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.
Banyoles is only 20kms from Girona and is surrounded by wooded hills and rolling countryside but the outstanding feature is the large spring fed lake. This is where the rowing events were held for the ’92 olympics and rowing is still important today with lanes and bouys a permanent feature.
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…