Picnic, friends, a rented boat and able skipper. Half a day starting at Porto Olimpico, a different perspective on Barcelona. Best of all, the beach is empty out here, put down the anchor, jump off the aft, pretty clean water, surprisingly not freezing.
A trip to Menorca. Country lanes, through farm land and scruffy olive trees. Choosing a beach from a list of too many. On the map, not far. On a two direction road wide enough for one, quite far. After an hour the questions start. "Where are we going?" "Why are we going to this one?" "When will we get there?" "How do you know this is worth it?" "Whose stupid idea was this?" Then we reach a parking lot. No beach. No sea in sight. More groans. "AND we have to walk?" "And we don't even know where we are walking to?" "What kind of idiot comes on vacation without a travel book?" We start down the path. People. They say "only 10-15 minutes more." More groans. Then, out of the trees, it appears. Shock and awe. And another question. "Can we come back tomorrow?" Cala en Turqueta. Find it.
Broad, elegant, the footpath winds around the posh penninsula of S'Agaro Vell. Start at the east end of the beach Sant Pol. Then for 30 minutes, a flat walk past many tiny inlets, at the foot of glorious mansions, the wind sometimes whipping, then suddenly quiet in a protected cove. Sant Pol has super fine sand perfect for sand castles. Sa Conca, a secluded curve with that turquoise, totally see-through water. A lovely treat -- lunch at beachside Sant Pol's Taverna de Mar, in big wicker chairs, with opened arched windows and the sea performing percussion (food pretty good, not great, but location is dreamy).
Starting at the light house at sant sebastia, 1.5 hours with steep stairs and slippery inclines, passing cliff top views, pasture land, a small fishing cove, and ending at the beach in tamariu. This was our favorite walk so far!
The Costa Brava begins just over an hour north of Barcelona by car and stretches north to France. Flat, steep, rugged, elegant, solitary, crowded, it’s a mixture of pretty nature and vacation central. We spent our time here following some of the old footpaths etched by fishermen and bootleg patrolmen.
North of Palamos, begin at Sant Esteve de Mar, a ruin at the end of tacky Cala La Fosca and follow the signs to Platja de Castell. An easy walk 45 minutes each way. Platja de Castell is a rustic gem, a large cove, no modern development. 16th century fishing huts, an early 1900s estate and a historic villa dot the beachline instead.
By Maia Pay Ozguc
What it's like to live Barcelona. Impressions. Be curious. Be Barcelona!