The Camí de Ronda (Camino de Ronda) was a footpath built along the Costa Brava coast to help the Guardia Civil control the coast and stop smuggling.
The origins are located in the 19th century when it was formed from small footpaths through the cliffs along the coast of Catalonia. In the 20th Century, especially in the postwar period, the path acquired great importance as a method of controlling the country’s border, especially in Spain’s challenging economic conditions after the civil war.
However, corruption ensured the route did not stop smuggling. The continuing border controls and economic situation in the 1940s and 1950s, when even essential foods, tools and other products were in short supply in Spain, allowed the few smugglers to amass fortunes. The improvement of the Spanish economy and eventual entry into the European Union ensured the path lost its importance.
And here comes the best part: Much of the route is now a series of public footpaths often connecting tourist beaches and resorts.
Location and routes
The hiking trail is in the heart of Costa Brava, which is a coastal region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain, consisting of the comarques (counties) of Alt Empordà, Baix Empordà and Selva in the province of Girona. Costa Brava stretches from the town of Blanes, 60 km (37 mi) northeast of Barcelona, to the French border.
The trail is normally divided into two routes, as follows:
The linear route runs along the shore for 43 kilometres, from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Begur. It is the shortest and most picturesque.
It is meant to be hiked over the course of two days. You will travel through villages like Platja d’Aro, coves like Mol and Maset, and beaches like Sant Pol and Sa Conca on the first day. From Sant Antoni de Calonge, the Cam de Ronda transforms into a stunning, winding trail that leads to Palamós between the cliffs.
The circular route is much longer (140 kilometres), as it begins and ends inland, in the city of Girona. Although it is suitable for everyone, it is best suited for persons used to longer treks because it is meant to be walked over the course of eight days.
It travels over the rugged Les Gavarres range, skirts the Costa Brava, and returns to Girona via the l’Empordanet plain and Santuari dels ngels peak. Salvador Dal, a surrealist painter, married Gala in this chapel.
Along with picturesque beaches, this pathway also passes through forests, mountains, and old railroad tracks that have been turned into walking paths or Greenways.
There are several local and international touring alternatives available if you would rather travel in a group and have everything planned for you. The group firms also make hotel and meal arrangements for you, and many of them also transport your luggage from one point to the next.
Cami de Ronda seems to be the best option. They offer everything you need, and they have both routes available.
Platja d’Aro to Sant Antoni and Palamós
We stayed for two nights in Platja d’Aro, which by the way was a great discovery. It was originally a small fishing village on the highway between Palamós and Sant Feliu de Guíxols with a 2 km (1¼ mile) long beach but has now become a major tourist resort with hotels and other commercial premises.
On a side note, we stayed at Goetten Apartamentos and we really enjoyed our time. They have modest but fully equipped flats, which include a balcony and air conditioner which have to be requested in advance. The facilities include a pub and an indoor pool. And the location was perfect. In the middle of the best area, with natural shade thanks to the abundance of trees, and only 4 minutes away from the beach and the city centre.
So we decided to take the Cami de Ronda and go all the way to Palamos. We started right at the north edge of Platja d’Aro’s main beach, as shown in the picture above. That part of the trail can be done in less than 2 hours if you go straight without stopping at any of the beaches or calas.
The trail is really beautiful. There are tunnels, parts with pebbles and others with sand, and there is a lot of shade, which is super important if you do it during summer. Along the way, you will pass many calas and beaches (and many of them with chiringuitos in case you need a refreshment or a toilet) such as Cala Rovira, Cala Sa Cova, Cala del Pi, Platja de Belladona, Platja de les Torretes, Platja Torre Valentina and Platja de Sant Antoni. It is worth noting that the trail does not continue surrounding the beaches, and most of the time you need to just cross them walking on the sand and in the middle of people. The good point is that it is fairly easy to find the continuation of the trail, which is also marked with a white and red sign.
The trail is also fairly easy. We even carried an umbrella and we stopped in two beaches for a swim and to have lunch. We took bus number 5 from Sant Antoni de Calonge to go back, which was punctual and fast.
On the way, we stooped at Platja de Belladona for a swim and some rest. We then stopped again at Cala Gogo, a huge beach club with great facilities for a caña and some snacks. Later we had lunch in one of the restaurants on Passeig de Josep Mundet, facing the long and white beach.
It was simply a great way to spend the day, doing some hiking but also swimming and having tapas and cañas.
Additional travel tips and information
- This blog has a very detailed explanation of the full trail with pictures and FAQs.
- Some restaurants I can recommend in Platja d’Aro are
- And if you to go to Palamos, I strongly recommend visiting Can Nicanor, one of the most traditional places you will find, run by its owners.