L’Escala i Sant Martí d’Empúries
L’Escala is located in the “Alt Empordà”, the northernmost region of the Costa Brava, bordering with France to the north. The town is located at 42 km from Girona and its airport. The first settlement here was the Greek town of Emporion just north of l’Escala’s current location. The remnants of this 2500 year old town, the “Ruïnes d’Empúries” are one of the most important historical sites in Spain. After the romans conquered the Iberian peninsula, the town fell in decay and what remained is now known as Sant Martí d’Empúries, a very picturesque little medieval settlement right on the coast. The origin of what is now l’Escala was a little fishing village, dependent on Sant Martí d’Empúries. In the 18th century l’Escala became an independent village to which many people were attracted for its fishing and salting industry, ship building, as well as rice and wine cultivation.
In the 1960’s tourism started to take over as the town’s main economic activity. Nowadays, the old town offers a variety of shops, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The most interesting cultural and architectonic heritage can be found in the old town. Worth mentioning are the “Alfolí de la Sal”, Saint Peter’s Church, the cemetery and the anchovies and salt museum.
But no doubt the most interesting cultural site of l’Escala are the “Empúries” ruins right between l’Escala old town and Sant Martí d’Empúries. In 1992 a beautiful promenade was inaugurated that connects these two points. Its use is restricted to pedestrians and cyclists and it runs right along the coast, between the “Empúries” ruins and the beach.
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Sant Pere Pescador
Sant Pere Pescador is a small village, located at the heart of the Bay of Rosas. Its main economic activities are agriculture and tourism. The coast of the municipality consists of 6 km of wide sandy beaches, of which a large part is protected within the “Aiguamolls de l’Empordà” nature park, famous among birdwatchers and all round nature lovers. The village of Sant Pere Pescador is located approximately 1,5 km inland, on the banks of the river Fluvià.
Figueres – Dalí Museum
Figueres is the capital of the Empordà region, located at the foothills of the Eastern Pyrenees. Figueres offers a variety of attractions to its visitors.
Figueres’ most famous citizen and cultural asset is Salvador Dalí, the world famous 20th century surrealist artist.
The 1974 theatre-museum dedicated to the work of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) is the most important site to visit in Figueres. The museum contains a great exposition from Dali’s early works to its last works. As a matter of fact, Dalí himself assisted in the construction and design of the museum, in the restored city theatre, which therefore can be considered in itself a work of Dalí. The museum also contains the shrine of Salvador Dalí
Other interesting sights in Figueres are the “San Ferran” Castle, Europe’s largest fortified construction, Figueres’ old town and Saint Peter’s church, just next to the Dalí-museum.
Girona is the capital of the province, where the nearest airport is located. Girona is one of Catalunya’s most interesting towns to visit. The “Força Vella” was the first fortified construction, built 2000 years ago by the Romans. The “Eixample Medieval” was the medieval expansion of the “Força Vella”. Remnants of the ancient walls of both the “Força Vella” and the “Eixample Medieval” are still present and can be visited.
Four rivers run through Girona: Ter, Onyar, Guëll and Galligants. The main part of Girona’s old town is formed by the medieval “Call Jueu” (Jewish quarter), which is among the best conserved in Europe. A strawls through its labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets, patios and squares takes you right back to medieval times. Girona’s cathedral was built in the 11th and 12th century and boasts the widest Gothic nave in the world.
The “Banys Àrabs” or Arab Baths is a Romanesque construction with clear Moorish influences. In the 17th century the baths were incorporated in the newly built monastery of the Capuchin order.
Saint Felix’ Church preserves large parts of the Romanesque structure, though finished later in the Gothic and Baroque era. The most interesting features are the eight Roman and Paleochristian sarcophagi from the 3rd and 4th century AD and the tomb of Saint Narcissus of Girona.
One of the most picturesque scenes of Girona are the brightly colored houses on the banks of the river Onyar, frequently photographed from the pedestrian bridges over the river Onyar.
Pals i Peratallada
Pals is among the most famous and visited towns on the Costa Brava for its pristinely conserved medieval centre. The town is surrounded by rice fields. Rice is therefore the star ingredient in the local cuisine for which it is famous throughout Spain and the world.
Peratallada is another incredible well preserved medieval town at a short distance from Pals. Its main attraction are its narrow cobbled streets and the town’s castle.
Cadaqués was founded in the middle ages and boasts a beautiful labyrinth of narrow stone streets. Saint Mary’s Church crowns the old town’s highest point, from where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the town and the Bay of Cadaqués
An interesting feature are the “modernist” (art-nouveau) houses built by wealthy industrials in the early 20th century after returning from America. The design of most of these houses was inspired by Cuban architecture.
“Portlligat” is Cadaques’ natural fishing port. This is where Salvador Dalí installed his permanent residence after returning from the United States in 1948. Nowadays his house is converted in museum.
Empuriabrava was built in the 1970’s around 24 navigable canals, making it the largest inhabited marina in the world. The private aerodrome holds one of the largest skydive centres in the world and a wind tunnel.
Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes
The medieval monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is located in the municipality of Port de la Selva. This benedictine monastery on the north face of the “Verdera” mountains is the most visible part of a medieval hamlet which includes the village of Santa Creu and the Verdera Castle on the top of the mountain. The views of the Bay of Rosas, the Cap de Creus Peninsula and the Eastern Pyrenees are breathtaking.