Ik ben journalist en fotograaf, geboren in Alella, maar zodra het kan ga ik naar de Pyreneeën en Empordà.
Perched on hilltops, overlooking the sea and exposed to the tramuntana north wind, lighthouses are the best viewpoints when strolling along the Girona coast
Technology has completely changed the way these constructions operate, but it has not been able to alter the landscape or ethos that has characterised them for so many years. If there is a perfect place to start our route, it’s Tossa de Mar. Its lighthouse is home to the Mediterranean Lighthouse Interpretation Centre, which will help you grasp the importance of these constructions and the changes brought about by new technologies. After a hearty meal in the neighbouring bar-restaurant, we’ll continue our journey northwards.
Moving out of Selva and into Baix Empordà, we’ll stop at the Palamós lighthouse, known as the Punta del Molí. Used as a quarantine zone during the plague due to its remote location, later urban development eventually absorbed it. Today it’s easy to reach both on foot and by car.
Now in Llafranc, we come to a major landmark: San Sebastián lighthouse. With a luminous reach of nearly one hundred kilometres, it is the most powerful lighthouse in Spain and one of the most powerful in the world. It stands on a cliff and is part of the Monumental Complex of San Sebastián de la Guarda, which features a hotel and a restaurant to complete the experience.
The last stop in Baix Empordà is L’Estartit. On the island of Meda Gran rests the isolated and peaceful Medes lighthouse. In this case, no lighthouse keeper has ever lived in the structure, apart from the seagulls that have been enjoying this protected area almost exclusively for years.
Set in the heart of the Gulf of Roses, the lighthouse has become a landmark not only of the sea, but also for tourism, and the views over the gulf are spectacular! It’s so strategically placed that even when there was no lighthouse, the inhabitants of Roses lit a permanent fire there to alert sailors to its location.
As we approach Cadaqués to the north we’ll spot the Cala Nans lighthouse. Once full of activity, this came to an end when the town’s port reduced its traffic. In the 1980s it was nearly demolished, but the villagers banded together to save it. It’s now a pleasant walk from the centre of Cadaqués.
If you’re looking for a fun excursion, you can head from Cadaqués to Cap de Creus lighthouse, now a part of the natural park. It’s the most easterly lighthouse on the Iberian peninsula, just 500 metres from the tip of Cap de Creus, and also the most international, as it has been the location for films such as The Light at the Edge of the World starring Kirk Douglas and Yul Brynner. It’s also the oldest lighthouse on the peninsula (with the exception of the Llobregat) and it’s well worth a visit for its landscape, isolated location, views and history.
Our route ends a few kilometres further north, near Port de la Selva, where we find the Punta de s’Arenella lighthouse. Today it’s one of the most popular places to visit in the area and can be reached by walking along the coastal path or directly by car.