Palamós to Tamariu
Palamós is a major fishing port and resort located right in the middle of the Costa Brava. The Municipality has a population of 14,000 inhabitants, although it gets 90,000 visitors annually. There are 2 marinas and 7 beaches, and also lots of little calas, some of which can only be reached by sea. The churches of Santa María del Mar (15th century) and Santa Eugenia Villarromà (16th century) in the town centre are interesting, as are the medieval castle of Sant Esteve at La Fosca beach, the Villarromà castle at Bell Lloc dating from the time of the Visigoths, and the 6th century BC Iberian settlement at Platja del Castell, the longest undeveloped stretch of beach left on the Costa Brava, largely due to the vigilance of young environmentalists.
Palafrugell is the inland jumping off point for three beautiful coastal villages, Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc and Tamariu. Palafrugell itself is a pleasant commercial town, with pedestrianised streets, a pretty square and a lovely casino bar. It has a musuem dedicated to the cork industry. The town is linked to its fishing port, Calella, by an incongruous 4km four-lane motorway, but the roughly paved old road is a lot more scenic.
Calella de Palafrugell is the archetypal Costa Brava fishing village – rough cliffs, a half-dozen small cala beaches backed by arcaded, whitewashed houses and narrow, twisting cobbled streets; fishing boats still go out early in the morning. The six tiny beaches fronting the town tend to get rather crowded, but if you follow the footpath along the shore to the south beyond the last visible promontory Cantata de las Habaneras there are a couple of gorgeous beaches, the third one, called Platja del Golfet, being the most attractive. The festival is held on the beach of Calella every first Saturday of July, while the festa major is celebrated on June 29th.
Calella de Palafrugell ( barcelona-metropolitan)
Calella de Palafrugell-a mere two hours from Barcelona-an ideal retreat from the busy city that is never really out of season. This former fishing village, situated in the municipality of Palafrugell in the Baix Emporda region of the Costa Brava, should definitely not be confused with its more touristy namesake, Calella, further south. Here, there are no high-rise buildings and no nightclubs.
The Castell i Jardins de Cap Roig, a clifftop botanical garden constructed by a White Russian colonel named Woevosky, is well worth visiting. A Jazz Festival is held in these gardens each summer in July and August. In 2006 the Bob Dylan topped the bill.
Llafranc is only a twenty-minute walk on a gentle footpath around the promontory from Calella, but this up-market resort with its semicircular beach and small marina looks and feels completely different. The Hotel/Restaurant Llafranc was originally owned by character known as the Gypsy, renowned for his wild parties and his famous guests, including Dalí, Sophia Loren, Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, Carmen Amaya, and the bandleader Xavier Cugat, whose photos now adorn the walls. La Sal is a highly recommended restaurant. The walk up to the lighthouse is tough, but worthwhile for the views. On your way up is the Megalithic dolmen of Can Mina de Torrents (3,400 to 3,000 BC). Llafranc celebrates its Festa Major on August 30th.
Tamariu is even lovelier than the other two villages, with a pervasive air of relaxed charm. Tamarit beach is the place to embark on some fun and fascinating kayaking excursions, heading north to one of the coast’s most pristine and inaccessible stretches, with expert guides and all the necessary safety gear, from safety vest to mining helmets with which to explore the deeper caves.
El Camí de Ronda ( barcelona-metropolitan)
Just over an hour from Barcelona (and that’s by public transport), the Camino del Ronda has got to be one of the Costa Brava’s best-kept secrets. It was originally built to protect coastal towns from the pirates and corsairs (mainly Turks and Berbers who were given carte blanche by various states to commit criminal and military acts) who terrorised the Catalan Mediterranean during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Over the years, a path dotted with sturdy watchtowers gradually took shape along the coastal Baix Empordà, running from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Tamariu almost without break. It provided a truly effective defensive system against attack; enabling watchmen in the towers to communicate effectively between themselves while using bonfires and bugles to warn the villagers and townspeople of invasion.
This article was written by Francis Barrett. See also Francis' excellent guide to Ireland irelandbyways.com
Information about the Ampurdan
Ampurdan main page
Information about the Costa Brava
Accommodation in the Ampurdan and the Costa Brava