Thursday 13 December 2012

Aiguablava-Spain | Inviting Coves beneath a Superb Parador.

Aiguablava is undoubtedly one of the several shining jewels of Spain, a wonderful place highlighted by inviting coves beneath a superb Parador, an excellent accommodation part of that great Iberian Hospitality network which since some years ago was created to delight the stay of many tourists in a spectacular scenery exalted by a stunning bay surrounded by a magnificent natural frame in which gentle heights and rugged cliffs dominate a striking gulf, certainly a great place to spend splendid stays and enjoyable holidays without hesitations in a unique corner of the scenic wildest Costa Brava.

Situated in a shady hilly land flanking the Mediterranean and part of the municipality of Begur in a geographical point in which a beautiful coastal stretch of Catalonia in the County of Girona starting from the French border close to the region of the Alt Empordà with it major centre Figueres, well known to host the famed Dali Museum, that magnificent  coastline where the resort lies is since the beginning for its wonderful image something of highly impressive conquering everyone at first sight.

That famed littoral is a ravishing prolongation of the captivating French Côte Vermeille,the "vermillon coast" in the region of the French department of the Pyrénées Orientales a stupendous jagged coastline which from the attractive town of Portbou descends towards south and ending in the vicinity of the river La Tordera which embraces the Mediterranean forming along its entire picturesque stretch a fabulous succession of striking coves, tiny gulfs and beautiful inlets all to immortalise in thousands of beautiful pictures.

The denomination Costa Brava is closely linked to that and the seaside resort and it derives from a nickname or better an appropriate name born by one of those inspirations of  a Catalan poet,writer,politician and journalist called Ferran Angulló i Vidal native of San Feliu de Guixols who decided to visit that site several times. 

It was in 1908 when that man who was working for a newspaper of Catalonia called La Veu de Catalunya,the Voice of Catalonia had the idea to call that superb coastline with the current name which translated means wild coast for its virgin,rugged aspect and image.

All that happened since the times of the first long walks of that character who spent  hours and hours in the boundaries of that neighbourhood of Begur contemplating  that striking bay packed by those marvellous and inviting coves in that small coastal hamlet offering views of a sublime beauty.

Situated just 37,0 kilometres from his birthplace, the current seaside resort had for him the perfect profile of the right place which perfectly identified and reflected the features of that designated denomination in all its essence with its genuine, true, intact fabulous image.

That eclectic figure was well known for his brilliant creativity and intuitions to capture the interest of many people with detailed articles which fascinated several readers and his decision to give that name to that coastal paradise including describing the smallest territorial details of Aiguablava enchanted several travellers totally bewitched and impatient to reach and admire in a day especially during weekends that striking site.

Apart that very interesting and captivating story the astonishing beauty with protagonists a vast marvellous mix composed by scenic cliffs, shaped rocks,small  promontories,wild landscapes and marvellous sandy beaches lining uncontaminated waters, accompanied by a mild climate during 365 days a year alongside that magic coastline always inspired someone.
It is not a case that the magnificent Costa Brava  conquered a multitude of illustrious and prominent characters and it is enough to mention some illustrious names, such as  Picasso,Chagall,Dali and Gaudi who found in the stupendous heaven a unique site transmitting them genial inspirations.

Those notorious figures found there the perfect habitat to create something of important as some of their successful works but also ordinary people totally enchanted by that paradise had the divine inspiration to return in Aiguablava more than once because it is so easy to fall in love with a place like that with the desire to repeat an unforgettable experience.

The name Aiguablava means Blue Water and it is  the composition of two Catalan words such as Aigua meaning water and Blaiva, an adjective deriving from the substantive Blau corresponding to Blue and that tonality of the waters of that  magnificent resort completely confirm all that.

Located in a very attractive gulf  formed by charming inlets along a jagged coast the picture of that site could be represent a giant poster to be exhibited without hesitation in a Tourism Fair filling an entire stand or protagonists of a great promotional spot to show all the immense fascination of that corner of the Iberian Peninsula .

Despite its size that Catalan centre also has an interesting history to narrate. Originally born as a humble fishing village with just some scattered houses arranged in proximity of its shoreline, historically fisheries activities have always represented  the main local resource since the times of the first established settlement in a period in which that land suffered several of incursions and raids by pirates and corsairs in the Middle Ages.

The locals due to all that were often obliged to escape finding refuge on the local heights or reaching the hilly inland of Begur and Esclanyà. After a period of constant fear and terror with the Moors ravaging the entire coastline the Franks occupied those territories north of the river Ebro in a long operation of conquest led by the iconic figure of Charlemagne and they started a massive territorial  subdivision and a partition in counties forming a pretty vast land named Marca Hispanica.

That historic event corresponds to the advent of the first Capetan dynasty as influential ruler replaced later by the Carolingians who continued for hereditary rights to be the local landlords with a long succession of  generations of noble figures which also created the former House of the Counts of Barcelona.

  All that happened before the incorporation in the Kingdom of Majorca which integrated  those territories after their conquest in its its domains in that Reign founded by James I of Aragon well known as James the Conqueror in the 13th century. That was that the first chapter of other stages corresponding to the times linking Aiguablava to the Kingdom of Spain with afterwards the reunification of the Spanish Crowns.

 Fishing with a secular tradition continued for a long time  to be a relevant resource despite many locals started to be very active in another as viticulture but due to a terrible phylloxera bacteria which devastated the cultivations many people emigrated to bigger centres and also abroad in particular towards Cuba with a numerous colony native of Begur and Aiguablava who landed on that Island of the Caribbean sea fixing there their permanent residences.

The resort in more contemporary times as the entire country lived the events of the infamous Guerra Civil in, the civil war which took place in the 30's of the of the 20th century with the Spanish dictatorship ended in the 70's living all its modern history linked to Spain.

 The development of the Tourism Industry  with some structures devoted to official incoming operations started with some shy signals around the 30's  and 40's  when people coming from the interior of the county of Girona and in a more limited number also from the city of Barcelona reached that enchanting site deciding to spend there a full day and repeating that more than once during a year.

In those times there were not the modern and comfortable accommodations established years later and the tourism was mainly local with some stays in local camping in the immediate surroundings. 

Never born in that era a concrete solid project to launch advanced services and facilities to attract a relevant tourism in terms og high flows from abroad also because many local municipalities in those times were pretty sensitive to the preservation of the local natural patrimony privileging that than the establishment of giant structures.

 It was a period in which despite those famous articles of Ferran Angulló i Vidal despite had a notable resonance produced a tourism mainly based on full day excursions or no more than a couple of days whie some resorts as Cadaques frequently visited by the previously mentioned artists such as Dali, Picasso and Chagall were more popular and others were increasing their fame with new structures devoted to hospitality but despite that the strong spirit of conservation of the locals won.

 In the next decades Begur with Aiguablava started next to a clever strategy focused to protect its environment a pretty well organised development of services with the establishment of some small accommodations,bars and restaurants but all thal planned in a very attentive way aimed to save the local image. Those two places never permitted in their boundaries an elevation pf huge network consisting in  big Hotels or gigantic complexes.

For its wonderful,picturesque and greatly conserved environment,that place was also chosen as perfect seat hosting a Parador,that kind of special accommodations so famous and extremely demanded all around Spain.

In its chronological history related to the tourism Aiguablava especially became a favourite destination for water sports, an Eden to enjoy diving,sailing,fishing,snorkeling and swimming but always keeping its aesthetic integrity which represents in its kind another beautiful attraction and a local pride.

In the last decades the seaside resort received important flows of tourists coming from abroad who bewitched by the beauty of that Mediterranean heaven after an unforgettable stay decided with immense pleasure to return there in more occasions.

Thanks to its scenic frame Aiguablava has had a notable consolidation in the highest spheres of the Spanish and Catalan tourism industry becoming an instrument to launch as proposal all year and always capturing the interest and preferences of potential visitors who immediately fall in love with that marvellous destination.

Located on a small rocky outcrop dominating a marvellous bay, that borough of Begur is embraced from one side by green hills and on the other by an imposing and majestic rocky promontory.The local environment is packed by pines, a wonderful Mediterranean vegetation and its beach despite is pretty small could be the scene  of an exotic movie, a special  TV spot or protagonist of a documentary showing the sublime fascination of the Mediterranean.

The core of that site is developed behind its captivating small harbour on a wide headland and flanked by a thin peninsula close to Illa Blanca, the biggest islet emerging immediately offshore of the local shoreline and just seven minutes driving from the centre of Begur. 

The scenery is simply outstanding with great protagonists inviting coves beneath the superb Parador which is for its scenic position one of the main local highlights. Those types of superb accommodations classified with the denomination Paradores de Turismo is a network of luxury Hotels which started their activities since 1928 with extreme success and highly regarded by a multitude of tourists for the excellent location, services, facilities and charm they boast.

Many of those charming structures are famous for the historic value of the buildings in which is hosted the hospitality activity of the establishment consisting in historic palaces,mansions, old manors, fortresses and castles but also modern constructions providing all the comforts and located in scenic sites as in the case that of Aiguablava.

They are undoubtedly among the most required and demanded complexes to spend pleasant and enjoyable overnights and in addition they are generally located in geographic points of high historic and natural interest with excellent communications along routes of notable relevance, perfect stages for all people who are enjoying a specific cultural or historic itinerary around the Spanish territory.

All that was since the beginning the mission and philosophy of that Institution born in the 20's which created a network of structures covering with their presence all the national territory including islands focused to delight the guests absolutely  enchanted to spend
more than great stays surrounded by a fascinating magic air and delighted by a total comfort.

They all offer a charming atmosphere,detailed hospitality services,an unique location with access to the most important attractions,a large fan of superb facilities and some of them include in their complexes Spa & Wellness centres, sporting environments as Golf courses and much more.

The Parador of Aiguablava is undoubtedly one of those great accommodations established with that concrete aim,extremely loyal to the spirit of that distinctive philosophy and it is certainly a main local highlight for its scenic setting.

Located in a magnificent and unique position on a picturesque clifftop of a rocky headland and surrounded by pine trees forming a more than attractive frame,it overlooks a stupendous small bay with a shape similar to a little letter U in a point called Punta Dés Muts which translation means the Cape of the mutes, another special natural marvel giving that structure further enchantment and a very marked appeal.

That stunning establishment offers all the most relevant comforts,unforgettable views. views,spacious rooms fully equipped, swimming pool ,sauna, gym, a great restaurant delighting the guests with an exquisite and delicious local cuisine and a fantastic opportunity to reach in a while the beach lined by unique turquoise waters.

That Parador is undoubtedly a great local spot and in addition to the many facilities it provides it is also a right and perfect place for many Companies and Enterrprises  to plan the organisation of meetings,conferences and conventions which can find there a more than apappropriate and inviting habitat as headquarter to celebrate an event of extreme success.

That is a very outstanding choice and an ideal site for many international Organisations with the desire to plan their business campaigns launching their operations in a complex simply perfect for all that and highly suggested for Tour Operators and Travel Agencies specialised in that niche of tourism called MICE who can find in that Parador a marvellous option for their projects.

That selected choice will certainly enchant the participants as a notable and attractive business card,a winning key to conquer all for an exclusive seat with a consequent high appreciation and obviously all that could be linked to a splendid operation related to Travel Incentive with more than successful results including with a further notable feedback. That is another relevant aspect to repeat in future a similar project or simply to have gained the total trust of a client probably for ever.

Also for individual tourists who want something special waking up in the morning and starting a day with those divine views the Parador of Aiguablava is  is certainly a more than a great election of accommodation,generating total satisfaction and extremely pleased to have all around a fascinating environment which is another aspect to take in high consideration.

A mild climate during all year is a further captivating feature to decide to spend a stay with that great opportunity. In Costa Brava never is too cold, spring,autumn or winter in that land are very suggested seasons, that land is always a wonderful destination to have relaxation,  recharging batteries and enjoying several outdoor activities. Summer and in particular the months of July and august as all the seaside resorts in Costa Brava including Aiguablava obviously has a very high occupation. 

Many are the natural attractions all around that beautiful Parador and on one side you will be immediately delighted by Platja Fornells, a splendid beach which reflects the perfect image of the Costa Brava boasting on its magnificent sandy stretch inviting coves and stupendous views. 

Situated in an arched bay over 500,0 metres long, it is an ideal haven for sunbaths and water sports and in its immediate proximity is located the Hotel Aigua Blava,another more than recommended accommodation which also offers all the highest services and comfort.

Crystalline waters and a splendid vegetation above cliffs part of a striking frame around that cala as are called that kind of wild scenic coves, it is absolutely one of the most loved and photographed corners of the Northern Costa Brava.

Simply impressive is also its image overlooking it from the hilly local crest offering an unforgettable view of a seabed simply stunning and furthermore a striking image of a magnificent rocky wall lining emerald waters.All around the presence of many trees complete an  extraordinary natural environment able in a while to conquer and delight every tourist.
In the immediate proximity of the resort there are other attractions, at a distance of approximately half kilometres from the Parador you can admire a spectacular site,the Cala de Tramadiu. It is a marvellous natural virgin cove situated in a small bay immediately beneath the promontory on which is located that superb establishment. It is a shining gem despite its reduced size and in addition that coastal section is greatly highlighted by a series of beautiful inlets and other sheltered coves of a unique charm.

From there you are not far from the splendid resort of Tamariu,another site which worth a visit for its more than attractive gulf and a marvellous beautiful environment.That area is also very suggested for trekkers and cyclists to start excellent routes in a magnificent in -out coast-interior with fantastic views of the local hilly territories so close to the Mediterranean.

Another excellent beach in the immediate surroundings is Platja Fonda, a charming cove located in an arched space totally intact with an opening of approximately 150,0 metres and approximately 35,0 metres wide with a magnificent cliff immediately above it and all around scattered spots of typical Mediterranean vegetation above fabulous turquoise waters absolutely tempting.

Platja de Illa Roja is another beach very suggested, a beautiful sandy stretch well known to be frequented by nudists, a wonderful golden sandy marvel lining blue waters. It is approximately 120,0 metres long with a width in its maximum point of 20,0 metres, pretty isolated but very appreciated for its picturesque location by several photographers.

That cala takes its name which translated means beach of the red island for the presence of a cliff which is a sort of islet but linked to it. It is an attached high rock which at distance appears as an island taking a light red colour when the sun rays fall on it and for that such denomination.

That site is very appreciated for the scenic perspectives it offers from different cardinal points and it faces a high cliff in the inland overlooking it. Also that image is a very great attraction for a multitude of people who have in photography one of their beloved activities.

 Immediately off the centre of the resort, I suggest you to reach a very small but extremely charming headland called Cap Rubí. That point is particularly recommended if you want to enjoy fantastic panoramic views overlooking the entire local bay and admiring at distance from another perspective Punta des Muts. Worth a mention that it is a place especially loved by landscapes painters who can immortalise that image in fantastic artistic works.

 Along the local coastline another great highlight is the presence of small islets which complete the marvellous scenery and continuing towards Cap de Begur  you can admire one of them called Illa Negra,the Black island a rocky sharp islet offshore from Puerto de Fornells. 

It is a special site particularly loved by scuba divers for the wonderful seabed, very recommended also if you love snorkeling and all around you can enjoy a marvellous and picturesque natural Eden where the Mediterranean kisses marvellous shaped cliffs.

All the local area is very loved by many divers who can enjoy the beauties of those deep waters of an intense blue tonality with its wonderful marine flora and fauna rich in particular of octopus of different size and also for a high presence of  cuttlefish.

Furthermore as additional detail which worth a mention is the special formation of stunning marine rocky walls which apart to be an outstanding attraction of that those seabed are object of study of scientists and geologists often focused to analyse fragments and sections of those marvels to detect how many centuries ago they were formed.

In the immediate surroundings you will be delighted by a wide number of other superb beauties as Begur boasting a splendid medieval castle dating back the 11th century highlighted by imposing stoned walls in a scenic position over a a hilly plateau/ That fortress was historically largely destroyed in 1467 during the war against John II of Aragon and Navarre son of the King Ferdinand I. 

 It was  totally rebuilt on the saved foundations and a small section of the walled perimeter but afterwards severly damaged in 1810 during a clash between British and French troops in 1810 and since then it never re-took its former image just keeping some rests of its original structure.

In that centre you can admire fine modernist buildings, some watchtowers erected in the 16th and 17th century to protect that centre against the piratery and the splendid Esglesia de Sant Pere, a Church consisting in a fine example of Catalan Gothic style dedicated to Saint Peter.  

That Religious construction  is an imposing building highlighted by a wide and high facade with a oculus established above a doorway surmounted by a pediment and beneath a symmetric lines of three curved windows.Notable are the strong and defined outlines and the symmetrical composition of the entire exterior layout.

Cap de Begur is another attraction, it is one of the most captivating promontories of the entire Costa Brava, a headland on which every visitor can breathe the real fascination of that wild coast offering panoramic views of superlative fascination.

Aiguablava apart the several chances offered to practise water sports,it is an excellent destination also for all those who loves cycling and mountain bike. In the immediate interior entering in the Alt d´Empordá, you will be fascinated by the presence of many interesting routes reaching the Muntanyes de Begur,a group of heights immediately behind the resort discovering the beauties of a wild inland boasting beautiful places in a natural scenery very suggestive.

 Those outdoor activities are also suggested is the territory in proximity of the boundaries of Torrent in which flows a stream called Riera Bonida and following towards south in direction of Palafruguell you will return along the coast in proximity of the previously mentioned Tamariu.

 I In addition also recommend you to visit Pals located at just 11,0 kilometres from Aiguablava and in that place you can admire a fascinating medieval centre unique in its kind, greatly preserved and boasting a special charm.( In the case you are interested I wrote a post about that place)

Exploring nature and forests in that geographic area is another option  for all the trekking lovers  or simply for visitors who want to enjoy long relaxing walks with many trails very scenic and interesting discovering extraordinary corners very captivating in a hilly environment which will conquer you.

All the area in an excellent gateway to discover many beautiful attractions of Catalonia along  its coast and in the interior with many historic towns and cities as Girona which boasts an outstanding historic patrimony and Figueres well known for the museum dedicated to Salvador Dalí, that prominent surrealist master born in that municipality.
You wil have the chance to visit many interesting villages conserving Romanesque and Gothic masterpieces  all around the region and furthermore the Catalan Pyrenees are not far at all, another option to take in notable consideration. I added below some links with some recommended accommodations and information about the territory if you have future plans to visit that beautiful land.

The local cuisine is another aspect playing an important role delighting a myriad of people for its typically Mediterranean flavours with many delectable plates in which fish and seafood are absolute  protagonists. Superb fresh Mussels,prawn and,tastefully lobsters are certainly among the most appreciated sea products for their high quality and taste.

The Esquixada is a very famous delicious cod salad you can not miss and try the iconic  exquisite Arroz de Marisco, a seafood rice prepared in a style loyal to the oldest traditions while another delight is the Arroz Neigre,a cuttlefish rice which is one of the favourite local specialities loved by many people.

 Another gastronomic highlight is the famed Suquet de Peixe,a fish stew very similar to the Portuguese Caldeirada de Peixe and partially to the famed Zarzuela prepared in Southern Catalonia. It contains as ingredients grouper,sea bream and angler combined with potatoes and vegetables adding to all that pepper,salt and saffron.

In the local cuisine there is a wide use of fresh squid often present in soups,stews also fried accompanied with mixed salads, potatoes or present in assorted trays in combination with seafood and grilled fish.

In that geographic land you will also have the opportunity to taste the delicious gastronomy linked to the immediate interior of the rural area of the Alt d´Empordá famous for its famed cheeses.The use of olive oil,vegetables and garlic is a traditional culinary feature and due to that you can find in the traditional gastronomy the flavours of those ingredients in many local recipes.

The Pa amb tomaquét is one of them well known with the name Pan Tumaca which translation means bread with tomato. It is often present in all the Catalan tables served as appetiser,snack or including as starter. It could be compared to a Bruschetta,prepared with salt,garlic tomato,olive oil on toasted bread. Excellent is also  the Escalivada,a typical plate consisting in a mix of baked eggplants and peppers great if combined with grilled fish.

The Escudella is another notorious traditional dish, a soup made with minced meat cooked with lard,carrots,cabbage,celery,bread, garlic,onion,turnip,potatoes and chickpeas and it is one of the most energetic plates of that territory mainly consumed in winter season.  
The iconic Botifarra is another product very popular, a local sausage with a strong taste used in stews but also grilled. Very famed is a renowned speciality called Arroz amb Botifarra,rice prepared with it flavoured by stock and it is also used in another plate called Botifarra amb Mongetes,a casserole including apart that also beans and spices.

About Dessert do not miss the famed Crema Catalana also called Crema Cremada,the traditional Tortell and the Faona all delectable sweet homemade delights which will satisfy your palate.

Notable is the local production of fine wines with an excellent tradition started since a long time ago.That Catalan territory produces grapes of high quality due to the favourable climatic conditions which thanks to the breezes of the Mediterranean meeting those coming from the nearest hills and those of the Pyrenees all together generate an ideal micro climate supporting the implantation of the vineyards in an ideal soil containing the right compounds for a superb cultivation of very resistant and robust grapes.

Some of the most famous wines are the Negre de Campany, a smooth red wine,pretty appreciated are also  local Sauvignon and Merlot boasting a very high reputation for their versatility, body and texture. Notable is the Blanc de Peralada, very palatable and with a classy fine taste fine white wine and the notorious Garnatxa very similar for qualities and colour to the fine Grenache produced in the nearest French lands of Languedoc-Roussillon.

If you love sweet wines you can try a relevant  Moscatell and for who appreciate other kinds, a notable Malvasia is also part of a vast choice of selected wines always ready to satisfy the most refined palates.

Aiguablava is situated at approximately 60,0 kilometres from  Girona-Costa Brava Airport and you can reach from there the resort in approximately 50 minutes driving along the C-31 national road via Calonge and Vall-Llobrega. A second great option is Barcelona-El Prat de Llobregat Airport located at 145,0 kilometres of distance and driving by Motorway E15 via Badalona and Granollers in about one hour and 40 minutes you will be at destination.

 The Northern Costa Brava will surprise you for that immense number of sheltered marvels each with a very special enchantment,many of them are totally hidden by the human eye and it is a great experience to discover also that because it is like to find a treasure when you least except it and Aiguablava also offers that unique opportunity.

All that makes that resort so captivating and the presence of those inviting coves beneath a superb Parador highlighted by stupendous blue waters will be your golden haven  to spend exciting holidays discovering the beauty of a land that you will never forget.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Accommodations in Aiguablava

Parador de Aiguablava
Hotel Aigua Blava

Recommended Restaurant in Aiguablava

Restaurant Mat i Vent (Parador de Aiguablava)

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Thanks a lot to read and note.