Explore the Natural Beauty of Spain
This tour takes us to the Catalonia region of northeast Spain which includes the beautiful Costa Brava, an area with sandy beaches and rocky coves. The rugged coastline is dotted with picturesque small fishing villages. Inland from the coast there are quiet country villages and medieval towns with narrow cobblestone streets, arcaded passageways, shaded town squares, and impressive Gothic churches amid the pastoral farmlands and pine forests. This region is steeped in culture with its traditions and festivals dating back over thousands of years. The atmosphere is tranquil and calm in the medieval towns and the country villages, as the melodious church bells are the loudest sounds.
We take easy walks along the spectacular Costa Brava, hike through pine forests, ancient olive groves and peach orchards, relax and swim at the many sandy beaches, and venture inland to visit awesome medieval towns and to discover the truly unspoiled landscape of the countryside. Over a third of the countryside is now protected as it is in the Cap de Creus National Park or in other preserves. Hidden deep in the forests there are stunning natural curiosities, including the 5,000 year old dolmens (Neolithic tombs) and sparkling freshwater springs which drew the first settlers to these parts thousands of years ago.
This tour is designed for adventuresome men who want to spend a week on the beautiful Costa Brava of Spain; venture out each day on leisurely hikes to explore the coastline, relax on sandy beaches and swim in quiet coves; explore the many interesting medieval towns and country villages; and return each day to an upscale hotel and enjoy the local cuisine and wines.
- A stunningly beautiful rugged coastline, lush green valleys and ancient forests
- Secluded coves, sandy beaches, and hidden bays where we swim and relax
- Charming villages, picturesque medieval towns and traditional fishing ports
- Lodging in unique hotels including two nights in a 700 year old 4-star castle
- Excellent local Catalonian cuisine and wine
- Arrive in Calella de Palafrugell +Monday, September 16 Arrive in Barcelona and take a train to Flauca where we will be met and escorted to the Hotel Garbí in Calella de Parafrugel, a small village on the Costa Brava which has white houses, narrow streets, lovely little coves with sandy beaches, and a magical atmosphere. This 3-star family-run hotel, which is located just outside town, has extensive gardens shaded by pine trees and our rooms have balconies with views to the sea. The hotel, which has recently been refurbishe, provides WiFi. We will have time for a refreshing swim at the beach before we have dinner at a restaurant in town tonight.
- Walk from Calella de Palafrugell to La Bisbal. 11mi/5hr +Tuesday, September 17 We start with a 20 minute transfer to the village of Mont-Ras from where we will walk to the forested Gavarres Hills of the Catalan Coastal Range to visit three dolmen, Neolithic tombs. During our walk we have fantastic views as far as the coastal village of Begur and the Iles Medes, small islands off the coast which are in a marine reserve. We descend to the peaceful medieval villages of Fonteta and then Vulpellac where we lunch. Next, we proceed to our hotel, the Castell d’Emporda, a recently restored 700 year old 4-star hotel which has fantastic views, two outdoor pools, two restaurants, a terrace, patio, gardens, and free WiFi. The hotel is located on a hill overlooking the town of La Bisbal. 1 x Breakfast
1 x Dinner
- Explore Medieval Villages. 5mi/3 hrs +Wednesday, September 18 Today we can relax and hang out at the pool or walk to the small nearby medieval village of Corca and then to Monells, which has a pretty square where we have lunch. After lunch we explore La Bisbal, a lively market town famous for antiques and pottery and just downhill from our hotel. We can explore the old quarter including the Carrer de Call, formerly a Jewish ghetto which has intricate arches that are still intact today. We then walk back to our hotel, Castell D’Emporda for a relaxing evening and dinner. Alternatively, we can take a local bus (90 minutes) to Figueras and visit the Salvador Dali museum. We next travel to Lamego, an attractive town located amid the vineyards and fruit orchids in the Douro Valley. We visit the Nossa dos Remedios, a hilltop chapel originally dedicated in 1391 to Saint Stephen and one of Portugal’s most important pilgrimage sites. We also visit the Se, a Gothic cathedral dating back to the 12th century. Later in the afternoon we arrive at the Vilarinho de Sao Romeo, a beautifully restored 17th century manor house in the country in the quiet hills above the Douro River. All rooms have their own character and there is a pleasant lounge, a beautiful shady wisteria-engulfed veranda, attractive gardens, a restaurant where we dine each night, and free WiFi. We lodge here for two nights. 1 x Breakfast
1 x Dinner
- La Bisbal to Begur. 10mi/5hr +Thursday, September 19 Today we have a gentle walk through scenic farmland and forests to Begur. We first stop at Peratallada, possibly the best preserved village in Spain with its beautifully restored arches, arcaded passageways and lovely shaded squares. We continue on through fields bright with sunflowers until we reach the peach-colored Pals, a lovely old village with a Romanesque church affording stunning views. The final stretch of the walk takes us through a pine forest to our family-run hotel in the old town of Begur. The 3-star Hotel Rosa has been recently refurbished and is modern and stylish. The hotel has a restaurant where we eat each evening and WiFi is provided. Begur is a fashionable hilltop town with an 11th century castle, impressive villas and charming narrow streets for exploring. 1 x Breakfast
1 x Dinner
- Explore Sandy Coves +Friday, September 20 Today we take a taxi or walk to the coast and explore beautiful sandy coves. Options include Sa Riera, Aiguafreda, Sa Tuna and, just over the hill, Aiguablava. Each have their own stretch of beach, shops, cafes and restaurants. Alternatively, we have the option for a circular walk in the countryside from the Hotel Rosa. 1 x Breakfast
1 x Dinner
- Walk from Begur to Calella de Palafrugell. 9mi/4hr +Saturday, September 21 Shaded forest paths take us to the lively seaside town of Tamariu (great beach) where we walk along a pretty coastal path, pass rocky headlands and chic Spanish resorts, on to the coastal town of Llafranc which has outstanding views from the San Sebastian lighthouse. We can have lunch in one of the beachfront bars. After lunch, we either continue along the coastal path as far as the botanical gardens at Cap Roig, or have time for a couple of hours at the beach before dinner in Parafrugell. We lodge at the Hotel Garbí, where we stayed the first night of the tour. 1 x Breakfast
- Leave Calella de Palafrugell +Sunday, September 22 After breakfast we will be escorted to Flauca to catch a train to Barcelona. 1 x Breakfast
- Important Notes
$2260 per person based double room occupancy. Single supplement: $420.
You will hike for up to 5 days on well-maintained trails with little elevational change, although some days we hike up to 11 miles. The hiking is rated as easy to moderate. There are always options for days that you may not want to hike.
Lodging for 6 nights, all breakfasts, 4 dinners at our hotels as noted in the itinerary, transport from and to the train station in Flauca to the Hotel Gabi, hotel luggage transfers, hiking transfers, and an American tour direction through the tour.
What’s NOT Included
Airfare to and from Barcelona, Spain, round trip train ticket from Barcelona to Flauca (estimated at $25 US), visit to the Salvador Dali Museum, drinks and alcoholic beverages with meals.
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