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Swimming at Gola del Ter (Pals/L'Estartit)

Gola de Ter beach in Spring with waves Gola del Ter is where the river Ter meets the sea mid-way along Pals beach between Platja de Pals at one end and L'Estartit at the other. For our swimming series this is a little unusual because it's not so much about the beach, or the swimming and more about the wonderful novelty of swimming between fresh water and salt water environments.

The river reaches the beach and forms a large lake of fresh water behind the beach. In the summer, Rosa del Vents a specialist in children's camps for Spain has a windsurfing and canoe hire centre for the lake. On the other side of the beach, the sea brings waves into the shore on a sand bar while the river cuts the beach in two, the north to L'Estartit and the south towards Pals. In winter this means you can't take the beach path all the way up, but have to find the first crossing of the Ter in Toreolla de Montgri (6-7km). But in summer, if you don't mind the swim you can swim across the Gola, or just play between the fresh and salt waters.

Because the beach and river are quite a way from the towns, dogs are permitted on the south side (just not on the sand dunes) and part of the beach a little further north towards L'Estartit explicity allows dogs, so this is a popular area for dog-lovers, and the dogs tend to really enjoy the fresh water.

We wouldn't come here for long swims or snorkelling, but the two types of water make for a fun experience. On the river side, the water is a little murky and lake-like and of uneven depth from where the channel of the river moves. Parts are very shallow (less than 50cm deep), and then other parts drop away rapidly, so take care with small children. The lakeside water tends to be quite warm - several degrees hotter than the sea.

Following the river to the sea, the channel through the beach is often more for wading or paddling than for swimming before reaching a low sandbank. As the river reaches the sea, the water becomes wavy and much cooler with a scent of saltiness. Further out it's just like swimming in the sea again, albeit on a big open bay.

Facilities at the beach

Rosa del Vents has an area with windsurfers and canoes for use on the river/lake side. There are no other services and no apparent lifeguards - the beach is a bit remote, though popular, so don't expect anything nearby.

Sand quality

The sand is soft both into the river mouth and along the beach. If the wind is blowing it can feel quite windswept.

Swimming

For real keen swimmers it's not the best location, but the novelty of the two types of water is worth discovering. Take care over water depth though if you have children. All the children from Rosa del Vents wear life vests when doing their water activities.

Parking

There are gravel tracks out to sandy areas used for parking from both Torroella and to the south. We usually park by the Balena Verd campsite to the south. You should expect to need to walk as this is a remote location.

Walks and exploring

See our walks Pals beach to Gola del Ter.

Next beaches

South to Platja de Pals/ Isla Roja - North to L'Estartit

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