Since we were camping at our daughters’ place in the Luberon for a month, we took the plan to get away for a few days and visit Catalonia. From Provence in France, it’s approximately a 4 to 5 hours drive depending on where you want to end up.
Baix Emporda (L’Empordanet)
Barcelona would have been the obvious choice, but we decided to avoid the city stress and do something more relaxing. The landscape around Gerona and the villages of the region called Baix Emporda (pronounce Bash) seemed nice. A bit of literature directed us to Platja Del Castell as a suitable place to stay. It’s one of the last sandy beaches where no high rise was built. We were lucky to book our nights in Hotel La Malcontenta (a name with a certain negative expectancy though!) within walking distance of the beach.
Little did we know that from this beach you have direct access to the Spanish Grande Randonnée nr92, also called Camino de Ronda or Costa Brava Way. Just note, we are talking about a camino in Spain, not France (that one is in Apt, Vaucluse!). The Spanish version travels through Catalonia (579km) from the north in Portbou to Ulldecona in the south. All the way it stays close to the Mediterranean sea. We are no professional hikers, so we did two short étapes:
- from Platja del Castell to Castell de Sant Esteve
- from Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc
Real hikers will have a good laugh about these, but even on these short trips, the old smugglers’ paths and mule tracks just kept surprising us. If you are ever in the neighborhood, it’s worth a detour!
Thanks to this GR we practiced the art of walking, and we will probably be planning to do it more often. There seems to be a book about it: Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit. I’ve put it on my reading list too.
Oh, and the hotel? A very nice place, tasty breakfast, and friendly people. We were ‘contenta’!
Disclaimer: we are not affiliated in any way with the hotel mentioned in this post.