The romance of Catalonia
Costa Brava oceanswimsafari
Friday, July 5 - Saturday, July 13, 2013
Our Secret Spot, Catalonia
Enjoy with us one of the most glorious swim experiences we've ever had -- swim the Costa Brava, in the Mediterranean in the north-eastern corner of Spain, also the coast of Catalonia. In our swims there in 2012, we swam in some the clearest, most energising water we've ever experienced. Swim at "our Secret Spot". And swim from France to Spain -- around a mountain and across the border. In water so refreshing, and so unexpected.
Top it off with the wonderful food of Catalonia and some special cultural experiences -- the Salvador Dali Museum, and Dali's home of 50 years on the Catalonian coast.
Unlike some other operators, we've been to these places; we've swum in this water; we've done these swims; we're familiar with the towns. We know our way around there.
Swims generally are around 1.5-2.5km, apart from our flagship swim from France to Spain, which is around 3.8km. All swims are relaxed, non-competitive, and informal, suitable for swimmers of most capacities and interests.
This is a very special oceanswimsafari. Space is limited.
To see what this oceanswimsafari was like in 2012... click here
Friday, July 5 - Sunday, July 7
Friday, meet in Portbou (pron. "Por-boe"), in Spain, venue for the Transfronterera Swim, from Cerbere in France around Cap Cerbere back to Portbou. Portbou is "the end of the line": the last port of call in Spain before the railway heads under the mountain to Franc, re-emerging in Cerbere, twin towns which are mirror images of each other. Portbou is a pretty little Spanish fishing village, sitting at the end of a fjord-like bay with an equally pretty beach.
Saturday, get to know Portbou, test the waters in the bay, settle into the pace of Spanish village life in the Ramblas in summer.
Sunday, check in for the Transfronterera Swim. Bus it over the mountain -- worth the journey by itself -- then swim back about 3.8km from France to Spain. The course is spectacular. The swim is "uncompetitive", which means there are no places, prizes, or winners, except for all those who do it. This is the only trip available that includes taking part in this very special swim.
After the swim, we'll enjoy lunch under the trees in the Ramblas.
After lunch, jump on the train for our next base -- Figueres.
Casa Dali, Port Lligat
Sunday, July 7 - Wednesday, July 10
We'll base ourselves for a couple of days in, Figueres, Dali's birthplace, the main town in the north of Catalonia, steeped in history and atmosphere. We'll stay at La Rambla, which sits on, er… Las Ramblas, Figueres's grand promenade -- a glorious avenue of trees and town life (Figueres -- "Fiy-ehs" -- is Catalonian for "fig trees"). The Dali Museum is just around the corner, and there are a wealth of cafés and restaurants within a couple of minutes' walk.
Monday, we'll head across to the coast to Cadaques ("Kath-akays"), another beautiful fishing village, but with the terrain of this part of Spain, it's a world away from Portbou. We'll jump on the "Tourist Train", which will take us on an epic journey to Cap de Creus and its lighthouse, with breathtaking views up and down the Costa Brava. On the way back, we'll stop for lunch -- (Try a plate of grilled sardines.) -- on the beach at Port Lligat ("Yigatt"), before visiting Casa Dali, where the artist lived for 50 years with his wife, Gala. When Gala died in 1982, Dali left, never to return. The house virtually is as they left it. Eccentric, idiosyncratic, multi-dimensional, surprising, stunning, even moving in the personal insight it gives you into this legendary artist.
Tuesday, we'll get to know Figueres. We'll go through the Dali Museum -- the artist lies in a tomb in the basement -- and we'll be stunned at the array and the diversity of the artist's work. And we won't miss the annex dedicated to Dali's jewellery. The shopping in Figueres is excellent, too. In an era of globalisation, it's nice to know there still are places that offer a taste of the local. If there's time, check out the dining room at the local hotel, where the table still is set for Dali and his friends, who ate there for lunch most days.
The beach at Cerbere, start of the Transfronterera Swim
Wednesday, July 10 - Saturday, July 13
On the way from Figueres to Llafranc, we'll stop for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, a Michelin-recommended eatery in the medieval town of Madremanya, just outside the regional capital of Girona. You will not believe the food that we'll be served as part of the degustacion menu.
After lunch, we'll continue down the Costa Brava to Llafranc ("Yafrank"), another fishing village although known as much these days as a holiday town, with its broad beach and its perambulating promenade. Llafranc sits on another beautiful bay, surrounded by high hills. Swimming is terrific, and so is the food. Llafranc and the surrounding villages have lots of cafés and restaurants to choose from. In this part of Spain, the coast is a chain of unexpected little bays, most of them with tiny villages nestled into their crux.
On Thursday, we'll swim just down the coast at La Fosca… out from the beach, around the point, into sleepy little coves, and you're a world away from where you started, in a quiet, secluded bay with cottages accessible only by walking or swimming in.
On Friday, we'll visit "our Secret Spot", which we discovered literally by accident when we got well and truly lost during our visit to Catalonia last July. (The best discoveries are those you make when lost.) It's perhaps the most stunningly beautiful beach, headland and swim location you will ever find. Swimming in this part of the world can be hair-raising, with all the boating activity. You must be careful where you swim. But "our Secret Spot" offers a haven from most of this. We want to keep it that way. We're not telling you where it is until you come with us.
Saturday, we'll wind up our tour. Head on down to Barcelona for a few days, perhaps… The options are limitless.
Around the point at Our Secret Spot
oceanswimsafari inclusions -
8 nights accommodation
Breakfast each day
Transfronterera swim entry
Entry to Dali House and Dali Museum
Tourist Train to Cap de Creus
Some meals (lunches at Portbou, Madremanya)
oceanswimsafari swim cap and a pair of View goggles.
Cost: $A2,450 (share), or $A3,600 single
The single rate applies to travellers who wish to occupy a room to themselves.
All our oceanswimsafaris are led by oceanswims.com and Mrs Sparkle (unless indicated otherwise). Unlike others offering tours like these, we've done all these swims ourselves. We've been to the places. We know our way around there.
When you're ready to book, you will need to complete our online booking form... booking form