End of winter trip to Spain; an area which we had not visited previously but would bear some similarities to walking we had experienced further south. A web surf yielded ‘Catalonia Adventures’ a company specialising in graded walking holidays. Importantly, this destination would also provide the opportunity to travel by train, my personal preference.
Days 1 & 2 Palau Saverdera – two loops
After a day of trains from St Pancras to Paris Gard du Nord, lunch, then south from Gard du Lyon we arrived in the evening at a rainy Figueres station. Steve picked us up and drove to Palau Saverdera a village on the west slopes of La Selva del Mar a line of hills you can trace with your eye north west to the Pyrenees. The hotel Nieu Du Sol was in the ’boutique’ style being well appointed and relaxed, a restaurant kindly stayed open for us.
The first walk took in the obvious ridge overlooking the village. It looks promising from below, so as we walked out of the village on surprisingly dry agricultural tracks to the south eastern end i was looking forward to the interest the ridge would provide. After passing through a local development of villas a faint track winds up a rocky shoulder to gain the undulating ridge line. The track threads its way between the rocky protrusions and spikey vegetation to avoid potential technicalities gradually gaining height which after an hour or so you arrive at the highest point with full views of the castle ruins just beyond, Pyrenees and bay of Roses. Following lunch we descended to the Monastery and merged briefly with GR11. We met a Canadian couple who were on CA tour joining us later at the hotel, they had ascended from Port du Selva. We joined a road at the monastery which we followed towards a small church then hopped onto a track arriving at a viewing/picnic area. The route now turns round as you head back traversing a good track with views across to the bay of Roses arriving at another church attached to the hillside. After a short stop we descend a broken rocky gully which takes you directly back to the village. A magnum was purchased before resting ourselves ready for the french restaurant down the road in Palau.
The second day was pleasant but not really remarkable, other than to say we walked up the hill, went round and round, then descended the hill, weather was fine apart from a strong northerly wind.
Day 3 – Palau Saverdera to Cadaquete
This walk transferred us to the coast and our second stop over. We headed out on the track we took on day 1 presuming the prescribed route would take us the same way, i quickly realised that i had misunderstood the distances and subsequently ended up taking a diversion. Annoyed with myself i concentrated on the route which led us into a valley with a pool. We stopped there before continuing up the track. A steep exit up a gulley was hot and arriving on the plateau i looked around and wondered about whether the route taken was the best, a attractive ridge to the right appeared to have continuous views. After taking lunch behind the remains of a stone house we continued through cultivated land before arriving at a road. Here the prescribed route goes a bit shabby, a vague track through partially cultivated land and a busy road section…..not good. From the road junction we join establish track descending into Cataque. Its the weekend and there are visitors about. Our hotel is at south end of this pleasant coastal town.
Day 5 – Roses to Cadaque
Following our day off, we caught a bus to Roses a comparatively modern town. We follow the red and white GR marks along the sea front which follow the sea front which gradually turns to a narrow path clinging to the rocky coastline. We leave behind the developed areas on an established path winding along through pine woods inter-dispersed with beaches and coves. The scenery is reminiscent of other Mediterranean coasts although the geology is not limestone but a dark shaley rock. After a few stops we cut across a headland, becoming aware of the distance we have covered the building heat of the day. A final descent into Cadaque and a beer, this was a good day.
Day 6 – Cadaque to Cap De Cruz
This is a ‘there and back again’ trip to the furthest point east on the coastline and also the start/finish of the trans Pyrenean GR9. On a cloudy cool day the walking was mostly unremarkable along stoney tracks inland from the coast. The Cap has a lighthouse and two pleasant café’s. We had a drink and walked back.