Palafrugell Travel Guide-52 Things To Do
Palafrugell is a municipality in the Baix Empordà region of Catalonia that includes traditional Catalan communities and sun-drenched coastal holiday destinations. What was traditionally a cork manufacturing town, has been transformed into a lively tourist area. The coastal villages, which fall into the municipality, have a wonderful variety of coves and beaches to offer, whereas the town itself of Palafrugell combines culture and commerce. It has a pedestrianised area where you can wander around the walls and the church, plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and museums within a few minutes walking.
Visitors to the area can explore the beautifully preserved medieval village or visit one of the area’s many beaches, from secluded coves to sandy spits. About an hour from Girona’s International Airport, Palafrugell sits on a relatively untouched length of Costa Brava coastline.
Between the buzzing tourist town of Lloret de Mar to the south and Figueres to the north, the area of Palafrugell delivers both idyllic beaches and undisturbed Catalan culture. Plus, local buses provide regular service to other hot destinations along the coast, making it easy to explore the whole Costa Brava from your Palafrugell base.
The municipality of Palafrugell includes Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc, Tamariu and the rural villages of Ermedas, Llofriu.
The town of Palafrugell, itself, is the main centre of the Palafrugell municipality, and offers some of its most scenic historical sights. In medieval times, the city centre was fortified, and you can still find some traces of the walled city’s past form. Plaça Nova is a major centre of city life, as many of the main shopping streets fork off from it, leading you to restaurants, boutiques and plenty of cafes and bars. This is the place to spot the locals dancing the Sardana, Catalonia’s traditional folk dance, during festivals and some Sundays.
From medieval beginnings, Palafrugell has had changing tides through history. Generally a smaller community than Girona to the west or L’Escala to the north, Palafrugell nonetheless became well-known in the 18th and 19th centuries for its cork production – a local boon to Catalan vineyards. While the last cork factory was closed in the 1970s, the industry leaves its trace on the area, with a museum explaining its history and importance to Palafrugell’s growth. For natural beauty, Palafrugell sits on a particularly diverse and enthralling area of coastline, as testified by the sheer range of beaches.
1. Get Some Travel Chi
Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and get some of this special “Je ne sais quoi…” Curious? Check out Calella de Palafrugell Travel Chi
Things To Do
2. Visit The Magical Ruins of Empuries
The gorgeous Ruins of Empuries are around 30km away from the town of Palafrugell. This is one of the most magical, historical spots overlooking the sea that you’re likely to see in your life. For more information follow this link Ruins of Empuries.
3. Can Rosés
Carrer Major, 1-3 17200 Palafrugell
The ancient Rosés House in the town of Palafrugell stands as one of the local sites of foremost historical interest. Built in the 17th and 18th centuries, the structure maintains its original facades, which feature fanciful patterns in relief. Presently, the building serves as the site for the municipal archives as well as the city tourism board and the Ernest Morató Foundation, devoted to the study of the Habanera in Catalan culture.
4. Conjunt Monumental de Sant Sebastià de la Guarda
Muntanya de Sant Sebastià – Llafranc, 17211 Palafrugell
This watchtower complex is among the oldest sites in Palafrugell, with evidence of previous structures going back all the way to the 6th century BC. From the vestiges of the original Iberian structure to the currently standing watchtower (from the 15th century), the monument makes an ideal destination for history and architecture buffs. Visitors can go inside the tower and head up to the roof for excellent coastal views, the same that locals would have taken in 500 years ago, while watching for pirates. Binoculars are available on loan to help you really “keep a lookout”. Indoors, changing photography exhibitions showcase local history.
5. Centre d’Interpretació del Dipòsit Modernista de Can Mario – Can Mario Former Cork Factory Interpretation Centre
Plaça de Can Mario, s/n 17200 Palafrugell
A former cork factory, Can Mario is today restored as a National Cultural Heritage site thanks to the Cork Museum’s efforts. Visitors may tour the grounds, now open as an interpretive center. Climb 35 meters up to the terrace, to overlook the town of Palafrugell and Empordanet. Note the modernist detailing of the factory façade and look up to the towering tank, built between 1904 and 1905.
6. El Golfet – Calella
Carrer Castellets, 2 17210 Palafrugell – See more about this beach by clicking on Calella de Palafrugell Beaches
7. Platja de Tamariu – Tamariu
Passeig Mar s/n, 17212 Tamariu
8. Canadell – Calella
Passeig del Canadell, 17210 Palafrugell – See more about this beach by clicking on Calella de Palafrugell Beaches
9. Cala Pedrosa – between Llafranc and Tamariu
GIV-6542 s/n 17200 Palafrugell
10. Aigua Gélida – From Tamariu
Carrer Illa Blanca s/n 17212 Palafrugell
11. Torre de Calella – Calella Tower
Passeig de la Torre s/n Calella 17200 Palafrugell
Standing against the coast, Calella’s own watchtower rises about 19 metres above the sea below. Used for vigilance and defense, the structure was built in the late 16th century. During the Spanish Civil War, it was occupied and turned into a jail for prisoners of war.
12. Torre del Mas Borrull – Mas Borrull Tower
Paratge Santa Margarida 2, 17200 Palafrugell
Built in the 16th century, this watchtower is in Palafrugell’s outlying neighborhood of Santa Margarida and stands just 13 metres tall. Its squarish base is about six metres by six meters.
13. Torre del Mas Espanyol – Mas Espanyol Tower
Paratge Santa Margarida 19, 17200 Palafrugell
Another historic tower of the Santa Margarida neighborhood, the Torre del Mas Espanyol was built a century after the Mas Borrull tower. It also served both as a lookout and for military defense. Visitors may approach the tower along a stone bridge. A cylindrical tower, it has a diameter of about 6 metres and stands just over 17 metres tall.
14. Esglesia de Sant Martí – Saint Martin’s Church
Plaça Ajuntament, 17130 L’Escala
Palafrugell’s parish church of Sant Martí still stands as a monument to changing architectural styles throughout Palafrugell’s local history. First built in the late 11th century, the church stands right beside Palafrugell’s lively Plaça Nova. The northern wall still bears evidence of the original 11th century construction. Elsewhere, additions were made indoors and out throughout the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors may take in medieval paintings, baroque altarpieces and 20th century additions, as well.
15. Cork Museum
Placeta del Museu, s/n 17200 Palafrugell
Locally known as the “Museu del Suro”, this museum traces Palafrugell’s history through its role in cork manufacture. Exhibitions show off the development of the industry and its local importance.
16. Fundació Josep Pla – Joseph Pla Foundation
Carrer Nou de Palafrugell, 49 & 51 – Website: http://www.fundaciojoseppla.cat/
Founded in 1973, the foundation is a centre of literary heritage. The writer decided to donate his own personal library in order to create the foundation, which also encourages the reading and study of his journalistic and literary work. The foundation organises different activities, such as workshops and routes, temporary and permanent exhibitions.
17. Go To The Beautiful Cap Roig Botanical Gardens
These beautiful historical gardens and castle are a must do …The garden gradually makes its way down to the sea, as one terrace gives way to the next. In July this is where the music festival takes place, which has had some pretty serious names play at it over the years.
Dorothy Webster and Colonel Woevodsky bought the estate in 1927, at which stage they started to design and build the beautiful park and castle. This did not happen overnight, with the work continuing up until 1974.
18. Walk Around The Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park
If you travel around 60km, you can visit the Aiguamolls de l’Emporda Natural Park, which has an interesting landscape and is the second largest wetlands in Catalonia. See more about the park at Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park Catalonia.
19. Go To The Cap de Creus Natural Park
Another natural park to put on your bucket list of where to go when in the area, the scenery here is especially spectacular – it’s about 80km from Palafrugell – click for more information on Cap de Creus Natural Park
20.The Dali Triangle
You have arrived close by to Dalí Country! Within a relatively short distance you can visit all 3 locations which form the Dalí Triangle or just choose one or two. Find out more by following this link to the Salvador Dalí Triangle.
Day Trips From Palafrugell
21. Be Sure To Go To Begur
A hop, skip and a jump away from Palafrugell is the delightful town of Begur, with its striking medieval castle and lovely scenery. It’s around 7km away. For more information check out the Begur Travel Guide.
22. Possibly Go To Palamos!
Another place that is very close by, at a distance of 10km, is Palamos. What started as a village centuries ago, is these days a thriving tourist and commercial centre. However it still manages to blend the old and the new, which stands out especially in the port area.
23. Go To Girona
You need to venture a bit further to go to Girona – but it’s totally worth it. This beautiful hub of history and culture is around 52 km away from Palafrugell.
24. Come Hither To Cadaques
You really don’t need to be a Dalí fan to go to Cadaques. Prettier than most postcards, Cadaques is especially picturesque. The road in and out is a wee bit of a challenge ..but it’s worth it. It’s located around 73km away. For more information go to the Cadaques Travel Guide. Dalí fans may wish to check out the Dali Triangle to see the rest of this tour.
25. Maybe A Night In Barcelona?
About 126km is the cultural and wonderful city of Barcelona. If you like a bit of nightlife it could be worth considering a night over in Barcelona.
Where to Sleep
Where to Eat
26. Come To The Palafrugell Carnival
A superb carnival, with deep roots – which runs before Lent each year. There’s loads of different activities, lots of colour and fun ..and partying!
27. Flowers and Violas Spring
Spring is welcome with music, art and flowers around the private and public courtyards.
28. Fiesta Mayor de Calella – Calella Main Festival – 29th June
As one might expect of a fishing village, the main festival of Calella is in honour of St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen.
29. Cantada d’Havaneres de Calella de Palafrugell – Habanera Singing – 1st Weekend July Normally
Ever since 1966 the tradition of Habana singing has been going strong in Calella de Palafrugell. It all started off with a group of singers who met in the Can Batlle pub, and it was an immediate hit. These days its one of the events Calella is best known for!
2014 Entrance Fee Was €27.50 – Website: http://www.havanerescalella.cat/
30. Cap Roig Garden Festival – Mid July
This is a unique International music festival that is in the most amazing setting and attracts big names, each year.
31. Fiesta Mayor de Palafrugell – Main Festival Palafrugell – 20th July
This festival is the main summer festival and is held in honour of the patron saint of the town, St. Margaret. There’s Sardana dancing, activities for younger family members and lots more.
32. Fiesta Mayor de Tamariu – Tamariu Main Festival 15th August
On 15 August, Santa Maria.
33. Fiesta Mayor Llofriu – Llofriu Main Festival – 3rd Saturday of August
The Llofriu Main Festival happens on the third Saturday of August.
34. Fiesta Mayor de Llafranc – Llafranc Main Festival 30th August
The Llafranc Main Festival is held in honour of Santa Rosa de Lima.
35. Costa Brava Jazz Festival Palafrugell – September or October
These is a jazz festival with lots of concerts dotted around the town. It has a special emphasis on young, emerging Catalan jazz talent.
36. Fiesta de la Garoinada – Sea Urchin Festival
This runs from around the end of January until March, when the sea urchins are at their best. This is not a street festival, but one where many of the local restaurants take part offering special festival menus. These feature sea urchins, but also offer typical desserts of the area.
37. Es Niu – Late October to Early November
A very old and typical dish of Palafrugell, that was made for Lent, and takes 5 hours to cook. It started out vegetarian but has been adapted over the years.
Calella de Palafrugell Markets
38. Shop Like A Local
The Calella de Palafrugell daily market is on from Tuesday to Saturday, which like most towns and villages in the area, offers a good selection of fresh local produce. Shop like a local there and create a special holiday meal or two, if you’re renting accommodation.
39. Sunday Morning Street Market
Sunday morning is for sauntering around after a café con leche (coffee) and browsing or buying in the street market.
40. In July Go To The Habaneras Market
On the first Saturday of July, when the Habaneras singing is happending, there’s a craft market on in Calella de Palafrugell.
41. 19th July to 30th August Go To the Evening Market
This is a craft market during the evenings in Palafrugell, in Carrer Pi i Margall.
42. Wine & Cheese Market Midsummer’s At Llofriu
On the Saturday before the 24th June (San Juan and Midsummer’s) there’s a wine and cheese market in Llofriu, which also coincides with the cork peeling festival.
43. Go For A Round Of Golf
There are a few golf clubs within easy enough reach of Palafrugell – so if you fancy a round of golf you can choose one of the following, which are the closest golf clubs:
Golf Platja de Pals 8.5km – Pals is a lovely medieval town, so this is a great choice – Website: Golf Platja de Pals
Emporda Golf Club 11km – Also within easy reach – Website: Emporda Golf Club
44. Walk The Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc Coastal Path
This is a beautiful coastal path which leads from Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc. To start your walk go to the Canadell Beach.
45. Els Canyers / Sant Roc Beaches To El Golfet Beach – Approximately 30 Minutes
Although not a long hike in terms of time, the path is a pretty rough, coastal path where there are some steep sections with tunnels and steps.
46. Els Canyers Beach / Sant Roc To Els Tres Pins- Approximately 35 minutes
A coastal path which goes around the coast and passes some of the most magnificent parts of Calella.
47. Els Tres Pins In Calella To the Sant Sebastià Hill – Around 40 Minutes
Another coastal path which has some steep sections, with steps and there’s also a section of road. You’re on the GR-92 – you must need to follow the white and red markings, up until Sant Sebastià lighthouse.
48. Cala Pedrosa to Aigua Xelida – 2 Hour Hike
This path goes through the pine forest, along the road which follows the coast and over rocks. You follow the GR92.
49. Go Horse Riding
There are a couple of options relatively close by – in the lingo, you’re looking for a – Hipica. This one however has an English verion of their website.
Hipica Unicorn is in Calonge, which is 14km away – Website: http://www.hipicaunicorn.com/
50. Go Diving In Calella de Palafrugell
Calle Port Pelegri, 2, Calella de Palafrugell 17210 – Phone: 972 615 345 Website: http://www.poseidoncalella.com/index_eng.html
The changing rooms of this dive centre are located only 25 metres from the water’s edge. This is both a professional and family orientated dive centre, and the team are environmentally aware and friendly.
51. Have Water Fun At One Of These Nearby Waterparks
Aquadiver in Platja d’Aro – 21km
Water World in Lloret de Mar – 60km
52. Anyone For Tennis?
If so there’s a club in Llafrance – http://www.tenisllafranc.cat/inici/index-en.html