Sant Pere Pescador on the the Bay of Roses is one of Spain’s most popular windsurfing venues and a regular feature on the PWA world tour. The wide bay and 5km sandy beach are ideal for windsurfers of all ages and abilities.
The combination of beautiful scenery, enviable wind stats and cheap flights make Sant Pere Pescador a popular choice amongst European windsurfers.
There are 2 predominant winds:
Tramuntana blows from the north (cross-shore from the left) and brings high wind free-ride / bump and jump conditions for sails from 4m to 5.3m. It is strongest from autumn to spring but also blows in the summer. Generally speaking the further north on the Costa Brava you go the stronger it gets.
Garbí / Migjorn (SW / Southerly)
Garbí and Migjorn winds blow cross-shore and cross-on from the right and are both thermally accelerated. The effect is strongest from April to June when you can regularly use sails between 5.3m and 6.5m. As the sea warms up the thermal effect lessens, by July you will need larger sails, 7 to 8 metres is common at this time of year.
Best Time of Year to Visit
Although conditions can be good here all year round, if you are planning a windsurfing holiday I suggest you come between April and June. The sea breeze is strongest at this time of year and Tramuntana still blows frequently. Of these 3 months my first choice would be May.
Sant Pere Pescador is popular with Barcelona’s windsurfing population many of whom drive up at the weekend whenever Tramontana is forecast (mostly in the spring, autumn and winter).
Windsurfing Conditions at Sant Pere Pescador
Depending on wind strength and direction, conditions are suitable for all levels and abilities.
Light morning winds are great for learners and children. The mirror flat waters at the mouth of the River Fluvià are ideal for total beginners (see map below).
The afternoon thermal winds and flat water produce excellent free-ride conditions for sails between 5.4 and 7.5m and are ideal for getting to grips with footstraps, waterstarts and learning to carve gybe.
Tramuntana regularly exceeds 25 knots and is suitable for intermediate to advanced windsurfers. Conditions are a mixture of windblown chop and rolling swell as you go further out.
If you are happy sailing with sub 5m sails and can waterstart you will enjoy sailing here with Tramuntana. Even if you lose ground or get blown downwind you will always end up back on the long sandy beach.
Frequent strong winds mean that experienced windsurfers will enjoy sailing at Sant Pere Pescador. If you have your own transport there are 2 wavesailing spots nearby:
- Sant Martí d’Empuries – Also on the bay of Roses and suitable for wave beginners.
- Pals – The Costa Brava’s best known wave spot, just 30km to the south.
If you want even stronger winds it’s a short drive north to El Port de la Selva or Leucate.
Where to Sail
When my friends and I windsurf at Sant Pere Pescador we either stay at one of the campsites with direct access to the beach or park in one of 2 car parks. The better of the two is the small car park in front of the Tropic-Beach bar which has a small grassy rigging area in front of it. When this is full, second choice is the car park near the Amfora campsite (see map). There are several other car parks which are also suitable.
If you have a camper van you need to be aware that all car parks at the beach have a 2.1m height barrier. This is OK for VW Transporters or Mercedes Vitos but bad news if you have a hi-top van. If your van measures more than 2.1m it’s still possible to get into the Tropic-Beach car park from the lane which runs down the side of Camping Aquarius. Otherwise you will have to park on the road near one of the other car parks.
If you look at the above map in “satellite view” you will see cars parked on the beach. Car access to the beach is no longer allowed, posts were installed at the start of 2014.
Sant Pere Pescador Campsites
There are several campsites which open directly onto the beach. My personal favourite is Camping Aquarius. This German owned site is impeccable and well located on the beach, it also has a windsurf and kite-surf hire centre. Second choice is La Bellena Allegre which has a Club Mistral hire centre and plays host to the PWA Costa Brava event which takes place every June. If you don’t fancy camping both campsites have bungalows and apartments, alternatively there is plenty of other accommodation nearby in Sant Pere Pescador, L’Escala or Roses.
Webcams, Anemometers, Wind Forecasts & Wind Statistics
Wind forecast Sant Pere Pescador
Wind statistics – Bay of Roses *
Windsurf Hire and Lessons
Ion Club (formerly Club Mistral)
What to Pack
If you are going to Sant Pere Pescador for a windsurfing holiday you should take a range of sail and board sizes. My quiver includes sails from 3.7 to 6.4 and 2 boards (73l and 100l). If I had a slalom board and 8m sail I’d take that too!
If you are driving to the Costa Brava at the weekend when Tramontana is blowing you should take a board whose volume corresponds with your body weight and two or three sails. If there’s not enough wind at “Sant Pere” just keep heading north!
From October to May I wear a 4/3mm winter suit. The rest of the year I recommend you bring a 3/2 short sleeved steamer. You may be able to sail in board shorts but when the wind is strong I prefer to wear a wetsuit even in the summer.
One thing that makes the Bay of Roses an excellent destination for families and couples is the fact that there are lots of other things to do:
- Cycling – Most campsites rent bikes
- The Dali Theatre Museum in Figueres
- Cadaques – Beautiful fishing village and once home to Salvador Dalí
- Cap de Creus Natural Park
- Parachuting / Hot air ballooning / Karting / SCUBA diving
- Girona / Pals / Besalú / Tossa de Mar / Carcassone (France) – Medieval towns.
How to Get There
|Airport||Distance (km)||Drive Time**|
|Perpignan (France)||75km||1 hr|
|Reus||240km||2 hrs 45mins|
** Drive times according to viamichelin
By Car From Barcelona
Sant Pere Pescador is approximately 150km north of Barcelona, the drive takes about 2 hours. Head north on the E15/AP7 to exit 5 (signposted L’Escala, Sant Pere Pescador) then follow the signs to Sant Pere Pescador. Drive through the village and follow the signs to “Platjas” (beaches) and “Campings” (campsites). As you leave the village drive across the bridge over the river Fluvià and turn left at the first roundabout (second exit). From here the individual campsites are signposted (see map above).
From Barcelona to Sant Pere Pescador by Public Transport
Unfortunately there are no direct buses or trains from Barcelona to Sant Pere Pescador. The best option is to get a bus from Barcelona to Empuriabrava and then a taxi from there to your campsite. Buses are operated by the Sarfa bus company and leave daily from Barcelona Estació del Nord bus station (4 buses per day during the summer).
Alternatively you could take the train to Figueres and then catch a bus from there to Sant Pere Pescador.
If you have any tips or questions about windsurfing in the Bay of Roses please leave a comment below.
Thank you for the extensive review and spot description, very useful !
What I wanted to add, is that Tramuntana winds can be annoyingly gusty. So much, that I saw some people quitting their session after 10 min, because it’s just not fun anymore. I only kited their 2 times with Tramuntana, so it’s not representative, but I’d be happy about your opinion on the topic.
Thanks for your comment and you’re right, Tramontana does tend to be quite gusty. It’s pretty much the same as the Levante wind in Tarifa.
Here’s a few tips and observations which might help you out the next time you’re here.
The first day that Tramontana blows is always gustier than normal. What I mean is, Tramontana normally blows for between 3 and 7 days at a time. The first day that it starts blowing is normally less consistent. This is especially true if the wind is blowing from the South in the morning and then swings round to the North during the day.
To be honest, I generally don’t windsurf at Roses on the first day of Tramontana. Instead, I drive further North to either Port de la Selva or Leucate in France where it normally starts a day earlier.
The wind is normally gustier in the mornings and late afternoon. If you see that the locals are sitting on the beach or in their cars, it’s probably because they are waiting for the best conditions. It’s always a good idea to speak to the locals and benefit from their knowledge and experience.
If you try to sail and find it’s too gusty don’t be tempted to de-rig or change sail or kite straight away. Eat a muesli bar, drink some water and wait half an hour to see what the wind’s doing before deciding to change sails. Otherwise you can end up re-rigging and finding that the wind’s changed again…
The wind is normally stronger 100m off shore than it is on the beach. Check what the locals are rigging.
Sometimes Tramontana blows directly from the North and sometimes it comes more from the NW. When it comes more from the W it’s more offshore and more gusty.
At the end of the day, with practice, you do get used to sailing with gustier conditions. I don’t kitesurf but in the case of windsurfing there are a few things you can do which make things easier when it’s gusty.
Tips for windsurfing when its gusty…
Hope this helps.
Great post. Very complete.
Playa de Pals is another great spot for windsurfing in Costa Brava. not very far from rosas bay.
Also, you can visit the natural park of Aiguamolls d’Empordà just near St Pere Pescador. Fantastic to see birds.
Thanks for your comment and for the tip about the Aiguamolls d’Empordà natural park, I hadn’t heard of it before.
I totally agree with you about Pals being a good place to windsurf, in fact I plan to write a post with all the details later this year.