Take Figueres, the capital of the county of Alt Empordà, as your starting point, and while you’re there take your chance to get to know every corner of this town, which was the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and home of the Dalí Museum. Then drive out southwards along the N-II, and when you come to the crossroads with the C-31, take that road to get to Torroella de Fluvià.
Then turn off along the GIV-6216 and go along to Sant Tomàs de Fluvià, a priory dating from the twelfth-thirteenth century with a collection of major paintings. Very close by you will also find Sant Miquel de Fluvià, a former Benedictine monastery dating from 1045. If you would like to visit it, ask for the key in the shop opposite.
Go back to the C-31 and follow the route to Verges, a pretty village on the Empordà plain, and from there go on to Torroella de Montgrí. Stop off there to visit the town with its castle and old quarter, as well as the coast which is just a few kilometres away. To get there, take the GI-641 to L’Estartit, where you can enjoy the Illes Medes, a group of islands of great natural wealth that you can explore from a boat or by going diving.
Carrying on along the way:
Go back to Torroella de Montgrí town centre and take the road to Pals. Stop off in this medieval village, which still retains the full essence of olden times and where one still finds intact buildings such as the Clock Tower, the Sant Pere Church and the El Pedró look-out point.
Go back the way you came, but before you get to Torroella de Montgrí turn off down the GI-651 towards La Bisbal d’Empordà. You will then go through a number of charming little villages: Sant Julià de Boada, with its pre-Romanesque church; Palau-sator; Peratallada, another picturesque medieval village; and Canapost, presided over by the Church of Sant Esteve and consisting of two juxtaposed buildings, a pre-Romanesque one and a Romanesque one. At the end of that road you will come to La Bisbal, the capital of Baix Empordà county and a major pottery and shopping town. Stroll around the streets there and have a look at the wide variety of ceramic items that are produced here. If you would like to take away a craftwork souvenir of your trip, this is the best place to get one.
Then take the C-664 to Cruïlles, another medieval village featuring a former Benedictine monastery dating from the twelfth century. Go back to La Bisbal d’Empordà and take the C-66 to Palafrugell. This town has a very active cultural life and was once an industrial centre associated with the cork industry, concerning which it has a museum. It was also the birthplace and for many years the home of the writer Josep Pla – in fact a very interesting tour route has been arranged focusing on that writer, taking you around the places that inspired his work.
From Palafrugell you can take any road leading to the coast, exploring the Empordanet seafront, which is the heartland of the Costa Brava. Begur, Calella, Llafranc, Tamariu, Aiguablava, Fornells, Sa Tuna, Aiguafreda... these are among the names denoting the most striking and beautiful villages, spots, coves and beaches to be found along this part of the coast.
Then go back to Palafrugell and take the C-31, which will take you back to the sea via Palamós, a welcoming seaside town with a very busy port. This is the place to visit the Fishing Museum to become acquainted with what was the main economic activity of the towns and villages of the Costa Brava before tourism took over.
Drive southwards along the coast road and you will come to Sant Antoni de Calonge, a tourist centre that is an outpost of the inland village of Calonge. Keep going down the coast until you come to Platja d’Aro, the commercial and leisure centre par excellence. Drive along the large shop-lined avenue out to the other edge of the town where you will find signposts telling you that your are entering the municipal district of Sant Feliu de Guíxols. Stay on the main road, which ends at the sea, the town’s nerve centre.
The monastery of Sant Feliu de Guíxols.
This Empordà town with its stately buildings marks the boundary of the Empordà
county on the south side. Have a look around the seafront area and see all the Modernist buildings that appeared during the golden age of the cork industry and of the summer residences of the well-to-do. Don’t forget to visit the Benedictine Monastery
, with its compendium of architectural styles resting on a Romanesque foundation, or its museums: the City History Museum
, the Sea-Rescue Museum
, the History of Toys Museum
and the museum
featuring a collection of cava sparkling-wine cork seals