Considered to be Spain’s prettiest resort by some British travel journalists, Calella de Palafrugell is an idyllic, ancient fishing village, with crystalline water that laps up against the sandy shores, where fishing boats lie on the sand, just as they have done for centuries. Whitewashed and pastel coloured buildings watch over the Mediterranean, silhouetted by tall, verdant trees. The aroma wafting from the trees mingles with the fresh sea smell, that invigorates and relaxes at the same time.
Located on the Costa Brava (Wild Coast) Calella de Palafrugell is a typical fishing village of this area, turned into kind of a resort. Of course without getting into politics, it is situated in Catalonia, along with a numerous other beautiful spots. So strictly speaking we need to decide if it is Catalonia’s prettiest resort (all comments welcome at the end).
Romantic, intimate coves
Calella de Palafrugell is located on a rocky coastline which is sprinkled with gorgeous, romantic intimate coves for you to explore, to the north of the Castle Cap Roig.
Around the village centre there are a few beautiful, small beaches to choose from, with the main one being El Canadell beach. This was featured in the British Telegraph newspaper as perhaps being one of the best beaches on the Costa Brava. And the Costa Brava has is fair share of lovely beaches. Naturally enough this is the busiest beach during the season.
To be a little more secluded however, all you need to do is head south on the footpath that goes along the shoreline, to find more intimacy on a lovely beach called Platja del Golfet.
See the fishing boats going out to sea
In the early morning, you can still see the fishing boats going out to sea, as they have done for centuries. The port was the main arrival and departure area for a range of products in the early 19th century, such as beans, wheat, flour, cork, wine and bullets.
Typical cobbled streets filled with character
Even though tourists love this fishing village, and flock there during the season, it still retains plenty of charm, with typical cobbled streets and whitewashed houses. It’s still possible to see some of the the traditional fishermen’s houses as well.
Visit the Mediterranean’s best botanical gardens
Overlooking the sea, are the botanical gardens that some consider to be the most important in the Mediterranean. The location alone is superb, with the striking natural landscape of the Costa Brava, right by the edge of the sea. The Cap Roig Botanical Gardens are a unique space, that blend a fantastic mix of characteristic plant and tree species together, with history, art and culture. In fact this 17 hectare space is home to more than a thousand plant species that have originated both locally as well as from different places around the world. These plants and trees sit comfortably alongside sculptures by Internationally renowned artists.
See the likes of Sting, Bryan Adams, Elton John….
In this amazing setting, where the botanical gardens and Cap Roig Castle are located, you can also see some seriously good headline acts every year in July at the Cap Roig Music Festival. The Cap Roig Garden Music Festival attracts some great artists every year, which have included the likes of Sir Elton John, Bryan Adams, Sting, Alicia Keys and Bob Dylan.
Try to go for the Habaneras in early July
Also in July, you can go to the special Habaneras concert. This dates back to 1966, and the style of music is connected to those who brought it back from Cuba, where people from a variety of villages and towns went to make their fortune. The Habaneras concert originates from when a group met in a pub, in 1966, and the event was so successful that it has been organised every year since. These days it is held in Port Bo Square.
Whether you decide to loll around for the day or be a bit more energetic and do a coastal walk, which you won’t regret because the views are truly spectacular, Calella de Palafrugell has plenty of idyllic views on offer.
Fresh, delicious food
From simple, traditional dishes to the more avant-garde offerings, there’s one thing that the food of this area has in common, which is that it is fresh, generally locally sourced and delicious.
You may not want to leave, but just in case ….
Calella de Palafrugell and the local area is an easy spot to fall in love with, and not feel the need to travel further afield. However for those of you who like to take in what you can when in a different country, the gorgeous city of Girona is only 52 km (32 miles) away, which is around a 45 minute drive. Going further afield, you can head south to the buzz of Barcelona, at a distance of 127 km (79 miles).
Or you could just kick back and relax on the sparkling shores of the Costa Brava!
Jackie de Burca is Co-owner of Catalonia Valencia.