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Holidaymakers searching for holiday rentals in L'Estartit also enquired about villas in Begur, villas in Calonge and apartments in L'Escala

L'Estartit/Catalunya - Discover L’Estartit and Baix Emporda

L’Estartit sits at the northern end of the Costa Brava, set against the hilly backdrop of the Muntaya Gran national park and instantly recognisable by the three offshore islands that make up the Illes Medes. A former fishing village, it is now a small and lively town – but one that appears to have escaped the worst excesses of mass tourism further south along the coastline.

With a large sandy beach (one part of which is, gloriously, a free car park) and well-stocked marina, the town is a bustling holiday resort in summer, with a fair number of hotels and campsites. Off peak season, and in the winter months, it’s quieter, but sufficient cafes, restaurants and shopping facilities, remain open for it to be well worth a visit for anyone exploring northern Catalunya at this time.

A pleasant feature is the wide palm tree lined promenade, which runs along the length of the beach and around the marina, adding a ‘ Riviera’ quality to the town.

Common with most towns of the region, L’Estartit has its own busy street market (weekly on Thursdays), and the major civic event of the year is the Festival of St Joan in July, complete with pageants, musical entertainment, a beach bonfire, and very many fireworks.

The sea around and to the north of L’Estartit is a maritime reserve – the first established in Spain – and the consequent growth of marine life has produced what many experts regard as the best sub-aqua diving in the Mediterranean. L’Estartit has become the dive centre for the region, and it’s possible to hire equipment, receive tuition, and rent a boat all year. Glass bottomed boats take less adventurous tourists to view the marine life during the summer.

The area offers almost unlimited scope for walkers, and several good maps of the area are available; it’s possible to complete several hours trekking in the forest covering the headland between L’Estartit and L’Escala. Birds of prey, red squirrels, and wild boar, are seen in the national park, whilst a few kilometres north the Aiguamolls de l’Emporda are rich in wetlands wildlife.

There are several top-class golf courses within easy reach, particularly Golf Gualta (where lessons are available) and Emporda Golf near Torroella, Serres de Pals near Pals town and Platja de Pals at Pals beach.

Just a few kilometres inland of L’Estartit, is Torroella de Montgri, dominated by its own mountain (Montgri) complete with unfinished castle, A mediaeval port until the sea receded, it’s the administrative and cultural centre for the region, with a summer music festival and the Museo de l’Mediterraneo.

Further afield, the ancient hilltop town of Pals is 18kms away, whilst the beach of Platja de Pals is the longest in the region. North of L’Estartit (approx 30 mins drive) is the busy resort of L’Escala, and further along the coast the town of Roses. South is Begur (with another hilltop castle), the coast villages of Sa Riera, Sa Tuna and Aiguablava, and the town of Calella de Palafrugell – the latter not to be confused with Calella del Mar many kms further south!

If you enjoy modern art, there's Figures with the Salvador Dali museum. Dali lovers can also pay homage to the great man and tour his house at Portligat, on the coast near Cadaques, and visit the Gala Dali castle at Pubol. A little further afield, there's Girona, and Barcelona itself, with countless museums and galleries.

Catalunya is steeped in history. The fortified town of Pals and the village of Peratallada are just two of many mediaeval marvels, whilst on the coast just north of L’Escala are the ruins of Empuries, site of both ancient Greek and Roman towns.

Rightly so, Catalunya is famous for its food. Quality restaurants abound, mainly in villages and often in fine old masias, or farmhouses, and are generally good value. Rice is grown in the Pals area and so the local rice casserole (a form of paella) is a speciality; L’Escala is famous for its anchovies. Local Emporda wines – particularly red, or negre – are especially worthwhile.

Written by Paul Davies - Owner of Property 98930 in L'Estartit, Spain

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