Costa Brava beach days – Sant Marti d’Empuries

Strung out by bountiful beach coves and gently sweeping sandy beaches that stretch out to the horizon, there’s little to not like about Sant Marti, located a short distance from its neighbour L’Escala. 

If you’re already in L’Escala, take the Cami de ronda de l’Escala (Passeig Dr. Pi i Llussa), a coastal footpath and walk here at your leisure. Even here you can stop, just turn off to the right, via one of many access paths (unmade, often uneven) to discover uncrowded sandy coves.

We often make our way directly to a beach area, a 20 minute walk past the village, which welcomes dog owners. It is also a popular spot for kite surfers, windsurfers and the occasional naturist. The beach is sufficiently large enough enabling you to spread out, avoiding any eye contact with bare flesh.

For directions, we make our way from Girona using the AP7 toll free parts. If you weren’t aware, you can travel north or south for free, using a limited number of exits. We join the motorway at St Gregori, going north and get off at the Vilademuls exit. You still get issued a ticket at the tolls but there’s no payment. 

Continue along the N-II road through Oriolls and turn off at the GI- 623   signposted Escala. Go all the way eastwards to Escala itself if that’s your final destination, or take the St Marti turn off. As you come off the roundabout here go past the village. There’s a horse riding place on the left and shortly after look out for a sign ‘RioMar Hotel’, just before a bend in the road. Turn right here and continue down this dusty track. You’ll start to see parked cars on one side, the further you can get down here and find a parking spot the nearer to the beach you’ll be.

If not then continue to the end where you’ll see the beach and follow the track to the right, and take the first right, where there are more places to park. The beach area in front of the 1-star hotel RioMar is popular with windsurfers and there’s a beach bar here (Ukelele) too, but only during the summer season. Look to your left and you’ll notice a small river and a long wide expanse of sand with dunes at the back. You can see right across the bay of Roses and the resort of Roses in the distance.

Cross over the arching iron bridge and choose your spot. At the height of summer there are lots of dog owners here and hundreds of kite surfers which use a nearby camping site as their base. This area has no beach facilities like showers or lifeguards, except for a portaloo (summer only). Do wear sandals or some sort of foot protection as the sand is blisteringly hot. Entering the sea at this point the water’s quite shallow for a fair way out.

Of course you don’t have to venture out as far as here, you can enjoy super beaches located just a stone’s throw from the village itself. The only downside is finding free parking, or use the paid option. For example, just behind the church, walk down below to one that has a beach bar (chiringuito Olivia) which I’ve been well informed serves good food. That said, Sant Marti is well served by a handful of eateries in the Placa Petita, a cute triangular shaped area that gets super busy in the evenings and more so at weekends.