Last week I was lucky enough to go on our Walking the Catalan Coast in Style trip. There are not enough superlatives to describe this trip and for me, it was worth every penny. Each day exceeded our expectations!
Most people associate the Costa Brava coast with high-rise hotels and stag and hen parties. However, go further north of Tossa-del-Mar (yes there really is a place called this!) and you will find white-washed villages and towns, pristine coastlines and coves with glorious sea views at every turn.
As a “world traveler” in my 20’s I have certainly stayed in some dubious accommodations…a beach hut in Thailand, a losman (a type of guest house) or two in Indonesia in which every inch of the walls were covered with mosquitoes, youth hostels in Europe and even sleeping on the beach in Nice, France (where we got hosed off by police at 5:00 am!). While I was happy with this at the time, now, in my 50’s, it’s so nice to stay somewhere a bit more luxurious and in places full of charm and character.
Each hotel on this tour is slightly different. Five distinct hotels in five different locations, all with delicious local food. In fact, when we chose this tour we were a bit uncertain about half-board being included. One thing I do love about staying in a town or village is the fact that you can amble around in the evening finding a traditional restaurant. However, we had no regrets, all the food provided was supreme…a whole grilled sea bream, a fig and goats cheese salad, a seafood zarzuela (a type of sauce) and plenty of crème Catalans, some with pineapple.
Back to the hotels….
- In Begur, a hilltop village overlooking the sea, the Aiguaclara Hotel located in a colonial Cuban-style mansion. (there was a vinyl night the first night we were there, so we joined in with the dancing. An incredible way to begin!) The room was quirky and characterful with such interesting décor and the staff were outstanding.
- In Llafranc, a white-washed seaside village, the Levant Hotel, set right in front of the beach. Ultra-modern design and the room had a round bed with a dipping pool and small sofa on the balcony, once more overlooking the Mediterranean.
- In Calella de Palafrugell, the Hotel Sant Roc, set on a cliff overlooking the divine town with 3 or 4 little beaches, upmarket shops and plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch. The room here, a Junior Suite with sea views was my favorite. I could have stayed here for a week. We only had 2 nights, but it was fabulous.
- Next Finca Bell Lloc set in the Catalonian countryside, but with views of the sea. This place has an award-winning winery (interestingly for its architecture!) and a wine and gastronomy tour is included. They have their own farm and all the food they grow themselves. The room was also quirky and fun with views of the sea. The bed was SO comfortable…they all were!
- Lastly Hotel S’Agaro, slightly bigger but in a colonial-style building with a stunning garden terrace overlooking the pool. Rooms were modern with a large balcony. Dinner on the terrace was superb, especially the figs and vanilla cream dessert!
This is a walking tour and I haven’t even described the walks yet! Again, diverse and interesting. Loop walks and coastal walks from hotel to hotel. The scenery was stunning, and we enjoyed walking through villages and past the gorgeous botanical gardens of Cap Roig just after Calella de Parafrugell. The Fish Museum in Palamos was an interesting find and your transfer driver, Elisabeth speaks good English and is very helpful and accommodating. On this tour, you also have transfers from Girona included and a welcome meeting with our local hosts.
So go on, treat yourself, you won’t regret it. I certainly didn’t and this holiday will remain in my memory forever. Warmth does not even begin to describe the friendliness of the staff at the hotels and mouth-watering underrates the food. It was truly wonderful, and the walks were scenic and manageable for those of us who like to have some free time absorbing the local places or going on the beach or by the pool to read. As my Dad always used to say, “you get what you pay for” and on this tour that is certainly 100% true.