Catalan Classic Walk
Catalunya is steeped in culture with its traditions and festivals dating back over thousands of years. Rich in mediaeval villages, highlights of this region include prosperous Peratallada, peach coloured Pals and fashionable Begur. The rocky coastline is dotted with pretty fishing villages, crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches which are all perfect to explore.
This holiday provides spectacular, yet relaxed walking and is perfect for people wanting to fit as much as possible into a short holiday. The route takes in the winding, sandy paths of mainland Spain's loveliest coast experiencing frequent glimpses of dazzling aquamarine seas through the umbrella pines, as well as heading inland to discover the truly unspoilt landscape of the Catalan countryside. This is a wonderful region for bird and plant life. Over a third of the countryside is now protected under a government scheme to preserve natural habitats, which means a staggering variety of rare species: golden orioles, booted eagles, purple-shot copper butterflies and colourful wild flowers. Hidden deep in the forests are stunning natural curiosities, including the 5000 year old dolmens and sparkling freshwater springs which drew the first settlers to these parts thousands of years ago.
Our hand-picked hotels include the lovely, family run Hotel Garbi in the traditional fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell which is set on the hillside overlooking the sea. The magnificently restored C14 castle, Castell d'Emporda is perched on a rocky outcrop which affords breathtaking views from its terrace and the Hotel Rosa in Begur is renowned for its food and is only 3km from the sea.
The walking is fairly gentle on well maintained paths and tracks.
Day 1 - Arrive in Calella de Palafrugell
Arrive at your hotel where all Headwater guests are accommodated in rooms with private balcony and sea view. It's just a 5 minute walk to the centre of town where you have so many restaurants to choose from that we've left evening meals here up to you.
Day 2 - Calella de Palafrugell to Castell d'Emporda 17km/11mi/5hr or 19km/12mi/6hr
You start with a 20 minute ride to Mont-Ras from where you have a choice of routes. Both routes take you into the Gavarres hills to visit three dolmens with fantastic views as far as Begur and the Illes Medes, before descending to the peaceful mediaeval villages of Fonteta and Vulpellac. Then it's on to the Hotel Castell d'Emporda which has expansive views across the plain from the terrace by the pool.
Day 3 - At La Bisbal
Laze by the pool or follow our suggested circular walk linking the pretty mediaeval villages of Corca, Monells with a pretty square and lovely choices for lunch, and La Bisbal, a lively market town famous for antiques and pottery. Take time to explore the old quarter including the Carrer de Call, formerly a Jewish ghetto; its intricate arches are still intact today. Alternatively, the local bus goes to Girona and Figueres if you fancy a longer day out.
Day 4 - La Bisbal to Begur 16km/10mi/5hr or 17km/11mi/5.5hr
Gentle walking across the Emporda plain, stopping first at Peratallada, possibly the best preserved mediaeval village in Spain with its beautifully restored arches, arcaded passageways and lovely shaded squares. Continue through fields bright with sunflowers until you reach peach-coloured Pals, a lovely old village with Romanesque church affording stunning views. The final stretch takes you through pine forest to our family-run hotel in the old town of Begur. The food here is fantastic!
Day 5 - At Begur
Begur is a fashionable hilltop town with C11 castle, impressive villas and pretty, narrow streets made for exploring! it's just 10 minutes by local bus (mid Jun to mid Sep only) or taxi to the coast, where four beautiful sandy coves await: Sa Riera, Aiguafreda, Sa Tuna and, just over the hill, Aiguablava. For people looking for something a touch more challenging, we provide details of a circular coastal walk which takes in all our favourite places.
Day 6 - Begur to Calella de Palafrugell 14km/9mi/4hr or 18km/11.5mi/5hr
Shaded forest paths take you to the lively seaside town of Tamariu, with a fantastic beach, where you pick up the pretty coastal path, passing rocky headlands and chic Spanish resorts en route to Llafranc, with spectacular views from the San Sebastian lighthouse. Enjoy lunch in one of the beachfront bars here, where you can almost dip your toes in the water as you eat! Then it's back to Calella, perhaps continuing along the coastal path as far as the botanical gardens at Cap Roig, in time for a swim in the pool or a couple of hours on the beach before dinner.
Day 7 - Leave Calella de Palafrugell
For a longer tour, why not consider combining this with our Catalan Coastal Walk
Where you stay
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.
Hotel Garbi, Calella de Palafrugell (3 Star)
The Hotel Garbi is located on the hillside overlooking the fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell with its own extensive gardens, shaded by pines.
The Hotel is family-run and has a warm welcoming atmosphere where its friendly staff will do their utmost to ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible.
The hotel also has a car park-for anyone who would like to drive to this hotel.
Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.
Castell d’Emporda, La Bisbal (4 Star)
The Castell d'Emporda could not be in a better location, perched on a rocky outcrop with breath taking views from its sun terrace. The building is a superbly restored 700-year-old castle, that is now owned by Albert and Margo, who are both very friendly and speak excellent English.
Each of the hotel rooms has been individually decorated by furniture collected by the owners while they were on their travels around China, India and Morocco.
All of the 38 rooms have spectacular hill-top views, featuring Air conditioning and heating, Fully equipped bathroom, Flat-screen TV, In-room CD/DVD player, Telephone and Mini bar.
Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.
Hotel Rosa, Begur (3 Star)
The Hotel Rosa is a pleasant family run 3* hotel located in the heart of Begur, a hilltop town. It has been run by the same family for over 30 years.
The 21 rooms have a modern and stylish design, all with air-conditioning, satellite TV and telephone. In the bathroom you will find a hydro massage bath tub - perfect for relaxing those aching muscles after a day's walking!
Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.
Transfers included from Flaca train station at 15:47, and back to Flaca train station at 13:15.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email email@example.com to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Reviewed by Mr Tait on 12/09/2016
A beautiful area of Spain particularly the coastline with some wonderful accessible walks . Longer walks can be challenging on the warmer days !
Reviewed by Mrs Chapman on 28/06/2016
A very well considered walking route with accurate and detailed route notes which helped to make the holiday very enjoyable. We opted to stay an extra night in one of the suggested hotels which worked out very well. We liked the independence and choice of pace the holiday presented even though we had the full back up of Headwater representatives there if we had needed them. The rating of 1 boot + for the Catalan Classic tour was appropriate as was the 'at a glance' write up in the brochure. Overall this walk/holiday fulfilled our expectations and introduced us to a lovely part of Spain.
Reviewed by Mrs Steen on 22/05/2016
An excellent walking holiday with a well chosen itinerary and beautiful scenery. Standards of food and accommodation were very high. We all had a great time.
Reviewed by Mr Kaye on 18/05/2016
Outstanding food in lovely hotels. Top class local support, advice and guidance. Stunning walks through fascinating medieval villages, shady forests and patchwork quilts of colourful fields.
Reviewed by Ms Burrluck on 10/05/2016
A pretty perfect holiday. Headwater were very well organised and my reps, Brian and Olivia, were totally fantastic - helpful, very efficient and totally reliable. I was walking on my own and they texted me to ensure I had reached my destinations safely. The walks were wonderful and the instructions very clear. Everywhere I turned there was a picture postcard view. This is a wonderful area of Spain to visit - I did the Catalan Classic Walking holiday and walked every day, even though I didn't have to but there was so much I wanted to see. Wonderful that there was always hot water for a good soak in the bath when I got back to my hotel. I didn't want to come home although, to be honest I couldn't have kept up the walking for many more days.
Reviewed by Mrs Ritchie on 02/05/2016
We enjoyed this holiday enormously although we spent quite a bit more than 5 hours on the walks between hotels so we didn't take the recommended walks on the days in between. The first walk is the hardest.
Reviewed by Mrs Satterthwaite on 13/10/2015
Great fun. Our reps were extremely helpful. We will definitely do another walking holiday.
Reviewed by Pro Davies on 11/10/2015
The holiday was disappointing. Onward travel from Barcelona airport was so awful the thought of having to make the return journey hung over the rest of the period, such that I changed my flight and went home a day early, using bus rather than train. If you use Passeig de Graca station you need to supply the timetable - there is no way of identifying if you are catching the right train (and there's a train every 2 minutes) and it is an awful place to wait.
Reviewed by Mrs Johnson on 23/09/2015
Really enjoyable week with everything thought of and attention to detail. Excellent route notes.
Reviewed by Mr Sadler on 21/09/2015
The representatives Katie and Jim made the holiday truly wonderful. They were extremely helpful with nothing too much trouble.
Reviewed by Mis Smith on 17/09/2015
This was our first Headwater walking holiday, and it has definitely lived up to our expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of walks, as well as the cuisine and rest day activities. Jim and Katie are excellent reps, and definitely contributed to our memorable experience. Many thanks!
Reviewed by Mr Russell on 24/08/2015
I joined this vacation basically to walk through some lovely countryside and to see a lot of historic buildings in Spain. That was pretty much what I got. But in addition very enjoyable stays at the hotels where the staff all spoke great English and were really helpful. The guides made some very useful suggestions that saw me undertake day 2 hikes on day 1 and 2 . Good advice for the middle of summer and it enabled me to get back in time about 3.30 to enjoy the wonderful situation of Castell de Emporda. The Coastal phase was beautiful and after the completion of the hike and I stayed a few more days at Begur.
Reviewed by Mr Collins on 27/06/2015
A good mix of scenic, coastal, country and historic town locations for both walking and overnight stays. Introduced us to a lesser known area of Spain. While most of the walking had excellent scenery and moderate challenges, some sections were slightly tedious on tracks/roads rather than paths. However these were marked walking routes on the published maps, and it is difficult to see what alternatives were viable to get you to the next place of interest. No gain without pain! Walking instructions were excellent throughout.
Reviewed by Mr Jackson on 18/05/2015
First time and we loved it.
Reviewed by Mr Beal on 25/04/2015
On our holiday we found the attention to detail and the help from the reps was outstanding. The detailed route notes in particular were very helpful and made the walking a pleasure. We will definitely travel with Headwater again.
Reviewed by Ms Morgan on 29/09/2014
We had a wonderful holiday. The walking was a dream and took us to so many beautiful places we had never heard of. Two of the hotels were a bit basic for accommodation and we would have liked to have the option at Hotel Rosa to upgrade to a suite if we had known. Garbi first day the room was basic but on the last night we had a great room, much larger and with a view. Will be back....
Reviewed by Mrs Holmes on 27/09/2014
An interestingly varied holiday with wooded hills, inland country and scenic coastal walking, giving a good taste of the area. We particularly enjoyed walking via some of the beautiful mediaeval villages included in the route of the second walk. Also, we really appreciated having route notes for some suggested 'rest-day' walks, especially as this holiday is relatively short. The three hotels were also quite different and all had a charm of their own - we thoroughly enjoyed each one. This holiday would suit those looking for variety and a balance between activity and rest. The walks were well constructed, with some challenging sections, but not too exhausting, so there is a sense of achievement at the end of the day and tired legs are soon revived by a gentle swim and a good dinner! Thank you, Headwater, for a great holiday and we hope to be back for another one.
Reviewed by Mr Banham on 18/09/2014
Interesting and varied walking through delightful countryside with visits to and refreshment stops in beautifully preserved historic villages. Each day culminated in a stay in excellent accommodation, the highlight of which was the 3 nights we spent at Castell d`Emporda.
Reviewed by Mr Bird on 22/07/2014
See comments on rail travel, and specifically Headwater's absence of advice. Naturally people from the UK expect a similar experience to using the rail at home, and while this assumption would be valid for rail travel in France, Germany, NL etc, Spain was very different.
Dear Mr Bird, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We were pleased to see that you scored your holiday overall as good to excellent. However, it was disappointing to see that you encountered issues navigating the Spanish rail system. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. In order to improve the experience for future customers, we have been working closely with our local agents. With this in mind, we are pleased to advise you that for the 2015 season we will be pre purchasing all Spanish rail tickets. This should alleviate the time spent queuing and ensure a smoother trip through the Spanish region. Whilst we realise this does not help you personally. We do hope that it goes some way to show we take your feedback seriously. Yours sincerely, Headwater Customer Service Team
Reviewed by Mrs Wakefield on 11/07/2014
We really enjoyed this holiday. Moving from hotel to hotel provides much variety. There was a real problem getting drinks especially at the castle hotel. A welcome drink immediately on arrival at the hotel should be offered especially as people are very tired and thirsty after a long walk in the heat. Also the communication at the Castle Hotel needs to be improved, e.g. no one told us where to go for dinner when it was not outside as on the first evening. However, we really enjoyed the holiday in spite of these little things.
Reviewed by Mr Mcleod on 21/06/2014
Enjoyable. In the inland parts the villages were lovely with less interesting walking, but the coastal walking was great.
Reviewed by Mr Gower on 12/06/2014
Great walks. Plenty to see and do. Vegetarians beware.
Dear Mr Gower, Thank you for completing your post-holiday questionnaire and for the feedback you have provided, we have discussed your comment regarding vegetarian meals with the hoteliers. As a result of this they have advised us they will ensure a better variety of vegetarian meals are available for future customers. We are sorry for any disappointment this may have caused you during your holiday and were pleased to see that despite this you had an enjoyable holiday. Yours sincerely, Headwater Customer Service team.
Reviewed by Mrs Price on 30/05/2014
We really enjoyed our Headwater walking in the Catalan region. The walking was a great combination of inland and coastal routes. The mediaeval villages were lovely and at this time of the year not overcrowded. One or two of the walks had some challenging sections, particularly the suggested more interesting route to Begur on Day 4. We are older walkers and although experienced and fit we thought that the long relentless climb should come with a little more warning of the steepness. The weather was perfect for us but on very hot days this section of the route would be very demanding. Otherwise the descriptions of the walks and the routes themselves were helpfully detailed and informative.
Reviewed by Mr Thompson on 22/05/2014
We enjoyed the holiday but did find some of the walks challenging. The accommodation was good but the quality of the food at the Hotel Rosa was outstanding.
Reviewed by Mr Robertson on 22/05/2014
First try at a walking holiday and enjoyed it thoroughly. Would certainly recommend it.
Reviewed by Mr Flanagan on 06/05/2014
A wonderful mixture of healthy exercise,beautiful scenery, fantastic food and friendly people.
Reviewed by Mr Goodall on 17/09/2013
The holiday overall exceeded our expectations. The Hotel Castell d'Emporda in particular is in a stunning location with exceptional service and quality. The food at the Hotel Rosa was excellent. The walking instructions were exemplary and Alan and Linda could not have been more helpful.
Reviewed by Mrs McLaughlin on 20/07/2013
I really enjoyed the holiday. The local rep was excellent as were his directions. He'd obviously put a lot of work into them. The walks were very enjoyable and varied. The Castle Emporda which was the highlight. The hotel in Begur was OK but the location in the town centre was great and the restaurant of higher quality.
Reviewed by Mr Archer on 17/07/2013
The holiday was exactly as described. The route note were absolutely perfect, we did not go wrong on the wrong route once
Reviewed by Mr Lindley on 09/07/2013
good experience well supported both by headoffice and at the resort. hotels were well chosen for quality of room and food. walking varied and interesting and routes accurate. let down by one hotel on one night which we will take up with the customer service team.
Reviewed by Mr Bostock- Smith on 12/06/2013
The holiday was excellent. We were fortunate with the weather and the walks were good. It is a simple task to calculate the costs of the basics in the holiday particully hotel prices. We are therefore paying a significant premium for the convenience and support of having a local guide & his imput into the walk instructions.. What you charge is of course up to you and many will no doubt be happy to pay this premium for the reassurance it provides but we would not regard it as value for money
Reviewed by Mrs Whybrow on 29/05/2013
The holiday was a chance to explore a region in depth and to do walks into deep countryside, which we could never have done without your detailed route notes. Lovely scenery, flowers, butterflies and birds. Some of the walks seemed quite long! - but worth the effort.
Reviewed by Mrs Hilditch on 28/05/2013
Whilst we have had the most brilliant holiday as it was an old school reunion, considering the time in advance it was booked it seemed that the cost did not really reflect our expectation. We paid well over £1000 for a four night trip that did not seem very well tailored to our needs mostly in terms of transfer arrangements. We felt that for a group our size there could have been better transfer arrangements. The walking was very well organised and well marked and our guide whilst he clearly was not used to such a large group of opinionated women (!) he ensured that our needs were met.
Reviewed by Dr Hand on 23/05/2013
My sister and I were looking for a walking holiday which neither of us had done before. This was one of the best holidays I have ever had. The superb organisation from start to finish resulted in an almost totally stress free time. The walks were very thoughtfully planned , varied and a total delight. The scenery and views were spectacular. The area is unspoilt and full of history. The hotels and food were a real pleasure. The local knowledge meant that every aspect of the holiday was chosen carefully to maximise enjoyment. You just couldn't do this yourself. Grilled rep on way back about which holiday to do next. I would highly recommend this trip Marie Hand
Reviewed by Mrs Tromans on 16/05/2013
A very relaxing holiday in superb locations with varied walks & interesting local historical interest. Away from the usual tourist spots. Manageable walking for those not used to walking great distances & very helpful & knowledgeable local rep.
Reviewed by Mrs Winward on 07/05/2013
A fantastic holiday. Alans notes made the self guiding really easy. There was a lovely mix of different types of walks i.e. woodland, coastal, villages. Alan did his very best to plan the walks away from any main roads en route so we had a lovely, safe views and vistas. The Castella D'Emporada was one of the nicest hotels that we have stayed in, in the world. The food in both hotels was excellent. The bags arrived before us, as if by magic at each hotel. This is a beautiful area.
Reviewed by Mrs Scott on 24/04/2013
This was a most beautiful part of Spain and completely unexpected. As we were the first guests of the season our hotels and destinations were not at all crowded. People had time to stop and chat. The weather for walking was perfect at this time of year. Although this was a 'soft' holiday, we found some of the walks quite challenging either in length (Castell d'Emporda to Begur) or difficulty (Cami de Ronda between Begur and Lafranc), but we took our time and shortened walks by taking the odd taxi (phone numbers thoughtfully provided by Alan). We have had many wonderful holidays over he years, both in Europe and elsewhere, but have never been so reluctant to leave an area.
Reviewed by Mr Stokes on 30/10/2012
This was another first-rate Headwater walking holiday. Where do you find such super local reps? Only gripe on this particular trip to Catalonia is that much of the walking was necessarily on paved or unpaved roads rather than footpaths or farm tracks; and with little shade for much of the time this was quite tiring. The area is perhaps better suited to cycling than to walking.
Reviewed by Mrs Garwood on 30/10/2012
Probably the best Headwater holiday we've had. Alan's walking directions were so good we didn't need to refer to the maps. The accommodation was excellent as was the food. The walking was varied through beautiful scenery which included pretty towns & villages, undulating farmland, cork & pine woods & rugged coves.
Reviewed by Mr Kendall on 17/10/2012
Excellent hotels and food. Varied walking that would appeal most to those who prefer to use Tarmac roads and broad well made tracks. Nevertheless there are long sections of vehicle free rough tracks and trails that can give superb views. There are even some small hills. The route notes were the best we have ever used.
Reviewed by Mrs Currie on 24/09/2012
Varied walking through pretty towns and villages and along spectacular coastline. Very nice contrast of accommodation. Excellent food at the Castle; table d'haute was the same each day but there was a choice. Temperatures in high 20's when we were there early September. Our guide Alan rightly emphasised the need to carry plenty of water.
Reviewed by Mr Cooper on 24/09/2012
A successful first holiday! Headwater appears to be a company with a culture of great attention to detail and good organisation but with an eye on the personal touch.
Reviewed by Mr Tuffill on 24/09/2012
We think this was our ninth holiday with Headwater - so you must be doing something right. We really enjoyed this holiday and would recommend it to others. You mark it as a One boot plus walk. I am not as agile as I was so we decided on this level. But there were some bits that were a bit more challenging in my opinion, in particular the coastal path from Begur and the piece of day 6 walk which made a big deal about vertigo - where the real problem was jumping across rocks. So we took the alternative which involved a 2km steady climb, close to scrambling at times to gain enough height to take an alternative trail high up. But, I repeat, we did enjoy the holiday.
Reviewed by Mr Mooney on 23/06/2012
Excellent, well researched, varied walking holiday---no negative points--not even a drop of rain!!!
Reviewed by Mr Gilmour on 25/05/2012
Good walking, good food, good hotels - an all round great experience in an interesting area of Spain. Also, great variety in the walks each day within a relatively small region.
Reviewed by Dr Heneghan on 25/05/2012
Wonderful- one of the best holidays we have had or are likely to have.
Reviewed by Mrs Fuller on 19/05/2012
Absolutely brilliant, really excellent route notes and advise from your rep Alan.
Reviewed by Mrs Best on 19/05/2012
From our postbag
In addition to comments received on our post-holiday questionnaires, we've also been sent the following comments from our satisfied customers.
Mr J Gardner travelled to Catalunya in 2008
My wife and I have recently returned from Headwater's Classic Catalan walk. This is a note to tell you that we enjoyed the walk very much. This was the style of walk that we were looking for.
We were also fortunate to walk one day with your most knowledgeable North American rep, Carol.
The accommodation was excellent and well located - each one very different from the other. We were especially charmed by Castell d'Emporda. The food was excellent at the Hotel Rosa and its location from a walking point of view could not have been better. The Hotel Garbi's picture postcard views were superb.
Ashley was very good. He looked after us well and although we did not need any support from him during the walk it was reassuring to know he was about.
We will certainly consider Headwater as a possibility for a future holiday.
Departure dates & prices
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Self-guided walking, hotel-to-hotel. Managed locally by Headwater employed rep.
Every two days from 20 Oct '16 to 16 Oct '17, for 7 days (6 nights). This holiday departs every 2 days, however non-standard arrivals and altered itineraries may be possible - please call for prices. If extra nights are required during the holiday, it is recommended to have 2 nights at a time. This will ensure Headwater's reps can transfer luggage.
All continental breakfast and 4 evening meals.
Starting your tour
Transfers included from Flaca train station at 15:47, and back to Flaca train station at 13:15.
Enquire about this holiday
Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.