Once a Fishing Village

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Coastal Hikes in Spain

A Fishing Village along the Cami de Ronda

Cannes, Portofino, Benidorm – nearly all of the famous Mediterranean beach resorts, whether classy or downmarket, were once humble fishing villages.

In some parts of the Mediterranean, there is nothing that could remind the visitor of this tradition – in others, there may still be people standing on the quayside every morning selling fish, but the whole scene feels roughly as authentic as a tribal dance in an “all-inclusive” resort somewhere in South Africa.

Conversely, some places along the Costa Brava, particularly on the stretch between Barcelona and Girona, still boast of fishing villages that appear to belong to another era.

"Calella de Palafrugell seen from the approach of town"

For sure, souvenir shops and cafés have long moved into the premises where fishermen once may have stored and salted their catch, but the villages look as though that had happened only yesterday and the trawler men could all come back at the drop of a hat, while some of them, it appears, have never left …

"Boats parked by the beach of the old fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell"

Calella de Palafrugell, the endpoint of our recent Cami de Ronda hike, is just such a place. The outskirts of the village may already be sprawling half way to the inland town of Palafrugell – nearly all of the buildings in those parts accommodate holiday flats – but the area around the old harbour looks as though it has hardly changed over the last one hundred years.

"Boats parked by the beach of the old fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell"

A great place to end a hike, particularly in the autumn when it is not too crowded, where you can easily find a table in one of the many restaurants or listen to the roaring sea.

"woman contemplating the sea framed by an arch in the fishing village in Palafrugell"

Read about some of our hikes on the Cami de Ronda and don’t miss our latest hikes. Follow us on Facebook or register to get our free updates via email.

If you want to spend your family holiday and hike the Cami de Ronda, we can recommend you base yourself in La Fosca in this vacation rental.

13 comments to Once a Fishing Village

  • Yes, it’s chance scenes like this that make for a good shot.

  • I certainly never think of Cannes as a fishing village – more like the home of the Cannes Film Festival. I love your photo through the window.

  • An acquaintance of mine moved to Palafrugell a few years back, and I remember seeing her photos and wanting to go there. She moved away because it was too cold for her in winter (think she expected year-round 20ºC+ temperatures!). You’ve brought back my desire to see the area!

    We have that same thing here, with the fishing villages of yore filling up with restaurants and/or tourists, but some fishermen still clinging to their lifestyles.

  • It’s things like this that make me wish I had a time machine (and a cloak of invisibility). I’d love to go back and see how famous tourism hotspots looked back in the days when they were humble, working villages.

  • Yeah, looks like a painting.

  • I’m always impressed at how well these fishermen can navigate the waters in these tiny villages. They look like they were born on the water, and can make their boat do anything they want. Super entertaining to watch if you happen to snag one of those tables by the sea.
    By the way, I love the last picture. Beautiful!

  • paramita

    what a nice place! I really wanna go there someday.. it seems like very relaxing to listen the roaring of the sea and enjoy the atmosphere.. thank you for the inspirations.

  • Nico

    It looks like a beautiful place to visit. I really like smaller towns and coastal villages in this part of the world.

  • This brings back wonderful memories of holidays in the med, visiting the sleeping fishing villages was always the highlight. Anything to get away from the crowded beaches that my family seemed to yearn for.

  • Jeremy Branham

    I love fishing villages like this. I’ve been to a couple of them – the Cinque Terre in Italy and Salema in Portugal. While the CInque Terre is now touristy, it still maintains its charm. Same is true of Salema. Also, both have great hiking if you’re interested :)

  • I agree – another great find and another great article!

  • Andrea

    I too, love the coast of Spain, I spent several days in Calldes d’estrac (Caldetta). Was north of Barcelona about half way to France. I really want to go back there, loved the beach, the town, the people. Thanks for a great article.

  • Felix Lee

    What a great place to be. I can just imagine feeling so relaxed with the sea breeze blowing and enjoy a nice meal near the shore. Nice pictures.

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