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Lloret de Mar to Sant Pere del Bosc

Lloret de Mar Sant Pere Del Bosc hotel The southern part of the Costa Brava consists of three towns - Blanes, Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar, all on the coast, with hills behind. Around Lloret in particular, the hills are full of large sprawling urbanisations of houses and villas built to target holidaymakers and second home owners.

We have explored a little bit behind Tossa de Mar, but nothing into the hills behind Lloret, so seeing one of the spurs off the GR92 runs inland past something call "Angel" we thought we'd explore.

Our route starts just outside Lloret de Mar, just beyond Water World water park (which is open from the end of May to September), close to the Emita de les Alegries (or Aldi). The path is well marked with clear signposting, and the traditional red and white flashes that mark a GR.

We park just into the Urbanisation of Mas Romeu, and walk up to the first sign post. We have to cross the road which, being a main access road to Lloret, is busy with cars heading in and out, even though this is still March.

Crossing the road the path is easy to follow alongside a small stream and heads up towards the hills and it seems that Lloret disappears quite quickly from view.

The path heads up past a very large water works, with very large settling tanks that are empty at the moment, waiting for the influx of summer. The faint smell of sewage isn't so nice, and it's not the best start to the walk.

After the waterworks the track follows a tarmacked road up into the countryside, used by a handful of cars heading for a hidden restaurant.

We reach our first junction, and turn to the right. The tarmac disappears, but we are still on a gravel road, dry and dusty because winter hasn't had much rain this year.

Lloret de Mar Sant Pere Del Bosc angel The path follows the track and unexpectedly we pass dog walkers and joggers - unexpectedly because it feels relatively remote. We're also passed by a handful of cars and a van that kicks up a huge amount of dust into the air without any consideration for ourselves or a jogger overtaking us.

As we go higher we see that the van is probably connected to a number of motocross riders as there is a dedicated track in the forest with several groups of motorbikers whining away on the hillside.

However, for us, to our right we see the signpost for 'Angel' pointing into the woods. It looks like it follows a track down, so we try that, but don't find anything. We retrace our steps and this time head upwards to find a tall finely carved monument with an angel on top of a column. The momument at some point must have been quite grand with steps and almost gardens around it, but now looks a little neglected.

From the monument itself though, we can see a house and what looks like a church in the distance. Though we don't know it, this is where we'll be heading - Sant Pere del Bosc, and the monument formed part of the large estate in the hills.

Lloret de Mar Sant Pere Del Bosc graffiti building From the monument we return down to the GR92 on the gravel roadway. More motorbikers pass us and we walk past two modernista chalets/buildings, again in a poor state of repair and covered with graffiti, but indicating the grandeur of the estate at one point.

The road splits and we take the left fork, still on the GR, and it runs around the hill over a 20m high brick bridge over a gorge, with a little bit of water in the stream creating a wooded glen.

Now the track turns back up into the dry again, past flowering lavendar and rosemary, but feeling more arid. Towards the top  we find an ornate stone cross and then the gateway to Sant Pere del Bosc - a hotel and spa now, but formerly a convent and then a count's mansion for Nicolau Font Comte de Jaruco (1830-1908).

The path runs around the outside of the hotel, but we go into the grounds to take a peak.

The main building retains its convent look with a large plainish front with arched windows, but a ceramic tiled church-like spire in the middle. This is now the main part of the hotel and looks over a crystal clear swimming pool in the garden.

Sant Pere del Bosc now Hotel and Spa To the sides are two other buildings and a statue to the count who was the former owner. And in the grounds just outside is another small tower. With a morgan car on the driveway it feels like stepping back in time to the 1920s and 30s, with the woods, and sea and blocks of Lloret away in the distance.

The panel outside the hotel explains the history. A convent in the 11th century, destroyed by the French in 1759 and rebuilt in its present form, and then sold off when religious buildings were sold, and bought by Nicola Font i Maig Comte de Jaruco, one of the Catalan Indianos who made his fortune in Cuba who then refurbished the location and estate, followed on by his descendents introducing modernista elements.

We return to the GR past the hotel and back into the woods. At the top of the hill we aim to turn left and to take a mountain bike route (BR4) back to town and we have to check the map to find the right route.

The top of the hill gives views over the valley and town of Tordera, and to the right of Lloret town, we can see Blanes and the tower of Sant Joan up on the hilltop above the sea.

Lloret de Mar Sant Pere Del Bosc monument The walk back down the bike route is more pleasant than the road way up as it's narrower and without cars with a gentle slope down past some woodland barracas.

We reach a well-kept vineyard, which feels a little out of place in the woods but is very pretty, and turn down towards Lloret and Santa Cristina. where it runs into a housing estate and down to the main road.

The road is busy, and it's not clear if there's a footpath into town, but crossing over we find a track that was hidden by the height of the road and return into Fenals and through the heart of Lloret.

Lloret itself is trying to divest itself of a reputation as a drunken boorish party town and the modern apartments around Fenals look attractive. It's towards the centre of town that you see the banks of hotels, with terraces like pigeonholes over looking their pools. The centre of town itself is where young people hang out in the season, with a large fairground catapult tower and bars and discos. During the day as we pass, there is nothing going on, but lots of Russian voices and older Catalan visitors in town.

We head up towards the modern sports area and schools that look as if they have had a lot of money invested with several sports halls, and an indoor olympic sized swimming pool. The area is more residential and park like with places to stroll besides the apartment blocks. Heading out it feels more local and less touristy. A small neighbourhood festival is happening in one of the parks.

As we get closer to the car, we're passed by families in traditional Sikh robes and turbans and we pass the Sikh temple where it looks as if there has just been a wedding with large numbers of ladies in ornate and brightly coloured saris.

Finally we reach the car feeling a little dry and red from the March sun and the relatively long walk.

Lloret de Mar Sant Pere del Bosc walking route

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