September can be a fabulous month to visit the Costa Brava and Castell beach near Palamós is one of the nicest spots. It is part nature reserve with dunes and marshland, a great sandy beach and overlooked on one side by ancient Iberian fort remains which you can stroll through.
The coastal path leads along some of the most rugged coves and bays of the whole 220 km Costa Brava with thick cover of Mediterranean pines and wild herbs which give the air a wonderful perfumed aroma. The path is steep in places but the views along the coast are worth every bit of effort, especially after a recent storm when the waves are crashing into the rocks below.
It has recently been included as a protected area which means the handful of houses will never be added to and nature will reclaim most of mans excesses.
This walk is only about an hour and a half and you can take the windy coastal path one way and come back on the GR92 which is a forest track that is more direct but all inland, sacrificing the views.
Cap Roig is worth visiting as it is one of the best botanical gardens in this area and the colours of the plants and flowers as well as the paths and seats placed to look out to sea are a must.
Calella de Palafrugell is one of those perfect Mediterranean fishing villages which are now sophisticated tourist resorts but without having spoilt either the natural beauty or grown too big to stroll through easily.
Located on what is, for me, the nicest part of the Costa Brava, where the pine trees and wild herbs cling to steep canyons which plunge down to the crystal clear water below.
The best way to see this coast is to walk along the coastal path or “cami de ronda” which will make you work as you follow all the ups and downs of the contours but is well worth it for the views and to experience some of the wild parts that are hardly reached by the 6 million visitors to this area every year.
Known as the Cami de Ronda, the coastal path that goes all along the Costa Brava up to the French border, has some truly spectacular parts, and this is one of them. It’s only short (an hours hike) but the dramatic scenery and views make it a great introduction to the “Wild Coast”.
After last weeks storm damage, the wooden walkway was either completely destroyed/submerged/brocken as you leave Sant Pol beach in S’Agaró heading south. Once you climb away from sea level, which you do rather quickly, the normal well kept and sign posted path resumes. There are modern houses and blocks of apartments dotted up the hill, but somehow they do not intrude overly, and anyway, ones focus is towards the sea. The path follows the inlets and rugged outcrops as it winds it’s way up to a point from which there are views over the whole Sant Pol beach and bay in the distance.
The really nice part about this stretch is how thoughtful the local council have been in putting picnic tables and benches in strategic places for maximum enjoyment. A legacy from a previous upgrading long ago is a pedestrian tunnel complete with alcoves and windows so you don’t miss any of the wonderful sights as you pass under some splendid mansions garden.
The flora and fauna are protected and the wind blown shapes of the pines and cork oaks add to the surreal but peaceful environs, except for the circling gulls nesting along the cliffs. All too soon we come around the headland on the other side we catch sight of the marina and town of Sant Feliu de Guixols. As we leave the wild coast behind my mouth starts to salivate at the thought of a small glass of wine with a seafood tapa in the bars around the port…
This beach has a bit of everything and is very easy to reach tucked between Sant Feliu and Platja d'Aro. On the one headland you have the imposing buildings of one of the areas premier hotels, the Hostal de la Gavina surrounded by other exclusive houses designed by architect Rafael Maso in the 1920's and 30's.
Then in the middle of the beach is an area of protected sand dunes and small wildlife refuge which is surrounded by normal beach facilities. The boardwalk passes some good seafood restaurants, most of which are open all year round, where you can sit on the terrace when the weather allows.
There are huge Modernist mansions built by Catalans that made their fortunes in Cuba (they are referred to locally as Cubanos) trading sugar and tobacco in the late 19th century and then came back to spend it in their favourite seaside resorts along the Mediterranean.
The fine sand beach turns into rugged rocks at the other end as the headland takes on a more dramatic aspect which you can enjoy by walking along the coastal path, which is where we go next…