Comfortable shoes, water to drink and a camera with a lot of free memory are the key items you need to enjoy the coastal paths ('camins de Ronda') in the Costa Brava. The pathways owe their name in Catalan to the 'rondes' or guards who traditionally patrolled them, following the line of the coast as they kept an eye out for smugglers. Nowadays, however, they're one of the best ways to see incredible landscapes, go for a good walk and discover hidden beaches.
Aiguablava - Begur - Pals
This is possibly one of the most well-known coastal paths, but we couldn't not include it. The starting point is the beach of Malaret, found next to Aiguablava beach. The pathway, which is pretty accessible for everybody, is lined with pine trees, bushes and rocks, and has steps down to the beaches. Indeed what's great about this route are the beaches that you come across along the way such as the beach of n’Estàsia, which has a freshwater spring and from where you can see Cap Rubí, which marks the change of colour of the coast: from green to grey and even black.
The path continues running alongside the coves of Begur and delves through the trees until arriving at the cove of Aiguafreda. Reefs, little islands and wild vegetation are the main features of this route that finishes at the beach of Racó, close to the town of Pals. Before you get there, however, you'll cross the small cove of Sa Riera and the craggy points of Espinuda, Illa Roja and Roca Negra.
From the Roses lighthouse to Almadrava
If you're going with children, this is one of the coastal paths that's most accessible for them as it's straight and not too long, taking about 2.5 hours to walk. The pathway starts at the lighthouse of Roses, situated 24 metres above sea level and constructed during the reign of Isabel II (1830-1904). It's also located just below the castle of La Trinitat, which also merits a visit. Along the path, which is full of rocky outcrops, you'll pass by the beach of Canyelles Petites where you can see (and be amazed by) a little island made up of various rocks (Els Brancs; this is used as a resting-place by various species of birds, such as cormorants.
Continuing along your way, once you've left the beach behind you, the path continues following the line of the sea. Between the beach of Canyelles and the one of l’Almadrava, there are two rocky outposts frequently used by fishermen: the Points of l’Omella and l’Ullastrell.
Finally you arrive at the beach of l’Almadrava, which owes its name to the kind of fishing that's practised there, using traps ('almadraves').
El Port de la Selva - Llança
In El Port de la Selva there are two coastal paths and they're both worth doing. There's one that links the coves of Fornells and Tamariua, while the other connects El Port de la Selva with Llança along the coast. The first is stunning particularly for the beaches that you pass: Cala Cativa and Cala Fornells.
The second one is quite a bit longer (around 5km) but it's really worth it. It starts at the beach of La Vall and follows the line of the coast all the way to the town of Llança. The route passes by the beach of La Colomera and the lighthouse of S'Arnella, located on the peninsular of S'Arnella, a zone that was previously reserved for the military and so escaped the urban development that's affected the majority of the land situated on the local seafront. The silhouette of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes dominates the landscape.
The path continues towards Llança and lets you appreciate certain geographic highlights of the area: cap de Bol, Castellà d'en Lambert island, the Points of Garoter, Podaire, En Feliu and d'en Poc, and the beach of La Farella. If you still need convincing, bear in mind that you'll pass by numerous other beaches as well: Cau del Llop, Les Tonyines, La Farella, Les Carboneres and the cove de la Gola.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols - S'Agaró
The beach of Sant Pol in Sant Feliu de Guíxols marks the start/end of a coastal path that is wide and comfortable, and runs among a variety of vegetation and in front of some amazing houses before getting to the cove of Sa Conca in S'Agaró. The route is meandering and the pines, thickets and spaces designated for fishing are some of the most characteristic features of this path that follows the Point of En Pau to the end of the bay, and the coves of El Vaixell and Pedrosa, the latter of which is a small beach of coarse sand that's open to the south-east.
Further on are the coves of Font and Les Vaques, neither of which have a beach and instead are formed by low rocks and home to numerous sea urchins. At the end of this rocky section, which is noteworthy for the excellent condition of the path, you get to the cove of Sa Conca, a kind of bay closed to the south by the Point of Sa Conca, and to the north by the Point of Pinell. The path continues along the Point of Pinell and Point Prime before ending at the marina of Port d'Aro.
Cala Llevadors - Tossa de Mar
This isn't a flat coastal path and is actually thought for hikers and aficionados of walking, as it runs close to cliffs and there are constant climbs and descents. The pay-off is that there are some fantastic panoramic views.
The path starts at the cove of Llevador and passes by the strait of Sa Boquera, the island of Sa Muladera, the coves of Moltó, En Jeroni, Allà on Raja l’Aigua, Es Sot d’en Cona, Point of Cards, the viewing-point of Cards, and, finally, the beach of Codolar. To put it another way, don't forget to wear good walking shoes, and take a bottle of water and the camera! And don't worry, because all the way along the route you'll find numerous signs and white arrows showing you which way to go. If you prefer, a large portion of this route, you can also do by kayak.
Platja d'Aro - Sant Antoni de Calonge
The rocky point of Platja d'Aro is the starting place for a coastal path that leads to the beach of Torre Valentina. We'll be honest: the actual route is nothing special, but it does pass by some amazing beaches and tunnels with incredible panoramic views, such as the Point of En Ramis, the beach of Rovira, the passage known as El Xuclador, the small beach of Sa Cova, the coves of Pitxot, El Vilaret and El Pi, and the rocky point of Escuits. What's more from the pathway you can see a group of reefs known as Rodones de Dintre i de Fora ('Round Inside and Out'), which appear and disappear with the force of the waves.
The coastal path next continues past the beaches of El Ros, Es Canyers, Belladona and Sant Jordi. This last one is situated in the middle of a rocky outcrop that extends to the isle of the same name. The route then reaches the beaches of Cap Roig, l'Ermita, Ses Torretes, Treumal (Gogó cove) and Can Cristus.
Here, and this is definitely a highlight of this route, the Point of Malpàs links with the cove of Roques Planes. And once you've filled your camera with images of this spot, head on to Torre Valentina in Sant Antoni de Calonge.
Lloret de Mar
In Lloret de Mar there are many fabulous coastal paths. The first one we recommend connects Blanes with Lloret de Mar and passes by various incredible beaches and coves: the beach and Point of Fenals, the cove of Banys, Rompent and Sa Caravera. The beauty of the landscapes of this area also lies in the vegetation and the vertical, grey-coloured cliffs. Unlike the beach of Fenals, the cove of Banys is a deep, rocky spot with many reefs and sea urchins; the same is true for the small cove of Sa Caravera, which is crowned by the splendid viewing-point of La Dona Marinera ('the lady sailor').
The viewing-point of Mallorca, at the end of the beach of Lloret de Mar, is the starting point for another coastal path that is also really worth following: this one links the beach of Sa Caleta with the coves of Els Frares and En Trons, and the Point of Els Cabdells.
A crossing over the road from Lloret de Mar to Tossa de Mar will take you to the coastal path that links the cove of Canyelles with the cove of Morisca, a small spot that's narrow and stony but also beautiful, surrounded by high lands that are rich in vegetation, mainly pine trees. You can get to the cove by some rather steep steps.
The cove of Llorell, which you reach via the main road of the residential estate of the same name, is the starting point for another coastal path, one that runs to the beach of Porto Pi. If you prefer, you can also get to that beach by a boat that leaves from Tossa de Mar.