The Costa Brava is a stunning coastal region in Catalonia just north of Barcelona and stretches right up to the border with France where the Pyrenees mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea. Costa Brava means ‘rugged coast’, a reference to the spectacular cliffs and hundreds of coves that line the coast. Though famed for its beaches and generous dollops of sunshine, the Costa Brava is not only about sun, sea and sand. The region is a treasure trove of cultural, gastronomic and natural gems, as I discovered not so long ago during the #InCostaBrava blog trip. A great way to discover everything that the Costa Brava has to offer is to follow the scenic coastal trails or the Camins de Ronda.
Walking the Camins de Ronda
The Costa Brava coastal trails are a series of paths, built by fishermen and the police force who patrolled the coast on the lookout for smugglers, that extend over 200 kilometers. Certain sections of the old trails disappeared due to coastal development in the 20th century but many parts have been lovingly restored, providing visitors a unique means to explore the coast, its little coves and quaint fishing villages. There are many trails to choose from, offering visitors a choice of easy hour-long walks or week-long hikes. Some of the trails can be done as a circular route whilst others can be combined with public transportation.
One of the most scenic sections of the Camins de Ronda is the path that winds down the coast from Begur to Calella de Palafrugell. You can opt to hike certain sections of the trail (the level of difficulty varies for each section) or the entire trail if you’re feeling adventurous. The trail is clearly marked and easy to find. The path takes hikers past some of the most stunning scenery along the Costa Brava. You’ll pass gorgeous pine groves, flowering shrubs, small fishing villages, stately villas, historic watchtowers, secluded coves and pristine beaches – you’re never far away from a fabulous vista of the rugged coastline and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The trail connects some of my favourite villages in this area including Llafranc, Tamariu and Calella de Palafrugell. These villages are great spots to start and end a walking itinerary along the Camins de Ronda as there’s a good choice of accommodation options and a wide selection of excellent restaurants.
The charming Hotel Aigua Blava
One of the most charming hotels along the Camins de Ronda is the Hotel Aigua Blava in the Begur township. This four-star family-run hotel, located on a forested hillside, consists of a main building and adjacent villas. Many of the spacious rooms have terraces which face the sea or the lovely pine trees.
Hotel Aigua Blava is a great place for a tranquil holiday – there’s a beautiful pool and several nearby coves to lounge at – and to explore the trails of the Camins de Ronda. One of the trails passes right by the hotel’s doorstep. The hotel staff also assist guests wishing to hike the Camins de Ronda by making forward reservations at hotels in the villages along the trail and by transporting guests’ luggage to the next stop. So all guests have to do is put on their walking shoes, pack a small bag and hit the trails! Oh, and don’t miss a romantic dinner at Hotel Aigua Blava. The food (contemporary Catalan cuisine) is superb and the views of the gorgeous trees and the sea are unforgettable.
The Camins de Ronda is one of Europe’s great hiking trails and one of the most accessible. The varying lengths and levels of difficulty provide visitors with ample options for a leisurely stroll or a gruelling hike. The best thing is: it’s more than just a scenic trail. The natural scenery is captivating but the lovely villages, the hospitable locals and the amazing food will steal your heart for sure!
Read other Velvet Escape posts on Costa Brava.