True hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers alike won't be able to resist the opportunity to cross the entire Costa Brava on foot, and this beautiful experience may be enjoyed on the well-maintained Camino de Ronda during any time of the year. This scenic man-made coastal path meanders along a full 136 miles from Blanes to the north of France, and it takes hikers along the hidden beaches and coves of the Mediterranean Sea, through working fishing villages and several charming inland areas and along many historic sites and interesting attractions and activities. Even those who aren't quite up to the full course may enjoy a beautiful hike of a shorter duration, and every section of the trail is well-marked for easy navigation.
A Bit of History
What is today one of the world's most beautiful hiking trails began life as a lookout point for the Civil Guard to retain control of the Costa Brava coastline and stop smugglers in their tracks. The Camino de Ronda was built up in the 19th century using the many footpaths that already wound through the cliffs along the coast. It became exceptionally useful during the 20th century when Spain found itself suffering from harsh economic conditions after the Civil War when the act of smuggling became much more prevalent. Unfortunately, it failed to serve its purpose, and smuggling continued throughout the 1940s and 1950s when Spain suffered from a serious lack of basic foods, necessary tools and many other products. During that time, a few smugglers managed to gain great fortunes from their illegal activities. Once Spain entered into the European Union and regained its thriving economy, the Camino de Ronda was no longer necessary for its original purpose and became a wonderful walking trail for locals and visitors alike.
Camino de Ronda Highlights
Visitors who find themselves on any portion of the Costa Brava may enjoy this hiking trail. There's no charge to take a short hike or the full hike, and many choose to hike on a single stretch to a popular beach or landmark before taking public transportation to another section of the hiking trail. Those who choose to take a multi-day hike will find several places to come off of the trail for a meal or accommodations for the night. These are just a few of the most popular hikes taken on the Camino de Ronda.
- A Weekend for Beginners: The portion of the trail that begins at Palamos, travels through Calella de Palafrugell and ends at Tamariu is perfect for those who are looking for a fairly easy trek with some of the area's best views and popular locations. The entire hike is at just over 11 miles, and most visitors enjoy spreading that out across two days and one night. Highlights of this hike include la Fosca Beach, which boasts the ruins of Castle Sant Esteve; the powerful Sant Sebastia lighthouse; a medieval watchtower; the remains of an ancient settlement and the incredible beaches of Castell and Golfet.
- A Pleasant Day Hike: Those who aren't interested in more than a day hike may enjoy the trek from Sant Feliu de Guixols to Palamos. This hike is just under 11 miles and may be accomplished in less than six hours. Expect to walk along clifftop trails with sensational views and along several gorgeous beaches, including one nude beach, that usually call for a bit of sunbathing and swimming. The trail also meanders alongside extravagant communities filled with incredible mansions and a canal that boasts many luxurious yachts.
- A Short and Spectacular Hike: The trek from Cadaques to Cap de Creus is only about 4.5 miles, and it may be enjoyed in as little as three hours. This is a popular hike for couples and families who are traveling with school-age children, and there are many picturesque views and interesting sites to explore along the way. These include the Hermitage of Sant Baldiri, the Salvador Dali house and museum, a working lighthouse and several beaches and capes. The children will love a lunch-time stop to eat at one of the beach cafes and a bit of time to take a dip in the clear waters or even build a sandcastle.
Ways to Enjoy
The Camino de Ronda offers plenty of hiking stretches that are suitable for even families traveling with young children, and many families combine a day on the beach with a short hike on the connecting trail. Those who wish to set out on a longer hike have the choice to begin anywhere that they like, and there are also many trusted tour companies that are available to provide guided or self-guided tours. It's important for each hiker to have an idea of their physical limitations before beginning a hike, and it's advisable to bring plenty of water and sunblock for a safe and pleasant experience.