Legend has it that once upon a time, Orpheus, the Greek god of music, was shipwrecked off the coast of Spain. Having saved himself onto a rock spiking out of the sea, he was safe for the night, but too far off the coast to reach it. Sad about his fate, but struck by the beauty of this place, he started to sing. Drawn by his beautiful voice, the rocks left the nearby mountain ranges of the Pyrenees and came to the sea to listen. They came closer and closer until the coast reached Orpheus’ little rock and by doing so, created a path for Orpheus to safely reach the coast.
It’s these rocks of Orpheus that today form the rugged coastline of the Cap de Creus natural park on the Costa Brava, literally the wild coast, on the northeastern shores of Spain. A place so pristine it’s hard to imagine that this is the same region which hordes of spring breakers and bachelor party crowds descend upon year after year.
The Costa Brava may have a somewhat dubious reputation, attracting lots of low budget- travelers with above average alcohol consumption levels. Towns like Lloret de Mar are known more for the age-old pool chair disputes between Brits and Germans than for the natural wonders that surround these towns. But that cliché should not keep you from visiting the Costa Brava.
Right along the coast of the Cap de Creus there is an epic footpath stretching over a hundred miles: the Camí de Ronda, once built by Spanish military police to patrol the coast line on this easternmost point of Spain. Today, the Camí de Ronda is a popular hiking path frequented primarily by locals and a few hikers in the know. Here, the mountains directly meet the sea, and the Tramontana north wind sweeps over the rough cliffs, creating bizarre rock formations and bending trees to the point where the tips almost touch the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
If the centers of the party towns smell of burgers and cheap sangría, the Camí de Ronda smells of pine and rosemary. Instead of hearing the summer hits of the last twenty years blaring out from cheap speakers, the only thing you will hear here is the sound of waves crashing against the rocks.
Walking the Camí de Ronda takes a bit of stamina. While the Camí is easily accessible from any coastal town north of Lloret de Mar, not everyone makes it to the hidden coves and crystal clear bays only accessible by footpath, sometimes involving more sliding along the rocks than walking. But it might be that very fact that makes the place so special.
I visited Cap de Creus during a blogger trip sponsored by Costa Brava Tourism. Opinions are 100% my own though, and I truly believe this place is a gem!