Complete Guide to Hiking the Camins de Ronda (Costa Brava Coastal Path)

The Camins de Ronda are a series of historic footpaths that run along the Costa Brava, one of Spain’s most beautiful sections of coastline. The paths date back more than a thousand years and were originally used by fishermen to travel from village to village.

From the mid-nineteenth century, the paths were used by the police, who patrolled the coastline on the lookout for smugglers. Apparently, the name Camins de Ronda is a reference to these patrols.

Over the centuries, some of the original paths have fallen into disrepair or have disappeared completely due to erosion. The development of holiday resorts and the construction of private houses and apartments have also taken their toll in some areas.

More recently, the remaining sections of the paths have been restored and interconnected with other footpaths, and it is now possible to walk the entire length of the Costa Brava, from Blanes to Portbou, approximately two hundred and thirty kilometres in total.

If you’re thinking of hiking the Camins de Ronda, this post will provide you with all the information you need, whether you’re planning to walk a single section of the path or want to take on the entire route.

Hiking trail along the Costa Brava
The Costa Brava Coastal Path

Camins de Ronda or Costa Brava Coastal Path?

As mentioned earlier, some parts of the original Camins de Ronda no longer exist. Therefore, in order to walk the entire length of the Costa Brava, it is necessary to combine them with other long-distance trails such as the GR 92 and the GR 11. This combination of paths is commonly referred to as either The Costa Brava Coastal Path or The Costa Brava Way. For the sake of clarity, I’ve decided to use the former.

Costa Brava Coastal Path stages

The Costa Brava Coastal Path is typically divided into ten stages, each of which stops at a small to medium-sized town with plenty of accommodation options. Having said that, there’s no reason why you couldn’t extend or shorten stages or skip some stages entirely.

StageFrom – ToDistance (km)Walking Time (hours)
01BLANES – TOSSA DE MAR25.89 km5 hrs 10 min
02TOSSA de MAR – SANT FELIU DE GUÍXOLS23.23 km5 hrs 6 min
03SANT FELIU DE GUÍXOLS – PALAMÓS18.29 km3 hrs 57 min
04PALAMÓS – BEGUR24.12 km5 hrs 32 min
05BEGUR – L’ETARTIT16.5 km3 hrs 15 min
06L’ESTARTIT – L’ESCALA16.5 km4 hrs 15 min
07L’ESCALA – ROSES33.67 km5 hrs 50 min
08ROSES – CADAQUÉS20.82 km4 hrs 51 min
09CADAQUES – EL PORT DE LA SELVA24.26 km5 hrs 39 min
10EL PORT DE LA SELVA – PORTBOU19.41 km4 hrs 14 min
The stages of the Costa Brava coastal path
Arriving at Tossa de Mar on the Camí de Ronda
Arriving at Tossa de Mar on the Camí de Ronda

What to expect when hiking the Costa Brava Coastal Path

The Costa Brava Coastal Path is an easy and picturesque hike. The route takes you to small fishing villages, pristine beaches, medieval castles and numerous rocky coves, many of which are only accessible on foot or by boat.

During much of the hike, you’re walking alongside cliffs shaded by pine forests, offering stunning views of the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean below.

Most of the larger Costa Brava resorts are located in the southern section of the route, from Blanes to L’Estartit. However, this doesn’t detract from the area’s natural beauty. Indeed, many of the route’s most scenic sections are on this part.

From L’Estartit to Roses, the terrain is mostly flat, and you hike along endless sandy beaches and through a wetland nature reserve, which is used by migratory birds.

Heading north from the town of Roses, you come to Cap de Creus National Park, which is a rocky headland, the easternmost point on the Iberian peninsula. Strong winds frequently blow in this area, and the landscape is more barren and rugged.

Finally, the last stretch of the Costa Brava Coastal Path from El Port de la Selva to Llançà is once again flat before the final hilly section from Llançà to Portbou, via the Coll del Frare.

Along the way, you hike on a wide variety of terrains, including gravel footpaths, rocky tracks, unsurfaced forest roads and sandy beaches. There are also a few tarmac sections, mostly in seaside resorts where the route is usually along the town’s promenade or boardwalk.

The Camins de Ronda coastal trail
The more exposed parts of the trail are secured with fences

The trail is clearly marked and isn’t technically difficult. On the sections of the path that run alongside the cliffs, there are normally handrails and steps wherever needed. This is especially true in the southern section, which is the most frequently visited part of the trail.

If this is your first multi-day hike, then the distance will be the main challenge. Most people complete the trail in ten stages, an average of twenty-three kilometres per day. The longest day is more than thirty kilometres, which is quite long despite being mostly flat.

I think allowing at least twelve days is a good idea if you have time. This allows you to have a couple of rest days and take a break from hiking. It’s well worth spending a couple of nights in Cadaques and Tossa de Mar. The Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, near El Port de la Selva, is also worth visiting if you have time.

Guidebooks and planning

The only English language guidebook which covers the entire Costa Brava Coastal Path is Camins de Ronda, the Costa Brava Way by Sergi Lara and Jordi Puig. Now in its tenth edition, it’s an excellent guidebook which includes maps and detailed text descriptions of the routes, as well as photos and information about the towns and villages along the way.

After a short introduction, the book is broken down into chapters dedicated to each of the stages, plus some alternative routes and a couple of extra stages in France.

What I like about this book is that it is equally suitable for people who only want to walk individual sections as it is for people who will be walking the full 230 km. It’s also small enough to fit comfortably into your backpack.

Check availability and current price on Amazon >>

Camins de Ronda near Platja d'Aro
Camins de Ronda near Platja d’Aro

Accommodation along the Costa Brava Coastal Path

The Costa Brava is one of the most popular areas of Spain amongst European holidaymakers, and there are plenty of hotels to suit all budgets. Having said that, outside the main holiday season, which runs from April through to October, many of the larger hotels are closed, so, no matter what time of year you plan to visit, it’s best to book in advance.

I recommend using Booking.com for hotel reservations because many of the hotels listed offer free cancellation, allowing you to book early and then cancel or modify your booking if your plans change.

When hiking, I look for budget hotels in good locations. I figure that since I’ll only be staying for one night, there’s no need to pay for extra amenities, which I’m not going to use. The table below lists the hotels I stayed in when hiking the Costa Brava Coastal Path.

TownHotel
Tossa de MarHostal Codolar
Sant Feliu de GuíxolsHostal Zurich
PalamósHotel Marina
BegurHotel Rosa
L’EstartitMalva Hostel
L’EscalaPensio Torrent
RosesHotel Vela
CadaquésHostal El Ranxo
El Port de la SelvaHotel Agora
Accommodation on the Costa Brava Coastal Path
Old fishermens houses by the beach on the Costa Brava
Fishermen’s huts on the southern part of the trail

If you are looking for maximum flexibility and don’t mind carrying some extra weight in the form of a tent and camping equipment, then there are plenty of campsites along the route. Generally speaking, they are large campsites that mostly cater for families with RVs, caravans or larger tents. Most sites include a supermarket, restaurant, swimming pool and even entertainment for the kids.

During the peak holiday season, from mid-June to the end of August, many of the campsites will be fully booked, so it’s best to phone in advance. Most campsites on the Costa Brava close for winter at the end of October and then re-open again at Easter.

Food and drink

Catalonia is famous for good food, and you will find plenty of dining options for all budgets.

The Costa Brava is especially famous for seafood, but vegetarians and even vegans will always be able to find something to eat, although the latter may find that the choice is rather limited. This is especially true in the winter when many restaurants that cater to tourists close or only open on weekends.

The Spanish generally eat late, and lunch is normally served from 13:00 to 16:00 and the evening meal from 20:00 to 22:00, although there will usually be places geared towards tourists that are open outside these time slots.

Bars (basically small informal restaurants) and bakeries will generally serve French bread sandwiches and pastries from about 7:00 until they close at about 23:00, although they may refuse to serve sandwiches at lunchtime.

Cap de Creus National Park on the northern section of the Costa Brava
Cap de Creus National Park on the northern section of the trail

All of the towns, plus most of the villages along the way, have supermarkets, bakeries and convenience stores where you can stock up as needed, so there’s generally no need to carry more than water and a few snacks.

As mentioned earlier, most of the campsites on the Costa Brava are large and will have a small supermarket onsite, although it will generally be cheaper if you shop in the towns.

Finding your way

You don’t need to worry about getting lost as the entire route is on marked footpaths.

Sometimes, there will be signposts with the names of towns and villages and estimated walking times. Other times, there will be marks painted on trees and rocks indicating the way. Often, there are signs indicating Camins de Ronda or Travessera del Mediterrani.

As I’ve already mentioned, the Costa Brava Coastal Path combines the old Camins de Ronda paths with sections of the GR 92 long-distance footpath and other marked trails.

The GR 92 is marked with white and red parallel lines, as shown in the photo below. When you come to an intersection, the right way will be marked with two parallel lines, and the wrong way will be marked with a cross. Other paths, such as the PR-C 101, are marked in a similar way but with yellow and white marks.

Trail markers on the Costa Brava Coastal Path
White and red trail markers

To make things even easier, I’ve created a series of Wikiloc trails covering the entire route (see table below for links).

Once you’ve installed the Wikiloc app, I recommend upgrading to a premium account, which costs about €10 per year and allows you to download trails and maps offline. This saves on data use and allows the app to function correctly in areas with no network coverage.

If you’re visiting from outside the EU, I recommend you purchase a pre-paid SIM card like this Orange holiday SIM that is available on Amazon and covers Spain and other European countries. Orange generally have good network coverage in Spain.

The table below has links to ten Wikiloc trails, which I recorded when I walked the Costa Brava Coastal Path from Blanes to Portbou during the winter of 2023/24.

Disclaimer: The trails linked below are a record of the route that I walked and are for information only. If you decide to use them, you do so at your own risk. Please read my full disclaimer here.

StageFrom – To
01BLANES – TOSSA DE MAR
02TOSSA de MAR – SANT FELIU DE GUÍXOLS
03SANT FELIU DE GUÍXOLS – PALAMÓS
04PALAMÓS – BEGUR
05BEGUR – L’ETARTIT
06L’ESTARTIT – L’ESCALA
07L’ESCALA – ROSES
08ROSES – CADAQUÉS
09CADAQUES – EL PORT DE LA SELVA
10EL PORT DE LA SELVA – PORTBOU
Tracks for hiking the Costa Brava Coastal Path

You’ll also find that there are plenty of Wikiloc trails by other authors that cover the route. I recommend checking several of them out, comparing them with the maps in the guidebook and deciding which you prefer.

It’s best to choose trails which have been uploaded recently since sections of the trail may have been closed for maintenance or due to erosion. Talking of closures, even if you will be using GPS tracks, it’s still a good idea to carry the guidebook or a map with you in case you have to modify your route along the way.

Fishing boats on the beach at Cadaques, Costa Brava
A cloudy winter’s morning in Cadaques

Getting to the Costa Brava Coastal Path from Barcelona

The stages’ start and end points can be reached by public transport from Barcelona in between two hours and three and a half hours. In some cases, especially when travelling outside the main holiday season, it will be faster to go via Figueres or Blanes and in some cases, this may be the only option.

If you will be travelling directly from Barcelona airport to the Costa Brava, there may be a direct bus available, or you may have to go via Barcelona. I’ve covered this in detail in this post.

Generally speaking, buses from Barcelona to the Costa Brava are more frequent during the main holiday season, from June to September, and less frequent in winter.

It’s difficult to give an exact recommendation, but generally speaking, my preferred modes of transport will be as shown in the table below. However, this is only a general guide, and I recommend that you spend a few minutes checking timetables on the websites listed in the resources section of this post.

DestinationMode of Transport
BlanesRegional train from Barcelona Sants (R1)
Tossa de MarRegional train to Blanes followed by a bus to Tossa de Mar.
Sant Feliu de GuíxolsTake a train to Girona followed by a bus to Sant Feliu de Guixols or a direct bus from Barcelona.
PalamósTake a train to Girona followed by a bus to L’Escala or a direct bus from Barcelona.
BegurTake a train to Figueres followed by a bus to L’Estartit.
L’EstartitTrain to Figueres or Llança, followed by a bus to El Port de la Selva
L’EscalaTake a train to Figueres followed by a bus to Cadaqués or a direct bus from Barcelona.
RosesTake a train to Figueres followed by a bus to Cadaqués or a direct bus from Barcelona.
CadaquésTrain to Figueres or Llança, followed by a bus to El Port de la Selva
El Port de la SelvaTrain to Figueres or Llança followed by a bus to El Port de la Selva
PortbouRegional (R11) or MiddleDistance trains
Getting to the Costa Brava Coastal Path
Early morning on the Costa Brava Coastal Path
Early morning on the Costa Brava Coastal Path

Transferring between towns on the Costa Brava

Bus services between the towns on the Costa Brava are, broadly speaking, organised into three sections: Costa Brava North, from L’Escala to Portbou; Costa Brava Middle, from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to L’Escala and Costa Brava South, from Blanes to Tossa de Mar.

There are direct bus services between the towns within the Costa Brava South and Costa Brava Middle sections. When travelling between sections and within the Costa Brava North section, you will generally have to go via either Girona or Figueres.

Most of the services are listed on this website.

Best footwear for hiking the Costa Brava Coastal Path

If you only plan to walk a section of the Camins de Ronda, then there’s no need to purchase special footwear. Trainers or comfortable shoes are perfectly adequate as long as they have a grippy tread and fit well.

If you will be walking the entire coastal path or several stages of it, I recommend purchasing lightweight walking shoes or trail runners. You don’t need heavy-duty boots because the terrain isn’t bad, and if you follow my packing advice below, you won’t be carrying too much weight.

I wore my tried and tested Merrell MOAB hiking shoes, which were ideal because they are lightweight and have quality Vibram soles, which provide more than enough protection and support for carrying a backpack for long distances across varied surfaces.

Whatever shoes you choose, to avoid blisters, be sure to wear them for a few practice hikes beforehand and combine them with good-quality hiking socks.

View of the nature reserve near Sant Pere Pescador, Costa Brava
The wetlands nature reserve near Sant Pere Pescador

Camins de Ronda packing list

The golden rule for long-distance hiking is to carry as little as possible. This is especially true for hikes like the Camins de Ronda or the Camino de Santiago, where you are hiking between towns and villages and can easily purchase things along the way when needed.

If you stick to the list below, you should end up with a pack weight of around 5kg. Add to that 1.5 litres of water and a few snacks, and it should still weigh less than eight kilos.

You’ll notice that I only recommend carrying three sets of underwear and two T-shirts. The idea is that you wash your underwear and T-shirt at the end of each day’s hike and hang them out to dry overnight. If they don’t fully dry, you hang them from your pack to dry during the next day’s hike.

If hiking during the winter, or when bad weather is forecast, you may want to carry four sets and visit a self-service laundry when needed.

  1. Twenty-five to thirty litre rucksack. Make sure that it’s the right size for you and has a padded waist belt and a rain cover. I use this one from Decathlon.
  2. Two short-sleeved T-shirts
  3. One long-sleeved T-shirt
  4. Convertible hiking pants (I have a pair of these)
  5. Second pair of long trousers (shorts in summer).
  6. Swimming costume (not needed in the winter)
  7. Mid-weight fleece jacket (not needed if hiking in the summer)
  8. Waterproof jacket (used for wind protection at any time of year)
  9. Waterproof trousers (not needed in the summer)
  10. Underwear (three sets)
  11. Socks (three sets)
  12. Microfiber towel (for the beach and after wading rivers)
  13. Minimalist wash kit (comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and bar unscented soap so you can use it to wash your clothes).
  14. Minimalist first aid kit (A few sticking plasters, Compeed, tape and antiseptic cream)
  15. Cap (woolly hat and gloves if walking in winter)
  16. Sunscreen (SPF 50 in summer and 15 in winter, just in case)
  17. Flip flops (or sandals or crocs for when not hiking)
  18. Washing line (I use one like this, which doesn’t need pegs)
  19. Smartphone and charger
  20. Sunglasses
  21. Small mesh bag for hanging damp underwear from your pack while it drys (see above)
  22. Two 0.8L water bottles (or a Camelback if you prefer)
Approaching Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava Coastal Path
Approaching Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava Coastal Path

Health centres, pharmacies and the emergency services

As I’ve already mentioned, the Costa Brava Coastal Path is an easy and very safe trek that is suitable for novice backpackers. The chances of injuring yourself on the hike are minimal, and you are unlikely to suffer anything more serious than sunburn or blisters due to badly fitting shoes.

Even so, I recommend that you take out travel insurance and ensure it covers you for hiking. I use Heymondo, who offer comprehensive insurance at a competitive price. You can get a 5% discount when you book through this link.

If you get sick or run out of medication, I recommend you follow my advice in this post. For colds and minor illnesses, it’s best to visit a pharmacy or health centre (called CAP in Spanish and Catalan).

To find the nearest health centre, I recommend you use the search functionality on this page, which is the official website of the Generalitat de Catalunya (the local government).

For more serious cases, the telephone number for the emergency services is 112.

I’ve compiled a list of pharmacies at the end points of each stage. Most towns will have several pharmacies. I’ve only listed one per town, generally, the one which is nearest to the seafront or most central. If a pharmacy is closed, there will be a notice near the door with the opening times and a list of other local pharmacies which are on call.

TownPharmacyAddress
BlanesFarmàcia Sureda CasamorPasseig de Dintre, 3
Tossa de MarFarmàcia ArbusséCarrer la Guàrdia, 19
Sant Feliu de GuíxolsFarmàcia Francesc de la Peña VilàAnselm Clavé, 8
PalamósVictòria Clarés VigoCarrer President Macià, 62
BegurFarmàcia Es MiradorPlaça Forgas, 11
L’EstartitFarmàcia Nuria S BallesterCarrer d’Eivissa, 10
L’EscalaFarmàcia L’Escala – Lluís CendraCarrer de l’Ave Maria, 3
RosesFarmàcia del Carrer MajorCarrer Dr. Pi i Sunyer, 5
CadaquesFarmàcia Eva Moradell LlobetPlaça Frederic Rahola, 9
El Port de la SelvaFarmàcia SalaCarrer del Mar, 8
Fishing boats in the harbour at Palamós, Costa Brava
Fishing boats in the harbour at Palamós

Self-service laundries on the Costa Brava Coastal Path

As mentioned above, I recommend travelling light and hand washing a few items daily. If the weather’s bad, you may need to use a laundry. The following table is a list of self-service laundries at the end points of each stage (one per town where available).

TownLaundryAddressOpen
BlanesLa Bugaderia de BlanesCarrer Josep Tarradellas, 58 am to 10 pm
Tossa de MarOpen Wash LavanderiaCarrer Nou, 438 am to 11 pm
Sant Feliu de GuíxolsLavandería Autoservicio LavaXpresCtra. de Girona, 98 am to 10 pm
PalamósSpeed QueenCarrer del Carmel, 548 am to 10 pm
L’EstartitBlaumar BugaderiaCarrer Freu, 258:30 am 8 pm
L’EscalaLavanderia autoservicio SafareigAvinguda de Montgó, 28 am to 10 pm
RosesLavaXpresCarrer del Cap Norfeu, 38 am to 10 pm
Hiking the G92, Costa Brava Coastal Path
Heading inland towards Begur

Tips & FAQs

Below are some useful tips and frequently asked questions about the Camins de Ronda and Costa Brava Coastal Path. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

What is the best time of year for hiking the Costa Brava Coastal Path?

The Costa Brava Coastal Path can be hiked at any time of year. However, the ideal time for hiking is during the spring or autumn seasons, as they fall outside the main holiday season. If you choose to walk during the summer, you must book your accommodation well in advance.

Can you hike just part of the Costa Brava Coastal Path

Yes, the path runs through most of the towns and resorts on the Costa Brava, and many of the best sections are close to towns. A popular option is to hike for a few kilometres to the next town and village and then take a taxi or bus back to where you started.

How long is the Costa Brava Coastal Path?

The Costa Brava Coastal Path is approximately 230 kilometres long and runs from Blanes, in the south, to Portbou near the French border.

How many days does it take to walk the Costa Brava Coastal Path?

The route is typically divided into ten stages and can be hiked in ten days. If you have more time, it’s a good idea to allow yourself two full weeks so that you can spend more time exploring towns such as Tossa de Mar and Cadaques.

Which is the most beautiful section of the Costa Brava Coastal Path?

I enjoyed the entire path, and there are many beautiful places all along the way. If I had to choose one part, then it would be the section between Palamós and Calella de Palafrugell.

Stunning views of the Costa Brava
One of the many stunning views

Is the Costa Brava Coastal Path suitable for novice hikers?

Yes, the Costa Brava Coastal Path is an easy hike that is ideal for novice hikers since the paths are well-maintained and well-marked, and you are never far from the next town or village. The route is beautiful and takes you to a diverse mixture of scenery, so more experienced hikers will also find it enjoyable.

Is guided hiking available on the Costa Brava Coastal Path?

If you prefer to be accompanied by a guide, local company Cami de Ronda offers hiking holidays on the Costa Brava Coastal Path, bag transport, and GPS hire, although I’ve no personal experience or connection with them.

If you are interested in a shorter hike, Get Your Guide offers several tours, which include hiking a section of the Camins de Ronda with a licensed guide and coach transport from Barcelona.

More information here >>

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