I had a couple of days off. Julie was gone. I felt restless. On Monday, minimally packed, I left Barcelona for Cadaqués. On my Brompton, naturally. The goal was to explore the Costa Brava.
Long parts of the route was following the coastline. Sadly, most of it wasn’t paved. As I had a long way ahead, I didn’t want to slow down so I chose the paved option – the highway.
All the way, it’s a chain of small resort towns. Of course, high season is over and those towns are now quiet with most of their hotels shut. Passing them by, I was wondering if during peak season there’s a room to swing a cat on the beaches; they are quite small and the number of hotels is staggering.
Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar was my first stop. It is a cute little town that probably gets unbearably busy during the summer. There’s well preserved medieval castle with a walled old town. I pushed my Brompton all the way up a hill for the panoramic view. Then I jumped onto the saddle and continued my way up north.
Right after Tossa de Mar, I hit the mountains, twisting and turning for the next twenty kilometers. I was getting so hot pedaling uphill, I dropped my long sweat pants and changed into shorts.
I briefly stopped at the Castell D’Aro and then continued to Palafrugell, my sleeping grounds. Nothing much to say about that town; it was dark by then and I was exhausted.
When I got up in the morning the wind was howling outside. The forecast promised wind gusts up to 50 km/h so I knew it would be difficult ride but… in for a penny, in for a pound. Pals is just 10km from Palafrugell, I got there rather quickly and right on time for the sunrise. I read that Pals is one of the top places to visit in Catalunya but I wasn’t expecting much. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised: perched on a hilltop, Pals has kept its medieval look and walking through it was like traveling back in time. Particularly since there were no other tourists – or anyone at all, for that matter.
Another 30 min on a rough unpaved road that Google sent me on, and I arrived in Peratallada. It’s another medieval village with a maze of narrow rutted cobblestone streets, beautiful stone houses and a castle. Once again, I had the whole village to myself. It is considered as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. I haven’t seen them all but this one is definitely pretty.
When I left Peratallada I had about 60km to go before arriving to Cadaqués. 4 hours, tops. Or so I thought. But the northern wind picked up and I slowed down to a crawl. Consequently, I arrived in Cadaqués rather late. I didn’t have much time to enjoy it because I needed to get to Figueres to catch a train back to Barcelona before nightfall. Which I did, but oh man, my legs were dead by the time I got home.
Perhaps it was too ambitious of a plan; visiting these villages by car was probably a more sensible option. Maybe another time.
Costa Brava in numbers:
251 km – distance cycled
17 – marinas along Costa Brava
80+ – festivals held throughout the year in the region
54 km/h – strongest wind gusts