Travel up the road only 15 km, and you’ll find yourself in France, yet in the town of Llanca you can still immerse yourself in a typical Catalan town. Not only that but it is the kind of picture perfect Mediterranean town, that you could easily find yourself day dreaming about when you should be working! Llança appeals to those who wish to find a more peaceful location in the Costa Brava, where you can still see some of the lovely, magical coves that are some of nature’s very kind gifts to the Costa Brava. The town also has a rich historical artistic heritage, and at the same time is only 62km from Girona (50 minutes drive) and around 160km from Barcelona.
With a population of under 5000, the size of this town is probably idyllic for many tourists – as it is neither too small or too big, so perfect for relaxation. For the moment it’s somewhere where you can still experience the real Catalonia. Llança is surrounded by the Cap de Creus Natural Park, and depending which route you take around the town, and of course the time of year, you can enjoy poppies bloom, yellow and purple flowers, as you walk past some lovely vineyards.
Of course it’s also a perfect location to take customised boat tours, as well is to go diving, and it is also well placed for those of you who would like to do all or some of the Salvador Dali Triangle.
Around 10 minutes drive of the road heading up into the hills, you’ll find the abandoned Benedictine monastery of St. Pere de Rodes. This majestic solemn building is something that you really don’t want to miss.
Within the town itself there really is a wealth of artistic and historical heritage, which includes a Romanesque tower, the Watercolour Museum, the Hermitage, the church of St Vincent, the Abbot’s Palace… to name a few.
For me this is somewhere that you can spend time purely relaxing, because it still (as yet) isn’t overrun with tourists, and has some lovely beaches and coves. Apart from the natural beauty, and some of its important buildings from a cultural, artistic and historical perspective, Llança also has a number of spots where you can feel and imagine days gone by.
1. Refugion – Plaça de la Republica – The Shelter on the former Square of the Republic
Running from the former Plaça de la Republica to Carrers Dins la Vila, this shelter was built in 1938-39, during the Spanish Civil War, and it can hold up to 500 people, making it one of the largest shelters in Llança. The concrete and iron structure is located under the church of St Vincent.
2. Bunker Cap de Ras – Cap de Ras Bunker & Bunker Argilera – Argilera Bunker
The Franco government ordered the construction of bunkers to be constructed, during the Second World War, along the Pyrenees. They were to be used against possible artillery, air and maritime attacks. Despite the large investments that went into creating this bunker system, which was called a P-line defence, they were never used.
The Cap de Ras Bunker has a few features that indicates that it was the biggest and most complex bunker of its type. It includes an underground passage which leads to a cavity which has been carved out of the natural rock, which then leads onto a trench which is around 30 m in length the takes you to the entrance. Both of these coastal bunkers, like the majority of them, was suitably camouflaged with materials that matched those of the natural landscape.
3. Arbol de la Libertad – The Tree of Liberty
Planted in 1870, the name of the Tree of Liberty is connected to the time of the French Revolution of 1789, when trees were planted to symbolise the freedom of the people in public squares dotted around Western Europe. This graceful tree which is around 25 m high, was saved by a local priest, Father Trigàs, in 1939, from Franco’s army who wished to fell the tree. So thanks to this priest the local people and visitors can enjoy the lovely shade it offers in spring and summer time.
4. Islote del Castellar – Castellar Islet
Just off the tip of the town’s harbour, is the former islet that has definitely witnessed numerous phases of the town’s history, and is one of Llança’s characteristic features. There have been plenty of archaeological remains found there, some from the late Bronze Age, and others which suggest that there was at one time, a circular defence lookout tower on the islet. Today you can see the signs of the two bunkers amongst the rocks, which date to 1931 to 1936, the time of the second Spanish Republic.
5. It Would Almost Be A Sin Not To Go To Girona City!
Although you could spend your holiday purely relaxing in this lovely environment, it would be a shame no to take in the great city of Girona, which many people remain in not so blissful ignorance about. So if you do nothing else, I highly recommend a day trip or longer into Girona City.
Things To Do
6. Rodes – Monumental Complex including the Monastery in Rodes Sierra – El Port de la Selva
Camí del Monestir, El Port de la Selva 17489 , Girona Phone: 972 38 75 59
The monastery is a truly exceptional example of Catalan Romanesque architecture. Based in the complex, it was built between the 10th and 11th centuries, to offer lodgings to pilgrims. It’s especially notable because of its immense height, as well is its system of double columns and pillars.
There’s around 7 km of unspoilt coast here, where you’ll find some lovely inviting coves, as well as two beaches. Llança’s main beaches – Grifeu and El Port – are both blue flag beaches.
7. Platja El Port – Port Beach
It will surprise you to find out this beach is actually at the town’s port! The blue flag beach has a nice promenade with some palm trees, and on one side of the port are lovely whitewashed village houses and on the other side the promenade restaurants and shops.
8. Platja Grifeu – Grifeu Beach
Out of all the beaches and coves in the town, this will be the one that gets busiest. It has a lot going for it, with fine sand, good access, free parking close by, and a range of good facilities. However this is the least peaceful sunbathing spot in Llança.
9. Primitivo Recinto Amurallado – Original Fortified Walled Enclosure
In the latter part of the 17th century the entire town was on the small hill near to the Abbots Castle, and it was embraced and protected by its fortified walled enclosure. The perimeter of this fortified enclosure was 200 m and included six defence towers.
10. Molino de Viento – La Torre – The Tower Windmill
The original windmill was authorised to be built in 1643, however there were certain conditions have had to be adhered to. It needed to incorporate a range of defensive features, so that the town could be better protected. This is why the windmill is known as the tower, because it also served the purpose of acting as a defence tower. By the latter part of the 18th century it was been used as a home.
11. Torre del Homenaje – Tower of Homeatge
This particular tower was the principal tower of the Abbots Palace, until around the latter part of the 17th century. So along with other towers it played its own part in the town’s defence system. However when the church of St Vincent was built in the early 18th century, it was constructed against the facade of this, which of course took away from its original impressive presence. That said, the dimensions are still striking enough today, as is the stonework and the Gothic Windows which are on the remaining facades.
12. Torre Romanica – Romanesque Tower
The Romanesque tower is one of the main landmarks of the town. It is in fact the only remaining feature of the original Romanesque church, which was demolished at the end of the 17th century to make room for the new church to be built. The reason was left standing was to use it as the bell tower. It’s an impressive sight, standing almost 21 metres high.
13. Casa Fortificada- Fortifed House
You’ll find the fortified house outside the former fortified enclosure, which dates to the 17th century. At that time the entire town was walled, and there were a series of defensive towers placed around it, however as the population grew the town also grew beyond those walls. So what was once a defence tower, became a fortified house.
14. Iglesia de Sant Geneís del Terrer – Church of Sant Geneís del Terrer
This church is first referred to in documentation that dates to the year 974, and today you can see the remains of its apse, in the shape of a horseshoe.
15. Iglesia Sant Martí de Vallmala – Church of St. Martin of Vallmala
Here you can see the remains of a small pre-Romanesque church, which records say was consecrated in the year 1019. Its apse is the oldest building that still stands today in the town and surrounding area.
16. Capilla de la Mar de Déu del port – Chapel of Mary Mother of God in the Port
Legend tells us that this chapel was built by Joan Tesserres, after surviving a massive storm at sea, in the 17th century. During the storm he had promised to build a chapel at wherever his boat arrived onshore. On one side of the Chapel there is a gorgeous pine grove, and the other side is where you’ll find the old cemetery.
17. Iglesia Sant Vicenç – Church of St. Vincent
This church was built on the same site where there had been a Romanesque church. The locals had been motivated to build the church, because at the time there had been good harvests of olive oil and wine, plus there was a growing contempt for Romanesque art. The church of St Vincent was constructed from 1690 to 1730, and on the 7th/8th of January 1730, it was consecrated. It wasn’t until almost 200 years later that the Bell tower was added, sometime around 1912 to 1915.
18. Ermita de Sant Silvestre – Hermitage of St. Sylvester
This Hermitage may date as far back as the 10th century, because of some of its characteristics, however records first mention it during the 11th century. It has a very early Romanesque architectural style.
19. Museu Aquarela– Watercolour Museum Llanca
Phone: 972 121 470 Website: http://www.mda.cat/en/home
The Watercolour Museum opened in 1989, when the artist J. Martinez Lozano donated around 100 watercolours. Right now the Museum has around 193 watercolour paintings in the collection, and each year this get a tiny bit bigger, because of the donations are made and then new works can be purchased.
The museum aims to protect and promote the art of watercolour painting, to continually enhance its own standing as an important cultural and touristic asset of the area, and of course to protect the name and work of its founder.
To see the opening hours click on Watercolour Museum Llanca
20. The Abbot’s Palace
Originally an 11th century building, this Castle Palace was where the Abbots of Sant Pere de Rodes used to reside, but it was also used as the location to administer justice. Within the walled town, the Palace was one of the most symbolic buildings. In the early part of the 17th century, it was reduced inside and divided, at the time that the church of St Vincent was built on the same site.
21. Cap de Creus Natural Park
Please don’t even think not to go to this spectacular Natural Park, see more here by clicking on Cap de Creus Natural Park.
22. Salvador Dalí Triangle
For the Dalí fans amongst you, you’ll most likely know that you are in his neck of the woods. Click on the Dalí Triangle to see what your options are.