Montgó and Cala Montgó

We highly recommend a climb to Punta Montgó at the southern end of the village. It is located in the Natural Park of Montgrí, Illes Medes and Baix Ter. The panoramic view is worth seeing. It is a natural observatory that encompasses the view from Cap de Creus to the north to the Montgrí mountain range to the south. Cala Montgó, also visible from the Punta, is a deep bay with the rocky cliffs of the south face of the Montgrí mountain range.

From Cala Montgó to Punta Milà there is a very easy trail (2 km) that goes through the cliffs of the Montgrí range.

Accommodation

Hotel Spa Empúries ****
Hotel Restaurant Canmiquel**

7. Pals

To see

The next stage will take you to Pals. At L’Estartit take the G 632 and then the C31 to Torroella de Montgrí and Pals.

Torroella de Montgrí

It is located south of the Montgrí mountain range. A Royal village from the 13th Century, it still preserves important remnants of wall and Lo Mirador, old Royal castle. The church of Sant Genís, of Gothical style, is beautiful. And visible from all the Baix Empordà there is the Castle of Montgrí, a short excursion on foot and good watchtower over the whole plain. This square and solid castle, which never came to be inhabited, is like a wheel button visible from all points of the Baix Emporda. Visit the Town Hall website: www.torroella-estartit.cat

L’Estartit

It is worth taking a short ride on the G 641 to L’Estartit, a coastal village nestled between the final foothills of the Montgrí Mountain Range and the mouth or Gola of the River Ter. The Medes Islands are in front of the village and form a small archipelago of 7 rocky islets included in the Natural Park of the Montgrí. They are a very important marine biology reserve and an appreciated destination by scuba diving sport practitioners. Extensive beach.

From L’Estartit you can follow a path of Ronda that goes from Cap de Barra to Cala Ferriol (5.5 km) of abrupt route, with cliffs, virgin coves and magnificent wildlife.

La Gola del Ter

At the exit of Torroella de Montgrí by the C 31, you will cross the river Ter and a few kilometres away you will find the indicator of the Gola del Ter. We highly recommend a getaway to admire the estuary of the river Ter just in front of the Medas Islands. On both banks of the river there is an unpaved path that goes all along the river up to Torroella, ideal for walking or cycling. Flat.

From the Gola del Ter you can follow inland paths that cross the immense rice fields of Pals which, without reaching the vast extensions of rice fields of the Ebro Delta, offer a product highly prized and high quality.

Peratallada and Ullastret

Down the C31 again, we suggest turning off on the GI 651 to Peratallada. Wihout a doubt you will be pleasantly surprised because this well-restored village is considered one of the most important cores in Catalonia in terms of medieval architecture: walls, castle, St. Esteve church, etc. Visit the Twon Hall website: www.forallac.cat

A few kilometres away and turning on the GI 644, you can visit Ullastret to see the most important Iberian site in Catalonia. An entire Iberian hamlet well excavated as an open-air museum. It is part of the Catalan Museum of Archaeology.

Pals

Finally you will return from where you came from to take the C 31  and you drive to Pals.

Pals is a small village located on a hill that offers a monumental impressive complex (Castle, city, walls, church etc). Its name comes from the Latin “palus” or marshy place. Formerly, the surroundings were marshes. According to the writer Josep Pla, Pals is a magnificent observation point of the rolling hills geology of the Baix Empordà.

Accommodation

Hotel Palau Lo Mirador (Torroella de Montgrí)****
Hotel Restaurant Picasso (La Gola del Ter)
Hotel Mas Salvi (Pals)****

8. Begur

To see

From Pals you will continue your way along the C-31 and in Regencós you will take the GI 653 as far as Begur.

Begur. It is another stop not to be missed. Around its peculiar medieval castle there is an old town centre, full of life, history and architecture, full of memories of corallers, fishermen, Indians … There are plenty of examples of the so-called Indian mansions built by those who had gone to America to make a fortune. Visit the Town Hall website: www.begur.cat

Begur is home to many important and well-known coves that are fascinating to visit:

Cala Sa Riera. From there you can walk along the Ronda path from Racó beach to Punta de la Creu (2 km.)

Cala Sa Tuna. You can cross the path of Ronda that runs from Aiguafreda to Aiguablava (7 km). It crosses a good part of Cabo de Begur, a characteristic cliff of Costa Brava.

Cala Fornells. You will find it on the GIP 6531 heading towards Palafrugell.

Accommodation

Hotel Sa Calma (Begur)****
Hotel Aiguablava (Fornells)****
Hotel Spa Classic***

9. Palafrugell (Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc)

To see

Taking the GIP 6531 you will arrive to Palafrugell, capital of the Baix Empordà. It is a town of approximately 23,000 inhabitants, located at the foot of the mountains of Begur near the Gavarres range. In the 19th Century it had a very flourishing cork stoppers industry that extracted most of the cork oak from the forests of the Gavarres and exported it regularly to France. The writer Josep Pla was born, lived and wrote for many years here.

Palafrugell. It has a magnificent museum of the cork industry that is very pedagogical to understand the importance that the cork industry once had for Palafrugell. Maybe you should consider paying a visit.

Calella de Palafrugell. It is one of the essential landmarks along with Llafranc, on the Costa Brava, well-known and appreciated for its harmonious set of white houses, the emblematic arcades of Port Bo, the necklace of coves and pleasant beaches, the musical tradition of the popular Habaneras. It used to be a fishing village, now lives well off from tourism.

Any time is good to walk along the path of Ronda that goes from Llafranc to Golfet passing through Calella (3 km.). It is a pure delight for the senses to capture the essence of the Costa Brava.

Botanical Garden of Cap Roig

Cap Roig was historically the spot chosen by the Russian colonel N. Woevodsky and the English Lady D. Webster, as the best of the coast to build a residential castle and a garden, in the early 20th Century. They actually tried to garden the whole mountain. Since some years ago it has been restored, preserved and embellished and now the most characteristic plant species of the Mediterranean are mixed with trees and plants from five continents in this fantastic botanical garden, one of the most varied in Catalonia. Naturally, the best season for a visit is in the springtime.

Also during the summer season, this botanical garden becomes the privileged stage for a famous music festival.

Llafranc

It is a very pleasant visit. At the bottom of a unique bay, with a soft beach, is a village made to contemplate the sea and let time pass.

From Llafranc there is a Ronda path leading to the Cap de Sant Sebastià and continues to Cala Pedrosa and Tamariu (3 km). A stop must be made at the Sant Sebastià Lighthouse to take in an immense panorama of sea at from a 200-meter cliff. There is also an observation point of the most beautiful coves of Llafranc, Calella and Palafrugell of the Costa Brava (Baix Empordà) according to the writer Josep Pla. You will not regret it! There is a stone table with the rose of the winds of all the quadrants: Gregal, Tramuntana, Mistral, Llevant Garbí, Migjorn, Xaloc, Ponent. Visit the Town Hall website: www.palafrugell.cat

Accommodation

Hotel Sant Roc (Calella)***
Hotel Alga (Calella)****
Hotel Garbí (Calella)***
Hotel Llevant (Llafranc)***
Hotel Llafranc (Llafranc)***
Hotel El Far (Llafranc)****

10. Palamós

To see

From Palafrugell, take the C 31 to Palamós.

The bay of Palamós is a perfect natural shelter facing south. The town is built on the headland of the Pedró that shelters it from the tramuntana or north wind. For this reason, Palamós has always been a very active port of considerable volume. The fishing activity has always been alive. But also, the harbour activity of maritime coastal trade has been constant. And even of transoceanic commerce in the days of the last Spanish American colonies, during the 19th Century. It has a fishing museum. On the northern slope of the headland, there is a large marina. For more details visit the Town Hall website www.palamos.cat

Ronda path from Cala Margarida to Castell Beach. (3.5 km). You will see coves little coves along the way as well as wide and magnificent beaches. Along the path, you will find the pleasant surprise of the place called S’Alguer with fishermen’s coloured huts at the edge of the sea.

Leaving Palamós along the C 31, you will find Platja d’Aro, a large tourist resort with massive summer appeal.

Leaving Palamós by the C 31, we highly recommend taking the turn off to S’Agaró on the GIV 6621 road. The beach of S’Agaró is a bay with the beach of Racó de S’Agaró small but cozy. From there you can again follow the magnificent Ronda trail that leads to Sa Conca (2 km.). You will be surprised by the perfect balance between nature and architecture.

Accommodation

Hotel Trias (Palamós)****
Hotel La Malcontenta (Platja de Castell)*****
Hotel S’Agaró (S’Agaró)****

11. Sant Feliu de Guíxols

To see

On the same GIV 6621, you can reach Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols is the maritime capital of the region of La Selva and one of the most important coastal towns of the Costa Brava. Similar to Palamós for its history of fishing, commercial harbour and sporting marina. You have to walk slowly along the promenade and visit the spectacular Benedictine monastery of the 10thCentury very close to the sea which is an imposing complex of various eras (Monastery, Fortress, Convent). There you can visit the Municipal Museum of History containing an important medieval collection. For more details visit the Town Hall website: www.guixols.cat

Hermitage of Sant Elm

To the south of the town and driving uphill, it is worth contemplating the coastal panorama from the hermitage of Sant Elm. It is a strategic observatory of the south coast.

Ronda trail

On the north side of the village there is a Ronda trail that goes from Sant Pol to Jonca cove (2.2 km) with a landscape of cliffs, coves, tiny coves and beaches with evidence of modernist architecture from the first vacationers.

Accommodation

Hotel Hipòcrates Curhotel (St. Feliu de Guíxols)****

12. Tossa de Mar

To see

From Sant Feliu you should take the road GI 682 towards Tossa de Mar following the wavy and curved shape of the coast. Therefore, it is necessary to take it calmly (22 km) enjoying the forest mass to one side and the open sea to the other. It is fascinating. It will take you to Tossa de Mar, destination of this stage.

In Tossa de Mar besides enjoying the generous beach you have to climb to the headland to the south of the town where there is the well-known walled enclosure of the Vila Vella, with almost complete perimeter. Inside you must get lost in the medieval town and discover places of great interest and charm, as well as the magnificent view over the beach and coastal surroundings. For more details visit the Town Hall website: www.tossademar.cat

Accommodation

Hotel Boutique Casa Granados (Tossa de Mar)****
Giverola Resort Hotel Spa (Tossa de Mar)***

13. Blanes

To see

From Tossa de Mar and by the GI 682 you should continue to Blanes, final goal of your current itinerary. Halfway there is Lloret de Mar, an immense tourist resort with massive summer appeal. On leaving Lloret de Mar, we invite you to spend some time visiting three important Botanical Gardens:

Gardens of Santa Clotilde

The gardens of Santa Clotilde, are a wonderful and refined recreation of those of the Italian Renaissance. Its perfect state of conservation takes us back to its time of maximum splendour. The combination of sea, coast, botany, architecture and art are a paradise for body and spirit. It is only necessary to add what Josep Pla, in his book “Guide of the Costa Brava” wrote: “the great stone stairs, flanked by superb cypresses, faced on the tip of Santa Cristina produces an indelible impression and is one the most beautiful of the coast “.

Botanical Garden Pinya de la Rosa

The other is Pinya de la Rosa. You will find it a few kilometres further down the road and just before entering Blanes. It is a unique garden in the world within its genre (cactus). Unexpected. It was conceived and created in a farm of more than 50 Ha by the engineer Fernando Riviere de Caralt, in the middle of the 20th Century.

The current collection comprises more than 7000 species. And only the collection of Opuntia (cactus) comprises about 600 different species from around the world. It is considered the best and most complete in the world. Reason enough to spend some enjoyable leisure time.

Botanical Garden Marimurtra

And finally, the third. The Botanical Garden Marimurtra is located in Blanes and is a magnificent combination of landscape, botany and gardening with a spectacular sea view. It is considered the best Mediterranean botanical garden in Europe. It goes without saying that you will have a relaxing and fully satisfying time for your senses.

Blanes. “Portal of the Costa Brava”

To complete your Itinerary 1 Costa Brava you must go tread on the beaches of Blanes and in the middle you will find a corridor that takes you to a rocky cliff, accessible on foot. Before climbing you will see a half iron arcade with the inscription “Portal de la Costa Brava”. Go up and observe the accuracy of this expression. To the south you will see the immense, flat line of the Maresme region and to the north the first views of the rocky and abrupt coast, called “Costa Brava” which extends up to Cap de Creus. For more details visit the Town Hall website: www.blanes.cat

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