All posts filed under: excursion

Along the coast

At the other side of the Pyrenees

The sun shines brightly and bathes small coastal towns, the mountain range Serra de l’Albera, picturesque bays, rough rocks, traditional fishing villages and narrow streets in a golden light. Perfect conditions for our trip on a sunny day in spring.

From Perpignan towards the Pyrenees

We start our journey in Perpignan and travel back to Spain along the French Mediterranean coast. Passing salt lakes south-east of Perpignan, very popular for surfing, we get to Argelès-sur-Mer. This seaside resort connects in a way the Pyrenees with the Mediterranean Sea and impresses with its small alleys and fine sandy beaches. However, we don’t stay long and follow the street along the coast, covered with hundreds of blossoming lavender and broom plants.

Coloured plants decorate along the coast.

Beautiful plants seam the coastline.

Picturesque fishing villages and unspoiled bays

Our way southwards leads us to Collioure, an old fishing village, which attracts lots of different artists. Again and again we see their framed motifs. At the promenade, a frame shows, for example, the ancient fortified church, captured by Henri Matisse. We make a small break and take in the splendid colours and the hustle and bustle in the bay. Then we leave Collioure and its colourful alleys and soon afterwards enjoy the peace in one of the secluded and delightful bays of Port Vendres.

Fortified church in Collioure

The bay of Collioure invites coffee lovers, sun worshippers and wind surfers.

Great view of the coast

Passing Banyuls-sur-Mer, famous for its sweet wine, we finally get to the Cap Rederis. From there you have a beautiful view of the coastal landscape: from the Cap Béar to the Spanish Cap de Creus, you can enjoy a stunning panorama, framed by various illuminated flowers. Down at the water, waves with sea spray break against the rough rocks of the steep coast and through the clear, turquoise water beyond you can see to the ground.

Looking down to the seabed

Through the clear water you can see down to the bottom of the sea.

A trip full of impressions

Wonderful strong colours and idyllic small bays. Traditional fishing villages and abandoned streets along the steep coast. Clear water in all possible shades of blue and great views over the entire coast. All these impressions make a trip along the southern part of the French Mediterranean coast totally worth it.

Looking into the blue sky

La Garrotxa – A walk through autumn woods

Autumn comes, the summer is past, winter will come soon, too. The November weather on the Costa Brava was perfect for the coloured leaves: As these need low temperature in the night and high during the day as well as intensive sunlight. Rarely have we seen such a beautiful November accompanied with this vivid colours.

The Hidden Life of Trees

“The hidden life of trees”. Peter Wohlleben decrypted it, so that his book became a bestseller. Peter Wohlleben is German’s most famous forester. In his book he shares his deep love of woods and forest and appear at the top of the bestseller lists. It will intrigue readers who love a walk through the woods. Not looking for disenchantment but for the magic! In keeping with the romantics, we want to hang loose – the reason why we replace the beach walk in November with a walk in the forest: instead of shells, we collect coloured leaves and mushrooms.

Perfect autumn weather

With every coloured tree we see, we get more fascinated by nature.

The healing power of the forest

The forest relaxes and lowers blood pressure. Inhaling the scent of pines, it strengthens the immune system and leaves the thoughts calm. Rustling sound of fallen leaves. A gentle breeze. Soft moss beneath our feet. Light and shadows do a round dance. “You can communicate with trees like you do with your brothers. Forests are silent. However, they are not dumb. It doesn’t matter who is coming, they make feel everyone better,” Erich Kästner said once.
In Peter Wohlleben’s book, the readers will begin to recognize trees for what they are, told with scientific competence and fairy tale-like: This book is his declaration of love to the forest, told by trees, which communicate with each other, have feelings and a memory …

Bridge over not so troubled water

Thinking of Peter Wohlleben, we can almost feel the strong connection the trees have with each other.

La Fageda d’en Jordà

Joan Maragall (1860 – 1911), one of the most important promoters of the renewal of Catalan culture at the end of 19th century, was fascinated by the singularity of the beech grove. In his poem “La Fageda d’en Jordà“ he praises the calmness and beauty, which any visitor falls for. The lonesome walker that unconsciously starts to count and slows down his steps, sinking into the luscious green and abandoning himself to the sweet oblivion of the world; finally, becoming a prisoner of the grove…
Fageda d’en Jordà – this is not only the name of a poem of the famous Catalan poet Joan Maragall, but also of a legendary beech grove near Olot.

Falling for the beauty of the woods

We are falling in love with the beauty of the forest.

The labyrinth of trees

We get into the adventure and find ourselves already in the middle of the forest. A fabulous canopy of leaves above our heads. The dark trunks structure the green, yellow and red. Sun reflexes dance around. Grouchy boulders are scattered on the lava ground, littered with leaves. Is it behind these stones where the goblins hide themselves, protagonists of numerous legends? We prefer not to leave the red marked pathway number 1 to find out more; more than one got lost in labyrinth of trees.

The labyrinth of trees

One can get lost easily in the labyrinth of trees.

A source of inspiration

Haven’t we just listened, unconsciously, to the rhythm of our steps? Haven’t we looked up to the green tree tops for too long now? The magic of this place is undeniable. It is not surprising that this singular forest has not only inspired poets but also painters, for example Olot’s famous school of country painters. In less than an hour we perambulated the marked walking trail and, full with new impressions, get back to the car. This time, La Fageda has released us.
In La Garrotxa you can find plenty of restaurants with good regional cuisine, for example in the picturesque medieval village of Santa Pau.

The trees as an inspirational source

The magic of the woods has inspired many artists.

There is still snow on the mountains.

Trip to the Pyrenees

When God created the Earth, he was especially nice to the Catalans – or is there another explanation for the fact that they live on one of the most beautiful coasts of Europe and are, at the same time, surrounded by mountains which are perfect for skiing?

 

La Molina – Ski resort near the coast

From December the harmony between the steel-blue sea and white-glittering mountain peaks does not only enchant winter sport fans…
One of the most prestigious ski resorts, which has attracted snow lovers for more than a century, is La Molina between Castellar de n’Hug and Alp. Vast forests, peaks 2,500 metres above sea level, plenty of slopes, chairlifts and various thematic areas make the whole family perfectly happy.

Blue sky and sunshine makes us look forward to a great ski day.

Our way leads us through the beautiful landscape to the snowy mountains. We get exciting about spending a ski day in the Pyrenees.

Outdoor activities for the whole family

While the youngest ones conquer the slope by sledge, the others enjoy snow-boarding in the Snow Parc, downhill or a cosy cross-country trip. All together can explore the region by quads or even a dog sledge.
A perfect infrastructure, ski schools, equipment rental, shops, hotels and restaurants form part of the standard as well as 341 snow cannons which make the station independent of natural snowfalls.

This mountain view definitely motivates for a day outdoors.

Blue sky and slopes covered with snow provide perfect conditions for a ski day.

Ski area with sea view

Another first class resort is Vallter 2000, only 1 and a half hours by car from the Costa Brava. Those who love skiing are not only tempted by perfect slopes, but also by spectacular views over the Gulf of Roses and the romantic valley of Camprodon, next to the medieval village.

Winter fruits bring life into the wintry landscape.

Not only winter sports enthusiasts, but also green hills and shrubs bring life into the wintry landscape.

Ski resorts near Costa Brava

Vallter 2000
2000-2650 m. 50 qkm.
1 día/tag/day/journée : 22,50 €
2 días/tage/days/journée : 42,75€
3 días/tage/days/journée : 60,75€
www.vallter2000.com
972 13 60 57

Nuria
1960-2920 m. 79 qkm.
1 día/tag/day/journée 27€
Cremallera + forfet
www.valldenuria.com
972 73 20 20

La Molina
1436-2540 m. 70 qkm
1 día/tag/day/journée : 36€
2 días/tage/days/journée 68€
4 días/tage/days/journée :132 €
6 días/tage/days/journée : 190€
www.lamolina.com
972 892 031

Masella
1600-2530 m. 43 qkm.
1 día/tag/day/journée : 42€
1/2 día/tag/day/journée : 33€
www.masella.com
972 144 000

Fairytale scenery

Les Orgues d’Ille-sur-Têt – unique sandstone world!

Enchanted sandstone rocks

Mother nature often creates unique worlds like in Ille-sur-Têt, near Perpignan. In front of the imposing backdrop of Canigou (2784 m) sandstone sculptures protrude in front of the bright blue horizon. The landscape looks just like a fairy tale! These sugar towers that are created by erosion could have possibly inspired Antoni Gaudí when he planned his Sagrada Família. This great spectacle of nature can be reached from Costa Brava by car in about an hour. To explore the so called „Cheminées de Fées“ (‚fairy chimney‘) it takes about an half an hour walk.

 

Impressive and high sandstone figures

Fairy chimneys as a source of inspiration.

 

First we enter the amphitheater that is surrounded by a fairytale backdrop of stone. It looks marvelous! New forms arise every time it rains. The nature is here its own sculptor! The rock needles protrude up to 15 meters into the sky. With a little imagination one can recognize mythical creatures, various animal heads or models with modern hats.

 

City out of sand stones

Natural art

 

We stroll through the maze of stones. We are enjoying the view and capture beautiful moments with our camera. This is for sure a relaxing trip into another world. We decide to go back to the sea and enjoy the backdrop from there. On our way back we stop by to walk around and do some shopping in the streets of Collioure. Taking the way back along the beautiful coast after a trip to France is more than recommendable! Through the serpentines we drive back to Costa Brava. We cannot get enough of the beautiful sea-views. Green vineyards, turquoise sea, blue sky – there is beauty wherever you look! These amazing landscapes remind on paradise and are truly meditation for the soul. A trip to Orgues is definitely a great excursion tip for a mild sunny day in autumn.

 

Unique world of Ille-sur-Têt

Sandstone towers from further away

How to reach Ille-sur-Têt

– from Figueres in about 50 min
– First, motorway AP8 to Perpignan, then towards Andorra. After that exit the expressway N 116 at Ille-sur-Têt.

Alternatively:
First, take NII behind Le Boulou exit towards Thuir via D 612 to Ille-sur-Têt. Here you drive comfortably through villages along wineries. Buy Fruits at the roadside and taste delicious wine of the region in one of the wineries. A picturesque landscape framed by the massif of Canigou awaits you.

Follow the signs “Site des Orgues“ in Ille-sur-Têt until you reach the parking lot behind the place.

Buy tickets (price: 5€) at the parking lot and then follow the marked path. After about 800 meters you reach the entrance to the rock spectacle. Do not forget your camera!

 

Pyrenees and Costa Brava- Horses, Castles and monuments

Espinavell

We take a step out of the house. The first impression is simply breathtaking. Sun rises up at the sky of the Costa Brava. Pictorial Pyrenees in the background. The smell of firewood creeps into our nose. Early in the morning we start from Torroella de Fluvià towards Espinavell to experience the annual horse-drift down from the mountains. The path takes us through stunning mountain scenery and small villages high up in the Pyrenees. Passing Besalú and Olot we stop in Camprodon. Crusty bread and delicious cheese of the region get packed. A traditional Catalan ´Coca´ with a sugar hood sweetens the rest of our way. Slowly moving forward to Espinavell we cross red-colored vine. Brightly colored trees are lining the serpentines. Only a few spots are still green. Autumn is knocking on.

Tria de Mulats- the traditional horse-drift

Horses running down the hills

Horses going downhill to Espinavell

We are moving forward to Mollo- a little municipality right in the pyrenees. For those who are afraid to ride the cliffy street up to Espinavell on their own buses are made available. We follow the numerous people up to the parking lot with our own car. Mud covers the floor and makes it pretty difficult to reach the parking lot. After several attempts we finally succeed. Crowds immediately passing us to the fairground. Many locals got dressed up for this special event. Every year on the day of St. Edward – 13 October – retailers and animal lovers meet to experience the traditional horse-drift in Espinavell. The little village seems do be in a state of emergency. Families, school classes and even tourists don´t want to miss the local spectacle. After months on the meadows, high up in the Pyrenees, horses and foals now get handed over to their owners or buyers. With concentrated power herds storming down the slope. The gathered crowd gives a brawly applause to „man and beast“.

Artesania- the colorful market

Olives in Espinavell

Delicious olives on a market stand

We stroll along the many market stalls. From traditional products of animal husbandry to sweet and savory delicacies of own production- everyone is able to find something. You definitely should take a walk up to the centre of the small romantic mountain village Espinavell. You will enjoy a fantastic panoramic view up there. A warming catalan coffee is irreplaceable. Later on the most beautiful horses will be awarded by an expert jury.

Horses grazing

View down to the horses and fairground

Free wild life on the mountain meadows with delicious wild herbs is over by now. When the last snow thawed and the spring sun attracts the first flowers in the next year the horses will be back in the highlands. The festival lasts until the evening. Many take advantage of the culinary coffer to enjoy a delicious lunch at the unique restaurant of Espinavell. For us it´s time to move towards the French border.

French Impressions

The french border is only half an hour to go and we use the afternoon to visit the neighboring country. Enjoying picturesque landscapes and charming little villages with a typical French atmosphere. From Ceret over to Le Boulou the way leads us back near the coast to Collioure. Even in mid-october the small colorful artist-village is still well attended. Since Henri Matisse and his fellow artist André Derain discovered the sleepy fishing village in 1904 it is considered as a „mecca of art“. Red roof tiles. Ornate balcony railings. Blue shutters. Pastel-colored facades. Winding streets. Steep staircases. Ancient fortresses. Different kind of boats in the harbor. All that details form a picturesque backdrop and beautiful holiday memories. So, no wonder that even the kings of Majorca were huge supporters of the village and used the castle – now a museum – as their summer residence.

Castle in Collioure

Former castle of the Majorcan kings

We stroll through the small village center, browse through small boutiques and delicatessens. Enjoying a cappuccino and the view to the harbor before we go back on the road towards Spanish border. Vines now dominate the surrounding landscape.

We are in the middle of Roussillon and drive through the wine-growing region of Banyuls. A wine of Banyuls may remind you of a good port wine, characterized by intense flavors of honey, dried fruits and vanilla.

Unlimited

Further along the coast we are now back in the direction of Spain. No barrier, no fence, no border post market the crossover from France to Spain these days. Once upon a time many refugees killed themselves across the Pyrenees because they had no way out.

Memorial of Walter Benjamin

Memorial of Walter Benjamin in Portbou

We stop near Portbou to take a look at the Walter Benjamin Memorial which is called “passages”. This was designed in 1994 by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan in memory of the philosopher Walter Benjamin. “The Temporary, short duration” describes his escape from the Gestapo in an impressive way and which ended tragically. The quote of Benjamin at the end of the tunnel high above the sea is even more relevant: „It is heavier to honor the memory of the nameless than the famous. The memory of the nameless is therefor dedicated by the historical construction.“

Thoughtfully we continue towards Figueres.  The contrasts of mountains and rugged coastline captivates us. Flora and fauna show themselves in their most beautiful way. Winter seems still far away. But the first migratory birds already landed on the Mediterranean. The last tourists soon leave the beaches. Hibernation is coming.

The many impressions of today will be with us for a long time…

Early in the morning on a fishing boat

Fishing on the Costa Brava

The fisherman, the sea, and us

The fishermen on the Costa Brava have chosen a difficult profession: they have to take their boats out to the sea almost every day and regardless of the weather. In the late afternoon the fish they caught is auctioned in the harbour. On some days you don’t catch much of anything – other days the nets are full to the point of bursting. A little luck is of the essence. If you join the fishermen for a few hours, you can learn a lot about their hard life. You have to get up early, though.

deep blue water in the port of Roses

The fishing port of Roses in the early morning

Roses, six o’clock in the morning. It’s still pitch dark. The sea is calm. Otherwise they would not have taken us. A trip with the fishing boat can only be arranged spontaneously. You are told only the night before if the weather is going to be good enough and, thus, if you are going to be taken out to the sea. But we are spontaneous and ready anytime for an adventure. In August, we finally got the call and were able to ride out with a fisherman.

Fishing boat in the port of Roses

We put to sea with the small fishing boat called Pescatron

The captain, teacher and storyteller on our trip: Joan Piris

The fisherman from Sant Pere Pescador awaits us already with his small fishing boat in the port of Roses. Joan took up the profession of his ancestors only a few years ago and bought a small fishing boat. One can only become an independent fisherman if one inherits or buys a fishing license. Places are limited and hard to get. The life of a fisherman is a constant struggle for survival, combined with a particular sensation of liberty. The myth of adventure, freedom and strength, however, can be deceptive. The bank wants the monthly rate for the boat and the family must be able to live on the income throughout the year. Diesel is expensive and the sea is ill-tempered, it is hard work and out on the sea the fisherman is all on his own confronting the universe – alone with storms, the sun and the waves.

Fisherman steers a fishing boat

The fisherman Joan Piris on his fishing boat

We entrust ourselves to Joan Piris, his boat and the universe for a few hours. Slowly, the sun rises out of the water and breaks through morning fog and clouds. This spectacle alone was worth getting up early.
Wind in our hair, freedom in our hearts and a romantic panorama in front of our eyes – feelings of happiness and puré adrenaline!

The sun rise slowly over the bay of Roses

From the fishing boat we can admire the dreamlike sunrise

The hard work of a fisherman

While the sun is rising, we have a little time to chat. However, when we reach the first buoy where Joan laid his lines the night before, concentration is required and the hard work begins: to get the fish and seafood out of the water needs a lot of strength. Joan Piris uses the traditional method of longline fishing (“palangre” in Catalan). The «peix de palangre» is considered especially delicious and is highly sought after in the restaurants of the region. Joan has specialized in gilthead. Today, a particularly large one swims on the hook. Unfortunately, the monster seems to have deterred his fellows. In total, the catch is a bit disappointing. This is not a rare thing; therefore, many fishermen now take tourists on their boats from time to time, to make some extra money.

The fisherman caught a big gilthead

The biggest catch of the day – a magnificent gilthead

Joan Piris also has decided to sometimes go fishing with company. If the weather cooperates, he can take some tourists with him on his adventurous work trips to the sea.

We are supporting the fisherman

We are happy about our first fish in the net

Escorted by screaming gulls: Krah! Kraaah! – like in Alfred Hitchcock’s «The Birds» – we end up again in the port of Roses at noon. We would love to take the fresh fish home with us. Unfortunately this is not possible because, according to regulations, the total catch must be auctioned. The adventure has made us hungry and it’s time for a hearty breakfast on the beach – without fish!

Fish in the net

The fisherman Joan Piris at work

Experience a day of fishing in first person!

1.  The life and art of the fishermen of Roses:
Embark throughout the day in a trawling boat, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. you will get to see the fishermen’s daily routine, sharing the typical fisherman’s communal lunch.

2.  Embark one morning in a small-scale fishing boat, from 6 am to 1pm. You will share the fisherman’s daily routine in a very up-close and personal way following the coastline.

3.  Get close to a traditional fishing boat to observe how fishermen work, from 7 am to 11 am.

Information and reservations:
650 27 24 27 /info@enroses.com
Per person from 140 euros. Excursion to 30 September possible.

The beach of Roses at night

Costa Brava – Coasts and beaches

As big and simple is the world at the beach nothing but wind and cloud, nothing but sea and sand.

© Dr. Carl Peter Fröhling

Beach Hopping

There are plenty of beaches to explore in Catalonia. But every beach is different and provides its very own magic. Just in time for summer month of August we present our top list of the most beautiful and exceptional bays and beaches of the Costa Brava. Let us invite you to our Beach Hopping Tour 2015!

A lot of yachts in the bay of Garbet

Boats tarry in the bay of Garbet

Begur: Aiguablava – A bay like painted!

Turquoise Green, crystal clear water, a fine sand beach and bizarre rocks as only nature can create them. Yes, we are still at the Costa Brava and not in the Caribbean ! However, if you are visiting the Aiguablava Bay for the first time, you might think of an exotic remote paradise.

As the southernmost beach of the picturesque town of Begur, the romantic little bay attracts many bathers in the summer.

Among the Catalans the Aiguablava Bay with its shallow waters, the unique rock formations and lush green vegetation is considered as the most beautiful bay at the Costa Brava. It is even said to be the most beautiful bay in Spain. A wide range of water sports, the proximity to restaurants and shops, as well as existing parking areas make it especially attractive for visitors.

Bay with fine sand and clear water

Bay of Aiguablava is like paradise

Sant Martí d’Empúries – L’Escala:
Platja Portitxol – Antique and flair

The Platja Portitxol between Sant Martí d’Empúries and L’Escala was already popular with the Romans and the ancient Greeks. This is shown by the roman and greek remains of Empúries. Empúries is an important archaeological site in the Iberian Peninsula.

Where about 2,600 years ago, the Greeks once entered Iberian mainland, it is today a paradise for sun worshippers where you can relax under parasols while dreaming away or watching the waves of the sea.

Platja Portitxol between Sant Marti d'Empúries and L'Escala

The fine sandy beach Portitxol

Sant Pere Pescador: A fresh breeze for everyone

What a pity that you can not embrace the Gulf of Roses. But here, approximately in the middle of the most northeastern bay on the Catalan coast of Spain, one feels like embracing the world. The arms are wide open so the fingertips can cover the brightly painted houses on the mountain slopes of Roses. In the south, the silhouettes of the seaside resort of L’Escala disappear, leaving only a pale blue sky:

A magnificent view of the Mediterranean Sea! The wide, white sandy beach with a length of approx 6.3 kilometres lets every vacationer’s heart beat faster. It is the longest beach along the bay of Roses. Young and old, families, kiters, surfers and nudists feel comfortable here at the beach of Sant Pere Pescador. Whether it is enjoying a fresh breeze while watching the play of waves, wind surfing or simply relaxing – there is something there for everyone! The tramuntana is a welcome refreshment on hot summer days. But the north wind means also pure adrenaline for the water sports.

There’s a lot of parking-spaces just behind the beach and a separate bicycle path. A place close to heaven and easy to reach by bicycle!

Gulf of Roses

Wide beach of Sant Pere Pescador on the Gulf of Roses

Roses: Platja de l’Almadrava – the perfect place for the whole family

The Platja de l’Almadrava, also known as Canyelles Grosses, is one of the most popular beaches in Roses. With a length of 500 meters and a width of 25 meters, the Platja de l’Almadrava invites you to relaxing walks under the sun of the Costa Brava. This sheltered beach has got a current certification for good water quality and it offers everything you need for a perfect day at the beach: fine sand, clear water, showers, toilets, kiosks, beach bars and easy parking.

fine sand and clear water at the beach of Almadrava

The fantastic beach Almadrava

Roses: Platja de Canyelles –
the little sister of the Almadrava Bay

Surrounded by opulent nature and only about 3km from the center of Roses, there is the beach Platja de Canyelles. The Platja de Canyelles is one of the most beautiful and quietest beaches of Roses. Located in the last built-up area on the northern coast of Roses, this beach is only limited by the unspoiled mountainous landscape of the Natural Park of Cap de Creus.

The fine golden sandy beach provides all the comforts for an unforgettable stay: beach bars, restaurants, beach chairs and umbrellas, pedal boats and rafts. Anyone who has ever dreamed of a maritime shipping can book a touristic sailing cruise. If you’re looking for peace, harmony, leisure activities, relaxation and excellent water quality then Platja de Canyelles could be your favourite beach.

Natural beach Canyelles near Roses

Surrounded by nature the beach Canyelles extends not far from Roses

Colera – Llança Platja Garbet –
the gourmet beach at Cap Ras

Choosing the Platja Garbet in Llanca for a beach day, not only offers the possibility to refresh in the sea but also to be be indulged with culinary delights. Here, where the landscape of the northern Costa Brava becomes clearly rougher you will find framed by green vineyards one of the most exclusive gourmet restaurants right at the seashore. At first sight it seems to look like any other beach bar of this area but don’t let yourself be fooled! The Garbet is recommended by the prestigious Michelin guide and is known for its delicious paella and fish dishes. The guests can dine royally while putting their feet in the sand. After a delicious meal it is time for siesta! If you are a really serious power lounger you may want to bring your own beach chairs for a nap at the beach.

Beach Garbet with restaurant

The gourmet restaurant Garbet is directly situated on the beach

And if you now got the desire to jump into the cool waters of the Mediterranean sea, then do not hesitate any longer! We are sure that you have already discovered your own personal favorite bay at the Costa Brava . We appreciate tips and suggestions from you!

Clear water at the beach La Rubina

Windsurfer at the beach la Rubina in Empuriabrava

Torroela de Montgrí

Costa Brava on two wheels

Costa Brava on two wheels – from the French border to Barcelona by bike

250 kilometers done, 4 bike breakdowns and 100 percent adrenaline in the serpentines – those are the results of our bicycle tour along the Costa Brava.

We, that’s Rafa, passionate biker from the Basque region, and Lea, German intern at the Costa Brava.

Portbou – Colera – Llanca

We start in Portbou right before the French border. Equipped with tent, sleeping bag and repair kit for the undesired breakdowns, we set off to for our adventure trip. „To Barcelona en bici“ is our enthusiastic idea when riding our bikes downhill the narrow alleys to the deep blue sea.

The steep road that appears behind Portbou makes me suddenly doubt. Not only our bikes but also my enthusiasm is slowed down when looking across the 650 meter high mountain range in the direction of Colera. To reach our following destination Llança, there is no other choice but crossing the uphill section in front of us – what the heck, I told myself already regretting this crazy idea. As student from the Netherlands where mountains are most likely to appear in magazines, I started feeling the first concerns whether I was indeed prepared for this tour under the Catalan sun. ‚Don’t chicken out right from the beginning‘, I told myself while pedaling the serpentines to Colera.

On our way to Colera

On our way to Colera – I am not yet sure of the adventure that we started…

Shortly afterwards, all regrets are gone. I don’t regret a single second of the exhausting climb in breeding heat. Far too beautiful is the breathtaking view over mountain chain falling into clear blue sea and the feeling to have mastered all the serpentines with your own efforts. Every centimetre is rewarded with the view over coast, land and water. Downhill the mountains and powered by immense sensation of liberty, we head towards Colera with 43 km/ h on our speedo. A quick break with a cold coke at the beach before crossing the next hills southward to Llança.

View over Colera

Nothing but the blue sky, vaste ocean and the hilly landscape in our view!

It is Friday evening and the night market along the beach boulevard in Llança welcomes us. Strands full with clothes, catalan pottery and regional delicacies invite to stroll. After a quick dip in the sea, we quickly fish for clean clothes – then there is nothing like heading into the bustle of tourism! We enjoy pasta and kalimutxo, a typically Spanish mix of red wine and coke before falling onto our sleeping pads.

Llança – L’Escala

Day 2: A quick stop at the supermarket in the morning. We buy some food for the day and unfold our cycling map . The sun is already quite high in the sky when we leave the first mountains behind. Although our second day has already started, we are still spellbound by the impressive landscape along the wild coast. Once arrived at the bay of Roses, we have a view over the entire golfe of Roses. Just in front behind the sea appear the silhouettes of L’Escala on the other side of the baie – our final destination for tonight.

Mountains close to Llança

Bike reparations between the mountains of Cap de Creus.

We fight our way through the touristic turbulences to Santa Margarita and further to Empuriabrava always along the coast. Thanks to its many canals, the small holiday resort is also known as the „Venice of Spain“ . A quick gaze at the white yachts that characterize the townscape before escaping the busy tourist places into the natural parc and birds paradise Aiguamolls d’Empordà. A bridge over the Muga river into a calm zone in the heart of the natural parc. Its birdwatching places are famous among ornithologues.

Aiguamolls

A cycling path leads through the natural parc Aiguamolls d’Empordà.

In Sant Pere Pescador, we cross the Fluvià. Along the appel trees and campsites, we follow the direction of L’Escala where the many bays invite for a break at the sea. Here, at the feet of the ruins of d’Empuries – a heritage of the greek and romain founders of L’Escala – we have to take a bath again! Our summary of the day: a great stage and very varied with mountains, calm bays and touristic holiday resorts at the same day! We spend this night on a camping in Riells (L’Escala) reviewing our impressions before falling asleep.

Aiguamolls

L’Escala – Sant Feliu de Guixols

Day 3: After our morning routine in front of the local supermarket, a piece of baguette in the left hand and the map in the right, we made our plan for the day! Our next destination is L’Estartit that we reach via the small town Torroella de Montgrí. We walk our bikes through the cheerfully colored alleys. High facades and the century-old walls give shadow in the old city of Torroella de Montgrí. After a quick side trip to the historical market place and the town church in baroque style, we follow the main road to the beach of L’Estartit.

Torroela de Montgrí

Torroella de Montgrí

We stop at the beach just in front of the impressive islands of Medes that emerge from the deep, blue sea and I quickly realized we have a lucky day! A pedal boat rental offers pedal boats with plastic slide on top and a long-cherished childhood dream comes true. The decision is clear, we don’t hesitate and enjoy one hour with the slide pedal boat off the beach in L’Estartit – just great!

Rocks off the coast in L'Estartit

Rocks off the coast at l’Estartit

However, we slowly start to feel that time flies by and our final destination Barcelona by bike will not be easy to reach within four-days-time. We will have to cheat a little bit. Following the direction Sant Feliu de Guíxols, we turn away from the coast at a certain moment to take one of the regional trains in the hinterland that brings us at low-cost directly to the centre of Barcelona.

rafa-leandra-blog

More on the topic „Barcelona en bike“ can be found on our Costa-Live blog on www.selected-property.com and in the following edition of our magazine.

Bicycle tours and route suggestions are available as well under www.baixemporda-costabrava.org and www.viaverdes.cat .

Fluvia river

Cap de Creus – Day Trip

Costa Brava from mountains and valleys – a day trip around the Cap de Creus

„Solamente diez“ – a common phrase among all those who ever visited a Spanish market. It is exactly here, at the weekly market in Sant Pere Pescador, that our day trip starts. Surrounded by market criers and accordion music, the various stands along the Fluvià river offer from food and fashion to beach towel and accessories everything your heart desires for successful holidays! Well equipped with fresh fruits, vegetables and sun hat, we set off to discover the nearby and outlying region around the Golf de Roses!

Aiguamolls de l´Empordà

Vast sea, long sandy beaches, the soft chirping of birds – it is here at where the Fluvià flows into the Mediterranean Sea where to start the day. The water mouth is situated in the middle of the natural park of Aiguamolls de l´Empordà and offers a daily-changing spectacle of nature. From small to large, from calm to impetuous and wild, the panorama of the water mouth changes depending on the weather.

Landzunge

View across the Fluvia river to the natural parc Aiguamolls de l’Empordà.

A deep breath of sea air while looking across the surrounding sea bay of Golf de Roses before continuing our journey across the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà to Roses. The colorful tourist place Roses appears as colorful as its name promises and gives already in the pre-season a taste of holiday flair. Sheltered from the winds by the impressive foothills of the Pyrenees, the beach bay of the city part Santa Margarita welcomes everyone for a fresh cooling in the sea.

Yacht habor of Roses

Yacht Habor in Roses

The Moorings of the yacht habor in Roses

We follow the beach promenade to the yacht habor of Roses – not without any stopovers though. Far too tempting are „Café con leche“ and Churros in the numerous cafés and bistros while green parrots in the top of the palms chant along our way.

Beach Roses

The blue sea in Roses is well-sheltered from wind.

On a visit to Roses, one should definitely stop at its cheerful city centre that borders with the beach promenade on the lefthand-side. There is something for everyone here: colorful stores and various restaurants create a pleasant atmosphere, several shops offer ice cream that you can enjoy on the Placa de l’Esglesia in front of the church.

Citadel of Roses

Roses Citadel

The Portal of the Citadel in Roses

In around 200 meters walking distance from the beach is the 2500 years-old Citadel of Roses. The former archeological site established by Greeks and Romans covers an area of around 12 hectares and serves nowadays as cultural museum and event location. An open-air cinema will present Spanish movies here on various evenings throughout the month of July – certainly a unique experience in a great setting.

Breathtaking panorama – Cap de Creus

Cap de Creus

Stone-bridge Cap de Creus

Leaving Roses behind, we take a small detour to the highlands of the natural parc of Cap de Creus near Cadaqués– a welcomed change to the touristic hurly-burly along the cost. Via the villages Palau-Saverdera and Vilajuiga, we arrive at our destination: the ancient Benedictine Monastery Sant Pere de Rodes. Built by Romans in the eighth century, the impressive stone building offers a breathtaking view over the coastlines of El Port de la Selva. Small serpentine roads seem to almost disappear in the impressive mountain ranges and deep valleys that are encompassed by the vast, blue sea at the horizon.

Road Sant Pere de Rodes

The serpentine road to the monestary Sant Pere de Rodes sidles through the unaffected landscape.

Sant Pere de Rodes

Sant Pere de Rodas

The Monastir of Sant Pere de Rodas – Costa Brava

This impressive panorama gives a taste of how freedom feels, we think while being unable to identify the horizon between sea and sky. Today’s ruin of Sant Pere de Rodes is accessible for visitors who want to explore the church nave and its surrounding penury-old walls. A restaurant on the inside offers not only fresh fish, Serrano ham and other typically catalan specialties but also a panoramic view over the magnificent landscape.

Arriving by car at a free parking place, visitors can follow a short path that leads to the entrance of the ancient monastery and a little further to the summet of the old caste ruin of Castell de Sant Salvador de Verdera. Hikers who reach the summet enjoy a panoramic view at 680 meters above sea level.

Sant Pere de Rodes

Centuries-old stone walls towering over the natural parc Cap de Creus.

Port de la Selva

As the day draws to its close, we follow the serpentines downwards to the traditional fishing village Port de la Selva. Some fishers are returning from work as we walk along the port. Strolling through the alleys of Port de la Selva, we discover colorfully decorated streets with ancient rock steps and traditional architecture. Old, wooden fishing boats lay at the beach between us and the blue sea. Our journey with the many new impressions made us hungry and we stop for dinner at a traditional restaurant where our evening fades out with local fish and a glas of wine.

Beach of Port de la Selva

Old fisher boats decorate the beach in Port de la Selva.

Cap de Creus – Costa Brava

Cap de Creus – a uniquely bizarre, rough landscape of a wild beauty

Both seaward and landward, this region has been made a protected area several years ago. The sanctuary is called Parc Natural Cap de Creus. Here, the Eastern Pyrenees join the ocean and reach about 50 metres beyond the surface, falling down in dramatic cascades and steep faces until they meet the ocean’s ground. Surrealism itself seems to become real. On our way to Cap de Creus, we pass Portlligat and Dalì’s dwelling house. After the last, newly-built houses, we turn left to pull in on a small parking lot, a few steps away from the road. To our right, a path called camí de ronda leads to the coast. On a trip like this, hiking boots, swimming things and enough water are essential. After only a few metres’ walk, we reach a way that leads down to a bay called Platja de Sant Luis. It is said to be ideal for bathing. We decide to make a break here on our way back.Both seaward and landward, this region has been made a protected area several years ago. The sanctuary is called Parc Natural

Buchten-an-der-Costa-Brava

For now, we follow the camí de ronda past a few wonderfully situated properties with large parcels of land and an astonishing view on the sea. Then we delve into the solitude of this bizarre world of rocks and stones. The colours range from amber and honey to dove-coloured schist and rosty red rocks that melt into the sea in a way that reminds us of Dalí’s pocket watches, and how their time would melt. The rocks around Cap de Creus shaped Dali’s works in many a way; they were both his home and is inspiration: “all the rocks of Cap de Creus are in a state of perpetual metamorphosis…everything is mere sugges­tion, allowing for the eye to spontaneously see an eagly, a camel, a chanticleer, a lion or a woman. I am convinced that I am the living core of this very landscape.“

The Beacon of Cap de Creus

Leuchttzurm-an-der-Costa-Brava

The unique rocky landscape fascinates us as well. It has been forged from the stones by the sculptor Nature, and her tools were the Tramuntana, the sun and the sea. Once gotten in the charm, the onlooker can find a world as dreamlike as Dali’s mythical creatures. We can now see our goal in the distance, just behind yet another ascent: The beacon of Cap de Creus. Small yachts bob up and down in the waters of a small, hidden bay. With a boat, it easier to find those hidden paradises. If we wanted to take a refreshing bath now, we would have to climb down all the way to the sea. Thinking of the way back, we spare our strength for the ascent to the Cap.

The way up the beacon will take another two hours. Luckily, there is a bar and a restaurant there. In the very east of Spain, the Englishman Chris has been running a restaurant for a few years. Here you can take a break on a terrace with a fascinating view on the sea and the rocks. We decide for a fresh salad and some grilled sardines, knowing we will be grateful for it on our way back. We leave the terrace at about 4pm. The sun is hiding behind fleecy clouds. Going downhill now, we are faster than before. At the end of our walking-tour we climb further down to the small bay of Platja de Sant Luis. The pebble beach is empty. Exhausted, we sink into the refreshing waves. It is a real treat after this long day. Thus refreshed, we take a small walk through the alleys of Cadaqués, while evening falls around us. We watch the sun set from a bar at the beach of Cadaqués, drinking cool­ed beer. Surrounded by locals and tourists, we feel as if we were on a holiday – far, far away from everyday hassle.