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neatly tucked away out of sight,a secretwaiting to be discovered.Nearby, the hilltop castle town of Begur offers amazing panoramas and hidden alleyways and squares among the narrowstreets of its old quarter.Below, its headland drops breathtakingly to the tiny shoreline villages of Sa Riera and Sa Tuna and beyond to theMediterranean.


The Catalan fishing harbour of Palamós proffers amaze of back streets with hidden tapas bars and some of the best fish restaurants in the area. Thewooded hillsides ofMont Ras offer superb facilities formountain biking through the trees;alternatively the new‘GreenWay’ for cyclists andwalkers links Palafrugell to Palamós via the picturesque country beach of Platja d’en Castell,backed by its protected nature reserve.


Just inland, the hamlet of Vall Llobrega lies quietly amidst vines and woodland and boasts two respected local restaurants.Followthe back road through thewooded foothills of the Gavarresmountains via the hamlet of Romanyà, famed for its two excellent restaurants.


Headingwest towards Girona, the very local village of Santa Cristina d’Aro offers amix of shops and restaurants and a varied range of sporting opportunities.The countryside around the hamlets of Bell Lloc and StMiguel d’Aro is ideal forwalking and cycling.


The Catalan capital,Barcelona, teemswith life and atmosphere,unforgettable architecture,wonderfulmuseums,a Gothic quarter,a thriving port,vibrant ‘ramblas’, the best in shopping, traditional bars and restaurants…and so muchmore.This colourful and exciting city is seemingly inexhaustible and easily traversed via its efficient public transport system.


Local Cuisine Catalan cuisine encompasses flavoursmost of us all love – tomatoes,olive oil,garlic,onions,dried nuts and lots of dried herbs.The Catalans are justifiably proud of their culinary skills and some typical dishes include chickenwith prawns,quailswith grapes, snailswith tomato and chorizo or lobsterwith chocolate.


Mostmeals startwith‘pa amb tomàquet’,bread rubbedwith tomato and garlic and then drizzledwith olive oil and seasonedwith salt.This is often toppedwith anchovies, red peppers or chorizo.


Local Fiestas An important part of life in Catalunya, fiestas range fromlocal village celebrations to large scale organised activities.Most villages acknowledge their patron saint’s daywith a‘feste’.To herald the start of summer, the festivities of Sant Joan are held on the night of 23rd June,with the traditional dessert after dinner being‘coca’a type of sweet bread accompanied by a glass of cava. Informal fireworks are then enjoyed until the early hours. On the National Day of Catalunya,11th September, large scale celebrations take place all around the province,culminating in the dancing of ‘sardanas’ and fireworks into the night.


Climate Catalunya has aMediterranean type climate,with hot,dry summers and mildwinters.While summers are hot and at times humid, in coastal areas the afternoon heat is usually tempered by sea breezes and the influence of the Pyreneesmeans temperatures aremore comfortable than in the south of Spain.


A Besalú S’Alguer


1 23 4 Maçanet de Cabrenys Darnius Lladó Navata


5 Port de Llança


6 Port de la Selvǎ


B


Sant Martí D’Empúries


Flaça C Ullastret Cruïlles D Mont Ras Caldes de Malavella E


Peratallada Torrent


GETTING THERE


Girona is served by the lowcost carriers and is the closest airport to themajority of our houses in Catalunya,being just under an hour’s drive fromthe Costa Brava.Alternatively a range of scheduled airlines and lowcost carriers offer flights to Barcelona,which is less than a 2 hour drive fromour properties.For thosewho prefer to drive, Catalunya is easily accessible by road.


For further information, see pages 184–192.


For reservations call 01954 261 431 or book online at www.vintagetravel.co.uk 15


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