- Smugglers' paths along the cliffs with spectacular views to the Pyrenees
- Gentle coast and beach walking passing secluded coves
- Nature reserves - a wetland profusion of birds and animals
- Greek and Roman ruins
- Outstanding Catalan cuisine and local wines
Discover the dramatic and wild landscape of Catalonia on this Spanish walking adventure. This area of Spain is a walkers paradise, boasting a wide variety of stunning scenery. From coastal cliffs to medieval mountain villages, secluded coves to densely forested hills there is something to suit everyone. The smell of wild herbs accompany you on your trip, while you can stop to pick fresh figs before stopping to savour the fine local cuisine and world class wines that the area offers. Catalonia is a proud and independent part of modern Spain where traditions hold fast and visitors are warmly welcomed.
The Alt Emporda region of Catalonia boasts networks of paths that were created thousands of years ago by hunter-gatherers living in the area. In the past few decades these paths have been cleared, well signposted and opened up for walkers looking for an adventure in an area of true outstanding beauty. With a combination of circular walks and point to point walking, Macs Adventure have developed a trip that highlights the very best of this beautiful region and hopes to provide a real glimpse of Spain that is not usually seen by the visitor.
DAY 1: Arrive Girona or Figueres & transfer to Sant Pere Pescador
A transfer from Figueres Villafant train station is included. We can also collect you from Girona airport and take you to your first night's accommodation.You will have a welcome meeting with our local partner in Spain who will give you the route notes and maps and make sure to answer any last minute questions you have.
Overnight: Mas del Joncar, Rural House, Sant Pere Pescador.
The house, constructed in the 19th century has been completely restored and modernised by owners Anna and Miguel. One of Miguel's passions is cooking and he and Anna offer traditional Catalan fare, using local produce. Many vegetables come from Miguel's own garden.
DAY 2: Circular walk from Sant Pere Pescador
Today you start with a short transfer from Sant Pere Pescador to L'Escala, then make your way onto a (fairly flat) and beautiful coastal trail. You wander along paths with fantastic views across to the Pyrenees and then head to the fascinating Greek and Roman ruins at Empuries. The ancient city has some well preserved mosaics dating back to 218BC.
You then head back through the stunning Catalan countryside via the sleepy Hamlet of Cinc Claus and finally back to your accommodation in Sant Pere Pescador.
Walk: 11km, accumulative ascent/descent 50m
Overnight: Mas del Joncar, Rural House, Sant Pere Pescador.
DAY 3: Through Aiguamolls nature reserve to Castello D’Empuries
Today's walk takes you along the banks of the River Fluvia, across the beach at its mouth and into the Aiguamolls Nature Reserve. The reserve covers nearly 2000 hectares between the Muga and the Fluvia rivers.
The area is dotted with hides, ideal for spotting Ibis, Heron, Tufted Ducks, Pochards, Snipes, Redshanks, Mash Harriers and Sandpipers. Castello D’Empuries is a beautiful medieval town, it has many historic buildings to visit, hidden in the labyrinthine maze of narrow winding streets.
Walk: 12km, accumulative ascent/descent 60m
Overnight: Casa Clara, Rural House, Castello D’Empuries
The Casa Clara is a charming small hotel, next door to the Santa Clara Convent and at the foot of the lane leading to the Parish Church. The hotel's own restaurant, The Gallery, offers a diverse menu, fusing traditional and more contemporary dishes and an extensive wine list from local vineyards.
DAY 4: Coastal walk to Cadaques
After a short 15 minute taxi transfer you find yourself at Platja Canyelles and the start of a dramatic cliff path that winds up the coastline. Heading east you follow the path as it dips into secluded beaches, great for swimming in the crystal clear water, and crests up over heads and cliff tops that offer 360 degree panoramas.
There's a wealth of flora as you make your way through pine groves, past citrus trees and carefully thread your way around flowering cactus plants. In due course you’ll leave the coastline and head inland, climbing through old olive groves on ancient farmers trails, before reaching the broad track at the top. This twists and turns as it drops down into the fishing village of Cadaques; your stop for the next two nights.
Walk: 16km, accumulative ascent/descent 950m
Overnight: Hotel Llane Petit, Cadaques
Located on the seafront this lovely hotel is the perfect resting place for your next two days. All rooms have a terrace and the hotel's bar with a terrace and swimming pool overlooking the sea make this the ideal stop.
DAY 5: Rest Day (or optional walk to the Cap de Creus)
There is no doubt that Cadaques is a popular place. It would be easy to wile away the day exploring the narrow streets that meander through the town, to visit the 17th century church or take a stroll to the museum at Dali's former home, around the bay at Port Lligat (3kms). Being in the middle of the Cap de Creus National Park you may wish to walk out to the spectacular lighthouse at the easterly tip of the peninsula.
Optional Walk: 21km, accumulative ascent/descent 810m
Overnight: Hotel Llane Petit, Cadaques
DAY 6: Into the countryside to El Port de Selva
Today you move north through the heart of the Cap de Creus National Park, following a deeply rural route with stunning views of the Catalan countryside. You wind though this varied scenery before ending up at the small fishing village of El Port de Selva.
The village is famous for its varied landscapes, beaches and the mountain range at its back. Clinging to the mountain is the medieval community of Sant Pere de Rodes, with a castle, monastery, church and village. Some of Catalonia's best beaches are here in El Port de Selva, offering sun lovers and beachcombers a reason to finish early and hit the sand.
Overnight: Porto Cristo Hotel, El Port de Selva
This hotel was an old Manor house from the late 19th century, built of stone from the Cap de Creus. Totally refurbished in the past few years it sits metres from the beach and has amazing panoramic views.
DAY 7: Over the mountains to Palau Saverdera
As you leave El Port de Selva you’ll ascend the hills behind the village. Your first stop will be at the Sant Pere de Rodes cloister, dating back to the first century after Christ. Continuing upwards you now make you way to the ruins of Castell de Sant Salvador. Your reward for the climb are magnificent views across the Albera mountains, to the Pyrenees.
As you traverse the other side of the mountain you wind your way down to the tranquil village of Palau Saverdera, sitting at the bottom of the hills on the flat plain. Here a well deserved drink awaits you in one of the local bars, giving you time to reflect on your time in Catalonia.
Walk: 13km, accumulative ascent/descent 730m
Overnight: Niu de Sol Rural Hotel, Palau Saverdera
Tucked away in a side street is the deceptively large hotel, rebuilt recently with a eye on local design and traditional style. Individual and character rich rooms cosset you and you’re soon ready to venture for another taste of Catalan cuisine. Everything made on the premises is sourced locally, is a fresh as can be - either picked or caught that very day.
DAY 8: Departure Day
After breakfast we will transfer you to Girona airport or Figueres Villafant train station for your onward connection.
One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically select the Hotels and Casa Rurals (local farmsteads converted to accommodate tourists) to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. Each accommodation is different and full of character and they are detailed in the itinerary. Many of our clients choose to add extra nights to sample more of the wonderful attractions and culture.
This tour is available to start on any day of the week subject to availability, from mid January through to June, and then again from September through to mid December.
Time of Year
The climate in Catalonia can be summarised as Mediterranean, total rainfall here is lower than in the rest of Spain, and it is concentrated in the late autumn-winter period. Temperatures are higher than the rest of Spain in both summer and winter. We recommend wonderful walking in the Spring and Autumn. We don't offer this holiday in the months of July and August as the temperatures are too high for walking.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Unfortunately this holiday is not available to solo walkers due to safety reasons.
Grade & Terrain
This walk is graded Moderate. The days walk to Cadaques from Platja Canyelles is a little steep in places and may require a little more effort. On these isolated occasions a grade of Moderate to Strenuous is slightly more suitable. For the most part the entire holiday is on terrain that is either on farm tracks, coastal paths or mountain trails. Occasionally you may encounter a few moderately steep sections, especially on coastal trails. However the ascent is not too difficult or prolonged. There are also some sections with steep drop offs where extra care is required and for this reason this tour is not suited to anyone with vertigo.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
The trails on this holiday are a mix of local paths and “GR” (Gran Recorrido) routes - which are marked with characteristic marks consisting of a white stripe above a red stripe. Some local paths are signed and some are not. However, the route notes that accompany each day's walk give a step by step, turn by turn account of your route and are complimented with photographs to give you points of reference.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation onto your next overnight stop. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person. Please make sure they are clearly marked with your name and next nights accommodation.
A traditional Catalan breakfast is included each morning. Breakfast is a leisurely affair and adequate time should be allocated. Lunch and dinner are not included. Most accommodations are happy to provide a packed lunch - this should be requested on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby bars, cafes and restaurants.
It is a condition of booking with us that you have suitable travel insurance that covers you for cancellation, curtailment, illness or injury.
The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sunhat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a daypack.
Getting to/from Catalonia
By Air: The closest regional airport to Catalonia is Girona-Costa Brava and as part of the package we offer return airport transfers from Girona airport. You can also fly to Barcelona-El Prat and take a bus or train to the city's main train station, from here you can take a fast train (AVANT) to Figueres Vilafant where our local partner can collect you and transfer you to the first accommodation. Alternatively you can take a regional train or MD train to Figueres. Figueres and Figueres Villafant are fairly close so pick up is possible at either, but please specify. Tickets can be bought at http://www.renfe.com
By Train: If you are arriving by train then the best station to arrive into is Figueres or Figueres Villafant. See above.
Getting to/from Catalonia
By Air: The closest
regional airport to Catalonia is Girona-Costa Brava and as part of the package we
offer return airport transfers from Girona airport. You can also fly to Barcelona-El Prat and take a bus or train to the city's main train station, from here you can take a fast train (AVANT) to Figueres Vilafant where our local partner can collect you and transfer you to the first accommodation. Alternatively you can take a regional train or MD train to Figueres. Figueres and Figueres Villafant are fairly close so pick up is possible at either, but please specify. Tickets can be bought at http://www.renfe.com
By Train: If you are arriving by train then the
best station to arrive into is Figueres or Figueres Villafant. See above.
- Arrival and departure transfers from/to Girona airport/figueres train station
- Welcome meeting
- 7 Nights accommodation in ensuite rooms
- 7 Breakfasts
- Door to door baggage transfer
- A detailed info pack, route notes and maps
- Full information pack on local history, culture & traditions as well as advice on restaurants, bars and local attractions
- Emergency telephone support from our office in the UK as well as from a local office in Catalonia with English speaking staff
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
- Entrance fees (where applicable)
- Travel Insurance
- Transport should you need to skip a stage
- Extra nights along the route
- Single room supplement
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more advice from our team.
How fit do I need to be?
The trails in Catalonia are generally not difficult to walk. However you may encounter sections of path that are challenging - either because of terrain or gradient. This is particularly true of the coast path between Playa Canyeles and Cadaques where the path often drops to beaches. Proper walking footwear should be worn, preferably with ankle support as this can help where ascents/descents are on uneven ground. It helps to have done some multi-day walking before and regular cardio vascular exercise prior to your holiday will increase your fitness levels and therefore your enjoyment of the walk.
How far in advance do I need to book?
The accommodation we use on our walking holidays is of a high standard. In order to maintain high levels of comfort, service and attention we favour smaller independent hotels and guest houses which can get booked up very quickly at peak times. In order to avoid disappointment it is a good idea to contact us as soon as you are aware of your available dates and to have an alternate date range in mind just in case.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes - preferably layered and trousers that "zip" into shorts are particularly useful when the sun is up, a daypack/Hydration pack, a hat with wide brim that covers neck and sunblock. You can download a full equipment list from the downloads page of our website and one will be provided in your info pack.
When is the best time of year?
This walking holiday can be enjoyed from March - November (not in July and August due to the heat). The Spanish climate is usually always more favourable than the UK. Walking is best in Spring and early Autumn.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop. In some cases the baggage transfer service that takes your bags on to your next accommodation may be able to assist. Our local Catalan office can assist with helpful advice should you need to arrange transport for yourself or anyone in your party.
How do the baggage transfers work?
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation- just ask your hosts where to leave it in the morning. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag per person of 20kgs.