fbpx

Travel Confidence | Win a £500 Voucher | Up to 15% Off 2022 Adventures | We're hiring!

Skip to content
Popular
The Coast and Mountains of Costa Brava 42

Walking the Coast and Mountains of Costa Brava

Overview

This is our most popular walking holiday in Catalonia for a reason. The coast and mountains of Costa Brava are a walker’s paradise, boasting a thousand-year-old network of footpaths that have been cleared, signposted and opened up for walkers. From the coast to the mountains, from sea to crag, from sandy beach to shady Mediterranean forest – this itinerary takes in the diverse natural landscapes of Catalonia and there is something to suit everyone. Enjoy the delicious Catalan cuisine and experience the hospitality of the local people on this fantastic walking holiday in the heart of Catalonia. 

  • The delicious seafood in Cadaqués
  • Discover ancient historical sites like the dramatic Sant Pere de Rodes monastery
  • The stunning views from Castle of Sant Salvador
  • The sublime, rugged beauty of Cap de Creus

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival L’Escala

Arrive at Girona Airport or Figueres Vilafant train station (if landing in Barcelona), from where you will be transferred to your accommodation in L’Escala, and you will have a welcome meeting with an English speaking local guide. The town’s old centre still retains the character of a typical Spanish town with its bustling narrow streets and a good selection of shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants. There are two small beaches in the old town that add to the overall charm and atmosphere of the area.

  • Overnight in a 2 or 3-star hotel in L’Escala (Rallye or similar)

Day 2: L’Escala to Sant Pere Pescador | 11 km

Leaving L’Escala behind, you will make your way onto the coastal trail. You will pass the walled settlement of Sant Martí d’Empúries, which is well worth a visit. The real highlight, however, is the fascinating Greek and Roman ruins at nearby Empúries (pay locally). The Romans used the ancient city as their base for the invasion and dominance of the Iberian Peninsula. From Empúries, you walk along the southernmost part of the Bay of Roses, past several beaches where you could pause for a swim. You will finally arrive at Sant Pere Pescador. Surrounded by a wonderful landscape and crossed by the River Fluvià, St. Pere dates back to the year 974, when it was a possession of the Monastery of St. Pere de Rodes.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 5 hours
  • Overnight in a 3 or 4-star 19-th century country house in Sant Pere Pescador (Mas del Joncar or similar)

Day 3: Sant Pere Pescador to Castello D’Empuries | 12 km

Today’s walk takes you along the banks of the River Fluviá, along the beach at its mouth and then through the Aiguamolls Natural Park. You are likely to spot birds such as Ibis, Herons, Tufted Ducks, Pochards, snipes, Redshanks, Marsh Harriers and Sandpipers at any time of the year. You can also make some exciting sightings during the spring and autumn migrations: Grey Herons, Golden Plovers, Flamingos, Black Storks and Spoonbills. You will eventually arrive at Castello D’Empuries. Castello is a beautiful medieval village steeped in history. There are many historical buildings to visit; the landmark of the village, visible from afar, is the Parish Church of Santa Maria, which is often called the Cathedral of the Empordà because of its size and gothic influenced architecture.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 4 hours
  • Overnight in a 2 or 3-star hotel in Castello D’Empuries (Canet or similar)

Day 4: Platja Canyelles to Cadaqués | 16 km

You will be transferred to Platja Canyelles (15 min) in the morning, from where today’s walk starts. You will head east along the coast following a spectacular coastal trail that is a walker’s dream come true. You will pass many secluded beaches and coves with ample opportunities for a dip in the crystal-clear sea. Eventually, you will cut inland through hillsides packed with tiers of old olive groves and finally on to Cadaqués. Cadaqués is a beautiful whitewashed coastal town surrounded by mountains and a favourite of Picasso and Salvador Dalí. It is a great place for eating out; it has a great selection of restaurants ranging from small Mediterranean family-run restaurants to fresh fish restaurants, pizza cafes and tapas bars. We recommend trying the seafood during your stay in Cadaqués, it’s always fresh and delicious when washed down with a bottle of chilled Catalan white wine.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 6 hours
  • Overnight in a 3-star hotel in Cadaqués (Octavia or similar)

Day 5: Cap de Creus Circular Walk | 16 km

Today you embark on a beautiful walk out to the Cap de Creus, the most easterly point of mainland Spain with spectacular coastal views; the rock outcrops are one of the most significant features of the Parc Natural, with their complex and beautiful shapes. One sees images of real or mythical animals in the area (lions, dragons, camels, eagles, cats, rats…), despite the fact that it is the wind and the sea, and not the Gods, which have shaped the landscape. You could also eat lunch at the wonderful restaurant on the peninsula.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 6 hours (alternatively – optional rest day or a shorter walk to Salvador Dali’s house – 3 km)
  • Overnight in a 3-star hotel in Cadaqués (Octavia or similar)

Day 6: Cadaqués to El Port de la Selva | 12 km

Leaving Cadaqués behind, you make your way north through the heart of the famous Cap de Creus national park. You will follow a rural trail with beautiful views of the Catalan countryside, you’ll have some magnificent views of the Pyrenees and the French/Spanish border before arriving in El Port de la Selva. El Port de la Selva is outstanding for its varied landscapes, its beaches and its mountains. The village retains the charm of a small fishing settlement, and there are many places to visit, including the Taballera Dolmen and the Serra de Rodes medieval site, made up of Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery, Sant Salvado Castle (13th century), Santa Elena Shrine, the village of Santa Creu and Sant Fruitós Church. The village offers some of Catalonia’s best beaches.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 5 hours
  • Overnight in a 4-star hotel at El Port de la Selva (Porto Cristo Spa or similar)

Day 7: El Port de la Selva to Palau Saverdera | 12 km

Leaving El Port de la Selva behind you, walk northwest, ascending to the Sant Pere de Rodes cloister (Open Oct 1st to May 31st 10 am – 5.30 pm, June 1st to Sept. 30th from 10 am to 8 pm, closed on Mondays), considered one of the most important monasteries in Spain. You will then make your way up to the ruins of the Castle of Sant Salvador. From here, you will have a breathtaking view of the Alt Emporda, across to the Albera Mountains and far into the Pyrenees. You also have stunning views of the Bay of Roses and the entire Cap de Creus. You will then walk down to the village of Palau Saverdera.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 5 hours
  • Overnight in a 3-star country house in Palau Saverdera (El Cau de Palau or similar)

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

Return home or individual stay extension.

What to Expect

Accommodation

On this walking holiday, you will be staying in charming hotels and country houses. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required) and requires a good level of fitness. Walks have a relaxed pace with time to take in the views and surroundings. The day’s walk to Cadaques from Platja Canyelles is a little steep in places and may require a little more effort. The hardest walk is to Cap de Creus on Day 5 (6-7 hours, 950m cumulative elevation gain and loss) but it is optional; average elevation gain/loss on the other days is up to 50-100m and walking time is up to 4-5 hours (read more about difficulty grades). The trails are a mixture of GR routes and local paths. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from mid-January till early July and from early September till mid-December. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season.

We do not offer this trip after the second week of July and in August as it is too hot for walking, the hotels become too expensive, and they are usually fully booked by the beach crowd.

On the coast, the climate is Mediterranean, with mild and relatively rainy winters, and hot and sunny summers.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice on Spain.

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Barcelona (BCN) and Girona (GRO).

By train or bus

  • The private transfer from Girona airport to your first accommodation (included) takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • If you fly to Barcelona, you need to take the shuttle train to Barcelona Sants from the airport; they leave every 30 mins and take approx. 20 mins. You then change trains at Sants and take a train to Figueres Vilafant (53 minutes) or Figueres (approx 2 hours) depending on the train you take. There are also convenient bus connections (including direct lines from Girona or Barcelona operated by Sarfa). The private transfer from Figueres or Figueres Vilafant (included) to your first accommodation takes approximately 1 hour.
  • The package includes a private transfer to Girona (train station or airport) or Figueres Vilafant (if flying from Barcelona). We can also offer an optional private transfer directly to Barcelona Airport.
  • See up-to-date train schedules here and bus schedules here, or use the Omio planner above.
  • An alternative to air travel is by rail – the train journey from London to Girona takes about 10 hours.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in nice hotels and country houses with breakfast included (private en-suite rooms)
  • Welcome meet & greet
  • Private transfer from (train station or airport) or Figueres Vilafant train station (if flying into Barcelona) to the first hotel on Day 1
  • Private transfer to Girona (train station or airport) or Figueres Vilafant (if flying from Barcelona) from the last hotel on Day 8
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (electronic copy + one printed copy per party)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and airport transfers other than the Girona (airport or train station) or Figueres Vilafant complimentary private transfers on Days 1 and 8
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
  • Optional upgrade to a hotel with outdoor pool in Cadaques – sea-view room with balcony (2 nights) – Hotel Llanes Petit or similar

Gallery

Reviews

Average rating:    from 5 reviews

Mark P

We just completed the Catalan Coast and Mountain week-long self-guided walking tour. February was perfect in the off-season! [The] itinerary was absolutely gorgeous, varied, and their trip maps and notes were first-rate! The accommodations were just right, and prior to setting off, their trip briefing was spot on! This has been one of our all-time favorite trips!

Tom D

True to its title – [the tour] was a perfect combo of sea-side and mountain walks and vistas. Stunningly beautiful region and towns. The amount of detail in the trail instructions/pictures and maps was perfect. Thanks for making it a special trip!

Anonymous

Just wanted to thank you again for an excellent holiday recently walking in Catalonia. Everything about it was a delight – well-planned routes, comfortable accommodation, helpful information and support. Returned home feeling relaxed and satisfied! But we’ll be back!

Anonymous

The whole trip and experience really exceeded our expectations! There are so many highlights that we brought back home, from the stunning views to the interesting locals and lovely local wines, wonderful eating experiences etc etc…

Joy L

The walk itself was very rewarding, so picturesque, challenging and memorable and something we will always cherish. The directions provided were very accurate with regular markers giving much-appreciated reassurance , the places we stayed in were beautiful and the breakfasts were all authentic and big! The accommodations were diverse and showcased Catalonia as the locals experience it, particularly with Miguel at his farm stay. Due to baggage restrictions, we trekked in runners and had no issues but the tracks demand constant care with lots of loose shale etc, maybe packing ankle supports would be a good idea if space is at a premium.