Stray beyond Barcelona and you’ll find that Catalonia has some delightful spots for the adventurous boater hoping to make the most out of the Med
The sunny coast of Catalonia lies opposite Mallorca, stretching 270 miles from the Ebro River delta in the south to the French border near Cap Cerbère.
It includes two very distinctive holiday costas – Dorada the golden coast and Brava the wild coast. Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is 100 miles from Mallorca’s Puerto Pollensa, but there’s much more to this region than just the big city.
From this rich menu I have chosen my ten favourite stretches of the Costa Catalana, a feast for many summers cruising.
Gulf of Sant Jordi
The far south-west of Catalonia is low and flat, where Spain’s largest river meets the sea through a wide marshy delta fringed with shoals.
An old lighthouse stands a mile inshore, marooned by advancing silt. But on the north side of this eerie expanse, the Gulf of Sant Jordi has several treats to explore.
Often missed by boats on passage, Ampolla is a traditional Catalan fishing port with a low-key marina.
The amiable town is the kind of place where, lingering a few days, you get to know the shopkeepers and the waiters at the Fata Morgana pizzeria behind the yacht club. The harbour faces the Ebro delta, a shimmering mirage under the hot summer sun.
With a separate marina just inside the entrance, Amtella de Mar (pictured above) is a charming unspoilt fishing harbour with a restful old town of narrow streets and bright, whitewashed houses along the waterfront.
The warm fragrance of maquis (a local shrub) wafts down the hillside. The daily fish auction is a lively scene and to taste the result make for La Bocana restaurant, near the north-west corner of the inner harbour.
Beyond Ametlla is a string of sandy coves where you can anchor in calm conditions. Cala Forn is particularly attractive and beyond it Sant Jordi d’Alfama is a small peaceful marina surrounded by villas in manicured gardens.
Enter carefully because the basin is prone to silting, but if you find a berth Sant Jordi is a little gem for a night or two. Half a mile further north, Calafat is a larger marina backed by leafy slopes of holiday villas.