All posts filed under: Costa Brava

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.

Sea view with flowers

From Calella de Palafrugell to Tamariu

An old German song about trekking more or less says “The water never sleeps, it keeps always moving.“ Hiking is fun. Also composer Franz Schubert already knew that. On a warm and sunny morning we set out for a walk along the Costa Brava. The camí de ronda leads us along the impressive “wild coast“, past picturesque fishing villages and beautiful bays with fine, golden sand, to Tamariu.

Busy fishing village

We start our tour in Calella de Palafrugell, a small fishing village. In a street café we rapidly eat some bocadillos and have a café con leche, before we finally can start walking. The route leads us through the huge round arches of the Port Bo square and past the beach of Canadell. It’s Sunday lunchtime and the restaurants are full of tourists and locals. Also on the beach, we can’t find an empty space. A quick selfie, then we are relieved to leave all the hustle and bustle behind us.

Pink flowers at the side of the path

At the coastline, everything is blossoming.

And up we go

Below an ancient watchtower, we go around a headland and arrive in Llafranc in almost no time. After a short break for drinking some water and taking a couple of photos, we climb up a few stairs at the harbour and get to a curvy street. Winding our way upwards we pass luxurious villas. At the top we come across the lighthouse of Sant Sebastiá, which is the most powerful Spanish lighthouse with a headlight range of 100 km. Here, you can also find a restaurant with a great view of Llafranc and the surrounding cliffs. We pass the lighthouse and an old watchtower dating back to the 15th century. After the climb at midday heat, we have to rest for a while and fortify ourselves with some sandwiches.

View of the coastline

What a view! The camí de ronda keeps surprising us with stunning sea views like this.

Colourful sea water

Fortified, we continue the final part of our route, leading us through forests and meadows, past a couple of isolated private plots, downwards to the Cala Pedrosa. In this remote rocky bay we find a small fishing hut offering some snacks for the small appetite. Fascinated by the game of the colourful waves – dark blue, turquoise, light green shining in the sun – we take a small break on a big rock at the sea. There is a lot of coming and going and we can’t find peace. So we put our drinking bottles back in our backpacks and leave the bay behind us. Shortly afterwards, we enjoy the aromatic smell and the cool air in a pine wood. Every now and then the blue sea shines through the trees. Excited what’s waiting for us after the forest, we follow the path now going along the coastline, passing small rocky bays with turquoise water.

Dream of paradise

The turquoise-greenish colour of the sea water is like heaven on earth.

Arriving at Tamariu

About 45 minutes afterwards we finally get to the beach of Tamariu. Crystal-clear, Caribbean-blue water and a red-golden sandy beach await us. We take off our shoes, climb over a few rocks separating the path from the beach. The sand is giving us a nice massage and the cool salt water refreshes our skin. Exhausted, we sit down on a bench at the promenade and rest there for a while. The small coastal town is very busy. You can find sangria, beer and white wine on the restaurant tables. Hikers, tourists, locals and sun worshippers come together here. Before we go back, we eat some tasty ice cream and enjoy the sea view. Above us the seagulls, making their rounds in the sky. A light breeze blows the hair out of our faces. Simply wonderful! The sun is slowly going down and it’s time to go back.

Arriving at Tamariu

Exhausted, we finally get to Tamariu. We can’t wait to feel cool salt water on our tired feet.

Info:

Route: Calella – Llafranc – Far de Sant Sebastiá – Cala Pedrosa – Tamariu
Walking time: In total about 2 1/2 hours
Don’t forget suncream and water bottles!

Above Barcelona's roofs

Barcelona – two days in the Catalonian metropolis

Saturday morning at the train station in Barcelona. Here, Barbara is waiting for her boyfriend, who will come here directly from the airport. Their aim on this weekend: Exploring Barcelona and getting a first impression of the city between the mountains and the sea.

Arriving an adapting

Two days will never be enough for visiting all the sights, recommended restaurants and bars, museums and popular districts of the Catalonian capital, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Therefore, the two set out for their little adventure, a little bit blind and disoriented, Barbara admits. The most important thing is the right direction: they focus on their hostel for leaving their luggage. Just following their nose, the couple goes by metro to the city centre, as their accommodation is located in front of the Universitat de Barcelona, close to Plaça Catalunya. However, they already change their plan during their metro journey, get off at the next station, look for a café and, in a more organized way, make a new weekend plan, while enjoying a café con leche and delicious croissants.

Blick über Barcelona

Where to start?

Goose, paella and the sea

Leaving their mystery tour-tactics behind, they both decide to go for a walk through the Barri Gòtic, the oldest district of the town. Their travel guide proposes a very interesting route with passing all the important sights. So perfect for tourists like them who don’t have much time. Starting at the Gothic cathedral “La Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia“ with goose entertaining its visitors, Barbara and her boyfriend walk to the “Palau de la Generalitat“ where the Catalonian government has its seat, until the “Puente del Bisbe“, they visit all the famous Gothic buildings of Barcelona. At the same time, they get closer to the sea and make a break in the afternoon, at Spanish lunchtime, in the warm spring sun while having a tasty paella and a cold beer.

Palm trees in the cloister

Apart from the goose, there are also palm trees and other plants decorating the cathedral’s cloister.

Event location and leisure time spot

After the couple finally has left the luggage at their hostel, they make their way towards the local mountain, called Montjuïc, which has a height of 173 meters. The Montjuïc serves as a perfect event location, but also without anything planned, attracts as many tourists as locals. Whether the rests of the world exhibition in 1929, like the German pavilion constructed by Mies van der Rohe, the Font Màgica (magic fountain), the parks around the mountain or the impressive castle at the highest point of Montjuïc, there is a lot to see. From the castle, you have a beautiful view over the whole city and the Olympic site behind (In 1992, the Summer Olympics took place in Barcelona) with its huge TV mast provides enough space for a few quiet minutes, before they go back to the hustle and bustle.

Magic fountain

Montjuïc impresses with size and architecture.

Fascinating show and culinary diversity

Soon afterwards, Barbara and her boyfriend sit at the crowded stairs in front of the Font Màgica, waiting impatiently for the light show to begin. At 7 pm, water fountains will be shooting up into the air, accompanied by music and colourful lights. After the show, it’s time for dinner and they are spoilt for choice: the streets are endlessly filled with restaurants and tapas bars, especially in the trendy districts. The two look around next to Eixample and finally find a place for having something to eat.

Magic fountain during night

Both of them are impressed by all the different colours and formations of the lights.

Gaudí’s masterpieces

On Sunday, they planned to visit Barcelona’s highlights: the Sagrada Família and the Casa Milà, both constructed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. In a good mood and full of anticipation, they make their way towards the Sagrada. Arriving there, they get extremely disappointed. Of course, they didn’t reserve our tickets online in advance, which would have been a good idea. A big mistake regarding the huge queue of people already waiting since 9 am to get in. So, the two join the queue and are lucky: as one of the last people they still get tickets for the entrance at 1pm. Both of them appreciate the unexpected free time in the morning and visit the art nouveau Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, close to the Sagrada. Afterwards, they continue their Gaudí tour and walk around the roof terrace and the exhibition spaces of the Casa Milà, while listening to an audioguide. People also call it “La Pedrera“ (engl. quarry), because the residents of Barcelona were not very amused by the building with its curved façade and the many projections. Barbara and her boyfriend, however, are astonished at Gaudí’s innovative architecture and have to tear theirselves away, in order to not miss the admission for Gaudí’s most famous building: the Sagrada Familia, which he dedicated his life to. So, in a way, they follow the course of his productive years chronologically.

La Pedrera

With its curvy façade, “La Pedrera” captivates all of its visitors.

Barcelona’s landmark

From the outside, the two are not very impressed as the building is not finished yet and a great deal of construction cranes shape the usual image. Therefore, they don’t really get why this church is supposed to be so special and unique, besides the many cranes, towers and other elements observed from the outside. As they enter the church, their opinions suddenly change. Amazed by the modern construction and the big luminous interior, both agree that the Sagrada Família is something special, indeed. Not only because of its history (they started to build it already 130 years ago!!!), but also because of its unusual looks, making it not a typical church. And that’s probably the reason for its incomparable uniqueness.

Barcelona's landmark

Long queues and huge cranes are part of the usual picture of the Sagrada Familia.

Tow days, hundreds of impressions, one certainty

Still fascinated by the architecture of Gaudí, Barbara and her boyfriend have to pack their things, because their time in Barcelona is coming to an end. Arrived with few ideas and plans, they leave with much more impressions and memories. They’re sure, this won’t be their last trip to the vivid metropolis at the Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona put a spell on them and still has a lot more to offer…let’s see where they will end up next.

Last view over Barcelona

One last view over the Catalonian capital.

 

Approaching

The dream of flying

The fascination of flying is part of the human history. Ovid writes in his papers about self-made wings made out of candle wax and feathers which were used by Daedalus and Icarus for escaping from their captivity. Marco Polo speaks about manned wings with dragons. Ultimately, at the end of the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s investigation about airstream and his drafts of helicopters, parachutes and other flying objects definitely prove the interest humans have in flying.

Boundless freedom above the clouds

The driving force is probably the feeling of freedom and the overcoming of gravity. Finally going beyond your own borders and achieving the impossible. Also parachutists strive for some kind of “flying“. They find happiness in controlling the free fall by repealing the laws of nature for a few seconds and then simply fly.

Up in the air

High up int the sky, parachutists show different formations, like the spiral dive.

Skydiving – a once in a lifetime experience

During his visit in Empuriabrava, Barbara’s boyfriend wants to realize his dream of skydiving too. Nevertheless, when she meets him at the airfield, he seems nervous, but of course, to jump out of a plane on 4000 m a. s. l. is not an everyday-thing. Still, he has to wait a little bit more, as it is the turn of two more groups before him. As the last group takes off, he gets called and a member of the flying school comes towards us: “Jonas?“ In a practised manner he puts him on the safety belts and disappears while saying “See you in a few minutes“.

Taking off

With this plane, Jonas is taking off.

Waiting game

Barbara watches the plane taking off and try following it with her eyes. Not only because she is in charge with taking photos, but also because she simply wants to know when and where her love comes racing down towards the ground, with a speed of 200km/h. However, because of the shining sun, this is not an easy thing to do and so she often confuses a seagull with the first parachutist jumping down to the earth.

Watching parachutists up in the sky

Seagull or parachute? Hard to tell…

Big relief and endless joy

After a few minutes, the first ones arrive in various formations with their parachutes. Still, Barbara can’t see her boyfriend. She is scanning the sky impatiently for his parachute. They keep her on tenterhooks a little bit more and then finally she sees the right parachute. Rapidly she takes her phone and follow them with her camera while taking photos, hoping some of them will turn out well. Then she goes to the airfield and welcome a happy Jonas back on the ground.

With the feet up high ready for landing

Compared to the free fall out of the plane, landing is really easy.

Winning architects

The Pritzker Architecture Prize 2017 goes to Catalonia

Winners are  Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is regarded as the Nobel prize for architects. The prize is worth 100.000$ and is awarded by the Hyatt Foundation and a jury of prestigious architects, since 1979. In 2017, the award went to three Catalonian architects, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta from Olot, Girona. Since almost 30 years, the three architects have been working together under the label RCR ARQUITECTES. Through their projects, they create an interaction between space, light, shade, ambience, surrounding, colours and landscape.

“Great understanding of history, natural topography and culture”

According to the jury, their work is “powerfully connected to the surrounding landscape“, which comes from the “strong sense of place“ and the great “understanding of history, natural topography and culture“. They always intend to “highlight the natural surrounding“ through the siting of buildings, the choice of materials and the geometries and “to pull them into the building“. Their work connects past and present, just as exterior and interior, which shows their “love for both tradition and innovation“. They often use modern materials like glass, plastic and recycled steel.

Folded steel walls in vineyards

The vineyard Bell-Lloc in Palamós, dating back to 2007. Here you can see folded steel walls, integrated in the vineyards like sculptures. (photo: Hisao Suzuki)

Aiming at regional work

For the first time, three architects together are honoured with the prize. Their purpose is to tackle the local history and landscape and to work regionally. All three of them are deeply attached to their roots, preferring local life rather than a jet-set lifestyle or working with the most famous architects worldwide. However, they prove that, wherever you are in the world, with the right sense for time and space, you are able to design in a creative and modern way.
Most of their projects are realized between Girona and Barcelona, near to their office in Olot.

All of their projects provide balance. To be open minded and close to your roots is the recipe for success, according to RCR ARQUITECTES.

Plastic roof floating in Olot

Since 2011, you can find a transparent, bent plastic roof, floating between old stone walls at the restaurant Les Cols in Olot. (photo: Eugeni Pons / Hisao)

 

Here you can see some of their well-known work:

 

 

 

 

Pink rockstars in Roses

Carnival in Roses 2017: colourful, loud, cheerful

Hot rhythms and tight costumes

Samba and hot disco rhythms, that is the motto of carnival at the Costa Brava.
People are having wild parties in Roses, L’Escala, Empuriabrava, Platja d’Aro and other places along the coast of Catalonia.

Dancing all night long

Rising temperatures make it easy to have a street party while dressed in short costumes. Salsa rhythms are roaring from the decorated carriages. At the promenade, people are in party mood. Garishly dressed, people are dancing all night long.

Dancing in the street

In Roses, people know how to make party.

The beat booms far out to the sea

Golden knights waiting for their battles, coloured masks laughing into the crowd: the beat is roaring over the sea. People applaud when  the festive carriages, going from Plaça Catalunya to Plaça Frederic Rahola, pass by. There is a lot of dancing, flirting and singing going on.

Gentlemen of Freixenet

The noble guys from Freixenet know too how to celebrate.

The square in front of the harbour

This year, there have been 62 creatively decorated carriages and lots of marvellous costumes to admire. The mayoress gave the keys of the town to king carnival, who would be in charge for the town during carnival time. At the end of carnival, on Monday before Lent, she got back the keys and power.

Lions partying at carnival

A little party never killed nobody.

Funeral of the sardine

The end of carnival is near when weirdly dressed figures wander through the town of Roses on Monday before Lent (in other parts of Spain this would be Ash Wednesday). After the funeral of the sardine, carnival is officially over. There is big fireworks when the locals set fire to the sardine. In some places, the burning sardine gets carried to the open sea. The legend says that something has to be destroyed for something new to arise…

Partying dragon in Roses

The last party people are walking through the town.

This unique tradition has many explanations:

1. The custom is supposed to originate from 19th-century Madrid. At Ash Wednesday, Lent starts. The townspeople went to the countryside, in order to symbolically bury something. Because during Lent they did not consume any meat, they buried pork ribs, which were called “cerdina“. Over time, while passing on the legend, some mistake happened and “cerdina“ turned into “sardina“ – sardine.

2. In the 19th century, a group of students organized a funeral procession, in order to celebrate carnival one more time and symbolically start Lent.

3. King Charles III. of Spain (1716 – 1788) prohibited to eat meat at Ash Wednesday, instead people were supposed to eat sardines. At Ash Wednesday, temperatures were unusually rising and it got too hot for the sardines and they turned inedible. The smell was unbearable. Therefore, they organized a funeral. This spontaneous procession then became tradition and a party.

4. Other legends tell that the sacrificial offering was part of praying for a large fishing.

Nowadays, it is impossible to truly discover the origin of this tradition. The only certain thing is that the custom terminates carnival with big fuss, before starting again next year.

Perfect Conditions for a day at the Torremirona golf club

Golf club in Torremirona, Costa Brava

Torremirona Golf Club is just 7km away from the emblematic city of Figueres. This magnificent “championshipcourse” 18 holes (par72) amazes even the most demanding golfers.

 

Paradise in Torremirona

Enjoy this paradise in the countryside of Empordà. A unique setting for both the fantastic golf course designed by Eugenio Aguado and Jordi Soler, to the facilities of the clubhouse and TorreMirona Fitness & Spa golf resort. The area between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees is known for its great weather and pleasant temperatures – 365 days a year. These conditions make it ideal for playing golf at any time of year.

Pool at the Torremirona Golf Club

Torremirona Golf Club

The International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IGATO) chose him in 2000 as “Best Emerging Golf Destination Worldwide”.
In the same hole 1 surrounded by gardens and wonderful views of the golf course is Torremirona Hotel Relais ****. Our hotel has an outdoor pool, mini-bar, TV, safe and cozy decor.

Golfing at Torremirona

Our golf course amazes even the most demanding golfers.

Ther resort also features the Fitness / Spa fully equipped with outdoor and indoor pool, thermal circuit, hammam, saunas, paddle, tennis, sports area, fitness room. A team of qualified professionals is willing to cover all your medical and sporting needs and aesthetic.

Torremirona Hotel with pool

Facilites of our Hotel

 

You can calmly live here, close to Costa Brava’s most beautiful beaches. Furthermore, there is only little driving distance to the railway station Vilafant where the high speed train AVE stops. The airports Girona or Barcelona also can be reached easily within a short period of time. Consequently, you can perfectly connect to all European metropolis if required.

Golf course with a view

Panorama at the golf club

Birds in Aiguamolls

Aiguamolls de l’Empordà – a natural park

Aiguamolls – Natural Park

Aiguamolls’ natural park is characterized by an astonishing interplay of dunes, drowned meadows, brackish lagoons (special habitats due to their fluctuations in salinity) and lakes. The Catalan word aigua­molls means calm, shallow water in English. In Spanish, it is called marismas and describes a coastal wetland, which has been formed by the interaction of both the estuary and the sea.

 Aiguamolls from above

Lagoons of Aiguamolls

Our journey begins at the tourist information’s parking lot. Starting from here it is also possible to explore the birds’ reservoir afoot. It is worth the effort: the birds’ reservoir forms a part of the wildlife sanctuary.

Stork's nest

Storks in Aiguamolls

The wetland is framed by luscious green, nature having explored after the heavy spring rains. Lagoons like mirrors reflect grasses and the bright yellow of water lilies. Reed and rushes sway in the wind, whispering silently. The perfect harmony is only disrupted by the occasional dabchick diving into this mirrored world.

Lagoon with a view

Reeds in the wind

Tamarisks, adapted to wet, salty habitats, blossom in pink and white, growing as they will as trees or bushes. Storks stalk through the swamp on long legs; others circle high above in the sky. Most of them sit on their nests, built in the branches of dead, gnarled trees – or on platforms constructed for this purpose. Their loud chattering can still be heard miles away.
The white stork’s repatriation is one of the sanctuary’s most pressing concerns, as well as the protection of the more than 300 other species of birds.

Snow in the distance

Pyrenees covered with snow

Quim Franch

At the very beginning of our journey, we visit the observatory “Quim Franch”, and watch the “Cortalet”’s lake. A family of swans – parents and five fledglings – floats through the reeds in blissful peace. Frogs croak loudly. A few wild ducks bob up and down with the current, while a grey heron stands aloof, majestically. We see grouses, a whole family, on their first day out. The small black fledglings flee back into the rushes on overly large, clumsy feet, and they are gone before we can even think of taking pictures.

Fields in Aiguamolls

Lake Cortalet

Landscape

The whole landscape is blossoming. There is a stallion, grazing in front of a Masia. Resplendently white, the snow-capped Pyrenees can be seen in the distance. The wind of Tramuntana is rough, blowing directly into our faces. We see red poppy on the fields, white chamomile and blue borage. Violet lavender emits its aromatic scent. The rough landscape is of an unusual beauty, enchanting. Purely romantic. We are amazed by the interesting route through the wonderful natural park of Aiguamolls.

Canals of Aiguamolls

Water way through the beautiful natural park of Aiguamolls

Advice

The maps are available in German, English, Spanish, French and Catalan and are handed out free of charge at the tourist information “El Cortalet”. (0034) 972 45 42 22.
How to get there: Take the high way from Sant Pere Pescador or Castelló d’Empúries.
www.aiguamolls.org

Bird at a lagoon

The lagoons in Agiuamolls provide perfect habitats for a lot of different species

Red flowers in the grass

Spring in Empordà

The charm of country life

We are enchanted by the spring of Empordà. Nature has exploded after the long rain, for which we had been waiting wistfully for so long. Did the winter months cause us to forget how the blaze of colours intoxicates our senses in the month of May? Blossoms of oranges emit the sweetest fragrance, roses shine in bright whites, pinks, and reds. Picturesque fields of poppy, opulently colourful rims of meadows, and everywhere in between: green, green, green. Unfortunately, the gaudy gorgeousness will soon start to fade away. The first lawns have already been mowed. The cottonwood’s seeds begin to sprout due to hot southerlies.

Beautiful wisteria growing in Palau Sator

Palau Sator

Palau-sator and its villages

The community Palau-sator and the associated villages Sant Feliu de Boada, Fontclara, Pantaleu and Sant Julià de Boada are located near the flat banks of Darò river. They are also only a stone’s throw away from Pals. The Gavarra mountains loom against the horizon. Palau-sator is surrounded by prominent stone walls; the old tower clearly visible from afar. It is dating back to the eleventh century and with its 20 metres of total height, it is much higher than anything else in the village. The stone tower is also all that is left of a castle, which used to mark the center of the small town.

Blue sky over Peratallada Empordà

Peratallada Empordà

Some of the old stone houses have undergone diligent restoration and have been turned into small restaurants offering mostly local cuisine.

A number of farming tools and machines are on open display on one of the farms and the farms’ shop sells fresh bread even on a Sunday. The farm is also a meeting place for those who have lived here a long time and like to use Sunday afternoons for some decent gossiping.

Red poppy fields in Empordà

Poppy in Empordà

Fontclara and Sant Felui de Boada

The next village, Fontclara, also dates back to the middle Ages. For example, there is the Roman church, built in the 11th century , which used to be cloister. Another village, Sant Felui de Boada, consists of a couple of farms and houses along the winding road from Torrent to Sant Julià. The village’s church features aspects of late Gothicism. Sant Juliá de Boada is smaller still, consisting only of a few farms huddled around a Roman chapel. This small sacral building is architectonically astounding and known as one of the region’s best conserved early Roman churches. Although used as a stable for centuries, it was rediscovered in 1982. Then restored thoroughly and returned to its original state of beauty.

Traditional stone houses

Typical houses in Palau Sator

All of the above mentioned villages are at their most beautiful in spring, cradled by green meadows and red poppy, yellow colza and blue borage (Borago officinalis). It is an excursion to silence and romance, to good mood and an evening spent in a cozy restaurant. Means of travel notwithstanding – it is the journey itself that is the reward. No matter if you are walking, going by cabriole, motorbike or bicycle. Enjoy spring, enjoy the early summer in the Empordà and exercise decelaration.

Costa Brava in May – it is well worth seeing.

Blue sky over ocean waves

Picturesque views and history in Sant Martí d’Empúries

Spring in Sant Martí d’Empúries

Wisterias stand in full bloom between the old stone walls of Sant Martí d’Empúries. Sant Martí d’Empúries is one of our favourite places of the Costa Brava. The small, medieval town used to be the main city of the ancient county Empúries and until today it sits enthroned on a cliff above the sea. The shore lies in the sun of spring, a white temptress, inviting us to enjoy the year’s first rays of sunshine. All along the beach with its bays and rocks runs the Costa Brava’s most romantic esplanade, connecting Empúries and L’Escala.

 

Sea view in Sant Martí d'Empúries

Sant Martí d’Empúries

 

 

Greek settlers

It was here, where the first Greek settlers came ashore in the 6th century BC, and it is the Greek we owe thanks for the impressive ruins of Empúries.

They named the first town they arrived at – a small island indeed – Paliapolis. Today, Paliapolis is an island no more; it is now connected to the mainland and called Sant Martí d’Empúries. A little bit later, the Romans were just as enchanted as the Greek. They built a city here in the first century BC, and used it as a military base. In the times of Caesar Augustus, it formed a union with the city of Municipium Emporiae. Since both the Greek and the Romans have contributed significantly to the city’s his­tory, Empúries is archaeologically unique. The walk through the ruins of Empúries is an experience you do not want to miss: unique views of the sea, antique pillars, marvelous mosaics, Mediterranean vegetation and a feeling of what it must have been like to live here, a long time ago.

 

Beach in L'Escala

Sea view in L’Escala