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Summer and winter walking (Take Water!)

As spring and summer arrive in Catalonia it becomes important to carry water on the walk - even for something relatively short. And obviously suntan lotion. The views are also typically better in winter than in summer.

In spring and summer as the days heat up it's easy to be walking just in a t-shirt. But it is really important to have water - even for a relatively 4-5km walk. You dry out very quickly. On a longer walk it's practically essential - unless you are in a town/city with water fountains or bars there are unlikely to be any sources of water and you will need water.

In summer too, the Catalans/Spanish avoid the heat of the day over lunchtime (1pm-3pm). You can walk during these periods but it's not the most enjoyable time to be walking, though if you are under shade in woods, or by the beach with a sea breeze it can be fine for walking. Obviously the sun is much stronger on the Costa Brava than in the UK, so you will need to be sunlotioned up and we normally wear a cap or hat when walking in the summer to keep the sun off your head.

The other disadvantage of summer walking is that the heat haze means that the views to the distance aren't as clear or photogenic as they are in winter. The ground also dries out and it becomes dustier in the hills. For this reason we'd be more likely to be walking closer to the sea, or by rivers or up into the higher mountains during summer.

Winter walking on the Costa Brava temperature-wise is like an English Autumn. It's usually dry, and the temperature is pleasant. The air starts to clear around mid-October and November to March are normally bright and very light As the air cools through the autumn, particularly just after the first Tramuntana winds clear everything out, all of a sudden it's like the mountains reappear magically as if David Copperfield suddenly brought them back into view.

The effect is so surprising that it can catch summer visitors out. We visited a house for sale that had been built by a German builder as a holiday home. We concluded it must have been designed in the summer as it had almost no windows facing out to the mountains in spite of a fabulously clear winter view.


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