Long and lovely, the coastline of Calella has been attracting visitors for over 50 years. These days this town is pretty cosmopolitan, holding special days in honour of its foreign residents and visitors. Calella is somewhere to consider if you want bustling nightlife, golden beaches that go on for 3km, and a place that has been given the honour of being a Catalan Family Holiday Destination.
In the landscape it’s the lighthouse that dominates, standing around 50 metres in height on a green premontory. Throughout the town you’ll find a blend of old and new, and if like me you gravitate towards the historic, it’ll be the old quarter that will appeal to you. Calella and it’s more modern side, has plenty to offer those who like to shop and enjoy the good things in life.
Not only is the town one of Catalonia’s Family Holidays Destinations, it’s also conveniently located around 69 km from Barcelona airport, and 160 km from Reus airport. In fact this town was one of the original Catalan towns to think about families and their needs during the all-important holiday of the year. Calella started developing accommodation aimed at families in the 1960s, and today it’s made a great success from its tourist business. Its top-quality beaches have various leisure services close by, suitable for both the younger and older family members.
Calella is well known for its festivals, which also focus on families quite a bit, and no matter what time of year you come there should be something happening. There is a fantastic Renaissance Fair, International folklore days, Sardana dancing, traditional goods and handicrafts fairs.
There’s no doubt that this stretch of the Barcelona coast has been transformed into a lively holiday area. Of course it has the natural beauty of its beaches, but over the decades a range of conveniences have been added to ensure that both young and older visitors will find Calella to be a great family holiday location. These days Calella as also been certified as a Sports Tourism Destination, by the Catalan Tourism Agency.
Beaches often have play areas close by for the children, with inflatable toys and other things to do, and during the season the town has a lot of tourist entertainment organised. This includes music, festivals, and handicrafts aimed at all of the family. In the summer there is even a mini disco on the sand on Friday, plus foam parties on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and children’s workshops on Mondays and Wednesdays.
In summertime not a day passes by without something fun and interesting being arranged on the beach. For example on Tuesdays and Thursdays there’s a foam party and on Mondays as well as Wednesdays there are workshops for the younger family members. No doubt your children will be happy to head off to the Friday mini-discotheque, which happens on the sand.
If you visit Calella in the wintertime, there are still things happening ..such as the big Caga Tío, the Live Nativity – Pessebre Vivent, the special carnival for children, the Home dels Nassos. Of course all year round for those who like to connect with nature, there’s a range of routes for walking or biking.
The earliest remains can be dated back to around the 1st century BC, and some correspond to Villa del Rosario, which was a Roman town. However the name, Calella, is only first documented around the early part of the 12th century.
In 1327 the city was given the privilege of holding its municipal market. Royal protection was given to all the marketers, and in 1338 Calella received the title of being a town. Citizens were categorised into three different categories, which were prominent (the wealthy), tradesmen and labourers.
Further privileges led to the development of fisheries and urban growth continued. In 1525 the Pope gave permission to build a church, so the work commenced on the parish church in 1528.
During the 17th century, the town stagnated because of place and wars. However economic growth picked up again. This meant that in 1718 there were 768 inhabitants, but by 1787 there were 2637. The traditional fishing and agricultural activities expanded due to the construction of ships.
The last third of the 18th-century saw the golden age of overseas trading, triggered by the liberalisation of trade with the colonies of America. A number of new streets were added to the town by the end of the century.
Larger ships were constructed from 1854 onwards. In 1861 the first train arrived to Calella. The first few decades of the 20th century was another golden age for town, which was to be damaged by the Spanish Civil War. From the 1970s onwards Calella started rising in importance as a tourist destination.
Things To Do
El Mercadal La Plaza – Market Area Main Town Square
As mentioned previously in the history section, Calella enjoyed privileges to hold their market from 1327. It was in the main square that the market would take place every Wednesday, and if you can imagine at that time it was the only market between Caldes and Santa Susanna. The square was where the main life of the city took place.
Ajuntament Vell de Calella – Calella Old Town Hall
Plaça de l’Ajuntament 1-3
Since 2008 the old Town Hall has been a cultural centre. In fact this building and site have served a variety of purposes over the centuries, from being the first hostel of Calella in the Middle Ages, to being a bakery and then a butcher. In the 19th century the building was refurbished and converted into the town hall.
El Far de Calella – The Lighthouse of Calella
The symbolic lighthouse of Calella opens to the public at different times depending what period of the year you visit the town. Its construction commenced on 9th October 1856, and it was inaugurated a little over 3 years later on 15th December 1859. Its light can reach a distance of around 35 miles, and the lamp was originally lit by oil in the early days, later to be substituted for paraffin and petrol, and then for electricity in 1927. Today you can enjoy its informative museum for children and adults.
Entrance Fee: €32
July & August Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday 17.00 to 21.00
April, May, June, September & October: Saturday & Sunday 10.00 to 14.00
Platja De Les Roques – Beach of the Rocks
This beach is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, located on the south end of the town. Bathe in transparent waters, which are overlooked by pine trees and cliffs. The beach is nestled in the foothills of the Montnegre Natural Park, and measures 750 metres in length by 25 metres in width. Nudism is allowed.
Platja De Garbí – Garbi Beach
Garbi Beach has consistently received the Blue Flag award ever since 2004. Located just in front of the town’s main hotel area, Garbi Beach has something for everyone. There’s a lovely promenade, which is dotted with exercise points and has a bike lane. The beach is adapted for wheelchairs, plus there are around 8 beach bars to choose from. If you want to jump around a bit, there are 9 volleyball areas as well as 2 beach football areas.
Platja Gran – Big Beach
Another lovely and lively beach is Platja Gran in Calella. This big beach is buzzing during the summer, with all sorts going on. Perfectly placed with the modernist promenade running alongside it, the beach hosts entertainment for both the younger and older family members.
This 1500 metres long by 72 metres beach is possibly one of the best in the local region. Sometimes you can see the traditional Sardana dancing there during the high season, as well as other concerts. Like Garbi Beach, there’s plenty of sports areas also.
Església de Santa Maria i Sant Nicolau – Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas
Plaça de l’Església
In 1525 the Pope Clement VII gave permission for the construction of the parish church of Calella. Building started in 1528 when the land was acquired, and the church was consecrated in 1564. The church is of Neoclassical Baroque style.
Museu Arxiu Municipal de Calella – Municipal Museum Archive of Calella
Escoles Pies 36, Phone: 937 695 102
Founded in June 1959, the Calella Municipal Museum Archive is a multidisciplinary museum. It actually opened because of the initiative of some of the town citizens, who were interested in the history and heritage of their town. In 1978 there was a partial renovation, and the following year the first auditoriums were made open to the public. The Museum has an impressive facade, and it retains a stone parapet and original windows from this 17th-century mansion.
There are many different sections in the museum, however especially if you’re an art lover, you should be impressed by the Gallart Gallery which you can find on the first floor.
Parc Dalmau – Dalmau Park
You can visit the air raid shelter at Dalmau Park. It’s a large park with kids’s play areas and lovely views out to the sea.
Where to Sleep
Where to Eat
As you might expect from a place like Calella, there is no shortage of buyers and restaurants to choose from. From beach bars to fast food joints, and from Catalan cuisine to International cuisine, you should be spoilt for choice. More coming soon …
Festimatge Calella – April
A cultural image festival in April, more information here.
Sardana Dancing Calella – June
More information here.
MORE FESTIVALS COMING SOON …
Calella Festival of St. Quirze and Julita – June
There’s lots going on in June, learn more about this big festival…coming soon
Calella Renaissance Festival – 13th to 14th June
A great time to visit Calella, find out more about the Renaissance Festival…coming soon
Calella Summer Nights July & August
Calella lay on lots of culture and activities during the summer nights, more information here…coming soon
Minerva Festival Calella 19th & 20th September
Another great time to come to Calella, click to know more about the Minerva Festival…coming soon
Calella Oktoberfest 26th September to 18th October
You got it in one – this is Calella’s own beer drinking festival, more here…coming soon