Palamos to Pals - Dreaming On - Over the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 9, 2022

Palamos to Pals

Many cycle tourers have a theme or goal to encapsulate their trip, such as seeing how many "cols" they can ride or more specialized themes like Tricia and Ken Graham, "Hunting down ancient tractors?" We haven't yet determined a theme or a goal for this trip, but we did come up with one for this week, "How many beaches on the Costa Brava can we see?"  With this goal, today was a success, especially after the wrong turns, as we managed to add several more idyllic beaches to our original, planned route. 

The riding went pretty much as follows: brutal climb over a headland, glorious sail down to a perfect cove, have a snack or a swim then shower, and repeat- 5 times!  Before lunch!  

By 8:30am we were on our way, through Palamos then on mostly dedicated trails to our first stop, Calella de Palafrugell a small holiday resort and fishing village.  A picturesque sandy cove with colourful small boats bobbing in the water or pulled up onto the beach.  Deciding it was too early for a swim, we admired the view over delicious coffees before heading up and over a gentle hill to the next beach, Llafranc.  By now we were ready to join the crowds on the beach for a swim in the crystal clear water.  After a dip and a refreshing shower we climbed back on our bikes and slowly made our way up our first big headland of the day, then zigzagging down to the next cove at Tamariu.  We had a snack there while admiring the beach set against a backdrop of rugged pine covered cliffs.

A digression on navigating.  This morning we were dutifully following the route set out by Rides with GPS, which took us along quiet dirt bike paths and small roads, but then we came upon an a beautifully paved and painted two-lane bike path that seemed to go the right direction, but was not on our mapped route.  We asked a couple coming towards us and they confirmed that it did go directly to Calella, so we abandoned the winding dirt path the Rides suggested and cruised the pavement into town.  Later in the day, leaving Tamariu, we again chose to abandon the Rides route that included 5km of dirt path and followed the sign for cars showing the road to Begur.  Yes it was paved all the way, and about the same distance, but if we had looked at an elevation map we would have seen that the paved road had two extra dips down to the water, and a significant climb.

So, instead of an inland, steady climb to Begur, we found ourselves heading over a very high ridge then down to the Cova del Bisbe, spectacular!  Then up over another headland and down to Platja d'Aiguablava, wow!   Finally we set off for the real climb of the day, grinding slowly on our now empty stomachs to the hilltop medieval town of Begur.  Sitting down for a well-deserved, late lunch we toasted our success, knowing that there was a long, winding downhill to the sea far below, and our night's accommodation.  Before calling it a day, we had to have one more, sunset swim in the turquoise water. 

Today's ride was a perfect example of why we ride the hilly terrain:  yes, the climbs can be gruelling, but the view from the top, the sense of achievement, the feeling of having your heart and muscles working full on, all make it worthwhile, and then you get to coast downhill!  Knowing we have some big climbs in the weeks ahead, today's ride on the Costa Brava was also great training.

The bike trail to Calella.
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The beach at Calella de Palafrugell. The old sailboat was loading for a tour
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An exquisite coffee with a view of the Calella beach.
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Next stop, the beach at Llanca where we stopped for a swim.
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On the beach at Llanca looking back to the town.
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The public shower at Llanca. Most beaches on the Costa Brava are equipped with these, which is particularly appreciated if one still has a long ride ahead.
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Coming into Tamariu beach.
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Over the ridge and looking down to Aiguablava cove
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Starting the long climb to Begur.
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We tried the Crème Catalan at lunch, which was a delicious variation on crème brûlée.
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The Begur Castle, now surrounded by elegant villas.
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The last stretch down to our hotel from Begur.
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The hotel pool looked nice, but we opted to ride the 2km back to the beach for another swim in the Mediterranean.
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Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 94 km (58 miles)

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Kathleen ClassenIt looks absolutely glorious. I couldn’t agree more about the climbing. Such views and a sense of accomplishment and a thrilling descent all wrapped up in a wonderful package.
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonWhat a wonderful day. Ditto everything Kathleen said!
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2 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonYou’ve definitely found a great way to travel! I wish I was a swimmer! Good to hear you found such great paved bicycle paths.
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2 weeks ago