|a typical Mallorquin-style fishing boat|
The Coastal Paths of Catalunya, called the Caminos de Ronda in Catalan, cover the entire stretch of the Costa Brava from the French border in the north to the town of Blanes, (known as the Gateway to the Costa Brava) in the south. This particular section of the cami de ronda from Palamós to Calella de Palafrugell, is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline here in Catalunya and if you only do one walk on your holidays, this is definitely the one to do. From the bigger beaches equipped with parking and chiringuitos (beach bars), life-guards and services to small hidden bays (Calas) only accessible by boat, the cami de ronda winds its way along small well marked paths (senderos) along this rugged coastline that is synonymous with the Costa Brava.
|The main beach at La Fosca near Palamós|
Our route today took us from a quiet urbanisation north of the Palamós marina where there is nearly always plenty of on road parking away from the hustle and bustle of the the beach at La Fosca. The map and technical details of the walk can be found on Strava at the bottom of this post. From our parking spot, you'll find a signpost for the Cami de Ronda that takes you into shaded pine and oak woods and a track that climbs a small hill (top left in the picture above) that separates Palamós and the little village of La Fosca. This short track takes about 20 minutes to walk and soon you start to descend into La Fosca and our first stop for the day in a chiringuito for coffee and breakfast. We were joined today by friends from our Meetup group (Costa Brava Hiking and Biking Group), a great way to see Catalunya in a social setting with like minded people. We alternate between hikes and mountain bike trails every two weeks all over Catalunya throughout the year. It is free to join and we charge a nominal €5. fee for each excursion to cover running costs of the Meetup page. Details can be found below...
The beach at la Fosca is perfect for families with small children. Unlike some of the beaches on the Costa Brava where the beach shelves off steeply into the sea, La Fosca forms a sheltered bay with a wide shallow fine sandy beach with warm water and few waves. La Fosca has full time life-guards, toilet facilities, showers and a multitude of bars and cafes. We highly recommend the Hostal at La Fosca, located right on the beach front in the middle of the promenade and serves mid-priced meals throughout the year. Their salads are excellent, the staff are friendly and polite and we have never had a bad meal there.
This part of the cami de ronda is well maintained and paved with steps and crazy paving taking you around the coastline between the front-line villas and apartments to the start of the protected green space that makes up the majority of the walk towards Calella de Palafrugell. Once into the woods on the other side of La Fosca, you soon come to one of the jewels of the Costa Brava, the tiny fishing village of S'Alguer. These small fishing huts are protected from further developement (as is the entire stretch of coastline between La Fosca and Calella). There is no road access to s'Alguer and water is still drawn from a well in the centre. Today, it is used as a weekend retreat for local families and has escaped the ravages of mass tourism. Continuing along the coast on the trail, after another 10 minutes we come to the beach of Castell.
Platja Castell is one of our favourite beaches with fine sand, services, 2 chiringuitos serving hot food and cold drinks, a life-guard and kayack rentals throughout the summer months from June to September. Access to Platja Castell if either by foot from La Fosca via the cami de ronda, or by car exiting the C31 at junction after the Palamós / La Fosca junction. During the summer, the Ajuntamineto de Palamós organises parking in a local field for a small daily fee of €5. To the north of the beach on a small wooded hill, there is a peninsula that houses the Castell Iberian Ruins dating back to the bronze age. They are free to enter and walk around and offer excellent views over the bay. Just on the other side of the promontory, lies the little cala of La Foradada de Castlel with a natural arch that you can swim through. We recommend hiring a kayak for the day and exploring this beautiful part of the coastline from the water.
Once leaving La Foradada, we climb to the top of the Cap Roig hills and leave the wide touristy beaches for the little bays that are not accessible by car and you'll not find them on the tourist maps either. The Cap Roig hills take us through predominantly pine and oak forests along the cliff tops which offer glimpses of hidden bays and sometimes wide sweeping panoramic views of the rugged Costa Brava coastline. The path is generally shady and well marked, but there are no springs or fonts between platja Castlell and Calaella de Palafrugell and you need to bring plenty of water with you, especially today when the temperatures rose to over 30ºC. Today was very hot and from now until October, we will be hiking the interior of Catalunya, up in the low Pyrenees and high mountains to escape the heat of the summer. Today though, we chose this route specifically for the availability of drinks in the little bars and chiringuitos along the way. A walk of about 30 minutes through the woods will bring you back down to the coastline and the little bays of Cala Canyers and Cala Corbs.
The cami de ronda then follows the coastline to one of the gems of the Costa Brava, Cala Estreta.
There is a small fisherman's hut at Cala Estreta. It is open to the public and is very well equipped with tables, chairs, cooking utensils etc. During the summer it is always open, but out of season you can get the keys from the Ajuntamiento. It is somewhat refreshing to see that there is no theft here and that people use the facilities that are maintained by the locals with respect. The general rule is that you clean up after yourself, replace what you use and that you leave the hut in a better condition than when you found it in. Sometimes difficult as it is very well maintained !
|Cala El Golfet|
After a very refreshing swim at Cala Estreta, we following the coastline until a short but steep climb back into the forest and skirt the private grounds of the botanical gardens at Cap Roig until we start our descent into Calella de Palafrugell and a very welcome beer and lunch. Calella de Palafrugell has been voted many times as the Costa Brava's most beautiful village. It is certainly very photogenic and there are dozens of restaurants to choose from. As it was lunchtime, we initially made our way to Can Gelpi, a restaurant on the beach front and at first, the staff were happy to accommodate our group. However, as only half wanted a full meal with the rest opting for drinks and snacks., the owner refused to serve any of us unless we all opted for a full meal. It's not the first time that we have had problems here and we all thought that the owner was quite rude... Such a shame as it was a good place to eat a few years ago. We recommend that you find another restaurant to have lunch.....
|The approach to Calella de Palafrugell courtesy of Marie, one of our meetup guests. Thanks Marie !|
So, after being refused a table in Can Gelpi, we made our way to the oldest established restaurant on the beach front at Calella de Palafrugell, "Les Voltes". Here, they were very busy as usual, but they were very helpful, friendly, and took the time to make us up a table outside in the shade (much needed in the summer). They were very quick in bringing drinks while we waited for the menus and in the end, the a la carte was so good that we all decided to eat something anyway ! Nice cold beer, reasonable prices, excellent food and good company. What better way to end the first part of the hike and we highly recommend them.
|Calella de Palafrugell|
After lunch we had a much needed swim and siesta on the beach and then started the hike back to Palamós. You can elect to make the hike back shorter if you wish, as once you pass the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens, the trail splits into two and you have the option of cutting directly through the forest to La Fosca. All in all today, a hike of about 18km.... It was very hot, but then again, that's why cold beer was invented. A lovely day out on the Cami de Ronda and thanks to my Meetup group for the excellent company :)
#caldomino #costabrava #catalunya #camideronda #coastalpath #mediterranean
About me… I have lived in Calonge (province of Girona) on the Costa Brava since 2003 after retiring as a pilot from the british Royal Air Force. My passions are hiking, biking, skiing, photography and discovering and sharing the hidden cultural treasures of this beautiful country. My day job entails managing a luxury self-catering rental Villa, Casa Cal Domino, and in my search for new and interesting things to do for my clients whilst they are here on holiday, I have been genuinely overawed by the beauty and diversity of this land. I’m not leaving any time soon. I love it here and I hope to inspire you to come and discover this wonderful country for yourself.