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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 originally added one or two a week but have slowed down now as we repeat walks, but we add updates if any important details have changed. The photos are 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. The map on the right shows where the walks are and will be updated as we continue to add more. To our surprise, the blog was also mentioned in the Sunday Times' Essential Costa Brava (Feb 2017).

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 planning to update the details and pictures over time.

Most Viewed

Verges, Tallada d'Emporda and Maranya
30 Aug 2013

View to Verges from Maranya Costa Brava Normally the weather holds out until the first weeks of September, but this year it seems that the first overcast days have arrived in late August. With the change of weather we decided to go back into the countryside for walking, this time from Verges towards the hills of Castellar at the back. This is an area not so far from L'Escala.

We last visited Verges for the Dance of the Dead (Verges - Dansa de la Mort) which takes place in Easter week, but it was more to see the procession than to see the town. This time we're in daylight so can explore a little further afield.

Verges village mill Verges itself is a small village that acts as a junction point for cars coming from the north going either to Torroella de Montgri, or continuing south to La Bisbal and then to Palafrugell or Palamos - so it has a sense of being something of a transit town.

We park just up by the football field and then walk back down to the village. In an open space just next to the junction for the two routes, a small flea market has set up and we walk around the stalls bewildered to see rusty saws and old glass drinks bottles for sale in amongst the older furniture and book collections.

Verges castle in the middle of the village We walk down the road in the direction of La Bisbal to see an old water mill that we often see on the way up to Figueres. Verges sits just above the river Ter, which is a broad river which always has water and is navigable by kayak or canoe (hire point at Colomers, two villages along the river from Verges) and Verges itself has a small stream that runs around the village before passing underneath the disused mill.

Following the road around the back we can see the stream which almost looks like a moat protecting the central houses with small bridges across the water to reach the gardens. We turn up across the stream and enter the main village part and head towards the church. The church tower always looks impressive and well cared for from a distance, In the main square is an old castle-like structure - a big stone building with a tower but despite Verges fame, the rest of the houses and streets in the town are rather plain and drab and without the darkness or candle light, the village lacks much in the way of charm.

Leaving the centre we head back towards the football field where we take the right hand fork (marked as a health route) to the fields and on towards a farm. Some times walking through fields feels delightful with crops growing, fertility and butterflies and insectts. In this case, he ground is flat but rough and feels unkempt. It's not helped by the small drainage ditch to the left of us which had been filled by the recent rain, and is now smelling as it dries out again. We walk past a number of cheaply-made red-brick farm buildings which seem to be the norm for this area.

Church at Tallada dEmporda We continue across the landscape in a sullen plod and turn towards Tallada d'Emporda. In the background we can see the Castle of Montgri and in the distance the hill at Montgo near L'Escala but the it feels uninspiring. As we reach Tallada d'Emporda there are series of newer buildings as we enter the village and we can see the clock on the church, just above the bells. We navigate the backstreets and find the church besides the castle in a medieval area strangely away from the village centre. An old farm sits in what would have been the castle forecourt with a barn in the same roughly laid red bricks style which looks so tatty. The area is being refurbished so this might not be totally fair, but at the moment the area feels uncared for.

Chapel at Maranya Costa Brava We have the option of continuing to Tor or going up directly to Maranya. As you might be able to tell, we're not finding the walk so attractive so we decide to go directly to Maranya and up towards the hills of Maranya. We're definitely in pig farm country and numerous low red brick buildings dot the fields or sit along side the path.

Maranya is a hamlet on the fringes of the hills and has good views to the distance and down towards Verges. Behind the hamlet into the hills, the vegetation changes more to trees and low scrub with broad tracks. We take a break at the very well restored chapel at the top of the village, then rather than continue into the scrub, we take the path down and start heading back.

It's peaceful and rabbits sit on the track in front of us, before darting into great sandy burrows to the right of the path.  We turn left and head through a small wood full of pine scent before zig-zagging our way back down to Verges slightly disappointed by the walk and the area.

Neighbouring walks: Colomers and Jafre - Vilopriu and Valldavia - Serra de Daro, Fonolleres, Sant Iscle d'Emporda - Verges - Dansa de la Mort - La Pera, Pubol and around - Bellcaire d'Emporda, Tor and Albons - Rupia and Foixa

Walking route Verges, Tallada dEmporda and Maranya

Beach at Platja de Castell - swimming and canoeing
26 Aug 2013

Size = 420 x 315 Platja de Castell is a very large unspoilt sandy beach situated just to the north of Palamos La Fosca. It's unusual in that for such a large beach it is actually in a protected area so there is no development allowed. It also marks the start of the set of wild beaches and bays that run up to Cap Roig and Calella de Palafrugell and as a result it is very popular as a starting point for canoeing up the coast.

The beach itself sits underneath an Iberic village on the cliffs to the left and has two older houses at either end but otherwise is completely natural. The woods and paths to the north lead to other secluded bays and beaches and in the forest you can find an artist studio/hut built specially for Salvador Dali. The beach has been used for filming and appears in a number of Spanish films.

The area to the right side, immediately below the pink house, and behind the last set of rocks is often used by naturists. Generally they can't be seen unless you specifically climb the rocks or swim over to the bay in that direction.

Facilities at the beaches

Though the beach is unspoilt, it does benefit from chiringuitos (beach-bars) on the beach, temporary toilets and a canoe hire service (to the left). Normally in the height of summer there are yachts and motor boats anchored in the bay outside the swimming line. At the back of the beach is an informal picnic area under the trees and a large seasonal car park is created every summer in the fields at the back with access from the C-31 dual carriageway. Parking is €5 per day until about 17.00 in the afternoon.

The Benelux Campsite is located about 1km away on the beach access road close by to Hotel Malcontent five-star hotel. The beach is connected to the Ruta del Tren Petit cycle paths and there is a lot of cycling and walking nearby.

Sand quality

The sand is soft and good quality in the main, but storms this year (2015) mean that entering the water now has pebbles and shingle for the right hand side of the beach. The left side closer to the cliffs of the Iberic village is softer.

Size = 420 x 315 Swimming

The bay is broad and quite open and one day can be smooth as a millpond, then the next have metre high waves. If the wind is blowing or the waves are coming, then the area under the cliffs to the left hand side tends to be quite sheltered and calm even on rough days. This is also the area best for snorkeling, seeing fish and exploring with a small sea cave under the cliffs.

The left hand side also shelves most gently into the water. Having said that, the main beach areas also has a quite gentle shelving and it's popular with families.

For long distance swims across the bay is fine, though there can be a chop from the sea-ward side. Alternatively swimming out close to the cliffs on the left will also give a good swimming distance. On the right, there are also rocks and snorkelling with the next bay of Cala S'Alguer around the headland (not swum this).


Castell is an excellent option for canoeing and kayaks can be hired on the beach or brought through to the beach from the car park (it's a long carry though). Even if you do it for a short time, there is a lot to explore. In particular, immediately around the corner of the left hand cliff under the Iberic village is a hidden bay only accessible by boat with sea-caves and tunnels you can paddle through.

Further on are the bays of Cala de Senia and Cala Estreta which are more isolated wild beaches with sandy beaches and rocky bays, but excellent for seeing fish. We've kayaked all the way from Castell to Llafranc taking about 2.5 hours one way including a stop in El Crit. It could be done more slowly exploring more of the caves and islets. Outside the shelter of the bays, if the wind is blowing, the sea can be choppy and in some of the quieter bays you will have to look out for rocks beneath you, but it's a marvellous way to explore the coast as many parts of the Castell-Cap Roig natural area are only accessible from sea.

To the right, an easy canoe is towards La Fosca through the bay of Cala s'Alguer a very pretty, and much photographed, run of fishermen's houses on a pebbly beach with a bay dotted with rocky islets.


Parking is easy with a temporary seasonal car park at the back of the beach which costs €5 per day.


This is one of the best areas for walking with the GR92 through the protected area of Castell-Cap Roig and the wild beaches of this area, or following the headland path to La Fosca.

For walks see: Calella de Palafrugell/Cap Roig to Castell - classic wild Costa Brava - Platja de Castell and La Fosca

For cycling see: Eulogy to the Ruta del Tren Petit (Palafrugell, Palamos, Mont-ras and Vall-llobrega)

Next beaches

South to La Fosca, Palamos - North to Cala Estreta and wild beaches to El Crit and Cap Roig

Swimming at the beach of Sa Conca (S'Agaro)
26 Aug 2013

Beach of Sa Conca in sAgaro Costa Brava - rockier left side Sa Conca is a large sandy beach located between the port-marina of Platja d'Aro and S'Agaro that nestles below the luxury housing estates of S'Agaro. The estates are gated and there are no direct hotels nearby, which means that despite the size of Sa Conca's beach, it's relatively uncrowded and very unspoilt.

The beach is broad and sandy with rocky areas at each side. The left side (looking out to sea) has a rockier bay and more fish. The main central part of the beach is sandier. As we were visiting in the evening, one thing we noticed is that it holds the sun for a long time as there are no cliffs or high rise buildings behind the beach.

Facilities at the beaches

The beach has mostly houses at the back and a couple of chiriguitos (beach bars on the sand). There are lifeguards on station and the bay is marked out for swimming. When we were there there was a large blue swimming plaftorm of the type seen in Platja d'Aro in the main bay area. The back of the beach has a large car park which we didn't use so I'm not sure how it is accessed.

Platja de Sa Conca right hand side Sand quality

The sand is coarse to gritty under foot and a little dusty away from the sea, though there is finer and softer sand at the two ends of the beach.


The beach shelves gently at the left and right extremes and near the rocks making it suitable for younger children. In the main area it shelves more quickly, but not as rapidly as say Platja d'Aro main beach. The rockier area to the left has a mix of submerged rocks and a sandy bottom. It's easy to enter the water along a sand channel without hurting your feet, though you do need to be aware of where the rocks are close to the surface.

The bay is broad which makes it suitable for long swims with clear water (when we were there we also saw one of the water cleaning boats that removes any stray items floating in the water). The swimming platform also makes swimming fun for older children as they can dive and jump into the w


There is parking at the back of the beach, but we're not sure where the access point is through S'Agaro. We parked higher up in the estate on one of the streets (for free) and walked down, or an alternative would be to park near the Port and walk across the final headland and down.


The GR92 continues along past the beach and around the S'Agaro headland to Sant Pol.

For walks see: Platja d'Aro and S'Agaro

Next beaches

South to Sant Pol (Sant Feliu de Guixols) - North to Platja d'Aro

Swimming at beaches between Platja d'Aro and Sant Antoni de Calonge
15 Aug 2013

Platja de les Torretes between Sant Antoni de Calonge and Platja dAro Costa Brava Between Platja d'Aro and Sant Antoni de Calonge (Torre Valentina) - both popular package holiday resorts - the main road runs past a number of four and five star hotels and several large campsites (International de Calonge, Treumal, Camping Cala GoGo). From the road, the area itself just looks like a connecting route as it's not possible to see the coast directly from the road. However, if you stop get out of the car and walk down one of the many stairways between the buildings, you'll find a series of small coves and bays down under the cliffs. These include the large beaches of Platja de les Torretes below Treumal and International de Calonge (under the wooden footbridge), and further down Platja de Bella-dona behind Hotel Cap Roig (four star), Hotel Sant Jordi (four star) and Hotel de les Pis (five star). Further small bays and beaches continue to the south before reaching the main Platja d'Aro beach - these will be added later.

Platja de les Torretes is a broad beach with some rocky areas to the north and south and behind it are the fringes of the campsites directly on the beach. Being close to the campsites many of those using the beach are Dutch and French campers. The bay is open but flanked by villas on the cliffs above the beach to either side giving the beach a sense of privacy and sheltering it from the breeze.

Platja de Bella-dona near Platja dAro Costa Brava Platja de Bella-dona is a much-photographed, but much smaller beach with a large red rock island at one end (Cap Roig, though not the same as Cap Roig at Calella de Palafrugell). The beach is divided in two via a short flight of stairs over a relatively small headland. These two half beaches are easily connected in the water though with a rocky bay with small islands.

This is an area we walked in spring but the GR92 was closed in places making connections between the bays difficult. Unfortunately the GR92 remains blocked between Platja de les Torretes and Platja de Bella-dona. 

Facilities at the beaches

Platja de les Torettes with the campsites behind has a small restaurant at the back and direct connection with Treumal. When we visited it was possible to go out on a banana boat into the bay. The bay itself is marked off and there are pedalos for hire.

Platja de Bella-dona is more discreet. There is a chiringuito on the southern half of the beach, but few other facilties. To reach this beach it's a long set of steps down from the road above and you have to find the cut through between the buildings. The bay is much rockier (and so more interesting) and good for long distance swimming. The bay with it's islands has quite a number of rocks close to the surface, so you will need to wear goggles to navigate.

Lower half of Platja de Bella-dona Costa Brava Sand quality

The sand is on both beaches is coarse but not quite stony, but not really sandcastle type sand. Platja de les Torretes is all sand even into the water and was being used for casual holiday-maker type beach volleyball. Platja de Bella-dona also has coarse sand, but depending on where you enter the water you may find a line of pebbles and rocks, so you may need to walk along the beach to find the best entry point.


The bay at Platja de les Torretes is broad and open and shelves quite quickly. The water was clear in general, but a wind had washed some flotsam down towards the rocky parts to the left looking to the sea. Obviously this would depend on the day. Swimming it was a broad sandy bay but not particularly special.

Platja de Bella-dona was completely different. The swimming was spectacular as the bay is practically all rocks and there are small islands to explore and plenty of fish. Entering the water you first come on a flat piece of rock - it looks like sand then you step on it and realise it's hard and slippy. Out in the bay are more rocks and crevices and it is perfect for snorkling, or for longer distance swimming between the two halfs of the beach. The one difficulty is that at times the rocks get close to the surface so you do need to be aware of where things are under the water. It can be painful if you stop to tread water then kick a rock you haven't seen,


Parking can be problematic. Many of the beach-goers for Platja de les Torretes come directly from the campsites. For other visitors there can be parking at the bottom part of the wooden footbridge that connects Calonge International to the beach, or parking further down just above the service station.

Platja de Bella-dona has some parking on the other side of the road to the hotels or into the estate above this, but it can be tricky at the peak periods.


All these beaches are on the GR92 and it is a favourite walk in some hiking guidebooks, but as mentioned above the path remains closed in places which means the occasional link up to the road at the top to avoid the blocakage. It's not a long walk from the main strip at Platja d'Aro (there are buses too).

For walks see: St Antoni de Calonge, Torre Valentina to Platja d'Aro (almost)

Next beaches

South to Platja d'Aro (Cala Rovira to be added) - North to Sant Antoni de Calonge

Swimming and beach at Platja d'Aro
10 Aug 2013

Beach at the Platja dAro Costa Brava along the strip Platja d'Aro (sometimes written by tourists as Playa d'Aro in the Spanish translation of the Catalan name), is a classic package holiday type beach-side town resort on the Costa Brava at the end of the Aro valley. The town consists of a number of high rise buildings and hotels running along a broad long beach, backed onto by a main street full of shops, bars and restaurants. Further in the back are a children's attraction park and a large water park and large estates of villas and holiday homes. The town is popular with Dutch, German and Spanish tourists (very little sign of English about). For locals Platja d'Aro is a main shopping area as it has main Spanish high-street chains like Zara and Mango and a large retail park.

Though it is a classic package holiday type resort, it is smaller and more refined and family friendly than Lloret or more infamous beach resorts on the Spanish Costas like Benidorm. The whole town sits on a wide and open bay with a long wide beach. At the northern end of the beach, are a series of rocky bays around to Torre Valentina. At the south end is a port marina but there's about 4-5km between the two all of which counts as the Platja Gran. The area being open, can suffer a little from wind but this doesn't seem to detract from sunbathers.

Facilities at the beaches

Beach at Platja dAro looking north The beach has bars, shops and restaurants directly behind it at the feet of the high rise apartment blocks and hotels. In front of these shops and restaurants is a long pedestrian avenue for taking a passeo. This avenue has a number of fountains, statues and water features and is well cared for.

The beach is long and wooden tracks run down from the avenue towards the water at various points. There are also regular shower points and lifeguard stations. Like many bigger beaches, it has a banana-boat attraction - a long sit-on inflatable pulled by a motor boat until everyone falls off.

The bay is marked off for swimmers quite a long way out. And in summer floating islands are put up in the water as platforms to swim out to (about 30-40m out from the side). There is a platform about every 350m. A boat picking up flotsam that might have blown into the sea regularly runs through the water keeping the water clean.

Sand quality

The sand is not great. It's gritty made up of small pea or rice-sized stones and though not painful underfoot it's not a classic beach-sand experience.

Swimming platforms at Platja dAro Swimming

For such a large beach, the water is very clear. However the beach shelves deeply so you are out of your depth in a matter of a few metres. With the water being cleaned regularly it's quite pleasant to swim, though being open it can become wavy quickly. The swimming platforms offer good targets for long distance swimming. Though the water is clear, the bay is sandy at the bottom and though there are occasional fish to be seen, it's not the best beach for snorkelling.


There is plenty of parking in town with a number of large town car parks behind the main shopping streets. Some are pay-for parking, but the main market car park just beyond Bonpreu, a little walk to the beach, is free.


Platja d'Aro is mainly for shopping and passeos. It is possible to walk to S'Agaro to the south or Torre Valentina to the north or out to Castell d'Aro along the river valley. However you'd probably want to start closer to get off the main strip first.

For walks see: Platja d'Aro and S'Agaro

Next beaches

South to Sa Conca, S'Agaro - North to Belladona and bays to Torre Valentina (Cala Rovira to be added)

Swimming at Platja de Pals and Platja Illa Roja
06 Aug 2013

View along Platja de Pals Costa Brava towards lEstartit and Torroella de Montgri Platja de Pals is a reasonably large community of houses and villas located at the sea about 4km down from the historic Pals village itself. It's one of the most seasonal areas on the Costa Brava. In summer the houses and villas fill up, parking spaces can be something of a premium and there is a huge bustle around the many bars and restaurants in the area and children's amusements on the beach. In winter by contrast it feels empty with driftwood the only thing you might see on the beach.

The Platja itself is very long and broad, running all the way to L'Estartit about 10km to the north past a number of campsites on the beach and a golfing complex. To sea are views out to the Isles Medes and down to the headland of Begur just around from Sa Riera. On a clear day you can see all the way to the hills around Cap de Creus in the Roses area. Being broad and open, the main beach (Platja Gran) can become windy. The area is popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers away from the sunbathers.

Platja de la Isla Roja neighbouring Platja de Pals To the right as you look at the sea are a series of rocks sloping down into the sea. On a busy day there will be a steady stream of people taking the path around the corner to the bay of Isla Roja a small beach tucked under a large red rock island that is used by naturists. This path runs over the top of the cliffs behind this island to reach Sa Riera. The beach is very pretty but the cliffs behind does mean it loses the sun in the evening quite early. If you watch commercials on Spanish TV, this beach was used as the backdrop to the Damm Limon advert.

Facilities at the beaches

The main Platja de Pals has all the facilities you would expect of a popular holiday resort including children's amusements and in the village/shopping area numerous bars, restaurants and holiday shops. On the beach itself are a number of chiringuitos and amusements like trampoline bouncers for children. In the bay there was a banana-boat (a big inflateable towed by a motor boat until everyone falls off).

Platja de Pals The bay of Isla Roja has no facilities near by, but people like to jump off rocks jutting over the water (about 4-5m high).

Sand quality

For Platja Gran the beach is quite broad with dunes at the back. The sand at the top part of the beach is coarse but not stony while at the lower part of the beach near the water the sand feels much finer. The sand is a type of grey colour rather than the classic sandy yellow.

For the beach of Isla Roja the sand is a little coarser, though still not sandy, and is more of a classic yellow in colour.


Boys jumping off rocks into the sea Costa Brava Swimming is as you might expect from a broad long sandy beach with few distinguishing features in the water, but obviously the potential for long uninterrupted swims. The beach shelves quite quickly and there tends to be a current in the water - a gentle northward drift. If the wind picks up the water can become choppy as it's unsheltered as a bay.


Parking at the height of summer can be tricky particular around the main beach village area. Parking spaces have to be paid for and there are both parking meters in operation and traffic wardens. We've found the best place to park is to take the left fork at the Spa roundabout towards the golf clubs and park on one of the roads near the picnic area and tower (masked by the trees if you're looking for it) as it tends to be quieter.


The GR92 runs past Platja de Pals and it is possible to walk all the way up to Gola de Ter (the mouth of the river Ter). If this is crossable, which it isn't always, you can carry on to L'Estartit. For us this is a great walk for the winter when the beach is more deserted. The prettier route is to head south and follow the path to the beach at Sa Riera the next beaches along and then possibly up to Begur.

For walks see: Pals beach to Gola de Ter, Masos de Pals, Begur, Sa Riera and Platja de Pals

Next beaches

South to Sa Riera (Begur) - North to Gola del Ter (Pals/L'Estartit)

Swimming and beach at La Fosca
05 Aug 2013

Beach at La Fosca under the castle La Fosca is situated just to the north of Palamos on the Costa Brava. The beach is large formed by two crescents of some of the softest sand with a rocky outcrop in the centre. The right half as you look out to sea is backed by houses and a number of modernista buildings. The left half further round has a selection of seasonal shops and restaurants. Above the left hand side is the ruin of Castell d'Esteve. Behind the beach are a number of small low-rise hotels and a number of larger campsites including Kings and Palamos International. The beach is popular with families and young children. The quality of the sand and the space available means it also attracts regular volleyball players who put up nets in the evenings. La Fosca also very popular with the French. Most days there are regular boules/pentaque games being played just next to the shop area.

The neighbouring beach below the other side of the castle is pebbly, but attracts divers and snorkellers looking to explore the underwater terrain on the far side of the castle.

Facilities at the beaches

The beach includes a large bay which is marked off for swimming. The rocky area to the right has a number of small boat slipways and is sometimes used as a boat access and is the only place where boats might get close to swimmers. The right side of the beach (looking out to sea) has pedalo hire with slides and normally there are several pedalos out in the bay. The left hand side has a canoe rental area. For such a beautiful beach, there aren't so many bars or restaurants. There are a couple of chiringuitos (bars actually on the beach itself), but mostly the area is surrounded by low rise houses and flats for rent.

Sand quality

Beach at La Fosca right hand side The sand is very fine - probably the softest on the Costa Brava and is perfect for bucket and spade or sand castle making. Even in the rocky extremes to the left and right, there is sand under foot.


La Fosca has the gentlest entry into the water. It is possible to walk out 30-40m and still touch the bottom. This gentle shelving means that the water has the warmest water. Early in the season at the start of June, La Fosca will be the first beach that many people choose to go to because of the temperature of the water.

However, there is a downside. Because of the warmth of the water, the bay can turn green and cloudy because it encourages the growth of a harmless algae in the water (if it was France, they'd probably sell it as a beauty treatment). This happens at the hottest periods and has the effect of discouraging many swimmers. In practice the algae is little more than a cloud that accumulates around the central rocky outcrop. It is possible to swim out beyond the cloud and find clearer water further out.

The bay itself is sandy with some fish, but relatively plain. There are rocky areas to the left and right where you will find more fish and if snorkelling or diving are important, the area on the far side of the ruined castle is deep and clear with lots of nooks and crannies. Just be careful as out here the water is more open and less sheltered than in the bay.


Parking can be difficult partly because of the need to navigate the one-way streets. There is parking under the pine trees a little way away, or near to the tennis courts at the back, but it's rare to find a park place right down by the beach at the heart of the summer. If you have a canoe, you can drop the canoe off close to the beach, then drive off to park.


The GR92 runs past La Fosca. South is Palamos, but more interesting is the northern walk around the headlands past tucked away fishermen retreats to Platja de Castell.

For walks see: Platja de Castell and La Fosca, La Fosca to Palamos

Next beaches

South to Palamos main beach - North to Platja de Castell

Swimming at the beaches of Calella de Palafrugell
04 Aug 2013

Platja de Canadell in Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava Calella de Palafrugell is one of the Costa Brava's gems. It's a small town on the coast with whitewashed houses, good restaurants and completely unspoilt by high rises or tacky tourism. The town runs along the coast over a series of small bays and coves. As a result there isn't a single town beach, but several different beaches nestling in among the low cliffs and rocky rises. Traditional Calella de Palafrugell was a small fishing village and it still has fishing boats on the beach or out into the water. The town is very picturesque, but it also looks out to the headland of Cap Roig and the islands of the Formigues site of a Catalan naval battle in 1281. There are four beach areas each of them is relatively small so they can get crowded. The first beach from the direction of Llafranc is Platja Canadell. The main (smallest) beach in the centre of town is Port Bo. This is the site of the main Havaneres festival (sea shanties) in July. South from the town are the two beaches of Port Pelegri - the beaches share the same bay, but divided by rocks. Further south before Cap Roig is the pebbly beach at Golfet. Calella de Palafrugell is also an easy walk to Llafranc.

Facilities at the beaches

Beach and restaurtants around Port Bo Calella de Palafrugell Canadell is the largest of the beaches (though still relatively small). It sits under a promenade with a number of old traditional Indianer houses. On the promenade itself above the beach are a number of bars and resturants and at the left hand end looking out to sea is the Hotel de la Torre, site of the historic watchtower for Calella. Under the promenade are a number of beach huts, some of which have been converted into bars. The beach has a boat taxi service out to the numerous boats that moor at Calella. The beach has lifeguards and it is possible to rent canoes.

Port Bo is the smallest of the beaches, but the most central. Bars and restaurants practically fall onto the beach and there is a raised wooden walk way where you pass so close to the people eating that you could pick at the plates. This beach is used by the fishing boats and has a number of rocky outcrops that are readily used as scramble and play areas. It's less used for swimming than the other beaches.

Port Pelegri splits in two and to reach both sides you have to take the path and steps from the promenade just in front of Hotel Mediterrani. The other hotel over looking the beach is Hotel Sant Roc which has private steps down to the sea. At sea level the beaches have houses/huts cut into the rocks and these have typically been turned into beach-side bars and restaurants now but without spoiling the charm of the beach. There are lifeguards and showers at beach level.

Golfet is the furthest beach from the town centre and is practically a wild beach. You can reach it via the Cami de Ronda that runs around the bays through a series of tunnels cut into the rocks, or from the top via steps (there is parking higher up). The beach itself is pebbly and unspoilt, but in some ways this is it's main charm - it's not touristy and has a very natural setting with a pillar of rock to the left and cliffs above. The bay is sandy initially then rocky which make it easy to enter the water.

All the bays are marked off with buoys for swimming.

Sand quality

Port Peligri beach Calella de Palafrugell left side The sand is generally coarse with the exception of Golfet which is made up of pebbles. The bays themselves are rocky but there is a run of sand before the rocks so getting in the water you can wade without a rocky surface. The exception is Canadell where the rocky part of the bay comes quite quickly in some places which can make the transition from warm on the beach to cool in the water difficult on the feet. Here, the best place to enter the water to start with is just in front of canoe area as the sand extends further into the bay.


Swimming is excellent particularly if you like to see fish. The beaches slope quickly into the water and the bays are rocky when you are in the water - hence the number of fish. Being quite sheltered, the water is rarely wavy and typically smooth and clear. In certain bays the rocks in the bay get quite close to the surface, so it's advisable to wear goggles. Stopping in the middle of the bay to admire the view, in some places you can find your feet kicking rocks.

Port Peligri beach Calella de Palafrugell right side Canadell is long enough to allow for a good distance swim and 'laps', but Port Pelegri has the longest stretch of water once you get out to the buoys.

Do watch out for the boat markings and if you do decide to cross a channel (eg to make a longer swim) keep an eye out for the boats. Calella is popular with sailors, so there are several channels for the sea-taxis ferrying people in and out of the town and these tend to be quite busy.


Parking in Calella can be difficult at peak times. There is a pay-for multistory just above the town centre which tends to be quiet as most people try to park on the main connecting road above the beaches. The chances are that you will find a space, but you may need to walk a little to reach the sea.


The GR92 runs past Calella de Palafrugell. There is a very easy well walked route around the headland to Llafranc. To the south the GR92 takes you past Cap Roig and out to the wild beaches of the Cap Roig/Castell protected area. There is also good walking inland through Ermedas or to Palafrugall and Mont-ras.

For walks see: Eulogy to the Ruta del Tren Petit (Palafrugell, Palamos, Mont-ras and Vall-llobrega) - Calella de Palafrugell/Cap Roig to Castell - classic wild Costa Brava - Mont-ras to Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc

Next beaches

South to Cala Estreta and wild beaches to El Crit and Cap Roig - North to Llafranc

Swimming at the beach at Aiguablava
30 Jul 2013

Aiguablava beach on the Costa Brava in the late afternoon Aiguablava is a sandy beach located in the municipality of Begur, but just on from Tamariu. The beach is famous in that it is used as the poster-image for this part of the Costa Brava with sheltered clear turquoise sea under the cliffs and soft golden sand beach. The beach itself sits below a Parador (a type of luxury historic hotel run by the Spanish government), with rocky inlets to the left as you look out to sea and around a couple of these coves you come to Fornells, a tiny but exquisite fisherman's village with two hotels. During summer the bays fill up with luxury boats and yachts both for the scenery, the sheltered harbour and the quality of the swimming and water. One of the best features is the view across to the headland of Begur. As a result Aiguablava can get very popular (and crowded) at the height of summer. Almost the only way to reach the bay is by car which can make parking tricky.

Facilities at the beach

The beach does not have a village as such around it. Instead there is just a car park, then as you get down towards the sand there are a small number of seasonal bars and restaurants right on the beach some of which are only accessible across the sand. The bay is marked off for swimming and there is a lifeguard service. However, one of the attractions is that it's easy for experienced swimmers to swim into the other bays or even all the way round to Fornells.

There is a canoe and pedalo hire station to the right hand side. The area would be excellent for canoeing around the bays and cliffs.

Sand quality

The beach itself has a fine sand which is soft between the toes. It would be perfect for making sand castles, but it can get busy and tightly packed during the peak season. The neighbouring bay to the left, reachable walking over the cliff to the left, is an entirely pebble beach. The bays near Fornells are sandy but tiny with barely enough space for more than 2 or 3 families. Platja Fondo further round will be covered later.


Swimming is wonderful, though the water can get cloudy when the beach is really busy. For children the main beach shelves gently into the water and is mainly a clear sandy bottom, though the centre part has a line of pebbles just as you enter the water (the extreme left and right are softer). The exception are the rocky areas to either side with boulders and giant stones in the water teeming with fish. As mentioned, for a good swimmer there should be no problem swimming all the way across to Fornells. Each of the small bays is relatively rocky below the surface and there is excellent visibility for shoals of fish or other aquatic life. The only slight downside is that you have swim outside the protected area and among the boats. But mostly they are stationary and there shouldn't be any problem - certainly many people swim directly from the boats.

If Fornells is too far, then there is also good snorkelling in the area to the right and some caves in the rocks that are only accessible from the water.


Parking can  be difficult during the height of summer. The car park directly at the back has parking meters so you will have to pay (and a theoretical maximum time limit so you might need to re-ticket the car). In these sorts of places in the height of summer you can be pretty much guaranteed there will be ticket wardens around. Unfortunately the car park does fill up, and many people park on the road at the top, but again space can be limited. For this reason getting there either early-ish in the morning, or alternatively later in the evening are recommended.


The GR92 runs past Aiguablava and the walk up the cliff to the left will take you right round to Fornells and ultimately onwards and upwards to Begur. In the other direction the GR92 runs away from the coast to Tamariu - it's a relatively steep climb though.

For walks see: Fornells and Aiguablava walk (GR92) or alternatively Begur, Ses Negres and Sa Riera -  Sa Tuna, Cap de Begur, Begur - Palafrugell, Tamariu, Begur residential and Esclanya - Masos de Pals, Begur, Sa Riera and Platja de Pals

Next beaches

South to Aigua Xelida - North to Platja Fonda (Begur)

Swimming at the beach at Tamariu
27 Jul 2013

Tamariu bay on the Costa Brava showing swimming area Tamariu is a small fishing village set in a dell with hills to all sides. Officially it's part of the municipality of Palafrugell with the main town of Palafrugell approximately 3-4km away. There are two beaches - the main beach, and a second much smaller pebble beach to the left as you look at the sea. The bay is hemmed in by two rocky headlands. To the left it is quite steep, but to the right you can follow a footpath around the headland to Cala Pedrosa - a wild beach. In the hills behind and around the village are numerous villas and houses. It's a popular resort with French and Dutch holidaymakers. The village centre is quite small so there isn't so much to see, but it is quite picturesque. In summer Tamariu opens up and there are a selection of bars and restaurants on the sea front around the bay  It has a seasonal supermarket and clothes/gift shops.At the back of the village is Camping Tamariu in a quiet valley location.

Facilities at the beach

The bay is marked off for swimming with boats mooring outside this line and a boat-taxi service out to the boats. The bay is compact - it's easy to swim from one side to the other. During summer there is a lifeguard service and there are practical things like toilets and fresh water showers. It is possible to hire canoes and there is a scuba diving place at the beach.

Sand quality

Main Tamariu beach with bars and restaurants behind The main beach is a mix of coarse grit-type sand with small pebbles in places, in other places the sand is a little finer. Sunbathers have three quarters of the beach, the last part is reserved for fishing boats. The main beach has a small rocky outcrop to one side. The area to the right of the outcrop is generally quieter and more private. In the evening this quieter part loses the sun first.

The quieter pebble bay to the left is all pebble and hard on barefeet. Best with shoes or flipflops on. The people using this bay tend to be snorkellers and swimmers as it fabulous for seeing fish.


From the main beach, there is a layer of pebbles as you enter the water. The beach then shelves away steeply so you are quickly out of your depth. The main bay area has a sandy bottom all the way out to the buoys which means there aren't so many fish so swimming is mainly just swimming.

Around to the right, out towards the headland there is a diving board off the rocks about 2m above the water level. This has always been a splash with children. This rockier area is also better for wildlife.

Small pebble snorkling beach at Tamariu - great for fish The pebble bay to the left has a rocky bay. It shelves gently, though this is tough on the feet as it's rocks all the way in. A better bet is to jump in from the side. The water here is normally crystal clear and there are usually shoals of fish in the bay. You can also swim around to an otherwise inaccessible bay.


Canoes can be rented from the beach and there is excellent canoeing particularly as you get around to Aigua Xelida and then on to Aiguablava and Fornells. The bays immediately after Aigua Xelida beach have rocks and cliffs with narrow canyon type inlets and crystal clear water sheltered from the wind and waves of the sea and almost inaccessible other than on the water.


Parking can  be difficult during the height of summer. There are two smallish car parks along the main street through the valley. Alternatively road parking can normally be found on the road out towards Aiguablava/Begur - though it can mean a few minutes walk to get to the beach.


The GR92 runs through Tamariu. You can follow the path around the headland to the right through one wild beach and up to the lighthouse above Llafranc (San Sebastien).

For walks see: Far de Sant Sebastia (Llafranc) to Tamariu - Palafrugell, Tamariu, Begur residential and Esclanya

Next beaches

South to Llafranc - North to Aigua Xelida

Summer thunderstorms
23 Jul 2013

Summer thunderstorm over Palafrugell Costa Brava Our experience since we arrived in Spain has been that from around mid-June to mid-September the weather has pretty much been classic summer blue skies with the occasional wispy cloud. This year, we've just had about a week where the heat of the day has turned into big (and quite spectacular) summer thunderstorms by the end of the day. The morning and afternoons have been bright blue sky as normal, but from four o'clock onwards clouds have started to gather until at about 5 or 6pm huge dark storm clouds full of thunder and lightening have passed overhead with some torrential rain and even hail. From what we've experienced before, the storms don't usually come until mid-September at the earliest so these are probably to do with the later start to the summer this year.

We had to go out to Girona airport on one of the days and you could see the storms in the mountains over the airport and as we came back the clouds seem to follow across the Gavarres and across to the sea. It wouldn't be a problem, but when you're working here, you like to go to the beach in the evening - the sea's a bit warmer and it's easier to park or find space. The storms put paid to that idea. There's also a second downside, which is the rain tends to wash a lot of flotsam and jetsam into the sea and it can make the water mucky for the next day too. At least we're not in Barcelona where the storms clear out the indescrible debris of the city into the sea.


Summer on the Costa Brava
12 Jul 2013

Beach at Llafranc in mid July Mid-July and the weather is now officially hot (in the 30Cs). From the beginning of July onwards the roads start to fill from Friday evenings with weekenders up from Barcelona. Naturally there are tourists from across Europe arriving too, but at the start of July, it's still quiet enough to find a car park place. The really busy period starts in the middle of July all the way to the end of August when everywhere is full. But if you're prepared to walk it's still possible to find more out of the way places.

If you've been following the walks, we've slowed down too. We are still walking, but more frequently to the beaches or just in our neighbourhood. Spanish school holidays start at the last week of June and run all the way through to the second week of September - almost three months so we also spend some time travelling back to the UK or more northern parts of Europe. It's actually relatively common and we know of people who do house swaps during July and August. If you're on the Costa Brava all summer, then a couple of weeks somewhere a little cooler where the risk of rain won't ruin the whole summer is an attractive option.

The pattern of walks is also changing. We typically walk to the beaches in the evening, just as everyone else is going. Mid-day, like most people here, we're looking for shade. If you are in the woods or out and about, the tracks and paths are more dusty - your feet get covered by a thin crust of fine dust and many of the streams have dried up.

As we move into the middle of July, there are the numerous festivals around. Calella de Palafrugell has Havarnes (sea shanties) on the beach with people watching from fishing boats lit with candles on the sea. Calella de Palafrugell also hosts the Cap Roig Music Festival. Elton John was due to open, but has called off with appendicitis. Mark Knopfler is playing one of the other dates too.

The local villages also have their Festa Major, the village fete, with activities and naturally sardanes, the national dance of Catalonia.

We want to add some descriptions of the beaches - the types of sand, water, facilities, but we also want some proper photos to illustrate. May be, now the trips are out of the way, we'll follow this up a bit more.

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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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