Spring and Summer Getaway to Calafell
Historical heritage and five kilometres of beaches
We would like to propose a trip to Calafell that balances physical activity and cultural exploration. This town offers the perfect combination of both worlds - you can swim or sail from one of its extensive beaches that are typical of the Costa Daurada, or you can play golf or go Nordic walking with a qualified instructor and then visit a rebuilt Iberian settlement or climb up to the Santa Creu Castle.
Afternoon day 1: Enjoy nature while playing golf
We'll begin our getaway by playing golf while immersing ourselves in the natural world. Located at the 2 kilometre mark on the road from Calafell to Bellvei, La Graiera golf club is set near the sea in a wooded enclave. This gently rolling course has three spectacular lakes and is populated by local fauna. It was renovated just a few years ago and has a new clubhouse that offers restaurant service at lunchtime and all day bar service.
Morning day 2: Nordic walking, sailing and the beach!
© Joan Capdevila
If we are up early enough, we can take part in what has become one of the most popular sporting activities in Calafell in recent years: Nordic walking. The local tourism authority of Calafell, as a member of the Active Tourism Club of the Catalan Tourism Agency, is promoting this free activity. It's an aerobic activity that is good for the heart and both simple and healthy that's focussed on the oldest activity known to humanity - walking - though using special sticks.
In Calafell you can take part in this activity with the help of qualified instructors who will provide you with the sticks and introduce you to the techniques. Walks are held every weekend from March to October (there is no Nordic walking in the months of January, February, November and December): at 8 am between the months of June and September and at 9am in March, April and October. All walks depart from Plaça dels Països Catalans.
But perhaps you would prefer to feel the sea breeze in your face. If that's the case, Calafell's new sailing school will help you to discover all the thrills of sailing and provide you with the technical knowhow. Alternatively, you could opt for an outing on a yacht or rent a catamaran, a kayak or a jet ski.
After so much physical activity it's time to refresh ourselves in the sea. Luckily we have at our disposal some five kilometres of golden sand beaches bathed by iodine rich waters. Calafell's three beaches were the first ones in Catalonia to be awarded ISO 14.001 certification by AENOR in 2003. They have had a blue flag since 1992 and are ideal for families. In fact, the quality of their sands and waters, the calmness of their seas and their gentle contours have consolidated their reputation as child-friendly beaches.
If you need to restore your energy, we suggest that you try some typical local dishes such as a xató salad and an arrossejat rice dish at one of the town's excellent restaurants.
Afternoon day 2: Historical Calafell
© Gabriel Mestre
We'll begin the afternoon by travelling back in time to the days of the Iberians. The town's Iberian fort is an unusual cultural amenity in which twenty years of excavations have allowed for the reconstruction "in situ" of the settlement. Following rigorous studies, the archaeologists involved in the project have recreated the appearance that the walls, streets and houses of the site had back in the period from the 6th to the 1st centuries BC. The visit is designed to be a journey back in time that helps you to explore the way of life, customs and essential characteristics of Iberian culture.
We'll now head for the historical centre of Calafell, which is a little removed from its beaches, where we will discover the medieval town. The most emblematic building in the old town is undoubtedly the Castle of Santa Creu, which dates from the 11th century but has remains of huts and grain silos that date from the 8th century. The church is the best preserved part, with anthropomorphic tombs and the altar of the Holy Cross. The castle has an interesting museum project that presents its history through images and texts. Guided tours are also conducted. If you visit at dusk you will be able to appreciate the effects of the lighting that make the site as imposing as it ever was. And the streets we pass through as we approach the summit make up their own small, secluded and peaceful world that is quite different from the seaside part of Calafell.
Morning day 3: Let’s immerse ourselves in maritime Calafell
The seaside part of town is precisely where we are headed now on the last morning of our getaway. And we'd like to propose a very easy walking tour that begins at Plaça dels Països Catalans. In the water area, which is close to the sea, you will see ducks and geese splashing around. Cross the bridge and a flat, straight walk will take you to Sant Joan de Déu, an area with plenty of restaurants, bars and other establishments on the ground floor of the buildings. You can probably imagine how busy it gets at the height of summer. Here you'll find a statue dedicated to the town's fisherman and, just after passing Carrer de Sant Pere, Casa Barral Museum, located in an old fishing supplies shop where poet, publisher, writer and politician Carlos Barral once lived. The museum, which was opened in 2004, fulfils two functions: to study and disseminate both the town's maritime past and the literary work of Barral's publishing house. Concerts, book presentations, talks, conferences, writing workshops and other activities are also held here.
Afternoon day 3: Romanesque architecture at the Church of Sant Miquel
© Kim Castells
We'll end our visit to Calafell by visiting the Church of Sant Miquel in Segur de Calafell. It is a little architectural gem that perfectly illustrates the transition from Romanesque to Gothic styles. It is not open to the public but we can admire its façades and take advantage of our visit to explore the neighbouring town of Segur de Calafell.
If you started your getaway to Calafell on Friday and today is Sunday, you shouldn't miss the wide variety of shops and commercial establishments in the town: including everything from clothes, flower, shoe, book and gift shops to hairdressers. Most of these establishments open on Sundays and public holidays, especially in summer. And don't miss the municipal market next to the town's beach where you can buy top quality fresh produce.
WITH THE SUPPORT OF PATRONAT MUNICIPAL DE TURISME DE CALAFELL
Where to stay and where to eat
Home of writer and publisher Carlos Barral and one of the few of the old fishermen’s supply shops left in the village. The centre aims to recuperate and promote the traditions and customs of the seafaring community of Calafell and to promote Barral’s literary and publishing work.
- Pg. Marítim Sant Joan de Déu, 18, (Calafell)
Offering magnificent views over the plains of Calafell, you’ll reach this hilltop castle by walking up along narrow streets with a medieval air. It was built here in the twelfth century during the reconquest and repopulation of the territory against the Moors and the old town of Calafell grew in its sheltering shadow. You’ll see the remains of the medieval necropolis with tombs carved into the rock. Above the church is the comunidor, a square building that was open to the four winds and storms and was reputed to ward off both storms and demons and bless the town. You can still see cannon holes in the castle walls.
- Carrer de les Penyes, s/n, (Calafell)
There are not many places where you can stroll around a reconstruction of an Iberian settlement “in situ”. Following meticulous research, the archaeologists here have reproduced the walls, streets and houses that stood here between the 6th and the 1st centuries BC.
- Carretera C-31 km 141, (Calafell)