Filled with lovely coves and blue flag beaches, L’Ametlla de Mar is an unspoilt fishing town on the Costa Dorada, Catalonia. I like the colours of many of these fishing towns and villages, and L’Ametlla de Mar is no exception. Of course it depends on the light and the weather, but the whitewashed buildings that watch over the sea, with its gorgeous shades of blue and green, lapping up against the light golden sand, does it for me. Touches of greenery here and there, with rock formations and of course the fishing boats, make up a very pretty scene. Depending where you are and what way the wind is blowing, you may smell sea salt or the scent of pines – or a mixture!
L’Ametlla de Mar Today And In Days Gone By
Known locally as La Cala (the cove) the people from L’Ametlla de Mar are not called a derivation of the town’s name, as normally happens, but instead are called “caleros” – which would be like cove people.
Apart from the town of L’Ametlla de Mar, there are 4 other towns that lie within its municipality, which are Les Tres Cales, Sant Jordi d’Alfama, Calafat and Roques Daurades. In fact before the 20th century, it was the cove town of Sant Jordi that was most inhabited, because of the shelter the cove of Sant Jordi provides for fishermen and sailors.
I hope you enjoy this L’Ametlla de Mar Travel Guide by myself, I am Jackie, from Dublin and I’ve been living in Spain since 2003. I will be adding more gradually to this guide and others on the site.
Towards the end of the 18th century the “modern” town began to emerge thanks to population momentum of King Carlos III. In the 19th century it started to really grew because of the groups of fishermen who saw it as a perfect place to live. On Christmas Eve of 1891 it was separated from El Perello which marked the arrival of fishing groups from Valencia, who gradually established themselves there.
L’Ametlla de Mar was a prosperous place up until the 1930s when the recession hit, at which stage some inhabitants started to move away to seek work elsewhere. Today it still makes money from the fishing industry, as well as from tourism of course.
It’s a good choice for a holiday by the sea, if you want somewhere that’s neither too small or too big. If you would prefer a bigger beach town, one good option not far away is Cambrils, however if you want to feel the charm of a fishing village, then you should give L’Ametlla de Mar a try. Of course for a much livelier option, Salou is a bit further up the road, and that’s where you’ll find the Port Aventura theme park.
Things To Do
L’Ametlla de Mar Port, Coves And Beaches
Water, sand, sun, fun, watersports, walking with sand between your toes..or climbing over some rocks, or just sitting sipping a drink of your choice – whatever turns you on, once it can be done with a little help from the sea and beach, it’s yours to do here in L’ Ametlla de Mar.
Of course there’s the town’s fishing port, which is entertainment in itself; go there to see the catch of the day arriving and the fish auction take place. Watch the local cats cleverly wandering around to get whatever they can. This is a scene that I love in fishing towns, it’s fun to see the combination of humans with their agendas, cats with theirs and the colours and smells that are part and parcel of a fishing port. You’ll find the fish auction next to the Yacht Club.
Walk along the promenade which joins the Alguer and Pixavaques beaches, plus there are oodles of picturesque coves, with alternating landscapes, some of which are easy to access and others are a bit more adventurous.
With the generous choice of coves and beaches, comes a bountiful variety of characteristics. White sand, stones, lush Mediterranean vegetation and as you walk a little away from the centre, you can admire the dramatic profile of beautiful cliffs against pretty bays of golden sand, and all the time you get the waft of pine and salt scents.
Castell de Sant Jordi d’Alfama – Sant Jordi d’Alfama Castle
Urbanisation Sant Jordi d’Alfama
The remains that you see today are of the Sant Jordi Castle, that was built in 1732/3, as a defense fortress to watch over the sea. However on the original site, the first attempt to build this type of fortress dates back to the 12th century, and this was rebuilt by the Templar Knights in 1201.
Located right in front of the cliffs and beach, the Templar fortress aimed to protect the area from pirates and for the Order of Sant Jordi d’Alfama, it was their first home. On a variety of occasions the castle was under siege, but it wasn’t until 1650 that it was actually totally destroyed. Stones from this building that didn’t break at this time were used in the construction of the castle that you can see today, which is a bit further inland than the original building. When you walk around the castle you can get a tangible feeling of history.
L’Esglesia de la Mare de Déu de la Candelera – Church of the Virgin of Candlemas
Carrer Jaume Balmes
It is thought tjhat the first chapel on this site dates back to 1816, but further work plus an extension where carried out since. All work was not entirely finished until 1960. The church honours the town’s patron saint, the Virgin of Candelmas.
Centre d’Interpretació de la Pesca “CIP” – Fishing Interpretation Centre
Carrer del Port
Visit this multipurpose exhibition centre to soak up more of the marine and fishing culture of L’Ametlla.
El Museu de Ceràmica Popular de l’Ametlla de Mar – Museum of Popular Ceramics of L’Ametlla de Mar
National Road 340, Km 1117 – Phone: 977 486 810
Set in a lovely location surrounded by olive, carob and pine trees, the exhibition of around 4500 ceramic pieces is the largest of its kind here in Europe. Most of the ceramic objects are from the Iberian Peninsula, and when you visit you can learn about the use of ceramics and how they are produced.
Tuna Tour L’Ametlla de Mar
If you stay in L’Ametlla de Mar, or close by, you shouldn’t miss the excellent Tuna Tour. Sail away in a modern 2-deck catamaran and learn all about the Bluefin tuna, it’s history and how they came to be in the sea by L’Ametlla de Mar. You can swim amongst the tuna, and then visit restaurants that serve the very best tuna dishes. This is an adventure, an education and a gastronomic experience all wrapped up in one! It is a fun, spectacular day out.
Rutes de L’Ametlla de Mar (Routes From L’Ametlla de Mar)
There are a few different routes that you can explore from L’Ametlla, such as a submarine route, an olive route, a coastal nature route and an archaeological route.
Ruta Submarina – Submarine Route
Going to the beaches of Estany, Cala Llobeta, Cala Vidre and Pixavaques, this route explores the rock bottom, the posidonia seagrass, the sandy bottom and the habitat and many species that you will encounter along the way.
More information on the Submarine Route
Ruta de les Oliveres – The Olive Route
Explore the olive route in the beautiful countryside around the town, here is further information about this route.
Ruta de Natura a la Costa – Nature Along the Coast
Learn about the natural ecosystems of the area that are well preserved, with a rich diversity of both plant and animal species. Find out more here about this route.
Ruta Arqueològica – Archaeological Route
On this route you can soak up the history of the area, visiting the Sant Jordi Castle, the Via Agusta and the Ribelletes Lime Kilns. Find out more here.
Where to Sleep
Where to Eat
Mercat Municipal- Municipal Market
Browse and buy food, jewellery, trinkets and clothes. In the summer it opens Monday to Saturday in the morning and evenings, and out of season on these days, but only in the mornings.