Welcome to the Costa Brava ! From the town of Blanes all the way to the French border in north-east Spain, 214 kilometres of rugged cliffs punctuated by small sandy bays and crystal clear water. This stretch of the Spanish coastline boasts a total of 28 blue-flagged beautiful beaches which are testament to the health of the marine ecosystem. The Costa Brava also hosts 2 national park marine reserves, one at the Cap de Creus in the north and the Illes de Medes near to Estartit.
Sant Antoni de Calonge is the closest beach to Casa Cal Domino (just 3.5km away) and is walkable from the Villa via the old medieval track. The track takes you through olive groves and corn fields away from the traffic of the road that joins Calonge and Sant Antoni de Calonge and takes about 45 minutes. The beach at St Antoni stretches from the Torre Valentina end approximately 4km and end at the port of Palamós. Although we don't usually use this beach as it is a little touristy, it does have dozens of bars, cafes and chiringuitos (beach bars) and is a good destination for the popular "paseo" at the end of the day either for an evening meal out or a cool drink by the sea . One of the best chiringuitos on the Torre Valencia end of the beach is “Blue Fish” . It is an up-market restaurant right on the beach mainly specialising in fresh fish. They are only open during high season and a reservation is recommended. The food here is excellent, fresh and of a high quality. The prices are quite expensive, but if you want quality, this is a good place to head for.
The beach at La Fosca is just 7 km away and is the closest blue-flagged beach near to the Villa. It has shallow water which is unusual for the Costa Brava as most bays shelve steeply, and the protective bay ensures warm, relatively calm water which is perfect for smaller children. The village is small enough not to have attracted over-development over the years, but still has all of the necessary facilities that you need. For lunch, we recommend the Hostal La Fosca. Good food at reasonable prices and you should reserve a table in high season. Alternatively, there are a few budget cafés nearby and a chiringuito or two. Bear in mind that (amazingly), some restaurants close during the afternoons and don't open again until 19.30-20.00 ! For us, it is a little crazy that you have hundreds of tourists all looking for a snack and a beer at 16.00 or so and some places refuse to serve you....
In our opinion, by far the best local beach close to the Villa is Platja Castell. It’s about 3 kms to the north of Palamós and an easy hike from La Fosca beach along the Cami de Ronda. It has protected pay parking which is about €5 for the day and €3 for the afternoon. There is a short walk from the car park to the beach which boasts a chiringuito or two, lifeguards and kayak hire. This beach is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is protected against development. You won't find any shops of cafe's here. On the north end of the beach are the Iberic ruins dating back to the Stone Age which have been partially excavated and are free to wander around. On the south end of the beach behind some large rocks, you’ll find a small sandy bay which hosts the naturist beach. It’s not very big, but it is completely private from the main beach should you want to go skinny-dipping or go au natural for the day.
If you really like a beach with no tan lines, then the next beach up the coast will tick all the boxes. It’s also situated in the Cap Roig national park and no development is permitted. There are two main naturist beaches close to the Villa Cala Estreta and Ill Roja. There are no lifeguards or facilities here, so come prepared with a picnic and water for the day.
The next beach to the north is at Calella de Palafrugell. A small town with all the facilities and many restaurants to chose from. We recommend Les Voltes for a reasonable meal at a medium price. Calella is a bit of a tourist trap and the prices reflect those of front line restaurants with sea views. Capella de Palafrugell is just one of the beautiful seaside towns on our stretch of the Cami de Ronda (coastal path) and is accessible from Palamós via La Rosca, Platja Castell and along the cliffs to Capella. The whole stretch is about 12km so either set off early or book a taxi for the return home.
A short walk along the Cami de Ronda from Calella de Palafrugell is Llafranc. Another small sized town with all the facilities. The walk along the coast takes about 15 minutes and we sometimes come here for coffees and ice creams if we are eating out in Calella de Palafrugell. We recommend driving to the lighthouse of el Far de Sant Sebastien where there is limited parking. There are two good restaurants there, the first in the El Far Hotel and the second, a Japanese bar, underneath the lighthouse itself. We highly recommend the sushi bar . From Sant Sebastien, there is a lovely walk along the cliffs and through the woods to the beach at Tamariu. Parking in Tamariu is very limited and walking there is a good option.
If you want one of the best long lazy lunches on the Costa Brava, Try El Palangui for (they don’t have a website), but they do have excellent Fideuá, chipperones, cool white wine and you can’t get closer to the sea without getting your feet wet... They are open all year, and even out of season, you will need to book. The prices are very reasonable and we've been coming here for 20 years. They're almost like family and have watched the children grow up. Tell them that "Marta" sent you !
To the north, you’ll find Fornells, Sa Tuna and Sa Riera which are all small beaches attached to small villages. We don't tend to go to these little places as the parking is a real problem in the summer. The next big beach is the jewel in the skinny-dipping crown. Illa Roja. This is about 40 minutes to the north of the Villa and about as far as we go. The beaches don’t stop here… there are some wonderful places to visit further north, but not really close enough to be classed as a local beach.
Heading south from the Villa, we suggest taking the Cami de ronda (coastal path) and try out the classic Calas which are unaccessible by car. In between Sant Antoni de Calonge and Platja d’Aro, you’ll find a number of tiny little calas which are very popular with the locals. Also, along the way, you'll find Cala Cristus which has a pretty good chiringuito. The whole walk to Platja d'Aro will take about an 90 minutes and is highly recommended to see the real Costa Brava.
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