Sunset view of Palamos bay, Costa Brava. Spain
One of the best ways to arrive in Catalonia is by sea, especially via the Costa Brava. This coastline, also known as the Rugged or Wild Coast, stretches from Blanes to the French border. Its name aptly refers to the steep cliff of ancient twisted rocks, which runs its entire length and is bounded inland by the Catalan mountain ranges. The intensity of the coast’s colour, the ruggedness of the rocks and the scent of the plants all combine to add to its attraction. The history of this region is long and varied. Traces can be found of the advanced culture of the Iberians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs. With Wilfred I and the independence of Catalan countries, the Catalan dynasty was born. Later, in 1479, Catalonia became a part of unified Spain following the marriage of Isabel, Queen of Castile, and Fernando, King of Aragon. The port of Palamos, some 36 miles northeast of Barcelona, has been in existence for nearly 700 years thanks to its location on one of the deepest natural bays in the western Mediterranean. The town itself is the southernmost of a series of resorts popular with sun worshippers. For the most part, Palamos has managed to retain some of the charm of a fishing village. The port also serves as a gateway to such inland locations as Girona, the capital of the province. Art lovers may want to visit Figueras, famous for its bizarre Teatre-Museu Dali, the foremost of a series of sites associated with the eccentric surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. If you choose to stay in Palamos, you can enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the town or spend some time at a nearby beach. The town has a long seagoing tradition and busy harbour. The fish auction, prompted by the arrival of the fishing boats, is a spectacle worth seeing. The Fishing Museum illustrates the history and the life of the families who live off the sea.