The Costa Brava coastal path

From Port Bou at the north all the way down to Blanes, the Costa Brava coastline is connected by a series of coastal paths linking all the major towns and villages. This network of paths, “Cami de Ronda” in Catalan, covers over 200km and takes a total of nine or ten days walking at an average of 20/22kms/day.

Cala Guillola

Cala Guillola, Cap de Creus, Cadaques

In October 2013 I spent four days walking between Port Bou and Sant Marti d’Empuries. In October 2014 i picked up again from Sant Marti and spent another four days walking to Sant Feliu de Guixolls. Traveling light with just a medium sized rucksack i booked hotels in advance and usually arrived at my destination by mid afternoon after setting off in the mornings after breakfast at around 09.00am.

As we live in the Girona province i had already visited most of the main towns and villages along the Costa Brava but i was really keen to explore some of the less well known areas and discover little hidden bays and coves. I chose October as this is a relatively quiet time for us at Charming Villas and the weather is generally still good, not the intense heat of the summer and still T.Shirt weather for us Northern Europeans!

For my first four days of walking I drove to the small train station at Camallera where i left my car and took the train to the frontier town of Port Bou.

Day 1. Port Bou – El Port de la Selva.
This stretch of the Northern Costa Brava was relatively new to me. I had visited Llanca and Port de la Selva on various occasions but the rest of the coastline was a mystery. The train station at Port Bou was huge and pretty quiet. This frontier town used to be an important hub between Catalonia and France but now its glory days of commerce and movement are a distant memory. I didn’t hang around in the town and quickly caught up with the red and white stripped markings showing me the way to follow.

Port Bou beach

The beach at the town of Port Bou, Costa Brava

From leaving the beach at Port Bou the route takes me up and over a headland and i don’t hit water again until I reach Colera. Similar to Port Bou, Colera was a small coastal town which looked totally shut down on a week day in mid October. On I walked through fields and pine forests catching glimpses of blue to my lef until I come to Port de Joan, a little bay just before Platja Garbet

Port de Joan, Garbet

Port de Joan, Garbet

I got a bit stuck here as the red and white stripes I had been following suddenly disappeared. I back tracked and could not pick up the track. Eventually i realised that the route took me around the base of the cliffs, around the corner to the long sandy “Platja Garbet” beach. From here i passed through the town of Llanca and followed the well marked path to Port de la Selva.

Day 2, Port de la Selva – Cadaques.
I was really looking forward to this stretch through the Cap de Creus headland. Wild and wind beaten, this is where Dali spent a lot of his time gaining inspiration from the terrain. From the moment i left Port de la Selva behind me i didn’t see another soul until i reached Cadaques a few hours later. I took a little detour down to Cala Tavallera which is about a third of the way into the day’s walk.

Cala Tavallera

Cala Tavallera

The rest of the day was somewhat foggy and i couldn’t see very much but nevertheless i enjoyed the walk into Cadaques.

Day 3, Cadaques – Roses
Another enjoyable day walking the Cap de Creus in relative solitude. Before arriving in Roses one passes a series of beautiful little bays, the first being Cala Joncols.

Cala Joncols

Cala Joncols, Cap de Creus

After crossing the headland of Cap de Norfeu one encounters a few more bays of which Cala Montjoi being the most well known due to the world famous chef Ferran Adria and his ground breaking Number 1 restaurant in the world, El Bulli. The walk into Roses was quite pleasant with some nice little beaches on the outskirts of the town but personally Roses is not my favourite town on the Costa Brava and I find it a bit tacky in places.

Day 4, Roses – Sant Marti d’Empuries.
The walk out of Roses was probably my least favourite stretch of the whole walk. There was some nice bits but i didn’t really start to enjoy it until i reached the natural reserve of the Aiguamolls De L’Emporda which is a famed wildlife reserve with many rare wild birds. The route then takes you along the Fluvia river, crossing at Sant Pere Pescador and through farmland until reaching the charming coastal village of Sant Marti d’Empuries.

Sant Marti d'Empuries

The beach at Sant Marti d’Empuries

From Sant Marti i took a taxi back to the train station at Camallera and picked up my car and headed home to Besalu.

Day 5, Sant Marti – L’Estartit.
In October 2014 I was ready to go back and continue from where i left off the previous year. This time i drive directly to Sant Marti and leave the car parked up.

Cala Portixol

Cala Portixol, Sant Marti d’Empuries

Once you arrive at Cala Montgo you leave the the hussle and bustle of L’Escala behind you until you get to L’Estartit.

Cala Montgo, L'Escala

Cala Montgo, L’Escala

The terrain is pretty stoney undefoot most of the day. There’s two little bays to stop off at before arriving at L’Estartit, Cala Ferriol and Cala Pedrosa.

Cala Ferriol

Cala Ferriol, L’Estartit

Day 6, L’Estartit – Begur
Day six starts off with a pleasant barefoot stroll along the sandy beach until reaching the river Ter which flows into the sea. The book i was reading stated that you could wade through this but upon reaching the river found that this was impossible. So the only option was to walk along the side of the river to the first crossing point at Torroella de Montgri then head back towards the beach and along to Begur. There is another option which takes you through the Emporda countryside and villages of Palau Sator and Pals before reaching Begur but i prefered to take the coastal route.

Sa Riera beach, Begur

Sa Riera beach, Begur

Day 7, Begur – Palamos
This is quite a long one but worth it for the breathtaking scenery along the way. First up is the view down to Platja Fonda and Aiguablava.

Platja Fonda, Aiguablava

The view of Platja Fonda and Aiguablava

The beach of AiguaBlava, Begur

Aigua Blava, Begur

From Aiguablava the route takes you inland and brings you out at the lovely little bay of Tamariu.

Tamariu, Costa Brava

The beach at Tamariu

After Tamariu the path takes you past the small cove of Cala Pedrosa, up to the lighthouse of El Far de Sant Sebastia then down again to Llafranc. For lunch you could either stop here in Llafranc or the next little coastal bay of Calella de Palafrugell.

The route now takes you through the Cap Roig headland where you will find the off the beaten track Cala Estreta.

Cala Estreta

Cala Estreta

As you approach Palamos the first beach you will come accross is the great Platja Castell.

Platja Castell, Palamos

Platja Castell, Palamos

The coastal path takes you past a few more small bays before arriving on the main seafront of Palamos.

Dat 8, Palamos – Sant Feliu de Guixols.
A pleasant, quite flat day of walking passing many lovely little bays.

Cala del Forn, Costa Brava

Cala del Forn, Costa Brava

Cap Roig, Costa Brava

Cap Roig, Costa Brava

Platja Sa Conca, Costa Brava

Platja Sa Conca, Costa Brava

I mean to get back and finish the last stretch down to Blanes so watch this space.