What a dilemma to have, every time we think of jumping in the car and heading off for the coast the eternal question is ‘which beach are we going to ?’ It always seems to take ages to decide as we’re so spoilt for choice.
Most locals have their favourites and there are plenty of smaller pretty coves and beautiful bays that not every tourist knows about. They’re usually a bit more trickier to access and we prefer the park-as-close-as-you-can approach. That’s mainly because we have so much beach stuff to carry, even with four of us to share the load. Beach chairs and umbrellas, towels, food, drinks and hold on to the dog.
Anyway, we’re always late getting up so by the time we’ve hit any beach it’s about mid-afternoon-that’s fine for us as we’ve just missed the scorching heat of mid-day and we stay until it gets dark, which in summer is close to 10pm. Locals however have a different approach, they’ll tend to go early morning, sit it out until 1-2pm and then beat a retreat for lunch or drive back home.
For us there’s no better way to finish a beach day than have a few drinks at a beach bar (chiringuito) or pack the stuff in the car, quick change (well for me but not the ladies) and stroll down to a nearby taverna for some local seafood.
Beach No.1 S’Agaro. If it’s a quick dash to the beach you’re after then the nearest beach to Girona is St Feliu de Guixols which is nice enough. But we often prefer the nearby smaller, chic, sedate Sant Pol beach at S’Agaro. It’s very much a second residence/holiday home bolt hole for the better-off residents of Girona and Barcelona. The calibre of parked cars will testify to that.
Low-rise smart apartments, a smattering of seafront bars and restaurants facing a gently sloping sandy beach that sweeps around towards a wooded promontory. The whole picture postcard package could have been copy and pasted from a California tourist brochure.
There’s paid parking right near the beach so no long trek to the sand. Stretch your legs and take a walk along the winding, wobbly, wooden boardwalk up to the swanky Hotel La Gavina. For anyone with added stamina you can keep going for another 25 minute push along the coastal path that will take you to another fine beach, La Conca (below). Summertime will reward you with the comforting view of a beach bar, the perfect pit-stop for a thirsty walker.
Beach No.2 L’Escala. Go early by car and you can easily fill your day visiting several different beaches here. This former fishing town comes alive during the summer months as tourists flock to its many campsites, and the modern Riells area is full of holiday homes and apartments. It’s commercial strip has the bog standard shops, cafes, takeaways and a decent family friendly beach that extends up to the marina/port area.
Alternatively jump back in the car and follow the signs for Montgo beach. It’s more protected and a better bet if Riells beach is too windy. Shallow water and a bit gravelly as you enter, small beach bar and other restaurants are just behind you.
If time is on your side grab your towel and drive up to the old part of Escala, where parking may be more of a problem. It has a couple of sweet, postage stamp size, shallow water beaches amongst craggy rocks. Platja Port d’en Perris is U-shaped and mostly gravel. A few minutes in your flip-flops will take you to a more sandy affair, Platja de Escala. Bars and restaurants are laughingly close and a top favourite of ours Grop is right here.
After recovering from lunch and partaking of the customary siesta you’ll be ready for the final leg. Still on foot, head north past Punta Romana towards St. Marti. This coastal pathway (Passeig Dr. Pi i Llusa) will take you past several very sandy beach areas or ‘calas’.
Platja Cala de la Creu is long and elongated. Next is Platja El Rec del Moli (dogs allowed), through to Platja del Convent. All these are a bit wilder and off the beaten track but you’d have arrived in the tiny village of St. Marti with its one beach.
It’s recent claim to fame was as the place where Elon Musk’s sister got married with VIP guests like ex-President Obama. Sublime setting with its small church, stone cottages, narrow cobbled streets and close to the Greek / Roman ruins of Empuries.
Famished or thirsty, head for Placa Petita a small triangle of eateries perched just moments from the church. A favourite sunset-stopping point for visitors at the height of summer, and the perfect place for a sundowner. How you get back to your car is your problem!