L’Escala has a population of around 6,000, which swells to many times that amount during the busy summer months. The town is surrounded by blue flag beaches; At the northern end of the town, the Bay of Roses has some of the most beautiful unspoiled beaches anywhere. In the town center is the popular beach at Riell’s, and at the south side of town is the lovely beach at Montgo.
L’Escala is one of the smaller holidays resorts in the Costa Brava/Catalonia region – it is not far from the border with France and is perfect for families and independent holidaymakers wanting to avoid the mass-market package holiday resorts. You will soon discover that L’Escala is an excellent base to discover the mostly unspoiled northern Costa Brava, beautiful beaches, art, historic monuments, nature parks and one of Spain’s most important wild bird reserves is situated a few miles to the north of town.
The town is renowned for its anchovies and ancient ruins of Empuries and it is host to several festivals throughout the year.
The older center of the town still retains the character of a typical Spanish working town with its bustling narrow streets and a good selection of shops, bars, cafe’s and restaurants. There are two small, popular beaches in the old town that add to the overall charm and atmosphere of the area.
Riells BeachThere is a pleasant promenade which takes you from the old town into the Riells area. Along with this promenade, there is a weekly market every Sunday morning all year round. Riells has a good sized, gently sloping, sandy, blue flag beach and large Marina. There are also numerous bars, restaurants, and shops around the Riell’s area.
The area boasts a wealth of facilities for sports enthusiasts: There are several golf courses in the area including the excellent Emporda 27 hole course. Cycling is very popular here, the area around L’Escala is flat, and the Pyrenees provide the inclines for the more serious riders. Tennis, walking, horse riding, go-carting and fishing and other water sports such as kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling are popular are catered for and there are several scuba diving centers.
For water sports enthusiasts excellent beaches to the north of L’Escala in the Bay of Roses is a paradise for sailing and windsurfing. These quiet beaches, of superb fine sand that last for miles, are ideal for sunbathing. The few rocky parts that exist have an abundance of fish and other marine life and make for great sites for snorkeling.
L’Escala has a good selection of Hotels:
L’Escala has a good selection of Hotels:
Hotel Address Rating Location Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelTripAdvisor’ Reviews
Hostal Empuries Pla del Portitxol s/n ApCorreus174 2star Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelHostal Empuries Reviews
Nieves Mar Ps Maritim 8 Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelNieves Mar Reviews
Rallye Hotel Passeig del Mar 1, Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelRallye Hotel Reviews
L’Escala Resort Carrer dels Masos 4-62 3star Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelL’Escala Resort Reviews
Can Catala Place de les Escoles 1star Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelCan Catala Reviews
Hotel Bonaire Bonaire 14 Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelHotel Bonaire Reviews
Can Miquel Pla de Montgo, s/n Ap.Correus 70 2star Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelCan Miquel Reviews
Pension Torrent C/ Riera, 28, Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelPension Torrent Reviews
Hostal El Roser Carrer Esglesia , 7 Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelHostal El Roser Reviews
Voramar Passeig Lluis Albert, 2 3star Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelVoramar Reviews
Camping Cala Montgo Avda. Montgo, s/n Location Map Click here for other guests have to say about this hotelCampingC.Montgo Reviews
For self-catering Villas and Apartments in L’Escala, click here
Culture & Festivals:
L’Escala has carefully conserved the typical natural beauty and the typical urban atmosphere of the Costa Brava. But, equally important, L’Escala has kept alive many popular traditions and celebrations. These events were not maintained solely for the tourists, they are customs that are strongly rooted among its inhabitants.
Sardanas are the local dance. It is one of the few national dances that is actually danced by the townspeople themselves rather than by a group. An orchestra known as a “Cobla” accompanies the dancing. The participants stand in circles and by listening to the cues given by the music know what step they should be dancing at any given time. Sardanas look deceptively easy to dance! The dances take place every Wednesday evening at 10pm during the summer at the beach at Riell’s and spontaneously groups of people form into circles. Everybody is invited to participate in the dancing..
The Landing of the Three Kings – 5th January The Three Kings arrive by sea are eagerly met by the local children. The Kings disembark onto the main beach and then ride through the town on horseback. That night the children all go to bed hoping that when they wake up in the morning the Three Kings will have left them some gifts, however if the child has not behaved well during the year he may find he has been left a lump of (edible) coal!
Dia de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day). April 23rd: Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia and the day is celebrated throughout Catalonia. The legend has it that when the famous dragon was slain, a rose grew from its blood. To celebrate the victory over the dragon Catalan men give the woman they love a red rose on Sant Jordi’s day. In return women buy their loved ones a book. Over recent years the Catalan custom of buying books on Sant Jordi’s day has become fairly international and in many countries of the world April 23rd is known as “International Book Day”.
Triumirat Mediterrà is a market that is held in L’Escala in June. What makes it special is the fact that the whole market is “set” in 30BC. Traders are dressed in Greek or Roman dress, the Tavernas sell drinks that would have been available at that time and all products must be compatible with the era. During the days leading up to the market there are plenty of related activities and many restaurants offer a special Roman meal, serving similar food to that which the Romans at that time would have eaten. On the day of the market activities include several gladiator fights and an auction of slaves.
La nit de San Joan – June 23rd. It is a night when people build bonfires and have firework displays. Families and friends get together for a special meal traditionally accompanied by “cava” (champagne) and “coca”, a type of cake.
Festa del Carme July 16th This is the day on which the town pays homage to its senior citizens. There is a boat parade which brings many of the town’s “elders” to the beach from where they are accompanied by their grandchildren or other relations to the church for a celebratory mass, followed by more festivities lasting all day.
GegantsGegants Giants and Capgrossos originate from the Corpus Christi processions. Nowadays many Catalan towns have “giants” which are brought out on high days and holidays. There is an annual “giant” meeting in early September every year in which all the local “giants” come to L’Escala for the day and parade around the town. These are L’Escala’s “giants”, Pere and Maximeta. Here they are standing either side of the church door behind a “carpet” of coloured sand made on the day of the Festa del Carme. The Catalan insignia is represented in a sea full of fish and with small groups of people dancing Sardanas.
The “Festa Major” from the 2 to the 6 of September where the Sardana, the traditional dance of Catalonia, is enjoyed with a special passion. Other interesting festivities, although of a more tourist character are the Festa de la Sal, annually in October where the visitor can see the traditional offices related to fishing industry, – in which also participates the population. Another is the Festa de l’Anxova where everyone will be able to taste the internationally acclaimed anchovies of L’Escala.
Local Food & Drink
The choice of restaurants in L’Escala are suited to all tastes covering traditional and European recipes in the menu’s. Authentic Catalan, Tapas Bars, Fish Restaurants, Pizza’s and Pasta’s, Chinese and Mexican dishes
Look out for some of the traditional dishes available made from Local produce such as olive oil, fish, vegetables and meat. Arroz negro – made with rice and squid ink, suquet – made with fish and potatoes. L’Escala is famous for its excellent fish and anchovies.
A typical Tapas Bar
Another gastronomic pleasure are the ‘tapas’ ( in bars). Whether at mid-day or in the evening, you will be unable to resist trying the many delicacies such as cheeses and hams, tiny earthenware dishes of sizzling ‘aperitifs’ of seafood, fish, meats. It’s the chance to dip into so many tastes, as well as the visual spread of tapas that make them universally appealing.
The Mediterranean diet is generally regarded as one of the most nutritionally healthy in the world. Meals in many of L’Escala’s restaurants are fantastic value; they can cost as little as 7 Euros for a quality 3 course meal including wine and water.
Many thanks to Veronica Hall, a L’Escala resident for contributing this information..
For details of L’ Escala Villas to rent visit our ‘Holiday Rentals’ section.
Drive time to L’Escala from the nearest airports are:
Girona: ¾hour, Perpignan (France): 1 hour, Barcelona: 1¾ hours.
Click here for a full list of airlines and UK airports and airlines serving these airports.