Palamós is one of the best-preserved fishing villages you’ll find anywhere on the Costa Brava, even though these days the entire municipality of Palamos has around 30,000 inhabitants. Famous for its prawns, it’s got a good night life that buzzes down in the town’s old port.
With white sand beaches, hidden coves, and numerous relics of the area’s Catalan and Roman past, there’s much to draw visitors to the town. Surprisingly then, Palamós retains much of the traditional, small-town vibe that’s already lost to other “resort towns” just a little further along the coast.
Sandwiched between the cultural heritage of Empordà and the open sea, Palamós is not only a village, but in fact refers to an entire municipality. Visitors can wander the narrow streets of historic Palamós or head to any one of many neighboring hamlets, such as historic Castell or Monteagut – both of which are worth a trip for their architectural heritage, alone. All along the village’s 7.5 kilometres of coastline, scenic beaches draw sunbathers and shellers. Choose between private coves for total retreat, or join the merrymaking crowds on one of the more popular beaches, with all the amenities on hand.
For more active visitors, Palamós also makes a great base for exploring the area’s natural beauty. Whether by foot or by bike, the town’s well-marked network of footpaths let you meander from the village promenade to the Cala Estreta cove, going by various sites of archaeological or natural interest along the way. As you wander, take in an ancient Iberian settlement, pristine sandy beaches and craggy coastline. Come and discover more about Palamos in our Palamos Spain Travel Guide.
Palamós is a traditional Catalan fishing village that has opened its history up for anyone to enjoy. From the Fish Museum to the daily fish market, where you can buy directly from local fishermen, this town is all about the sea.
Aside from the lovely seafood, don’t skip a simple route around Palamós’ most beautiful sights. Stand on Plaça Murada and gaze at the sea, as literary giants Josep Pla and Joan Gomis did before you. At sunset or sunrise, head to the lighthouse for unbeatable views of the bay and the Gavarres mountains, in the distance. Get there early enough in the morning and you can watch the fishing boats setting off for the day, just as they have for centuries.
Time your trip right, and you can enjoy one of the town’s many regular festivals, as well. Late February or early March bring high-spirited Carnival celebrations. Sant Jordi comes in late April and Sant Joan, the local variation on Midsummer, comes on June 21st. Stick around in late June for the town’s own festival, held the last week of the month.
Things To Do
Castell Poblat Ibéric –Castell Iberian Settlement
Castell 17230 Palamós
Just up the coast from Palamós, visitors can still see remnants from the Iberian village of Castell. The archaeological site, still open to the public, features ruins dating back to the 6th century BC, all the way up to the 2nd century AD.
Barri del Pedró – Peter Neighbourhood
Plaça del Pedró 17230 Palamós
For a taste of local history, start with a wander around the Barri del Pedró. The park of the Augustinian Convent (1568-1835) is the centerpiece of the small, walkable neighbourhood. It marks the spot where the convent once stood, by the sea. Visitors can still see the remains of the ancient convent.
Cementiri de Sant Joan – St. John’s Cemetery
Cami Carrer Vell del Cementiri 17230 Palamós
Just outside Palamós’ old centre, this cemetery ranks among the most historic destinations. There you’ll find the Creu del Portal, a cross that dates back to the late 16th century. Originally built for the Plaça dels Arbres, it has stood at the cemetery’s entrance since 1904.
Paratge de L’Eixample 17230 Palamós
Just as Barcelona has its own “Eixample” district, so does Palamós. Built in the 19th century in response to continued local growth, the word actually means “the extension.” Many of the original buildings still stand, making it an ideal destination for architecture buffs.
Platja Gran – Big Beach
Passeig del Mar 17230 Palamós
As the name suggests, this is the biggest and best-known beach right in town. It stretches about 600 metres long and 50 metres wide, with fine sand. Expect all the amenities of an in-town beach, including lifeguards on duty, restrooms, showers, umbrella rentals, plenty of parking and wheelchair-friendly access paths.
Cala del Morro del Vedell – Morro del Vedell Cove
Carretera de la Fosca 17230 Palamós
On the east side of town, this beach is almost as easy to access as the Platja Gran, but it offers a far more natural landscape. In addition to well-maintained access paths and shower facilities, the beach is especially popular among snorkelers.
Platja de sa Tamardia – Tamardia Beach
Carrer des Codolar d’en Gotes 17230 Palamós
By venturing just a bit further from the centre of Palamós, you can reach this scenic, natural beach, often used as a launching point for small watercraft.
Cala de la Fosca – Dark Cove
Cami Vell de la Fosca17230 Palamós
In a fairly natural environment, Cala de la Fosca stretches 500 metres long and 43 metres wide. Shallow waters extend out a good distance, making it an ideal beach for families with young children, or those looking to wade. Lifeguard service, hammock rentals and restrooms are also provided.
Cala S’Alguer – Alguer Cove
Cami Vell de la Fosca17230 Palamós
About 4 kilometres from central Palamós, this hidden cove is about 30 metres long and just 4 metres wide. It’s primarily popular among local fisherman, who keep their boats there, though the mix of sand and rocky coast also attracts beachgoers in search of more secluded retreats. A visit to S’Alguer is a direct step back in time, for good reason; the fishing village dates back to the 15th century.
Platja de Castell – Castle Beach
Cami de Cap de Planes 17230 Palamós
Surrounded by pine trees and with finely textured sand, the Castell beach is one of the most natural and scenic destinations along the Palamós coast. Despite the rustic setting, it also boasts lifeguard service and public bathrooms and access paths for persons with reduced mobility.
Sant Esteve de Mar – St. Stephen of the Sea
Castell 17230 Palamós
Right alongside Castell’s Iberian ruins, the castle of Sant Esteve de Mar offers an example of the region’s architectural offerings from the 12th to 13th centuries.
Vila-Roma Castell – Roman Town Castle
Monteagut 17230 Palamós
Another relic from the 13th century, visitors to Monteagut can still glimpse remains of the Vila-Roma Castle, on the village’s southern edge. Though it was largely destroyed in 1812 by French invading forces, some of the original walls still stand.
L’Església de Santa Maria del Mar – Church of St. Mary of the Sea
Plaça Església, 2 17230 Palamós
Right in historic Palamós, the Santa Maria church has been the town’s heart since 1417. The iconic tower is a landmark in the old town. Inside, you can find Netherlandish and Catalan art works, from the 16th century.
L’Església de Santa Eugenia de Vila-romà – Church of St Eugenia
Carrer d’Aiguamoix 17230 Sant Joan de Palamós
Built in the 18th century, this church was in fact built on the original site of a 10th century chapel. It sit as the main site of Sant Joan de Palamós, a hamlet located about one kilometer north of Palamós, itself.
Capella del Carme – Chapel of Carmen
Carrer dels Molins 17230 Palamós
Originally built as a hospital for the poor in the 18th century, the chapel has since been transformed into a cultural and arts center. Presently, it contains an exhibition of works by the local painter Ezekiel Torroella.
L’Església de Bell-lloc – Church of the Bell Site
Bell-lloc 17230 Palamós
Built in the early 13th century, L’ Església de Bell-lloc was blessed by Sant Josep Oriol in 1675. Today it stands a bit removed from the old centre of Palamós, and marks the end of a regular pilgrimage route, that locals make every September.
Museu de la Pesca
Zona Portuària, S/N, 17230 Palamós
To really connect with local culture, you can’t improve on a visit to the local Fish Museum. With exhibits in five languages, the museum gives a thorough introduction to the local fishing industry and how it has shaped Palamós’ development and culture.
Espai del Peix
Zona Portuària, S/N, 17230 Palamós
The newest addition to the Fish Museum, this culinary centre introduces visitors to the last stage of the local fishing industry: fresh, local cuisine. Visitors can take part in interactive exhibits, watch demonstrations, sample specialties and learn about local fish and Catalan cooking styles and methods.
Cami del Bell-lloc 17230 Palamós
For wine lovers, Palamós is more than a beach destination. Just inland from the shore, visitors can visit some of Catalonia’s most popular wineries. Finca Bell-lloc is just one example. Winery tours and tastings can be arranged year round, and organic meals are also served on site. All wines grown at Bell-Lloc come with the Empordà regional “Designation of Origin”. You can also stay here, as it is a small hotel.
Where to Sleep
Where to Eat
Mercat del Peix – Fish Market
Carrer Moll Port 5, 17230 Palamós
If you’d like to enjoy the local fishing heritage first-hand, it’s worth visiting the local fish market. Head to the port Mondays through Fridays around 5 p.m. and watch as the local fisherman return to the port with the daily catch. Within about half an hour of their arrival, you can buy fresh fish from the adjoining marketplace.
Mercat Municipal de Palamos – Palamos Municipal Market
Avinguda Catalunya 17230 Palamós
For a fuller array of local specialties, head instead to the municipal market. The simple marketplace is open Monday through Saturday mornings, as well as Friday evenings. On Tuesdays, it’s also the site of the weekly village market, which offers up an even wider selection of items new and old.
Mercat Setmanal – Weekly Market
The weekly market in Palamos takes place on Tuesday, in the morning until lunchtime.