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Walks and other things

Walks on the Costa Brava - will be updated as more are added - click for a larger version This is our blog about living in the Costa Brava. We like to visit places. We walk (a lot) particularly into and around the Gavarres. Sometimes we travel around on bike. In the summer, we swim and canoe.
 

The walks have been walked since November 2012, and we add one or two a week(ish - though we're slowing down now). The photos are straight from the 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. The map on the right shows where the walks are and will be updated as we continue to add more.
 

The entries on swimming and beaches also start from Summer 2013. Unlike the walks which are reported as we did them (including photos), for the swimming and beach articles we're going to update them over time.
 

Most Viewed

Monells and Mont-negre
21 Dec 2012

View from the walk from Monells looking back towards Sant Sadurni and Roses in the distance It's probably fair to say that the prettiest villages in Catalonia can be found around La Bisbal d'Emporda. La Bisbal is the 'capital' of Baix Emporda and seat of the bishops of Emporda. In the Middle Ages, this area was fertile and rich in farms and being inland was less open to attack from the sea by the pirate raiding parties.

The villages however kept their basic defensive structure of a continuous terrace of houses acting as a defensive wall that encloses in a central town or village square. However this means if you want to see the real ancient heart of the village you have to get out of the car - modern roads skirt the villages leaving the gems of gold-coloured stone houses and cloisters hidden inside, out of view from the road.

Monells is exactly one of these types of town. The main road passes through past an unprepossessing church and a tourist office for the Gavarres. Driving through it doesn't look anything special. But if you get out of the car and cross the river into the centre of the old village all of a sudden you are met by restaurant tables spilling across a cobbled town square with alcoves and arches providing shade from the sun.

Our walk (c10km) starts in Monells and follows the river out of town towards the Gavarres. To begin with the walk is relatively flat past open farm countryside with old Masia farm house and patches of woods. The walk is pleasant if not spectacular. In the woods the main drive-able path stops and the climb up starts in more earnest. The path is broad but stoney, so good shoes are advised. As you climb the views across the plain of the river Ter come into view. On a clear day Roses and the Pyrenees are visible. The vegetation changes from broad woods to something more sparse as the Alzinas thin out. Towards the top the path switches from one side of the ridge to another giving you views in all directions. Mont-Negre at the top can be reached by car from Quart, but as one of the girls wasn't feeling well, unusually for our walks we came straight back down the way we had come.

Neighbouring walks: Cruilles, Monells and Sant Sadurni de l'Heura - La Bisbal, Vulpellac, Castell d'Emporda, Fonteta - St Pol de Bisbal and Santa Lucia - Corça, Casavells, Matajudaica - Celra, Juia and the Castle of Palagret - Madremanya and Millars - Monells spring walk in the woods

Walking route from Monells up towards Montnegre in the Gavarres with views over Costa Brava

Fornells and Aiguablava walk (GR92)
18 Dec 2012

Fornells village looking back to Aiguablava on the Costa Brava Fornells and Aiguablava are small coastal locations in the municipality of Begur in the direction of Tamariu. This is a walk we do regularly in one of the luxurious hidden corners of the Costa Brava. The village of Fornells almost tumbles into the sea and has a pretty harbour. At the other end Aiguablava is a sandy beach under a Parador (a particular type of historic Spanish hotel) which is the beach used on the adverts for Begur and its blue Mediterranean waters. Between Fornells and Aiguablava are a variety of large luxurious houses and villas that seem to nestle into the sides of the hill above the sea. In the summer Aiguablava's car park is usually very full. In December, when we were walking, it was empty and there was practically no-one around. It's one of the beauties of the Costa Brava - once the holiday season is over you pretty much have the place to yourself.

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

Tiny sandy bay at Fornells We started this time at the Aiguablava car park. The path, like many others here, is not found on Google Maps - some times Google misses connections so it's not so good for walking. The route and GR92 is marked on walking maps though. We use the Emporda Costa Brava 1:30,000 maps to check out routes. And even then you'll find routes that aren't completely marked.

From Aiguablava (blue water) follow the beach to the left and up steps over the cliffs to the next bay. This is large pebbles and rocks in complete contrast to Aiguablava. Being winter and so a bit wetter here, a small stream tumbles through the pebbles down to the sea. A small pile of whitened driftwood washed to the back of the cove. The path then goes under a covered walk way beneath a luxury villa before climbing into an olive grove. Then back down and into the terraced fishermen's cottages of Fornells. It almost feels like you're walking in people's yards so look for the red and white stripes. Another little bay with barely enough sand for a sandpit, then back through more cottages and up to the harbour and hotel. If you keep walking around the harbour you can continue across the rocks to another narrow cove where the rocks are in a chessboard of dark and light.

You then run into a natural 'infinity' pool that uses the natural rocks by the sea with hidden wall to give the contrast of the still pool water with the sea beyond.

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

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

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

Swimming: Swimming at the beach at Aiguablava

Walking route between Aiguablava and Fornells near Begur on Costa Brava

Clots de Sant Julia (Vulpellac)
17 Dec 2012

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

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

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

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

 

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

Pessebres
17 Dec 2012

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

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

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

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

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Comments

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

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

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

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

Warm Regards
Sven
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