Hiking in Costa Brava: Exploring the Stunning Outdoors from Barcelona

Exploring the Mind-blowing Coastline: Hiking in Costa Brava El Camino de Ronda

Hiking in Costa Brava along the famous GR 92 ‘Sendero del Mediterráneo’ often called El Camino de Ronda in Spanish or El Camí de Ronda in Catalan is a must-do experience for any outdoor enthusiast visiting Barcelona.

The official trail stretches from the town of Blanes some 190 km from the French border. It covers varied terrain along the Mediterranean Sea. El Baix Empordà and El Alt Empordà coastal regions are rich in natural biodiversity including several Natural parks. El Camino de Ronda winds up and down the hilly coastline and offers dozens of areas and sites with a history dating back to Iberians.

The hiking experience provides a unique insight into the coastal environment, culture, and natural beauty. We will provide some essential advice on preparing for your hiking adventure in La Costa Brava. Our first-hand recommendations will help you discover this magical coastline’s wonders and keep you safe along the trail.

We will also cover some extra practical tips regarding camping along the trail, safety precautions while hiking the coastline trails, and last but not least how to spot some wildlife while trekking the Costa Brava’s rugged coastline.

Let’s start with the basics, mapping out and preparing the hiking routes you would like to explore in Costa Brava.

Preparing for a Day Hike in Costa Brava

The first thing after making the decision to go hiking in Costa Brava is to get a good topografic map that will cover your back if your cell phone stops working or you won’t have any reception.

The hiking map of the Baix Empordà region provides a good starting ground for the middle section of Costa Brava GR 92 trail.

However, if you would like to have just about any section of the coastline we recommend you visit the Catalan Cartographic and Geologic Institute and download your preferred map straight into your smartphone. Please note the website does not provide an SSL secure connection for the users but it works fine.

Another option is to use Wikiloc website for more in-depth details about the El Camino de Ronda. Due to its popularity, all legs of the trail are commonly visited by locals who share their hiking experiences on this platform.

A little bit of digging around will help you to gather some useful information and perhaps help you to re-design your hike due to some interesting sites you may want to visit along the trail.

Essential Gear for Hiking El Camino de Ronda

We are certain that some essential items in this section will help you enjoy your hiking trip to Costa Brava.

Let’s start with your comfortable walking shoes with grippy anti-slip rubber soles. The shoes should provide enough ankle support for the steeper downs along the coast. Expect loads of loose ground and sandy sections on the coastal trails.

Wearing a quick-dry long-sleeve top and lightweight hiking trousers would be our choice. Add the other items to protect the skin and eyes like a sun hat and sunglasses. The spring sun in the Mediterranean is powerful and may cause some skin damage.

We normally use a 25L lightweight backpack preferably with back ventilation to carry enough water, food, and the rest of the items for a full-day hike.

Optional Gear for Extra Comfort and Security

The following items we will outline are optional but can further enhance your enjoyment and experience along the trail. We would pack a lightweight windproof jacket, hiking sticks, and a basic first aid kit with tweezers and nail clippers.

The tweezers and nail clippers are useful if you accidentally step or touch a sea urchin when getting in or out of the sea. If you get some spines remove them as soon as possible. Using the tweezers and clippers you should be able to dig them out.

The sea urchins are covered by bacteria with the spines slowly imbedding deeper into the tissue. That may consequently cause other unpleasant health problems. Nonetheless, walking with the spines in the foot is very painful. Beware when you decide to go swimming.

Are you planning a picnic and a famous midday siesta? An ultralight hammock could do the job. Most of the coastline is surrounded by Aleppo pine trees, Holm oaks, and Cork oaks.  Finding a great breezy spot and stringing your hammock up is a question of minutes. 

El Camino de Ronda provides access to some mind-blowing beaches and bay areas called ‘calas’ so bring your swim clothes and snorkeling gear to enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean.

For climbing on the rocks and cliffs. We recommend packing a pair of water shoes that provide an extra grip and prevent you from stepping on those nasty sea urchins.

Bring a lightweight Pareo towel that creates an extra thin layer between your skin and the sand on the beach. It works great for changing into swim clothes and setting up an improvised sun sail for the hottest part of the day.

The last item we recommend packing for your hiking trip in Costa Brava is a lightweight dry bag. Your fresh food and water can be buried in the sand keeping everything nice and cool all day.

5 Must-Have Items for Hiking Trips in Costa Brava

Our final top 5 must-have items to pack for a hiking trip in Costa Brava. We highlight the following 5 items based on years of experience guiding groups in Costa Brava.

  1. Wear your trusted and comfy hiking shoes that will provide the grip needed
  2. Protect your skin, do not underestimate the winter or spring sun
  3. Pack your swimwear to enjoy a refreshing dip in the Meditteranean Sea
  4. Bring a pair of swimming googles or a snorkel mask to explore the marine life
  5. Finally, do not forget to bring a lightweight Pareo towel with a piece of string for multiple uses
The coastal trails are always changing due to the erosion.
Costa Brava coastline is under constant process of erosion and a good footwear is must.

Top Tips on How to Enjoy the Coast

We believe that walking is an essential movement that helps us all to explore the world around us. Everybody can do it. Right? Enhance your hiking experience in Costa Brava by engaging in other fun activities along the coast. They will provide joy and a sense of satisfaction you will remember for the rest of your life.

Plan your food wisely and pack a selection of juicy fruit, nuts, and generally food that is healthy and will stay fresh in a warm environment.

Charge your phone and bring an external power bank because you will be taking pictures and videos.

When arriving at the beach look for water-washed wood, rock shapes, and shells. Take a short exploratory 10-minute break and find out what the beach is made of. This is a great activity for kids when hiking in Costa Brava.

Hang off smaller boulders and stretch your back. Scramble around safely on the granitic rocks to search for alternative views.

Find some safe cliffs to jump off into the sea. Dive around the rocks and crevices to meet the marine life.

And finally, collect fresh herbs and edibles along El Camino de Ronda in Costa Brava. These are just some very simple activities that will enhance your coastal experience.

The Best Time of Year for Exploring Costa Brava

The best times of the year for hiking El Camino de Ronda are the spring and autumn. 

Generally speaking from the Easter holidays to the first half of June the coast is less busy with fewer people. The areas are cleaner and the plants and vegetation awake into the blossom. It might be just the perfect hiking temperature but the sea has not warmed up quite yet. You may also experience the sea mist caused by the temperature difference between the land and the sea.

The restaurants and most locals tend to be more relaxed and helpful. You can find more accommodation available for better prices. The majority of campsites will be open after the Easter weekend.

Another great part of the year to explore Costa Brava is from the second half of September until the first half of November.  The coastline tends to be a little more dirty due to the mass tourism in the peak summer season. The sea usually maintains a reasonable temperature for a quick swim until mid-November.

Restaurants and shops start to close down and often reduce the opening days and hours towards the end of November. Not all campsites will be open after All Saints Day on the 1st of November but the holiday homes and apartments will be available.

Plan your trip across the working days to avoid the busier weekends as many people from Barcelona and surrounding towns drive up to Costa Brava for the weekend.

Look around and enjoy the typical Mediterranean plants and trees.
Take a break when hiking in Costa Brava and observe the natural wonders to unfold in front of you.

What wildlife can be spotted while hiking in Costa Brava?

Many animals present in Costa Brava are nocturnal and difficult to spot during the day.

However, when hiking El Camino de Ronda you can bump into the ever-present Caspian gull, Mediterranean cormorant, Woodpeckers, Wood pigeons and other smaller birds commonly found in the Meditteranean.

When crossing the fields and going through the pine forests you will spot hares, red squirrels, and sometimes, in sun-exposed meadows, various vipers.

When you dive amongst the boulders in the sea you may spot the Rock octopus, Muray, Sea stars, Sea urchins, and Sea cucumbers. Looking closer at the rocks you may also find Oysters. The most typical Mediterranean fish you may see include Sea bass, Mullets, Sardines, Minnows, and other smaller-sized fish.

You can spot the hovering shrimps and sea anemones in the narrow crevices. There are periods in the year when jellyfish arrive closer to the shore through their reproductive cycles. Fried egg jellyfish and Purple-striped jelly also known as Purple stinger are common in Costa Brava.

Famous Costa Brava rugged coastline in Catalonia.
Explore Costa Brava and its hidden bays and secluded beaches with a guide.

What safety precautions should be taken in Costa Brava?

One can never be prepared for all situations and scenarios life offers. But by checking the weather forecast, the sea conditions, and a thorough preparation we can eliminate many potential risk situations.

The Mediterranean climate tends to be fairly predictable and stable. The weather patterns may change across the seasons due to global warming. Costa Brava offers plenty of sunny days and mild temperatures even in the winter.

The bad weather usually takes a day or two to arrive at the Costa Brava coastline. It gives us enough time to re-route or change the itinerary completely.

El Camino de Ronda typically climbs up the cliffs away from the coast and then drops right back to sea level. A day after strong onshore winds with gusts from the East can bring serious waves to the coast. The 3-4 feet waves can easily cut the access to where the trail continues on the beach.

Before heading down to the beach check the sea conditions and the direction of the waves. The situation can be very different an hour later when you reach the beach.

The coastal landscape is constantly eroding due to strong winds, rain, sun exposure, and other factors. It is not rare to find fallen trees or bigger rocks on the beaches. A couple of days after heavy rain the trails will be loose and covered by accumulated debris making it more difficult to progress and more chance of an accidental fall.

Some parts of the trail with greater exposure are signposted and should be avoided after the rain.

Are there any guided hiking tours available in Costa Brava?

The answer is YES! If you are reading these lines you are serious about undertaking a hiking adventure in Costa Brava. Perhaps, you would like to join a small group and forget about the map work, compass, or navigation.

Well, we are happy to provide all our knowledge to help you plan your Costa Brava adventure or you can always join one of our hiking day trips from Barcelona to get a taste.

Please get in touch if you have a group interested in customising the hiking in Costa Brava with cultural visits, wine-tasting, farmers’ markets, and local gastronomy.

Panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea in Costa Brava.
Costa Brava is famous for its vast granitic rocks and cliffs arriving into the sea.

Fully Customizable Private Hiking Tours in Costa Brava

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