VOL. 132 | NO. 143 | Thursday, July 20, 2017
The Daily Traveler
Costa Brava Brings Spanish Coast to Life
LANCE WIEDOWER, Special to The Daily News
Calella de Palafrugell is an instance of pictures not doing a place justice, particularly the views from our Hotel Sant Roc perched on the rocks above the sea.
I knew this Spanish coastal village was beautiful, but as we sat at an al fresco lunch of seafood behind the hotel, we caught our first full glimpse of the blue Mediterranean Sea filled with dozens of bobbing fishing and sailboats buoyed in the bay.
One of the signature sights in this tiny fishing village is the whitewashed buildings of the town that come down to the edge of the water and the pebbly beach.
It’s one of three coastal towns belonging to the municipality of Palafrugell in the Girona province northeast of Barcelona along the Costa Brava, literally “wild coast” in Spanish.
It’s less than a two-hour drive northeast of Barcelona, halfway to the border with France, and it served as a stopover for us to enjoy a few hours at the beach as we made our drive north into France and a few days in Provence.
Yes, Calella de Palafrugell is tiny, but it does attract visitors, most of whom are Spanish and French, although I did notice a few British families. A couple of days at Calella de Palafrugell is the epitome of a Spanish seaside getaway, at least if you envision one without the party atmosphere of many of the resorts and islands in the south of Spain.
We arrived at lunchtime and planned to hit the road after breakfast the next day, so we didn’t have a lot of time at Calella de Palafrugell. Twenty-four hours wasn’t enough; in fact, we plan to return for a much longer visit based at Hotel Sant Roc perched high above the beach on the southern end of the village.
The water is beautiful here. After our delicious lunch, we changed clothes and descended the winding steps down the cliff to a tiny beach with massive rocks that jut out into the sea. These rocks were great spots to spread out, enjoy a cold beverage and watch – well, nothing but people and beauty.
A small group of young German women were sunbathing and playing in the sea nearby. Kids were splashing in the shallow water in the distance, and even a rock with a diving platform nearby that our son mustered the courage to use as his cannonball launching pad.
One could settle on a rock or a towel along the beach for days on end. We had an abbreviated version of sunbathing before walking the promenade that follows the coastline connecting the various villages.
We decided to stay in our village, where the paths along the beach and the promenade on top of the cliffs came alive with a variety of restaurants. We enjoyed wine at one such eatery before dinner at another. Both offered equally impressive water views.
I’m sure Spain is full of romantic seaside villages. But there is a reason Calella de Palafrugell is consistently listed among the most beautiful seaside villages in Spain. It’s worth an extra day or two tacked on to a visit to Barcelona.
Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.