Costa Brava – Day 8

Day 8 took me from Roses to Cadaqués, a 22-km hike with 750 m of ascents. A tough day of stony paths through the Cap de Creus Natural Park, but with the magnificent reward of Cadaqués at the end of it.

Breakfast at the hotel was excellent again. There were quite a few French guests and I suddenly realized why: we were approaching the Ascension Day weekend, one of the sacred May weekends that the French cherish.

I set off at around 9 beneath clear blue skies. The wind of the previous evening seemed to have swept all the clouds away and I wouldn’t see any more of them on the trail. There would be a powerful wind at times all the way to Collioure, but from this day on the conditions were perfect until the end and, on leaving Roses, the clear air gave me a fantastic view of a snow-capped mountain range. 

Mountains behind Roses

The trail headed along the side of the Roses marina and hugged the coast. It was a great morning’s hike, one of the best so far. At first, the path was on a paved section with lots of steps until reaching Platja de Canyelles, the next resort along the coast and a fairly pretty place with its half-moon bay.

Platja de Canyelles

After the two parts of Canyelles (Petites and Grosses), the paved section was over and it was back to the usual stony terrain, which I was getting used to by this point. The trail was fantastic, high above the sea at some points, dipping down to small beaches at others.

Cliffs near Cap Falcó

With the long weekend coming up, there were more people about, notably a group of friendly Catalan hikers picnicking by the trail and a sociable German couple who had rented a place in Cadaqués and who were doing day hikes from the village. We chatted for a while and I took their photo for them against the magnificent backdrop of the beautiful Cala del Lledó. They were impressed to hear how far I had come by that point, even though they were obviously keen hikers themselves.

Cala del Lledó

Shortly after, with the sun warming the air, I stopped for a couple of hours at Cala Murtra, another nudist beach (that way, I didn’t have to unpack to find my swimming trunks!). The sun was pleasantly warm even though the water was still far too chilly for me to have a swim. This was a very pleasant, peaceful little beach. Apart from a handful of other sunbathers and a few people passing on the trail at the back of the beach, there was no one around. I actually dozed off at one point.

Looking back at Cala Murtra

I set off again around 2 pm. The path continued to hug the coast, via more pretty inlets and the beautiful bay of Cala Montjol where I stopped for a coffee and a bottle of sparkling mineral water (bubbles always seem to give me a boost when hiking, be it the fruit schorle in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, Perrier with lemon in France or plain sparkling water here in Spain). Cala Montjol was pretty busy at first with a couple of youth groups in the campsite behind the beach playing games to loud music. But, all of a sudden, two boats sailed into the bay from Roses, lowered their gangplanks, and took them all away. The silence after they left was deafening.

Another helpful sign

After Cala Montjol, the trail headed uphill to cross the Norfeu cape. There was a path around it, but that would have added another hour and a half to the day so I decided to stick to the main route. Just before heading down the other side of the cape, there was a terrific view to the south, all the way back to Begur, that allowed me to see just how far I had come in the last four days.

Looking south along the coast to Begur

The trail then headed down to the next bay, the very pretty Cala Joncols. After that, I had the last climb of the day, up to the Sa Cruïlla pass at 230 m before the long descent into Cadaqués.

Cala Joncols

It was a pretty steep climb up over the usual stony terrain. It was pretty hot by now and I had already emptied the water pouch and refilled it from my bottle. Apart from the villages, there was never a single watering point along the trail. In high summer, I imagine a second water bottle would be required for a day like this.

After about half an hour of steady uphill hiking, I reached the pass and had a fantastic view of the Cap de Creus (where I would be heading the next day), with a glimpse of Cadaqués itself in the foreground. From this point on, it was downhill all the way to the village.

First glimpse of Cadaqués and the Cap de Creus

The descent was fairly long and gentle, passing the beautiful Mas d’en Baltre farm, where there was a quaint little shrine.

Shrine near Mas d’en Baltre

I finally arrived in Cadaqués around 6:30 pm. A pretty long day, fairly tiring because of the stony terrain and the 750 m in ascents (and as much in descents because I was back at sea level). However, I instantly forgot my exhaustion on arriving in this pretty village which bowled me over. With its white houses, orange-tiled roofs, narrow cobbled alleyways and the blue sea at the end of every street, Cadaqués was my favourite place since Begur and Calella de Palafrugell. I found a great little bar right away on the seafront square below the church for a well-deserved beer.

A well-earned beer in Cadaqués

My hotel, the Vehi, was just next to the church and I found it right away. The charming receptionist put up with my basic Spanish and I was able to understand everything she said to me, so progress had been made on that level. The room was huge, with a window overlooking the church and a great bathroom with a good shower and one of those crazy Japanese toilets that you need a degree in engineering to use.

For dinner, I opted for something other than Spanish for once with Lebanese at El Barroco, a beautiful restaurant in a courtyard near the square where I had my beer on arriving. The owners were charming and the food excellent. The air had turned chilly, but I ate out in the pretty courtyard all the same. Then it was back to the hotel for another excellent night’s sleep.

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