Begur is a small town located on the Costa Brava coastline with Barcelona approximately 80 miles to the south and the French border approximately 50 miles to the north. Sitting in the county of the “Emporda”, more specifically the “Baix Emporda” which means the “lower Emporda”. The cosmopolitan city of Girona is just 35 miles inland.
The closest beaches
The town of Begur sits in an elevated position two miles inland from its beaches. Each beach is quite different and has it’s own characteristics. Pals has the longest sandy beach and a few chiringuitos where to buy refreshments. Illa Roja is a small sandy beach dominated by the huge red rock from where the beach gets it’s name. This is also a nudist beach. Sa Riera beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area and benefits from a number of restaurants on the beachfront. Aiguafreda is more of a cove and does not have a sandy beach but great for swimming and kayaking. Sa Tuna is a pretty picture postcard small bay with a pebble beach. Platja Fonda is untouched and free of restaurants or shops. Aiguablava beach is possibly the most beautiful beach in the area with it’s turquoise waters.
The history of Begur
The town is steeped in history and the area has been inhabited since Pre-Roman times. Today the oldest remaining link to it’s ancient history are the foundations of the 11th century Castle which sits in a strategic high point overlooking the town and coastline. During the 16th and 17th centuries the town was fortified to protect itself against marauding pirates. Today parts of the perimeter defensive wall and no less than five watchtowers still exist.
The 1950’s saw the dawn of mass-tourism and the Costa Brava was the first Costa in Spain to open up to tourism. The 1960’s and 70’s saw a boom in tourism and the consequent development of accommodation along the coastline in Spain. Some parts of the coast were spoiled by short-sighted over-development however this part of the coastline was largely left untouched. Today it is this factor of well preserved beaches and villages which attract both local Catalans and foreigners to spend holidays in Begur and it’s surrounding beaches.
Things to do in the area
As we have already seen this region has some of the prettiest and unspoiled beaches on the whole Costa Brava. However there’s more to Begur than just it’s beaches and the town of Begur itself has a lot to offer the traveler. The center of town is dominated by the 16th century church and it’s surrounding plaza and restaurants. There’s a good selection of boutique shops selling everything from clothing to home decor as well as bakeries, butchers and grocery stores.
Begur is also great for outdoor pursuits especially walking and cycling. The GR 92 coastal path (Cami de Ronda) stretches the whole length of the Costa Brava coastline and some of the nicest sections are in the Begur region.
From Port Bou at the north, all the way down to Blanes, the Costa Brava coastline is connected by a series of coastal paths. This network of paths, “Cami de Ronda” in Catalan, covers over 200 km of coastline linking all the major towns and villages along the way. It can take a total of nine or ten days walking at an average of 20/22 kms/day.
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. Usually arriving at my destination by mid afternoon after setting off in the mornings after breakfast at around 09.00am.
We live in the Girona province and i had already visited most of the main towns and villages along the Costa Brava. However 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. The weather is generally warm and sunny but not the intense heat of the summer. Great tee shirt weather for us Northern Europeans!
I drove to the small station at Camallera, left my car and boarded the train to the frontier town, Portbou.
Walking the Cami de Ronda
costa brava cami de ronda Day 1. Port Bou – El Port de la Selva.
This stretch of the Northern section of the Costa Brava cami de ronda 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 Portbou was huge and pretty quiet. This frontier town used to be an important hub between Catalonia and France. Now its glory days of commerce and movement are a distant memory. I didn’t hang around in the town long and quickly caught up with the red and white stripped markings showing me the way to follow.
Leaving the beach at Portbou behind me i followed the route which took me up and over a headland. I didn’t hit water again until reaching Colera. Similar to Portbou, 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 left until I come to Port de Joan, a little bay just before Platja Garbet.
I got a bit stuck here as the red and white markings I had been following suddenly disappeared. I back tracked but could not find the way. Eventually i realized that the route took me around the base of the cliffs 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.
costa brava cami de ronda 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.
The rest of the day was somewhat foggy and i couldn’t see very much but nevertheless i enjoyed the walk into Cadaques.
Costa brava cami de ronda 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.
After crossing the headland of Cap de Norfeu I encountered a few more bays of which Cala Montjoi is the biggest and most well known. This is where the world famous chef Ferran Adria and his ground breaking restaurant, El Bulli. The walk into Roses was quite pleasant passing some nice little beaches on the outskirts of the town.
Costa Brava cami de ronda Day 4, Roses – Sant Marti d’Empuries.
The walk out of Roses was probably my least favorite 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. The Aiguamolls is a famed wildlife reserve with many rare wild birds and wildlife. 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.
From Sant Marti i took a taxi back to the train station at Camallera and picked up my car and headed home to Besalu.
Continuing from where i had left off
Costa Brava cami de Ronda 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 drove directly to Sant Marti and left the car parked up.
Once you arrive at Cala Montgo you leave the the hustle and bustle of L’Escala behind you until L’Estartit.
The terrain is pretty stony underfoot most of the day. There’s two little bays to stop off at before arriving at L’Estartit, Cala Ferriol and Cala Pedrosa.
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 preferred to take the coastal route.
Day 7, Begur – Palamos
This is quite a long stretch of the Costa Brava cami de ronda but worth it for the breathtaking scenery along the way. First up is the view down to Platja Fonda and Aiguablava.
From Aiguablava the route takes you inland and brings you out at the lovely little bay of 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.
As you approach Palamos the first beach you will come across is the great Platja Castell.
The coastal path takes you past a few more small bays before arriving on the main seafront of Palamos.
Day 8, Palamos – Sant Feliu de Guixols.
A pleasant, quite flat day of walking passing many lovely little bays.
I mean to get back and finish the last stretch down to Blanes so watch this space.