Part of the appeal of living in Girona is that we’re not too far away from the Costa Brava beaches. So many fine destinations that we’re spoilt for choice-a nice problem to have.
That said we tend to stick to those beaches due east, from say, St Feliu de Guixols and up north to St Marti d’Empuries. Within this stretch there’s plenty to choose from, and no real reason why we don’t get to the more northerly places like Roses or Cadaques.
A trip to the beach for us is not just restricted to the summer, we go at all times of the year, understandably less often out of season. It’s a great tonic, beaches during the winter are deserted, often windswept and if we’re lucky enough, find a restaurant for lunch or a snack.
The resort of St Antoni de Calonge is about 40 min. drive from Girona, off the coastal C-31 road. It’s very much a seasonal town, full of second-home owners during the summer months and earthly quiet if you visit in winter. Mainly apartment blocks and thankfully not too high rise and some beachfront hotels.
I like the coarse, light yellow, grainy sand here and even in high season there’s room to move. It definitely exudes a ‘this is for us locals’ mood and you’d be hard pressed to hear any other voices except Catalan or Spanish.
It’s popular with Gironians as every time we visit we’re sure to bump into someone we know from Girona. The long seafront is the real attraction, split into three smaller bays by man-made rocky promontories. There’s a wide footpath that runs along the whole stretch and beyond, which will take you to the much larger next door resort of Palamos.
This path is popular with dog walkers, cyclists, joggers, skateboarders and busy with promenaders on a summer’s evening. The place is well served with seafront cafes and restaurants, Refugi de Pescadors (the fishermen’s refuge) and Restaurant Simon are the two most notable for their seafood. Nearby Palamos is an important fishing port with a daily fish market, so you’re bound to get a decent dish.
When in season, Palamos prawns (Gambas de Palamos) are coveted and expensive. They have a reddish body, firm texture and more akin to a king prawn in size.
The sandy beach areas have lifeguards and roughly centrally located there’s a first aid station and toilet. Out of season the toilet is removed as I noticed when I visited one November. Where do you go if you’re caught short and no cafes are open? I think the local council needs to rethink this one.
We tend to park at the southern end of town as it’s a stone’s throw from the beach with more spaces. Parking within the blue bays is paid, the only annoying thing is that you get a maximum of 2 hours, so if you’re here for several hours it means popping back to keep feeding the meter.
If you fancy a pleasant long stroll then starting here you can keep on the same flat, asphalt, coastal path I mentioned above for the next 2 kms reaching Palamos eventually. It too has beach areas and a ghastly high-rise apartment block, which dominates and blights the beachfront view-in my opinion anyway.
Don’t expect much in the way of nightlife here, you’d have to head off into nearby Playa d’Aro for that. Driving out of here for 4km you might also want to check out the inland medieval hill village of Calonge.