Most people try to rush Calella de Palafrugell on a budget so they end up missing some of the highlights in a whirlwind. The key to seeing Calella de Palafrugell properly is a game plan, you must know what you want to see before setting out. Before we visited Calella de Palafrugell we saw on a city map that the small town of Calella de Palafrugell is divided into three areas - the historical old town around the church, the area around Cami de Ronda and the more modern residential area in the new part of the town. We visited the city twice, and hiked our way through the First two areas.
Our hikes were in the old town (near the Church of St Pere de Calella) where the city is a bit of a ancient site in which we could walk for several time. It was quite strenuous sometimes, but definitely worth while! For example we started at Carrer de Pirroig where we made our way to up to the church and finally hiked way into the old part of the village and it ended at the Placa of Carrer de Codina at the other side of the church. While most tour guides don't recommend getting lost in the alley's, this part of Calella de Palafrugell is the place to get hopelessly lost for a while. We wondered off through mysterious and steep alleyways leading us away from the crowds. We ended up at Café Les Voltes. Just a great place to be honest. Having the village itself in your back and the small picturesque beach with its fishermen boats in front of you. The real Calella de Palafrugell?
Take time to meander - losing yourself in the maze of alleys, streets and lanes is one of Calella de Palafrugell’ old town's principal pleasures. The streets wind and wander with no discernible order or object. After our stroll we rewarded ourselves with a cool glass of beer or wine for our effort! We learned that you won't do justice to the entire city of Calella de Palafrugell whenever you won't visit other parts than just the main sights. So ... do meander, because the cluster of sights around the main street / Cami de Ronda are truly beautiful, but the more secret pleasures of the hushed backstreets are just entrancing.
There are truly more than enough vibrant cultural scenes to see, like the off the beaten path Carrer de Francesc Estrabau. Right here you will be rewarded with attractive panoramas over the village, the beaches and the Sant Sebastia Mountains. Also the narrow street towards the church, with its beautiful tower, is great. We ended up at the deserted viewpoint, which is probably the most important point of Calella de Palafrugell. It lead to a great spot, right from here we could make out the Cami de Ronda near the coast line. It will also give you an idea of the vibe of the city by enjoying the view at the colourful terraces and the people sunbathing and swimming and smell the riot of colour that this nice village has to offer. All this may seem very though as finding your way in Calella de Palafrugell might be difficult, but in really distances are short and the signs will help you in getting around. Enjoy!
Calella de Palafrugell is a city a lot of history indeed due to its excellent setting. The old village had its golden age between the 17th and 19th century. The compact town of Calella de Palafrugell is easy to get around, and the ideal place to explore on foot. Calella de Palafrugell is Spain, and yet it is a culture unto itself. It is a small city built by fishermen and its legacy of monuments can be admired in the streets to this day. Historical buildings to stroll around include the Passeig del Canadell, we read that these particular buildings were the first summer-houses with basements. Besides that do visit the Church of St Pere de Calella, the placa at Carrer de Codina, Les Voltes and the botanic garden at the end of the Cami de Ronda. This little village reveal delights at every turn. Time to explore it!
We can honestly state that the best way to explore Calella de Palafrugell is by foot and the second best way is also by foot! Besides giving you the opportunity to roam the narrow streets and the cozy squares, it is the quickest way too. If you really want to, you can cross the city in approximately 30 minutes. Remember that sometimes it might be quicker (and nicer!) to take a few short-cuts into picturesque alleys instead of following the masses of tourists. Maybe this is easy for us to say as we stayed for a longer period of time and not like most of the tourists only for one day. But even when your stay is rather short, do try to get away from the crowds and just have a 'look around'. Calella de Palafrugell is simply a perfect place to walk for a few hours and pretending to know where you are.
Once were inside we had a good look at the interior. It’s not a particular rich church, but still gives away some beautiful ‘secrets’. Of course the beautiful stained glasses are worth a closer look. We noticed that the church has a single nave with some interesting vaults. The apse is semicircular on the outside while the inside remains of polygonal shape.
Outside the church we read on a plaque that in the 10th century some of the stone blocks from the earlier built castle were used to build the church of of St. Pere de Calella. In its final structure you can make out the Romanesque base, the Gothic apse and nave and the Baroque portico and bell tower. Having a good look at the baroque façade allows some details of the 19th century remnants. Do walk around the church and enjoy the vibe at that particular spot. We can honestly say it is a must visit and that's why we suggest everybody to go to the Church of St. Pere de Calella and observe the village and the beauty of its landscape.
Although we were quite late when we first arrived at the Church of St. Pere de Calella in Calella de Palafrugell we were still allowed to enter it. A huge advantage of our late arrival was the fact that there were almost no tourists. Either the bus / coach was already on his way back to the hotel or everybody was having a cold refreshment at the terraces in the village center. Whenever we visit a church the kids always want to burn a candle, it has become a bit of a tradition. The Sight of burning votive candles - real or electronic - is common in most Catholic churches. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?
According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball, the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights. Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means "waiting" or "watching") are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed. So for us lighting a candle is a way of extending our prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf our prayer is offered.
The history of the entire area of Calella de Palafrugell is quite interesting. In advance we read on the internet that in earlier times an bit of a swampy area surrounded Calella de Palafrugell. Now it is surrounded with cliffs, beautiful coves, transparent waters and abundant vegetation, probably turning it into one of the best places of the Catalan coast. We found some marks of its fine history with a visit to the Tower of Calella, defense tower, built in the 16th Century, which currently is a hotel. We also visited the amazing building Sa Perola (19th Century), where there is now the Tourism Office. Finally we saw the Church of St. Pere de Calella (1884 – 1885). Time for us to explore it!
When we first arrived we saw that the village is dominated by the church of St. Pere de Calella, it truly towers over the white houses of this small picturesque town. We learned that the of Church of St. Pere de Calella originates from the year 1884. The church has been changed so many times in the course of the time that it is now an amalgam of roman, gothic and baroque styles. We walked our way up and once in front of the church we could clearly see that the church is located at a higher location and we had some very nice views over the city and the sea.
We started our Cami de Ronda walk at the southern tip and immediately saw the Brava, a specious site with huge terraces where you can admire all kinds of bright ccoloured amelanchier ovalis Mediterranean plant life. Keep on walking and you will end up at Les Voltes, built in the 19th century. It was built for shelter from the rain for the fishermen. Also in the mid 19th century the first summer-houses with basements were built in Calella de Palafrugell, you can see them at the Passeig del Canadell.
Halfway we had a nice refreshment at Café Les Voltes. Just a great place to be honest. Having the village itself in your back and the small picturesque beach with its fishermen boats in front of you. We could easily sit here for ages, but at some point we decided to continue the Cami de Ronda walk. We followed the beach area and the Passatge de Jimmy Rena and ended up at the rather large botanic garden. So our conclusion of the Cami de Ronda walk: it’s a gorgeous way to walk from one beach to another and some of the sections only take about half an hour.
The Cami de Ronda was a footpath built along the Costa Brava coast to help the Guardia Civil control the coast and stop smuggling. The origins are located in 19th Century when it was formed from small footpaths through the cliffs along the coast of Catalonia. We learned that the best preserved part of this route is in between s Agaro and Segur. Much of the route is now a series of public footpaths often connecting tourist beaches and resorts like Calella de Palafrugell. The path lead us right along the coast line straight through the village itself.
The route in Calella de Palafrugell itself is characterized by its attractive panoramas over the village, the beaches and the Sant Sebastia Mountains. The great thing about walking this Cami de Ronda route near the coastline is that you immediately will see some of the highlights Calella de Palafrugell has to offer. It will also give you the vibe of the city by enjoying the terraces, having a look at the people sunbathing and swimming and smell the riot of colour that this nice village has to offer. So, by walking this route you will kill two birds with one stone: enjoy the history of the smuggling path and also enjoy the village itself.
How did we ever end op at Calella de Palafrugell? Well, that is a bit of a weird story maybe … let me explain. We read in a travel book that Palafrugell itself is known for being a medieval town. It was once fortified but is no longer. We had a look at the many narrow streets emanate from Plaça Nova - a large square with bars, restaurants and boutiques. But we didn't feel the right vibe ... so we didn't stay too long and drove to Calella de Palafrugell. We arrived at the parking lot at Carrer de Francesc Estrabau and walked to the Carrer dels Canyers and saw the Mediterranean Sea, the beaches, the white houses and immediately felt that this was the place to be for us. So, this is how we ended up at Calella de Palafrugell.
Right at Carrer dels Canyers we could overlook the beach area quite good, because it is a bit higher than the village itself. Therefore we could already see that we could walk along the beach line all the way to the other side of the village. This particular coastline of the town stretches some two kilometers south to where the beautiful Botanical gardens are located. We made plans on getting our hike started and saw a sight that gave us directions and also explained to us that this particular walk was called “Cami de Ronda”. Time for us to explore it!
There was a great small shop filled with various shapes of handmade candles .
Its fun and we were amazed about the many beautifull colors and designs they had.
Outdoor activities center with an high rope course, giant swing, archery, 100 kms of marked trails for different levels of mountain bike riders, touchball field (the ultimate in war games)