- Discover the Costa Brava
- Sustainable navigation
- North Zone: From Portbou to L'Escala
- Central Zone: From L'Estartit to Palamós
- South Zone: From Platja d'Aro to Blanes
- The Costa Brava's coves and marinas (PDF guide)
- Main attractions of the province of Girona
- Distances between the marinas of the Costa Brava
Cap de Creus Natural Park
Where the Pyrenees plunge into the sea
- Cap de Creus Natural Park
Wild and rugged, Cap de Creus is a paradise
Cap de Creus is the last of the Pyrenees foothills and the easternmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It is an area of great beauty, endowed with a singular geological setting, with rocky structures and outcrops that make up an absolutely unique landscape. The effect of the tramuntana has worn away the rocks to create stunning fanciful eroded shapes and transformed the landscape in a very special way, both inland and on the coast, where its deep rocky creeks and coves with crystalline waters make excellent havens and captivating scenery.
The Natural Park was created in 1998 and is Catalonia’s first marine-terrestrial natural park. It covers 13,886 hectares, of which 10,813 are on land and 3,073 in the sea.
There are numerous inland itineraries through the park, to walk or cycle, and they are all extremely interesting from a botanical, geological and scenic point of view. Visitors should always observe the strict regulations that protect them, particularly in the areas classified as Integral Natural Reserve.
For boats visiting the park and anchoring in its numerous creeks and coves there are specific regulations for both the areas classified as Marine Natural Park and for those designated Partial Marine Natural Reserve. Angling is the only type of fishing allowed and anchoring, cruising and diving are all regulated. Mariners should be particularly careful not to damage the meadows of Posidonia
oceanica. It is also worth noting the only Marine Integral Natural Reserve on the north side of S’Encalladora Island, where access is forbidden so as to preserve its natural wealth.
Visitors can solve any queries or concerns that they may have at the Cap de Creus Natural Park Visitors’ Centre, located at the area’s most important historic monument: the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes.
The dozens of creeks and coves scattered around Cap de Creus, with its rugged rocky cliffs sloping down to the sea, provide safe shelter.
In the north, after El Port de la Selva, there are numerous coves where you can anchor and spend the night in good weather, as long as you watch out for the north wind picking up, in which case you
will have to seek shelter in El Port de la Selva. Cala Tamariua is the first cove with a good depth of 3 - 10 metres and it is big enough for three or four boats to anchor with landlines. Less than half a mile from Cala Tamariua lies Cala Fornells where you can anchor in a depth of 4 or 5 metres of water off its small beach.
Heading east, you’ll come to one of the best spots to spend the day, the little bay known as El Golfet, with pretty coves like La Galera, Cala Talabre, Cala Taballera (the deepest) and Cala Prona (the most sheltered, even from northerlies), where there is a small fishermen’s hut.
When visiting Cala Galladera, it is important to bear in mind the presence of a native Australian alga, detected in 2019, which causes havoc in the underwater environment: Caulerpa cylindracea. This seaweed grows on the seabed and can spread uncontrollably to end up killing off any of the coasts’ native species in its path, such as Posidonia oceanica, coral and Gorgonian coral. It is impossible to eliminate as it breaks easily and the remains can take root on the seabed again. This also means that it is easy to spread with anchors and fishing tackle, so the natural park authorities have buoyed off the affected site and anchoring and fishing are not allowed there in order to avoid its dispersion.
as Posidonia oceanica, coral and Gorgonian coral. It is impossible to eliminate as it breaks easily and the remains can take root on the seabed again. This also means that it is easy to spread with anchors and fishing tackle, so the natural park authorities have buoyed off the affected site and anchoring and fishing are not allowed there in order to avoid its dispersion.
Most of the creeks and coves in Cap de Creus can only be reached by sea or on foot, since traffic is restricted in the natural park.
Cala Culip is the splendid last cove that you come to before the tip of the headland. It is deep and wide, but only practicable in good weather, although at the far end of the cove, where the small quay is, anchorage is sheltered from the north winds. The quay is only for emergencies and authorisation is required to disembark there Rounding the end of the headland in the direction of Cadaqués, the first place you come to is Cala Fredosa, an old fishermen’s shelter, with a wild beauty and high rocky cliffs. You can anchor there in fine weather but it is exposed to garbí and to the tramuntana wind but
not to its swell. The next cove going south, Cala Jugadora, is very similar and you can anchor on 2-3 metres of sand in its small bay. In Cala Bona, the neighbouring cove, you can also anchor on sand, but it is very narrow and you should avoid swinging at anchor at the far end. It is sheltered from light tramuntana breeze but is very exposed to garbí.
The last cove before reaching Portlligat is Guillola. This is the widest cove south of the headland and here the coastline becomes less hostile, with vegetation sloping gently down to the sea, a good depth at the entrance and a sandy beach at the far end where you only need to watch out not to run aground in Cala des Jonquet, which is only accessible for shallow-draft boats.
Whichever cove you choose to anchor and spend one or several days in, weather permitting —and always strictly observing the regulations regarding waste disposal by which boats are not allowed to pump out bilge or black and grey water tanks— all the coves to the north and south of the tip of Cap de Creus are bound to leave you with the unforgettable memory of having been in one of the most fantastic places in the Mediterranean.
Rounding the cape
When the tramuntana picks up, both yachts and motor boats have to wait to round Cap de Creus, in Cadaqués, Roses or El Port de la Selva. It is by far the trickiest cape on the Costa Brava. By strong north-westerly and north-easterly winds, the waves can be enormous quite far out to sea.
If you arrive from the north and have no choice but to round the cape by tramuntana, it is advisable to give it a very wide berth so as to avoid the waves breaking against the north coast and then, once past the cape, to seek shelter from the swell by keeping close to the coastline.
The tip of the cape is marked by the lighthouse which, with flashes visible up to 20 miles away, is the best navigation mark in the area.
Oficina del Parc Natural de Cap de Creus
Palau de l'Abat. Monestir de Sant Pere de Rodes. 17489 El Port de la Selva
pncapdecreus at gencat dot at