“That certainly looks a lot different from the campsites I’ve been to,” commented a friend on Facebook shortly after I posted photos from a weekend camping trip on the Costa Brava, Spain’s wild coast.
I was shocked too when our taxi climbed up to the campgrounds and I saw signs for a swimming pool, laundromat and hair salon.
Is this camping? Yes, Costa Brava-style.
The Cala Llevadó campgrounds are a 1.5-hour bus ride from Barcelona, followed by a 10-minute taxi lift from the closest major city, Tossa de Mar, which is equally exquisite to visit.
A close friend in Barcelona had suggested the weekend away. However, she planned for us to do the laborious 45-minute walk up hill from Tossa de Mar, in lieu of a cab ride–in part to save money, and partly to get some exercise before a weekend of beach-about lazing.
Another way we saved money was to reserve pitches for tents. lt’s €8.95 per adult per night during the high season (June-end of August) on a tent pitch. We had brought tents with us from Barcelona, strapped to our backs like Roman warriors. I had gotten my two-second pop-up tent from Decathlon, Europe’s version of Sports Authority.
If it’s more creature comforts you seek, Cala Llevadó offers bungalows with or without bath and plots for RVs, also referred to as caravans. A bungalow for four, with bath is €115 per night.
When my parents came to visit me in Spain, I had a very different Costa Brava experience. They were paying, so we were able to splurge on a beachside apartment. Looking over the prices though, it made sense, and was relative to the price it’d be to rent a place on the beach on the U.S.’s southern coast–a past family tradition.
After researching places on the Internet and surveying my native Catalan connections, we decided to explore Calella de Palafrugell, a semi-secluded, pretty posh Costa Brava town a two-hour bus ride from Barcelona to Palafrugell, then a taxi ride or another bus journey from Palafrugell to the sleepy seaside spot.
Calella de Palafrugell is known for its Cantada d’havaneres festival in July, which falls on the second Saturday of the month. This year it’s on July 7, 2012. It’s a weekend that celebrates the life of fishermen, with popular sea shanties sung by renowned area performers. The town’s population swells 100 times the normal number, as boats come in, dock and hundreds of people swim to land to enjoy cremat (a Catalan kind of Hot Toddy) and the shows.
Excellent seafood restaurants in Calella de Palafrugell include Sol i Mar at 19 les voltes (best for French fries and the catch of the day) and Sol Ixent on dels Canyers, number 24, which has a multi-paged menu, which includes foie and a fantastic mar y muntaña (surf and turf).
Travel tip shared by wanderlustwrtng