Costa Brava: Sant Pere Pescador to Sant Feliu de Guíxols

Sant Pere Pescador to L’Escala

Since we had already explored the wetlands between Castelló d’Empúries and San Pere Pescador the previous day we took a taxi to start again at Sant Pere Pescador. From here it’s about 10km, 2 hours, to the ruins of Empúries, established 575 BC by the Greeks and invaded by the Romans in 218 BC.

Asclepius, the ancient Greek god of medicine, looks out to sea from Empúries

Ruins of Empúries, founded 575 BC

Entrance to the Roman City

1st century BC mosaic in a Roman house

The necropolis remained in use from the 6th century BC to the Middle Ages

On to L’Escala, another 2km,  where we were in for a surprise – it was the Festa de la Sal (Salt Festival).  The story of centuries past when ships bought salt from the mines further south to L’Escala for salting sardines and anchovies is re-enacted with food, wine and song. Click here for the 2014 Festa YouTube.

Along the coast between Empúries & L’Escala

These small boats brought the salt from larger ships off shore …

… where the women salted the sardines on the beach

Sardines and anchovies at the Festa de la Sal (Salt) in L’Escala – definitely the best we’ve ever eaten

Fideuà, a traditional Catalan fisherman’s dish similar to paella but using noodles instead of rice

Pam versus Vermouth

L’Escala to Torroella de Montgrí

About 19km today taking us 5½ hours. The path initially closely follows the cliffs, very close to the edge. Certainly spectacular but we needed to proceed with great care.

We weren’t the only ones off at dawn at L’Escala

A seafood restaurant

Rough track up between tough Mediterranean shrubs …

… to great views from the cliff top path

Looking back, taking care

Cliffs reflected in the sea

We moved away from the coast into the forest

Torroella de Montgrí’s Catalan Gothic Church of Sant Genís towers over the town

Montgrí Castle – 13th century Middle Eastern style 300 meters above the town

Torroella de Montgrí to Begur

Torroella de Montgrí to Begur: 21km, flat for the first half climbing 200 meters in the last 10 km. We made some short cuts and it only took 5 hours. We liked that a village, each one with a castle and a church, came up every few kilometers.

First village, Gualta with a well-worn 16th century bridge …

… and 18th century Neo Classic Santa Maria built on an ancient Roman church

Next village, Fontanilles has the 12th century Romanesque Sant Martí

And a few km later, medieval Palau-Sator with …

… its Clock Tower in the fortifications

Then up hill through forest to Begur

16th century tower built in Begur as a defence against pirates

After making his fortune in Cuba a returnee built this lavish “Casa Indiana” (1886)

Street leading up to the Castle

Begur Castle built 11th century, restored 20th century

Begur to Palamós

Begur to Palamós – 23km ; our longest day, taking 6½ hours. After an hour we were back on the coast again. Then the path took us up and down and up again and down again, a total of 2300 vertical meters.

Across a sandy beach and up the steps

Looking down …

… the sea is clear and calm

The descent to a pebbly beach is protected by railings

Wild flowers grow in the rocks

This is the Costa Brava (Wild Coast)

Watchtower constructed in the 15th century is 160m above sea level

Down to Llafranc

A small fishing village as we approach Palamós

Made it to Palamós before the rain

Palamós to Sant Feliu de Guíxols

Sant Feliu de Guíxols is 17km, 5 hours from Palamós. Today the path closely followed the coast up and down to small coves and across sandy beaches.  We appreciated the few kilometers of wide flat path for easy walking.

Small sailing boats on the Sant Feliu de Guíxols beach as we leave at dawn …

… to closely follow the coast

Hard work walking with a pack across the soft sand

We appreciate the tunnels; less down and up!

Steps down to the …

… beautiful clear sea

Casa Estrada, early 20th century Modernist House, known as “villa of spikes”

Red house built in 1897 as accommodation for sailors shipwrecked off the coast of Sant Feliu

La Constància Casino, 1889, frequented by artisans, workers and sailors

Benedictine Monastery from 961 built over a Roman Church

Arròs negre (black rice) a Catalan dish made with seafood, meat and rice blackened with squid ink – lunch