Calella de Palafrugell: your summer starts on the Costa Brava


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It is impossible to start this trip through Calella de Palafrugell, the spoiled girl of the Costa Brava, without naming Josep Pla, her favorite son, writer and journalist, and who best knew how to describe all of her beauty (forgive me, Mr. Pla, if you're reading me from somewhere in the universe).

And returning to his lyrics, the Quadern Gris of 1966 and the Costa Brava Guide of 1941, one realizes that the small pleasures of life, no matter how much time passes, remain the same. Calella de Palafrugell is symmetrical, perfect, exhaustingly beautiful and hopelessly seductive.

And you realize when you get to Port Bo, between the Port de Malaspina and the beaches of Calau, and see the Voltes, those bows of a pristine white that praised Pla so much. There everything makes sense.

Because … is there anything more perfect than seeing the sea through an arch? Possibly not, and this is how the journey begins, sitting among the Voltes de Port Bo, contemplating a beach painted with boats, with the sun illuminating the silver sea, the pines and the beautiful contrast of the colors of Calella. Oh, and a beer in hand!

Port Bo en Calella de Palafrugell.

Port Bo in Calella de Palafrugell. © Getty Images


Located in the Baix Empordà, in the province of Girona, Calella is a small fishing village belonging to Palafrugell, an urban center that preserves that bohemian air of the Costa Brava before the arrival of mass tourism .

It is inspiring to travel it in the winter days, for its stillness, and even in the days that the storm hits (the tramuntana wind), but it shines especially in spring and with the arrival of summer it is already shining.

"The popular sung of Havana's Calella de Palafrugell, always on the first Saturday of July, marks the beginning of the strong season that lasts until the beginning of September, " they point out Traveler from the tourist office.

Its origin as a town dates back to the 18th century, when pirates began arriving. It was then that the fishermen of Palafrugell decided to settle on the coast to protect it. The first document of this, according to the tourist office, dates from 1746.

The sea and the cork industry made the town grow and place it on the map. The custom of bathing in the sea came later, in the 19th century, when the popular classes enjoyed Sunday sunbathing and the Catalan bourgeoisie began to build their summer houses here.

Already before the Civil War three hotels had been opened, but it was in the 50s and 60s when he lived his greatest development: the fishermen stopped fishing and foreign tourists arrived. And luckily, despite what happened in neighboring towns, Calella stood firm for the "urbanizing fever."

La costa de Calella.

The coast of Calella. © Getty Images


From the Gardens of Cap Roig to Llafranc we find eight coves and beaches each with a special charm, typical of the orography of the coast of the Costa Brava, more rocky and among pine trees. All united by the Camí de Ronda, which awaits those hikers and lovers of good views.

Closer to the Castle of Cap Roig, there is the Cala del Golfet, very different from the rest of the beaches of Calella, with a rugged beauty and less known than the rest, where you can enjoy the views of the Formigues Islands, an archipelago formed for four islets and 12 pitfalls.

A few meters away, the beach of Sant Roc or the Canyers, unmistakable because it is guarded from above by the Hotel Sant Roc with views of the entire coast of Calella, and one of the first to open in the 50s. Also for its old porticos of fishermen and by the source of Sant Roc, classified as a Singular Good of Calella de Palafrugell.

Here you will find a bank where you can see it from above. The beach is small, with thick sand and, although it is perfect for diving, you can also sunbathe and swim.

Port Pelegrí is the second largest beach in Calella de Palafrugell, considering that the others are quite small. This is crossed by two rocky fronts, one of them the viewpoint of the Burricaires . It stands out for the booths with colored doors at the beginning of the arena, where you will find some restaurants from which to contemplate a beautiful sunset or the beach activity. You can also do it from one of the banks that you will find on the walk.

On the same beach, you are in Diving Center Poseidon to snorkel, boat trips, scuba diving…

Calas de aguas cristalinas.

Coves with crystalline waters. © Getty Images

On your left we find the Platgeta, a small urban beach of 20 meters, more crowded by locals and more suitable for families. From La Platgeta we continue along the most famous in Calella: the beach of Calau, Port Bo or the beach of les Barques and the beach of Canadell .

The first one is parallel to Calau Street, one of which has more tourist activity. There you will find the C lub de Vela de Calella and a beach of 75 meters of golden sand and a crystalline sea from which you will not want to leave. Both this and the following are perfectly equipped.

Next to the beach of Calau, there is Port Bo or beach of les Barques, which next to the Port de Malaspina make up one of the most beautiful postcards of Calella. Les Voltes protect a vaulted walk and an ideal refuge to rest from the sun, eat or drink something fresh.

It is here that at the beginning of July the summer season begins with the singing of the Havana trees, a tradition that has been taking place since 1966, whose lyrics evoke the arrival of the Indians, who went to make the Americas in the 19th century .

A huge rock, “la Trona”, separates Port Bo from Canadell beach, this is the largest and most sandy in the town. A few meters from the beach you will find the typical fishermen's houses, the promenade and a viewpoint from the Camí de Ronda to avoid losing detail.

At the end of Canadell, you will receive the Els Canyissos cove, perfect for diving and contemplating a sea of ​​crystalline waters.

Do you want more beach? The coast continues north on Llafranc, Tamariu and Begur . You decide when and how!

Pescado salvaje al horno en Tragamar.

Baked wild fish in Tragamar. © Swallow


If you are lucky enough to enjoy Calella during the week, you will find silence and calm, I suppose you will know that the delicacies of the sea taste better slowly and without haste. If you do it over the weekend, you will find more crowds, life and some waiting to eat. But patience has a prize, in this case it is a unique cuisine.

Walk through its streets, discover the Parish of Sant Pere, its promenade and its beaches, in them you will find small restaurants where to stop time. A midday with black rice or a sunset after a day at the beach on a terrace. This is how summer starts, isn't it?

We propose Tragamar, on the promenade of the Canadell beach. This restaurant has not suffered the inclemency of the weather and despite having been open for twenty years, it still maintains the modern and authentic essence of always. The Skylight Group has managed to give it the necessary touches to offer a varied menu that delights foreigners and locals.

You can start with their homemade fish and seaweed croquettes, rock mussels with cider water, their Buthan potatoes, or better a cheese board . Cheeses here? Of course. We tell you: its El Marí cheese, from raw milk of salted ripollesa sheep with sea water from Cap de Creus, Roques Blanques cheese from raw cow's milk, or the Blau Ceretà-Molí de Ger, a blue cheese made with milk raw cow

The dishes of the day are the best bet to know its gastronomy. For example, a rossejat or marine fideuá, a cod pil pil with kokotxas … and how not! The wild fish of the day . We bet heavily on Rascassa fish with baked potatoes, a tasty and juicy variety typical of the Costa Brava.

Life passes slowly from your terrace, watching the children run around the sand and how some dare with the first baths of the season, while we end up with a Catalan cream . From this were the small pleasures of life …

Las terrazas son la vida.

The terraces are life. © Swallow

There are many more options to continue discovering Calella's cuisine. In Port Bo you will find Sol i Mar, a lifelong restaurant with top quality products at a good price, ask for their tapas, they will not let you down. In Port Pelegrí, Fiego, known for its paellas.

Near the Plaza de Sant Pere, where shops, ice cream parlors and restaurants are located, you will find Calau Bar and Taverna Ca la Raquel, perfect for tapas.

If you prefer views, you can go to the Balcó de Calella, something more sophisticated, and only on the terrace of Bar 3 Pins, next to the Hotel La Torre and an excellent viewpoint. This is the Calella de Palafrugell with more atmosphere of all.

Jardín de Cap Roig.

Cap Roig garden. © Getty Images


Several routes are possible in Calella de Palafrugell, from Camí de Ronda to the Route of Josep Pla, which you will find at the tourist office. But if you follow our advice, you will wake up in the Cap Roig Gardens, because there is nothing better than to wake up with the Mediterranean breeze and this explosion of color.

Located between Palafrugell and Mont-ras are these 17-hectare gardens, with more than 1, 000 botanical species from around the world since 1927. It was that year when Russian colonel Nicolai Woevodsky, a lover of drawing and architecture, next to his English woman, Dorothy Webster, decorator and gardening enthusiast, sought a place on the Costa Brava where to make her dream come true.

Cap Roig and its castle were built by the couple in 1931 and finished in 1975. This became their home that when they died became the town's legacy and over the years the stage of the Cap Roig Festival, one of the most important in Costa brava.

Follow the path marked by the gardens, start with its Mediterranean-style town with bougainvillea-filled walls, continue along the path of the castle surrounded by colorful flowers and tropical palm trees, which facing the sea will discover the Formigues Islands .

Around the castle there are several terraces with views of Calella de Palafrugell and the sea of ​​boats: the terrace of the nuns and that of Bassin are for dreaming. Your steps will discover the garden of lovers, the spring and the cactus with its formidable viewpoint. Cap Roig surprises you at every corner and, if you love flowers, this will be your paradise. Find out one day during the week; Take a good book to enjoy it even more.

We tell you a secret and it is that right here is Cala Massoni, a hidden cove which they also call the Russian bathtub . The reason is that Dorothy, the owner of the castle and wife of Nicolai (he was Russian of the couple), used to bathe in this cove.

El far de Sant Sebastià.

The far of Sant Sebastià. © Alamy


Following Josep Pla, there are no better views of the entire coast of Calella and Llafranc as you will see from the Far de San Sebastià, built in 1857. “The lighthouse of Sant Sebastià, which is the most powerful from Catalonia, I had to go to Begur, the neighboring population. Apparently Palafrugell had more contacts with the political class and, finally, they decided to install it there, in return, in Begur they installed another one that they called "the traffic light" because it was a small beacon ”, they tell from the tourist office.

Right next to the lighthouse viewpoint you will find Far Nomo, a Japanese restaurant, open all year, with good cuisine, good atmosphere and a very pleasant terrace to have a good time having a drink.

Habitaciones con vistas en El Far Hotel.

Rooms with views at El Far Hotel. © The Far Hotel.

Even higher is the El Far Hotel, which will be our refuge. An old renovated 18th-century inn and pilgrimage pass for those who went to France, as well as a warm place to eat or dine with family or couples. Its Mediterranean cuisine is its strong point, as well as its rice and fish.

Illuminated by the light of the lighthouse during the night, we feel like a sailboat, and who does not have the sea view that seems to never end? An interior patio with a double stone staircase divides its nine rooms, all of them decorated in a fun marine style, from where you can see the infinite sea (we attest to this) and the Empordà.

Elevated on the cliff of more than 170 meters above the sea, it seems that nothing is disturbing here and everything is calm, until breakfast tastes like peace. Walk around and follow the marked path that will take you to the viewpoint of the Divine Pastora .

It seems that this is how summer loves begin…

Así empiezan los amores de verano.

Thus the summer loves begin. © The Far Hotel.