All posts filed under: excursion

Spontaneous vacation — I took a flight to Ibiza

Four months on the Costa Brava – the light blue sea on your doorstep, impressive cities and beaches just next door, summer temperature on a daily basis, nothing but fantastic views of beautiful landscapes and endless possibilities to do something unforgettable.

 

 

What could be missing? Now and then a short trip to other Spanish regions! There are plenty of possibilities to explore the country and many places can easily be reached from Barcelona. This is why I decided to spend an unforgettable weekend in Ibiza! I’d love to tell you everything about it..

 

 

SHOPPING IN IBIZA CITY

Just got out of the plane, inhaled the fresh Ibiza air and there they are: my friends are welcoming me to the beautiful island: We’re more than happy about the reunion! Big plans were made for these 3 days together – from now on, we won’t waste any time.

Ibiza - Port - Party

The harbour of Ibiza and the shopping streets next door!

First item on our agenda: Shopping in Ibiza city! Only 2 minutes are necessary to reach the shopping paradise from the harbour. Once arrived, you won’t be able to leave without buying way too many things: Ibiza city offers numerous fashion stores, boutiques, souvenir shops and much more. I guess I won’t be able to resist either..

IT’S POOL TIME!

Sun Ibiza Summer Perfect

The perfect place to enjoy the sun!

 

Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the fantastic pool with views to the sea! What more could you ask for? Our motto for the rest of the day: Put our bikinis on and jump into the cool water! After hours of sunbathing and swimming, the first day in Ibiza comes to an end. What’s still missing? Exactly: “One night in Ibiza!“

 

 

PARTY – PLAYA D’EN BOSSA

And off we go to the nightlife district, the Playa d’en Bossa, which welcomes us with a free round of shots! Couldn’t it always be like that? From bar to bar, the level of fun and alcohol is rising – sober? Not in Ibiza! The bars are crowded with people and the good mood is spreading – we wanna party!

Ibiza offers numerous clubs to suit every taste – the most popular of course: the USHUAÏA. The greatest DJs in the world guarantee a once in a lifetime party experience. To a night we’ll never forget!

Clubbing Ibiza Ushuaia

Definitely one of the best clubs in the world!

SUNSET ON THE BEACH – CALA COMTE

After a night like this, there’s only one absolute priority: Sleeping. And bathing in the sun. And sleeping more.
Just kidding: it’s beach day! Destination: Cala Comte. Definitely one of the most beautiful beaches of Ibiza: Crystal clear water and breathtaking views of the small islands just off the coast. Also one of the most popular spots to enjoy the impressive colours of the sunset. Very romantic.

The later it gets, the more people arrive to say goodbye to the sun: They clap, whistle and cheer – what a wonderful atmosphere! Something you will probably only experience in Ibiza.

Breathtaking views.. even without the sun!

COCKTAILS – BAR KM5

Our next stop: A very special and glamorous bar called KM5, which impresses with a stylish and luxurious atmosphere. Actually, the term bar does not really do justice to the KM5: Not only does it have an open-air area, but also a restaurant, a club and an own boutique.

Cozy, isn’t it? 🙂

 

We decide to pick a nice spot in the outside area next to a radiant heater and enjoy the evening snuggled up in a brown leather couch and drinking delicious cocktails. Later, two women dressed in white come by to offer us a head massage – made us feel like queens!
Following the motto: „I’ll have one glass or two or three..“, the second evening ends very comfortably.

 

 

CALA D’HORT – RESTAURANT EL CARMEN

On my last day in Ibiza, we decide to enjoy the wonderful weather on the beach Cala D’Hort: as well one of the most beautiful beaches, including a unique view to the magical rock “Es Vedra”.

The magnificent weather makes it quite easy to forget about the time. Oh, it’s already this late? Time to head to the restaurant El Carmen, which is located less than 10 steps from the sandy beach. With an excellent paella and views to the sea, we say goodbye to Ibiza.

Spanish food - Ibiza Restaurant

The Spanish cuisine – nobody could ever resist ..

After that, we make our way to the airport. An incredible weekend that I will definitely never forget: Viva Ibiza!

vic bridge

Vic – historical treasures and Catalan small-town-charm

Vic’s small town beauty: Wide sandy beaches and the turquoise Mediterranean, small bays surrounded by steep cliffs, picturesque sailing boats and countless pine trees… For most people the epitome of Catalonia. It is easily forgotten that the interior of the Spanish region houses its own treasures. One of them: the charming small town Vic.

Vic’s Romanesque history

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The Romanesque Pont de Queralt

Situated about 70 km to the north of Barcelona, the town with its 40.000 inhabitants finds itself surrounded by the beautiful nature of the Comarca Osona. Vic couldn’t be more picturesque, even if it tried. On the outside of town walls, surrounded by trees, one can find the ancient stone bridge Pont de Queralt.

Sur le pont…

vic

Autumn in Vic

If something dates back to the 11th century and is that well preserved, it just has to be impressive! Up until 1274 the only way from Barcelona into the town led over the Romanesque arch bridge – after that, the king of that time decided to divert the old road; the new one led through the “Malloles“ gate. The beautiful bridge was named after a family of counts who lived in the town centre and it was even displayed on the back of a five peseta note issued in 1954.

 

 

 

Strolling through Vic

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The baroque Església dels Dolors

vic church

Hidden church in Vic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing by the baroque Església dels Dolors, we continue our way towards the city centre; soon we reach Vic’s outstanding Cathedral.

vic cathedral

Vic’s outstanding cathedral

The Romanesque bell tower is the tallest of its kind in Catalonia and presents, together with the Pont de Queralt, Vic’s most important landmarks.

vic bell towervic bell tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The crypt and the remains of the Santa Maria church date back to the Romanesque era as well, the rest was built in a Gothic and neoclassical style.

A city full of history

On the other side of the church square lies the famous Episcopal Museum which was inaugurated in 1891. The building’s modern look misleads, though…inside it holds one of Europe’s best collections of medieval art including masterpieces of painting and sculpture from the Catalan Romanesque and Gothic periods.

vic episcopal museum

Vic’s famous episcopal museum

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The imposing Roman temple

 

 

A few steps further, we find the next historical treasure: the impressive Roman temple. The temple is the only remaining building of the city of Auso, as Vic was called in Roman times. Today it is regularly used to host exhibitions and cultural events.

 

 

 

 

Travel through time in the Catalan small town

vic street

Vic’s colourful streets

 

Through colourful streets in the typical Mediterranean style we find our way to the big Plaça Major – the town’s main square. The surrounding buildings are all from different eras. Particularly impressive: the Catalan modernism. Walking around the Plaça Major certainly feels like a travel through time.

 

 

 

vic architecture

Impressive Catalan modernism

It is also remarkable that all of the surrounding houses on the square were built with arcades in order to withstand the inclement weather; the arcades had to be high enough to accommodate a man on horseback – isn’t that clever?

vic square

Vic’s main square

We all do it: we underestimate Catalonia’s interior and above all small towns like Vic. But it’s these small, hidden places that have a lot to offer: historically interesting sights, beautiful nature right on the doorstep and a great deal of small-town-charm!

Some impressions of Vic…

Butterfly Park Empuriabrava

The perfect trip for the cold season!

Costa Brava - Empuriabrava - Butterfly Park

Welcome to the jungle..

Sometimes – but very rarely – the weather can also be quite bad on the Costa Brava. Instead of a sunny beach day, you spend the day in front of the TV on the couch…

But wait – Do you really have to stay at home? Aren‘t there some interesting places that are perfect for a cloudy day? – Of course! Numerous museums and parks turn even dark days into something special. And so does the Butterfly Park near Empuriabrava!

Between butterflies, parrots and iguanas

Anyone who loves animals and insects of all kinds, found the perfect place to visit: The Butterfly Park not only convinces with an impressive variety of different bird and butterfly species, but also with many surprising inhabitants!

Parrot - Empuriabrava - Butterfly Park

A very photogenic parrot!

In a large indoor and a slightly smaller outdoor area you start your journey through the jungle. You can discover iguanas, bats, turtles, Indian deer, many colorful parrots and other tropical birds in different sizes and colors …

And of course: butterflies! These can be observed in their different phases of life: still wrapped in their cocoons, during hatching or already fluttering through the park.

Moth - butterfly - Park - Costa Brava

The world’s largest moth.. Impressive!

Highlights of the Butterfly Park

Our new friend 🙂

Nevertheless – unlike the name suggests – the focus is on the trusting colorful birds, who love to be fed by their visitors! We have also won a small and extremely talkative parrot as a new friend.

Another highlight – the two bat caves: the little animals were very close, practically right above our heads taking a little nap .. It’s quite rare to get so close to these sweet animals!

 

 

Do you want to see them yourself? Then it’s time to pay a visit to the sweet inhabitants of the Butterfly Park Empuriabrava!

Opening times: Every day from 10am till one hour before sunset
Ticket prices: 9,50€ Adults, 7,50€ Children
How to get there: Carrer Santa Clara, 0, 17486 Castelló d’Empúries, Girona

view tarragona

48 h in Tarragona

Madrid, Barcelona, Seville or Valencia… everyone knows them and everyone is dying to go there. Without a doubt, all of these well-known Spanish metropolises have their own charming character but in search of my next travel destination I was looking for something different. I was looking for smaller and less known cities. Cities like Tarragona.

The Roman Tarragona

tarragona history

Tarragona – full of Roman history

 

The Catalan small town is situated about 100 km to the south of Barcelona, directly by the sea. Tarragona captivates above all with its great variety of medieval and, especially, Roman buildings.

 

 

tarragona circ roma

Tarragona’s impressive Circ Roma

 

 

It is not surprising that a big part of the city has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. On my first day I decided to follow the traces of the Romans. If you’re like me and you absolutely love sightseeing you should get the cheaper combined ticket including the most important buildings.

 

 

 

 

tarragona amphitheatre

The Roman amphitheatre with a stunning background

Early in the morning, after a delicious Xuixo and a cafe con leche, I start my archeological promenade with the first and most popular Roman monument. Located directly by the sea, the ancient amphitheatre dates back to the 2nd century AD. In Roman times countless gladiator fights took place in the ancient monument. Nowadays there are still fights happening in the summer but of course only for the tourist’s entertainment!

A city full of history

While enjoying the view from the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, I’m already looking for the route to the next monument. I don’t have to do a lot of planning though – the Roman Circus where horse and chariot races were held, and the provincial forum with its vaults and pilasters are less than 5 minutes away.

tarragona provincial forum

The provincial forum from the outside

Hidden underground passages lead from the Roman Circus to the Praetorium, a Roman-era tower with a viewing platform.

tarragona underground

Underground-treasures

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The Roman’s impressive work

As I make my way up the stairs, I have to stop again and again to look at the different sculptures. It is quite impressive to see how detailed and multi-faceted the Roman works are…

 

 

On top of Tarragona

tarragona view

Beautiful view from the roof

Finally, a narrow staircase leads up to the viewing platform on the building’s rooftop. With the excellent view of the old historic part of town on the one side and the endless Mediterranean on the other side, the platform is the perfect spot for a short breather. What better way to relax?

Walking along the Roman walls

tarragona roman walls

Tarragona’s imposing Roman walls

But off I go again! The next sight is located only 15 minutes away. My path leads me through Tarragona’s beautiful and bustling alleys until I reach the Roman walls. As I am walking between palm trees and the impressively high Muralla, that has been surrounding the city since the 2nd century AD, I can almost imagine what life must have been like during the Roman times…

tarragona local forum

The remaining parts of the Local forum

After a short break in the trees’ shadow, I continue my way to the last monument of the day: the Local Forum. What was once used as the religious and social hub, now surrounded by modern day buildings almost seems a bit bizarre. Bizarre but interesting! I definitely envy the residents living around the remains of the ancient Fòrum Local. Because who wouldn’t like to wake up every morning with such a view?

 

 

 

 

tarragona local fourm

Local Forum surrounded by modern houses

Tarragona’s modern side

tarragona cathedrale

Tarragona’s impressive cathedral

A new day, a new cafe con leche. Today I want to explore Tarragona’s modern side. The first sight on my schedule is the old cathedral which was built in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. But, wait! Didn’t I talk about visiting Tarragona’s modern side? Well, the beautiful Catedral de Santa Maria is at least less old than the Roman part of town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outside of the ancient church doesn’t fail to impress me but, in my opinion, the real gem lies on the inside. The mysterious cloister with its beautiful rose garden truly amazes me and even reminds me a bit of Hogwarts!

The beauty lies inside..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of the Cathedral’s cloister is truly captivating…

A walk through Tarragona’s modern history

tarragona castellers

The traditional Castellers made out of bronze

 

I continue my promenade to the grand Plaça Imperial and from there I’m walking in the shadow of the trees along Tarragona’s beautiful Rambla. Not long after, I reach the town’s landmark: the Monumento a los Castellers. The iconic statue with its Castellers, the traditional Catalan human pyramid, towers high above my head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing along the Rambla…

tarragona statue

Roger de Llúria

As I continue along the Rambla, I pass numerous sculptures and statues until I reach the majestic Monument a Roger de Llúria. Behind the huge statue I find of the most beautiful places Tarragona has to offer: the Balcó del Mediterrani. From the charming terrace lined with palm trees I have an excellent view of the sea, the beach and the ancient Roman amphitheatre.

view tarragona

Amazing view from Balco Mediterrano

A perfect ending in the city by the Sea

As I’m enjoying the sun and the sea air in this beautiful and relaxing spot, I can suddenly hear Catalan folk music in the distance. Soon after, I spot the traditional Giants dancing wildly through Tarragona’s streets.

tarragona giants

The traditionally Catalan giants

Fascinated I follow the procession which leads me back to the cathedral. For the first time I can witness the famous Castellers in action! What I had previously seen in form of a statue, unmoved and made out of bronze, is now brought to life on the church square. Definitely the perfect ending in one of Catalonia’s most beautiful cities!

Hike in paradise: Cadaqués – Cap de Creus

A hike through Catalonia’s beautiful nature: Starting from the residence of Spain’s most eccentric artist up to the easternmost part of the Iberian Peninsula

Distance: 14,6 km

Duration: approx. 4 h

Level of difficulty: medium

Starting point: Cadaqués

hike cadaques

Costa Brava’s “pearl”

Our promising trail starts in the region’s most popular fishing village: in Cadaqués. The small village is often called „the pearl of Costa Brava“ and those who have already payed a visit to Cadaqués understand perfectly why. The polished, snow-white houses together with the blue of the Mediterranean are dazzlingly beautiful. But because we don’t want to lose too much time, we’re not staying long in „the pearl“.

Short detour to Casa Dalí

hike dalí

Dalí’s art

Once we have climbed the first steep hill, we’re making a small detour to Cala de Portlligat. In an extraordinarily picturesque bay we come across Dalí’s famous residence. Even though it is hard, today we’re only stopping to admire the Casa-Museu Salvador Dalí from the outside – we still have a lot (of walking) ahead of us!

A hike through Catalonia’s nature

hike catalonia

Olives everywhere!

Our hiking route continues and leads us from the beach up the hill past seemingly endless olive groves. Slowly I’m beginning to understand why olive oil tourism is booming in Catalonia! For a couple of minutes we’re walking in the shade of the olive trees, after that we’re continuing our way under the bright blue heaven between pine trees, cacti and other typically Mediterranean vegetation.

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Walking in the shadow of the trees

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Our beautiful hiking trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature everywhere

While we’re following our trail, we still get to feel the quite strong autumn sun. With the Mediterranean to our right, the route is meandering along the rocky coast. Up and down, we make our way through the beautiful Catalan nature and enjoy the numerous breathtaking views.

 

hike cap de creus

Almost there!

Soon I catch a first glimpse of our final destination in the distance! The lighthouse shines bright like a diamond on the highest point of the Cap de Creus Natural Park and provides us with the necessary motivation for the last part of our hike. With the destination so close and the thought of a well-deserved ice cold Cerveza, the last couple of kilometres really fly by.

A well-deserved break from our hike

hike cap de creus

The dreamiest bay

Meanwhile, the sun is getting stronger and stronger while the sea is getting more tempting with every minute passing by. As it happens, we find the most beautiful bay of the whole hiking trail shortly before our last ascent. Crystal clear, turquoise water surrounded by cragged rocks and the picturesque lighthouse in the background…

 

hike seagulls

Even the seagulls are enjoying the beautiful scenery!

Is this a dream? Naturally, after walking 7 kilometres in the bright sun, we seize the opportunity and cool down in this breathtaking scenery. Definitely a pleasure you don’t come across every day! We let the sun dry our bodies and after a couple of minutes relaxing on the beach, we take on the last part of our hike.

Ultimate hike destination: the light house

cap de creus hike light house

The iconic light house

After finally reaching the top, a breathtaking and incomparable view awaits us. Surrounded by steep cliffs and the deep blue Mediterranean, the beautiful light house towers above our heads.

hike cap de creus

Rocks and the deep blue sea

Next door, we find the charming restaurant and our long-awaited ice cold Cerveza. With the sunshine in our faces, we enjoy our well-deserved break for the next hour.

hike cap de creus

Magnificent view from the charming restaurant

I have to stop one last time and enjoy the amazing view!

hike cap de creus

Captivating view!

Refreshed and relaxed, we make our way back to Cadaqués where the evening sky is already showing off all of its beautiful colours. A day to remember…

cadaqués dalí

Dalí in Cadaqués!

In the mood for a hike: Camino de Ronda

Admire one stunning bay after another and having the wonderful, turquoise blue sea continuously right in front of you? Going for a swim, relaxing in the sun and afterwards putting your hiking boots back on? In between, snacking a small treat in a restaurant with spectacular views to the sea and sipping a cool mojito later at sunset?

That sounds great to you? Well then, you will love the famous coastal path of the Costa Brava which has, for the most parts, been left in its natural state.

 

Camino de Ronda

With a length of approx. 45 km, the so-called Camino the Ronda offers infinite possibilities to enjoy the beauty of the Costa Brava with all of your senses. Whether you like to take a chance on the whole path within 2 days – like a professional hiker – or prefer walking only a small section on a sunny afternoon – it’s your choice. But I guarantee you won’t regret a single step!

 

 

 

Insider Tip: Cala Calitjàs

On a warm day of summer, we decided to visit the bay called “Cala Calitjàs“ in Roses, which persuades with a gravel beach and spectacular views to the light blue sea. On a holiday with perfect weather for bathing in middle of high season, I expected the beach to be overcrowded without air to breathe. I was quite surprised noticing that we had to share the spacious gravel area with less than 25 persons. Definitely an insider tip!

 

 

Next Bay: Cala Pelosa

After taking a refreshing bath in the cool salt water, we enjoyed the sun for a while – listening to the soft sound of the sea. Until our rumbling stomachs finally reminded us that it was already siesta time! Fortunately, we had organized a table in the famous restaurant called “Chiringuito La Pelosa“ before. The idea of a juicy paella with fresh seafood motivated us to leave the comfortable beach and hike to the next bay, the so-called “Cala Pelosa“, using the Camino de Ronda.

 

 

Hiking with spectacular views

Having walked only a few meters, I already understood why so many fans of Spain decide to walk the whole path: the views were continuously spectacular! Permanently, I had to stop to take some pictures of the dream scenery.

You can’t get enough of these wonderful views!

But I have to admit that I’ve been a little torn: On the one hand, I had to concentrate not to loose my footing and fall into the enormous cacti and on the other hand, I couldn’t help but admire  the crystal clear water, which sparkled in the sun and was decorated with numerous, luxurious boats and yachts. It’s better holding on for a minute now and again, otherwise it could get quite dangerous!

Restaurant “Chiringuito La Pelosa“

While we made our way through the prickly pears and palms, some passengers of boats in the distance seemed to have a lot of fun – boat party ahoy!

By the way, the restaurant has a boat service that delivers the paella!

 

Sooner than I expected, we reached the beautiful beach “Cala Pelosa“. At a distance, we already heard the chaos of different voices, clacking crockery and the clangour of glasses – the restaurant was at its peak. Whether we had to wait in spite of reserving? Unfortunately, yes. Whether it’s worth it? Definitely!

But the waiting period could be much worse: Chilling in a bar with comfortable seats and views to the sea – even the most impatient of you guys would survive this!

 

 

Paella – we’re coming!

After 1-2 cool refreshments, our names were called and we were brought to our table – with a great anticipation of our delicious meal. It didn’t take us more than 5 minutes to decide what to eat: a big paella with seafood and a few starters, to that of course a wine. As quickly as the starters arrived, they were gone again: A tuna fish tatar, salad, calamari, bread – well, that was tasty!

    

After resting a while, there was enough space in our stomachs for what we had been waiting for the whole time: The paella! Mhh smells delicious … I’ve never eaten paella before – a big mistake as I recognized. I’ve rarely tasted something so special! The Spanish people know exactly how to spoil their guests.

A very special taste experience..

A final selfie before leaving..

Finally some cocktails..

Satisfied and sated, we walked over to the bar to treat ourselves with some mojitos. After taking a few last pictures, we set off back home. Why don’t we spend every day like that? I’d love that!

camí de ronda

Camí de Ronda: From Sa Tuna to Sa Riera

The travel bug has bitten us again. My uncle is visiting me at the moment and we decide to go on a hike on parts of the camí de ronda, from Sa Tuna (Begur) in the direction of Sa Riera. Let’s see where the way will lead us to. When arriving in Sa Tuna, we are welcomed with rain. So we stay seated and wait. We are lucky and the rain stops after a while.

 

camí de ronda sa tuna

Sailing boats in Sa Tuna

Finally, we can start our tour in the bay of Sa Tuna. Despite of the cloudy sky, the only restaurant of the small place is crowded. The small bay impresses with loads of different boats and small, charming fishing houses. Would be a good place for spending vacations in one of them…After a few photos and some day dreaming, we leave Sa Tuna behind and head towards the next bay.

Climbing up steep stairs

camí de ronda stairs

Steep stone stairs

The different rocks and rough cliffs look amazing. Every now and then, some delicate flower sticks out between the stones. The sea shines in all different shades of blue. We get to the Cala Aiguafreda. Here, you can find a small bar and a couple of fishing boats. Some children are playing in the water. Others are sitting and apparently waiting for the sun to come out. And then the sky gets brighter and the sun indeed comes out. Accompanied by warm sunshine, we continue our route. Now the way gets steeper and we have to climb up the stairs to the Cap Sa Sal.

Camí de Ronda: always a spectacular view of the sea

camí de ronda hotel

Beautifully situated hotel

On the top, there is a hotel and restaurant with spectacular sea views. From there, we continue our walk on the road while passing luxury villas. Curious as we are, we look through the fence and catch a glimpse of somebody swimming in a pool. We hear loud laughter and music. Somebody is having a nice pool party. Now we would really like to join them and jump into their pool. Sweaty we go on. Between the villas, there is a stair going downwards and leading to the actual hiking trail, which goes now along the cliff.

High above the Mediterranean

camí de ronda rocks Breathtaking sea views open up in front of us. Gigantic and bizarre looking rocks stick out of the sea. Here, we take a short break and enjoy the panorama. After some time, we walk on and discover a small fishing boat between the rocks in the water. The couple in love on board obviously feels unnoticed.

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Blaze of colours on Camí de Ronda

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Turquoise sea

Amused we follow the path. Meanwhile, it is getting late and I really want to take a bath in the turquoise water. We decide to make a stop at a wild, rocky bay. We are not alone there, a few people a snorkeling in the sea. Before we make our way back to the car, I go swimming. Luckily, we brought a pair of swimming shoes because the only way into the water is by climbing above some rocks in the water. Finally, I’m in the sea! What a wonderful day!

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Camí de Ronda – Walking between rugged rocks and the deep blue sea

 

sea colours

Sea: play of colours on the Camí de Ronda

Sea, sun and hiking boots: With a length of 200 km, the Spanish coastal trail reaches from Portbou near the French boarder to Blanes in the South. If you decided to take on the whole trail you would definitely be en route for quite some time. Ranging from 140 km in 8 days to 43 km in 2 days – everything is possible.

 

First stop on the coastal trail: Pals

beach

Broad sandy beach of Pals

We decided to take a more moderate route – at least for now. One beautiful summer afternoon – the sun is high in the sky but doesn’t burn down as strongly anymore and a gentle breeze is coming from the sea – we tie up our hiking boots and start our tour in Pals. Having arrived at the beach, we can’t help ourselves… We have to indulge our sweet tooth and get an ice cream. Don’t be too hard on us though, we did our fair share of walking afterwards!

Away from the hustle and bustle

We start our hike on the wide sandy beach of Pals where the waves are towering up today. Walking up a small staircase we reach the first part of our trail and all of the sudden we find ourselves away from the hustle and bustle of the beach. The waves splashing against the rocks, almost reaching us, captivate us. The power of the Mediterranean on the Catalan coast is definitely not to be underestimated!

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Splashing waves on the Camí de Ronda

Playa Illsa Roja – tropical feeling on the Costa Brava

 

Tropical feeling on the Playa Illa Roja

We move along between the rugged rocks and the deep blue sea to the next small – but charming – bay. With its huge lump of rock rising from the sea and the almost tropical looking rock face covered with trees, Playa Illa Roja reminds us slightly of Thailands famous beaches. Once again the waves are towering up in front of us making us wanting to jump in!

 

 

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Dreamlike atmosphere at the Playa Illa Roja

High above the Playa Illa Roja

After capturing the atmosphere of this magnificent little bay with our camera, we take on the steepest part of our hike – only to discover a spectacular view of the Costa Brava.  We are looking at broad parts of the coast and the seemingly endless dark blue sea and think to ourselves: „How rewarding hiking can be!“

 

 

 

Enjoying the peak and the turquoise sea

After a short moment of enjoying the view, we continue our walk on a beautifully paved way to our next and at the same time last stop. The view is once again heavenly and the many seaside mansions that are surrounding us, make us (slightly enviously) dream.

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Lump of rock at the Plaja Illa Roja

Last bay: Sa Riera

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Almost there: Sa Riera

While the sun is slowly setting behind the mountain, the last part of the path leads us through a small group of trees appearing almost mystical in the dim evening light. One last step around the corner and we have almost reached the last stop of our tour: Sa Riera in the small coastal town Begur. Sailing ships are gently floating in the turquoise water and the last swimmers of the day are jumping in the waves. Situated directly at the beach of Sa Riera, a few charming little cafés offer us refreshments including a beautiful view of the sea.

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Sailing ships in Sa Riera

Only the beginning…

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Camí de Ronda – between rugged rocks and the sea

We are sure: this small part of the Spanish coastal trail was only the beginning. And that is also one of the big advantages of the Camí de Ronda – you can choose and adapt your route however you like. Young or old, fit as a fiddle or rather slow-moving – everyone has the chance to make their way through the Spanish nature at their own pace. And what could be more relaxing than to ditch your car for once and discover Catalonias beauty by hiking along the coast?

CAC

Weekend trip to Valencia

I’ve already heard a lot about Valencia and I’ve always wanted to visit “Barcelona’s little sister“. Finally, on a weekend in June I arranged a meeting with my friends there. My journey began on Thursday evening.

Arriving in Valencia

From Figueres, you can easily go by train to Valencia, with a change in Barcelona. After about 5 hours, you arrive at the train station Estació del Nord in Valencia. This strain station was built in 1917 by Demetrio Ribes in a modernist style. The beautiful decoration and ornaments draw attention. Next to the train station, you can also find the bullring. Walking towards the city centre, I get impressed by wonderful city houses with little towers and big statues. At a typical Spanish tapas bar we rest from the journey, with sangria, of course. Then we go to our accommodation, nearby the underground station Turia. From there, we start our weekend tour through the city, on Friday morning.

Valencia Estaciò Nord

If you look carefully, you can find small oranges on the façade of the building.

Food paradise

The first sight on our list is the Botanical Garden. We get astonished by all kinds of orchids, succulents, cacti and agaves – all of them in full bloom. Then, we head towards the old city, through the Torres de Quart, one of Valencia’s old town gates. We get to the Mercat Central, an old market hall, and find ourselves in a food paradise. Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, sweets, juices, wine,… it’s like heaven on earth for us. Market stand after stand we taste as much as we can. Simply delicious! Of course, we also try a little bit of vino tinto, because we are in Spain! Fortified and heavily loaded with ham, cherries, salami and sweet pastries we continue our tour through the old city.

Cactus with flower

Cactus, agaves,… everything is flourishing right now in the Botanical Garden of Valencia.

Royal drink

Moreover, in Valencia you absolutely have to try a freshly made, cool horchata de chufa (orxata de xufa in Catalan), preferably from the famous Horchatería Santa Catalina, where already Isabella, Princess of Asturias, was guest. The drink is made with the so-called earth almond or tiger nut, a crop of the sedge family and has an unique taste. Especially on hot days, it serves as a tasty refreshment. It is also very healthy. Afterwards, we have a look inside the Cathedral of Valencia, go past the archdiocese of Valencia, the Basílica de la Mare, the Plaça del Manises through the Torres de Serranos and along the Turia park back home for a siesta.

Old city gate

On our way home, we walk through one of the old city gates of Valencia.

Party all night long

At night, we stroll along the trendy district Russafa. In the Cafecito, our new famous bar in Valencia, we enjoy some homemade sangría and agua de valencia (alcoholic cocktail with vodka, gin, prosecco and orange juice). In a good mood, we take a taxi to the most famous club of the town, MYA, in the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. We party until the next morning.

Sangría Cafecito

In our new favourite bar Cafecito we enjoy some homemade sangría. What a difference to the one from the supermarket!

City in a city

The next day, our aim is the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. The “City of Arts and Sciences“ is a modern complex of scientific and artistic facilities and impresses with an extraordinary, modern architecture. An IMAX 3D cinema, a natural science museum, Europe’s biggest aquarium – the “Oceanogràfic“ and an opera house belong to the city made out of glass and white metal structures, surrounded by turquoise water. Later, we go shopping in the old city, buy some souvenirs and relax with tapas and cool drinks. Valencia is definitively worth a visit! Away from mass tourism you can find loads of interesting corners and Spanish originality.

Ciutat de les Arts Ciències

In the Ciutat de les Arts Ciències we make a break and relax at the turquoise water surrounding the modern buildings.

Sea vie at the Botanical Garden

Green oases at the Mediterranean Sea – Botanical Gardens

“The true paradises are the paradises that we have lost.”, Marcel Proust knew.
“You are a happy man, Le Nôtre.“, King Louis XIV of France once said to his gardener in Versailles. The omnipotent monarch and ruler of all kinds of luxury envied his gardener of all people. Gardens and parks are still a promise of happiness for a lot of people. Each garden – if it’s wildly grown, exactly planned, well-tended, with a lot of twists or exotic – is an echo to paradise and a try of the answer to our dream of it.

Wonders of nature

Gardens reflect the philosophy of its designer and his longing for beauty. Nature, however, keeps creating space for surprises and all kinds of wonders. André Heller – poet, artist and garden designer noticed: “Out here there is only truth. There is no orchid and no daisy that lies.“
Gardens are honest places of peace, silence, joy and delight. Spring is here and plants and flowers are blossoming. At the Costa Brava, there are four botanical gardens you can visit. Now is the best time! Each of them is an unique spectacle of nature with stunning Mediterranean Sea views.

Cliffs of the Costa Brava

Especially the Marimurtra garden surprises with breathtaking sea views.

Back in time

In Lloret de Mar you can find the gardens of Santa Clotilde with their big variety of plants and countless shades of green. The creator of the neoclassicist designed gardens was Nicolau-Maria Rubió i Tudurí, the most famous Catalan landscape architect. The gardens are structured by stairs overgrown with ivy and crossing paths. Highlights are the constantly appearing Italian Renaissance-like busts. While listening to the splashing of the fountains, you can find romantic viewpoints and shady benches. Fantastic sea views may fascinate here and then. Between huge cypresses, cedars and pines you can spend a nice siesta in the cool shade. However, the palace garden-like park is most impressive in June, when its landmark, the Agapanthus flower, will be blooming.

Bust framed by greens

In the Garden of Santa Clotilde you can notice the creator’s love for details.

Prickly friends

In the botanical garden of Pinya de Rosa, between Blanes and Lloret de Mar, things are pricklier. Here, visitors get surprised by bizarre cacti an tropical plants. Especially, the giant agave flowers and human-sized cacti seem impressive. Unfortunately, this actually beautifully designed garden now appears a little bit neglected and not as well-tended as it used to be.

Human-sized cacti

In the Pinya de Rosa garden, Cacti bigger than ourselves quite astonish us.

Stunning sea views

At the outskirts of Blanes, there is Marimurtra, with local plants, blooming flowerbeds, characteristic viewpoint pavilion and exotic plants from all over the world. The creator of the Marimurtra garden at the Sant-Joan cliff in Blanes was the German botanist Karl Faust. Here, the paths wind along the steep coastline, through wonderful arrangements of cacti, succulents and flowers from different continents to the famous pavilion, where you have a breathtaking view to the sea and cliffs and the convent of Blanes. This botanical garden is our personal favourite and definitely worth a visit. Especially, during the start of summer it offers flourishing floral diversity together with unique sea views.

View point pavilion

The pavilion at the background is characteristic for the Marimurta Garden.

Music in the garden

In the gardens of Cap Roig in Calella de Palafrugell you’ll be walking in the shade of trees and plants from five different continents. The gardens were completed in 1974, by Colonel Woevodsky and Dorothy Webster, and also provide, apart from unique flower splendour, exhibitions and sculptures of famous artists. Moreover, the international music festival Jardins de Cap Roig takes place here every summer. Enjoy a wonderful spectacle of nature, best views and the impressive game of light and shade. Don’t forget your camera! Gardens make you happy, you do not even have to own them!

Blossoming tree

Even the trees surprise us with their colourful flowers.