spain/catalunya/001102/Beach-area-at-Roses-g.jpg

Catalan Coastal Walk

from $2,199.00

Mainly coastal walking also taking in sweeping green valleys, pretty wine villages, hidden white hamlets and colourful fishing harbours. Highlights include artists’ favourite, Cadaques, and the spectacular bay at Roses, with a 16th century castle and ruined citadel.

  • Reviews 36 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Catalan Coastal Walk.

The peninsula of Cap de Creus, just 30 miles south of the French border constitutes the last buttress of the Pyrenees where the mountains meet the sea and the most easterly point of the Iberian Peninsula. This stunning cape, carved by the elements into sweeping valleys and towering cliffs makes the coastline a smuggler’s paradise of shimmering shallow coves and azure harbours. The Cap is the first Natural Park in Catalunya that encompasses both land and sea and, including all the islands and islets around it, it’s one of the largest protected reserves in Spain. It’s also the most uninhabited area in the Spanish Mediterranean, so on our walks you really will find complete tranquillity beyond the coastal villages.
This eight-night, self-guided walking holiday begins and ends in the pretty inland village of Garriguella. Once you commence walking around the peninsula, the sea is your constant companion, offering magical views from the high walking trails that lead you through the reserve. The Natural Park protects cork oak, pine woods, bright orange prickly pear, vineyards and terraces of olive groves, all surrounded by magnificent coastal cliffs where shearwaters and swifts wheel on the breeze.
Your family-run hotels are perfectly situated, with three out of four on the beach. The Vilamont Spa, with pool, sits on the church square in a pretty village and the Porto Cristo is set just back from the sea, with meals enjoyed in the hotel’s seafront restaurant. At the sea-front Hotel Playa Sol, in the chic and arty harbour of Cadaques, there are swimming opportunities aplenty and the Almadraba Park is a spectacular cliff-top hotel overlooking the Bay of Roses, with a panoramic swimming pool and steps to the beach.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 8 Nights Accommodations, Hotel-to-hotel
  • All continental breakfast and 6 evening meals
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Walking transfers
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Delightful villages, bijou beaches, craggy coves and rocky bays
  • Rich history: Roman ruins, sun-kissed castles and prehistoric dolmens
  • Sea views almost all week from fabulous, high walking trails
  • Cobbled streets, Medieval archways, fishermen’s huts-turned-restaurants
  • Cap de Creus peninsula, one of the largest protected Natural Parks
  1. Day 1 Day 1: Arrive in Garriguella

    Explore the pretty streets of Garriguella before your evening meal.

  2. Day 2 Day 2: Garriguella to El Port de la Selva 14km/9mi/5hr

    After a 10-minute transfer to Pau, enjoy panoramic coastal views south as you ascend to Sant Onofre, a rocky 14th century chapel clinging to the hillside, then crest the peninsula at Castell de Sant Salvador, once a refuge from pirates and now a sunkissed crumbling ruin in a perfect spot for picnics! Descend past the 13th century Sant Pere de Rodes abbey, before the Vall river leads to the sea. Dine on the waterfront overlooking the picturesque natural harbour.

  3. Day 3 Day 3: At El Port de la Selva

    Perhaps use the hotel spa today (payable locally) or stroll along the waterfront; this is the only working harbour on the peninsula, where fishermen still land their catch. We also include directions for a 10.5km or 12.5km walk to the peaceful mediaeval village of la Selva de Mar, where you can enjoy a shady lunch in one of the terrace cafes, and some lovely views over the vines.

  4. Day 4 Day 4: El Port de la Selva to Cadaques 14km/9mi/5hr

    Heading east, you walk through the heart of the Natural Park where neptune grass, shy orchids and bright yellow saxifrage cover the hillsides. Evidence of ancient settlements in the shape of dolmens appear at Cista dels Bufadors along the trail, before the white houses of Cadaques appear below you. it’s a short stroll along the harbour to your hotel, complete with pool and private beach.

  5. Day 5 Day 5: At Cadaques

    Salvador Dali lived a short walk from Cadaques, and you can make an appointment to visit his quirky house if you wish. The pretty harbour, perfect light and relaxing atmosphere has made Cadaques popular with artists for decades; many art galleries and curio shops line the waterfront, and the narrow alleyways behind are packed with chic restaurants and bars.

  6. Day 6 Day 6: Cadaques to Roses 16km/10mi/6hr

    Leaving Cadaques, you pass a rocky lighthouse outcrop and follow the southern edge of the peninsula, passing below Puig de sa Cruilla. The second half of the walk is all along the seashore, passing a plethora of pretty coves and bays, perfect for relaxing or swimming.

  7. Day 7 Day 7: At Roses

    It will be hard to leave the hotel today; its location is so perfect! Set just above a sheltered beach, with access via steps, it has tennis courts and landscaped gardens shaded by tall pines, not to mention a pool with 180 degree views and a tempting poolside bar. if you do explore, the centre of Roses has the remains of the 16th century Trinitat Castle, a star-shaped redoubt, and the ruined ciutadela, an impressive fortress from Greek and Roman times embellished by Carlos V in the 16th century.

  8. Day 8 Day 8: Roses to Mas Palou/Garriguella 13km/8mi/4hr

    You ascend from Roses to a natural balcony, the Pla de les Gates, passing a clutch of dolmens in la Muntanyeta. After descending to the verdant plain below, your walk then takes you on country tracks through apple orchards and sunflower fields, with the high Muntanyes de Verdera as a backdrop, and ends in the wine village of Mas Palou. From here we transfer you (15 minutes) to your hotel in nearby Garriguella.

  9. Day 9 Day 9: Leave Garriguella
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Where you stay
Vilamont Spa Hotel
The Hotel Spa Vilamont is in a very recently refurbished building in the church square in the centre of Garriguella. Run by Teresa Vila Ribera and her welcoming staff, the bedrooms are charming with exposed stone walls, all very modern and recently refurbished with en suite facilities. Particularly attractive is the basement indoor pool and spa area where you can relax after a good walk. (It is also possible to arrange spa treatments and massages on request). It is the perfect spot to stay in the heart of this typical Catalan village.
Hotel Porto Cristo
The Verges family own the 50 room Porto Cristo Hotel, which is set back from the beach by around 50m in the fishing port of Porto de la Selva. The standard comfort rooms are spacious and very comfortable with high ceilings, cedar wood furniture and marble floors, and masses of art work line the spot lit corridors. Evening meals are taken in a seafront restaurant also owned by the family just 150m away so you can have dinner with a view of the harbour, where brass cannons from the 18th century point out to sea. The hotel also has a rooftop lounge with mountain views, and a state of the art Jacuzzi and spa.
Hotel Playa Sol
The Playa Sol, owned by the Llado family, could not be closer to the sea. In fact, it has a beach immediately opposite the front door so in the morning you can step out the front for a swim in the sea, or use the back door for a swim in the pool, set in landscaped gardens. The 48 rooms inside are comfortable without being showy, half facing the harbour and half facing the gardens. It is a lovely waterfront stroll to the centre of Cadaques (about 10 minutes), and there are many restaurants to choose from for dinner. The hotel also has a steam room, jacuzzi and tennis court.
Hotel Almadraba Park
Owned by the Subiros family, the Almadraba Park is in an enviable location. Set above the Bay of Roses with steps down to the beach, it has a fabulous panoramic swimming pool and the most perfect cocktail lawn for pre-dinner drinks with 180 degree views. The modern building has spacious rooms simply presented, each of them with a balcony. Great care is taken with customer service and Senor Subiros often greets his guests in the evening before dinner. There is also a tennis court if you feel energetic!
Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 6 evening meals.

Traditional Spanish food such as paella, chorizo and albondigas (meatballs) can be found on just about every menu in Catalunya, but do
not forget to try the regional specialities too. Local cuisine features plenty of fish, including world-renowned anchovies from L’Escala, and botifarras (black pudding) from the mountains. A good starter might be Pan Catalán (pa amb tomàquet), this is lightly toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes and garlic. Thanks to its geography, the region has developed “Sea and Mountain” – mar y muntana cuisine, combining chicken with lobster, or rabbit with prawns. Fruits are used as well, such as roasted chicken and figs, or pheasant and grapes.

Dishes are rich and hearty, however, it is not just a meat-based cuisine, and there are plenty of vegetable options. Catalan dishes also rely heavily on sauces: Sofrito is an onion and tomato sauce, Picada is made from dried fruits, nuts and herbs, Sanfaina is a sauce of fried peppers, aubergines, onions and tomatoes and Romesco is made with tomatoes, peppers, nuts and garlic. Most menus are written in both Castilian and Catalan and sometimes in English too, but you may find a pocket
dictionary useful in the more remote places.

Activity level: Leisurely/Moderate

This is a self-guided tour, as such there will be no group or tour leader and you are free to complete the walks at your own pace. Please bear in mind that although this is a self-guided holiday, the atmosphere in the hotels tends to be quite social and they will sometimes place walkers together at breakfast and dinner. We have suggested that 8 yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you.

This holiday provides spectacular, yet relaxed walking and is perfect for people wanting to fit as much as possible into a short holiday. The route takes in the winding, sandy paths of mainland Spain’s loveliest coast experiencing frequent glimpses of dazzling aquamarine seas through the umbrella pines, as well as heading inland to discover the truly unspoiled landscape of the Catalan countryside. This is a wonderful region for bird and plant life. Over a third of the countryside is now protected under a government scheme to preserve natural habitats, which means a staggering variety of rare species: golden orioles, booted eagles, purple-shot copper butterflies and colorful wild flowers. Hidden deep in the forests are stunning natural curiosities, including the 5000 year old dolmens and sparkling freshwater springs which drew the first settlers to these parts thousands of years ago.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 02/10/2019
5/5

Mr Higginson

The holiday was exactly as outlined - a Catalan coastal walk. We loved the little Coves & Bays along the route and the delightful small towns we passed through.

Reviewed On 27/09/2019
5/5

Mr Riley

This was a fantastic holiday with a wide variety of locations, accommodation, eating experiences and challenging walks with lovely views and interesting history.

The Hotel Vilamont Spa was particularly welcoming and helpful and despite having smaller rooms and being in a small inland village was charming and very comfortable. The Café Colon where dinner is taken is a delight and food delicious, fresh and exciting, reflecting the owners' Parisian and Catalan origins; the restaurant itself is very rustic and oozes much history.

Though very different in style, all hotels are comfortable and clean and in good locations, in particular the Hotel Blaumar.

The walks are all excellent and the routes easy to find and follow. All the main walks involve ascents and descents, quite steep at times, but afford fabulous views and dramatic changes of landscape.

There are some very interesting local walks on the rest days which are well worth doing, some offering a chance to swim in the Mediterranean.

This is one of the best Headwater Holidays we have taken

Reviewed On 15/09/2013
5/5

Mr Pearce

Excellent walks but in places were much more demanding than 'leisurely.' Good mix of hotels. Generally good food. Roses was very much at the Costa Brava end of holidays but the rest was good. It was a bit disappointing to find so many extra costs - the train from Barcelona to Garriguella & back - the 59 for a relatively short taxi ride from Garriguella to Figueras for the train home (although the taxi people - Francisco & Maria - were very reliable). With a few exceptions the guidance notes were reliable - the optional walk at El Port de la Selva had loads of mistakes - I have pointed this out to the rep. Overall though it was a good experience & I would recommend it.

Reviewed On 09/07/2019
4/5

Mrs Birchall-Scott

We possibly misunderstood the references to coastal and beaches/ coves not realising that the walks would be so strenuous/ steep and spend most of the time elevated above and unable to access these. It wasn’t until we received the walk details that we had a better understanding. Unfortunately we were also there during a heatwave and so the walks were not as expected/as enjoyable as we had hoped. Walking poles were an essential along with the walking boots etc. The fact that we could skip a walk and travel to the next hotel in the taxi was really helpful and so we both did the first two walks and my husband the fourth. All in all very enjoyable holiday and as noted our understanding plus the weather were the issues and these were just an unfortunate combination.

Reviewed On 09/07/2019
5/5

Mr Howe

Marvellous walking in remote rural and coastal areas but with high quality hotel accommodation in lovely coastal settings at the end of each day.

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