Castell Montgri, Costa Brava (Part 1) - Al Fresco Holidays

As a Francophile, the beautiful sights of Lake Garda failed to win me over. So I’m afraid the Spanish “Blackpool”s have certainly never appealed. However, Lynda, our campsite rep at Castell Montgri, is so impressed by this area, and the campsite, that she actually put pen to two sheets of paper (remember what those are?). My excitement was obvious when, one morning, in the office back in Bury, the legendary snail delivered an envelope complete with a Spanish stamp in the corner, and my name, “Pauline”, on the front! I’ve just transposed Lynda’s scriptures to print – and am now persuaded that I really must see this region. For nearly 40 years (yes, I’m old!) I have always dismissed Spain, but our campsite rep has succeeded in making me re-think. This is reinforced by her telling me on the telephone, that after a whole season, she and her husband still hope to go back next year.

Over to Lynda:

This is my first time on the Costa Brava. I am a campsite rep for Al Fresco at the Castell Montgri Holiday Parc. Before I came, my idea of The Costas was high-rise hotels, Spanish BBQ nights where you drink Sangria from a jug held a meter above your head, etc…. The TV programme “Benidorm”.

How wrong I was!

Castell Montgri lies at the foot of the Punta de la Barra mountain, in L’Estartit, Costa Brava. “Brava” means “rugged”, and you can see how the craggy, rocky coastline has earned its name. The scenery is spectacular, perfect for sight-seeing and photography. Large bays with sweeping sandy beaches and crystal clear seas, together with hidden tiny coves, accessible only by boat, are sheltered by the huge cliffs and lush green headland, covered in pine and citrus trees.

The climate is mild, even in winter, with very few rainy days. In summer, although blue skies are the rule, the temperature rarely rises above 30C so it’s never unbearable.

L’Estartit, with its picturesque harbour filled with fishing boats, is a 15 minute stroll from Castell Montgri. There are also boats for hire, or for trips. No big fancy yachts here. This place is far too relaxed and unassuming. The many seafront restaurants are nicely decorated and very inviting; and the comfortable bars are very friendly. Behind is the narrow street of shops and ice cream parlours, bustling in the evening. Even in high season, the atmosphere is very pleasant and welcoming. But the main attraction of l’Estartit is its fantastic wide sandy beach that stretches for miles and miles – too big ever to be crowded.

Thursday is market day. The stalls spread down two streets, selling everything from fruit and veg, clothes and leather goods. A great morning out!

The local bus stops outside the Parc. It runs to the neighbouring village of Torroella, which is very Spanish and worth a visit. It then continues to Girona and the airport.

The bus is very good, but I strongly recommend a car to explore the beautiful historical inland villages, especially Peratalla, Pals, Begur and Cadaqués. These are picture-perfect Spanish villages, and a delight to saunter around. Or maybe rest your legs, and tempt your tastebuds with the flavours of Spain over lunch – all within 30 minutes drive.

A one-hour drive will take you to Girona for shopping, or to Figueres, the birth place of the famous painter, Salvador Dali. Here, he created the museum which houses his his world of art and designs. Also in this town is the Toy Museum of Catalonia, with over 4,000 items from all times.

I will write more tomorrow.

Cheers, Lynda (and Keith – my other half – but he doesn’t do the writing)

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