Monday 30 July 2007

Empuries Beach, near L'Escala, Catalonia

A rare find in the Mediterranean - miles of golden sand mostly without a concrete backdrop. The presence of the partially-excavated remains of an Ancient Greek and Roman settlement and a nature reserve has limited the development between the medieval hamlet of Sant Marti and the full-on resorts much further up the coast. As a result, there is typically plenty of elbow room between the towels and sun-shades on the beaches, which are very clean and offer far-reaching views across the Gulf of Roses. This is an exposed stretch of coastline ideal for water sports - wind-surfers zip across the sea, kids frolic in the sizable waves and the sky is dotted with colourful kites. At the southern end near the ruins, you can take a pleasant stroll along well-maintained paths and board walks through the sand dunes and pine trees. Car parking is available for 1 Euro an hour or you can catch the pricey and sluggish, but fun, toy-town 'road train' from L'Escala. 8/10