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Masos de Pals, Begur, Sa Riera and Platja de Pals

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 Playa 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

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

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