L’Escala is a charming fishing village that sits on one of themost beautiful bays in the world”, according to UNESCO. Lined with beautiful, sandy beaches, somehow the traditional Catalan town has eluded the onslaught of tourism you’ll find in some other spots along the Costa Brava. An hour and a half from Barcelona and less than an hour from Girona’s International airport, the quiet town offers a secluded Mediterranean retreat that’s also easily accessible.

When the Greeks and Romans came to Catalonia, they first made their settlements at L’Escala, and it’s little wonder why. The bay of Roses forms an ideal natural harbour for the town and provides unusually sandy beaches for the usually rugged Costa Brava coast. Today, visitors can enjoy both natural beauty and relics of the area’s past. Discover the hidden gems of this picturesque Catalan fishing village.

L’Escala is in many ways a simple, traditional fishing village, like you would find all along the coastline a hundred years ago. However, the town is also renowned throughout Spain for one thing: anchovies. For fans of the piquant little fish, you can’t beat a plate of the local delicacy, served up at any one of many beachside terraces. In addition to the anchovy factories, which offer fascinating tours, visitors to L’Escala can see ancient ruins, several unusual museums, and of course the exquisite local beaches. Also there is an Anchovy Gastronomic Festival!

Whatever you do in l’Escala, don’t forget to simply take a quiet stroll along the coastline. Whether during the day, at dusk or after the stars come out, few sights can compare with the calm found along the shore.
Things To Do
Architectural Interest

L'Escala Beach in 1931
Can Maranges

Carrer d’en Enric Serra 1, 17130 L’Escala

Can Maranges is an 18th century house, where several prominent Catalan families resided over some 250 years. The three-story, hipped roof house fronts on town streets on three sides, making it easy to take in its impressive stone façade. Today, most of the lower storey is taken up by shops and local businesses.
Alfolí de la Sal

Carrer Alfolí 6, 17130 L’Escala

This impressive structure, built between the 16th and 17th century, was formerly the storehouse for the salt that formed the backbone of L’Escala’s local economy. These kinds of warehouses were created by King Philip II in 1564, as part of his monopoly in the salt trade.
Torre d’en Montgó

Punta Montgó, 17130 L’Escala

This stout, cylindrical watchtower was built in 1598 by King Philip II as a protective structure for the town of L’Escala. Standing on the promontory just south of Montgó Bay, it remains in magnificent condition and offers spectacular views of the coast.
Can Panxo

Carrer d’en Enric Serra, 1

This 18th century house was updated throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and yet it retains much evidence of its origins. Three stories, built in stone, it features many small balconies, each framed with stonework.
Beaches

L'Escala Spain Full Moon over sea-1
Cala Montgó

Avinguda Montgó, 17130 L’Escala

At the very southernmost end of L’Escala, this tiny beach is sheltered from the strong Tramuntana winds that blow in from over the mountains. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.
Cala Illa Mateua

Carrer Punta Montgó, 17130 L’Escala

If you’re looking for a romantic and secluded cove, this rocky beach boasts clear waters and few tourists. Find it just north of the Punta Montgó, at the eastern end of El Montgri.
Platja Riells

Passeig del Petit Príncep, 17130 L’Escala

For families, Platja Riells is easy to find and is situated close to all the amenities you need. A town beach, its shallow water for wading is ideal for children. Lifeguards are on duty in the summer months, hammocks and other sundries are available for rent, and there are public restrooms and shower areas.
Platja del Portixol

Passeig Dr. Pi I Llussà, 17130 L’Escala

L'Escala Costa Brava beach-1

On the northern side of town, this beach is favoured by many locals for exceptionally clean water and the pine forests that extend to the shore. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer and there are public toilets and showers.
Cal de la Creu

Carrer Gràcia, 17130 L’Escala

This town beach is on the northern side of the village and conserves a very traditional “fishing village” feel. You can find old fishing boats still lining sides of the tiny beach. The beach features a fairly narrow strip of fine sand.
Port d’En Parris

Carrer d’en Perris 1, 17130 L’Escala

This small town beach mostly attracts locals, making it ideal for a quiet retreat. The fairly coarse sand is white and only extends about 40 meters in length. Just behind the beach, you can find restaurants, showers and plenty of parking.
Platja Les Muscleres

Passeig Miranda, Sant Martí d’Empúries, 17130 L’Escala

With fine, white sand and stretching over 400 metres, the Platja Les Muscleres is an attractive option within a ten-minute drive of central L’Escala. Lifeguards are on duty through the summer and public restrooms are available year-round.
Churches
L’Esglèsia de Sant Pere

Plaça Ajuntament, 17130 L’Escala

The town church, this Baroque 18th century structure was built after the previous one was damaged in a lightning storm in 1700. Gothic pointed arches contrast a decidedly Baroque façade, which features a large rose window.

L'Escala Church Catalonia-1
L’Esglèsia de Sant Martí d’Empúries

Sant Martí d’Empúries 17130 L’Escala

A late Gothic church, this impressive structure was originally built in 1507, with construction continuing through 1538. Originally, a Romanesque church had been built on the same site. A rose window is the sole adornment of the simple façade.
Sant Marti Empuries Church l'Escala-1
Museums
Anchovy Museum – Museu de l’Anxova i de la Sal

Avinguda Francesc Macià 1, 17130 L’Escala

This museum is dedicated to L’Escala’s booming anchovy fishing industry, from the 16th century through to the present. Visitors learn all the details of the fishing process, the industry’s history, and the salting and preservation process.
MARAM Fish Interpretation Centre

Port Pesquer, 17130 L’Escala

This fascinating centre is a combination of aquarium, science and technology museum and shop. Visitors can learn about the local fishing industry as well as local marine, geological and botanical life.
Motorbike Museum

Close d’en Llop 9-11, 17130 L’Escala

For anyone devoted to motorbikes, this private collection is open to the public. It showcases an impressive collection of bikes that motorbike racer Vicenç Folgado accumulated over a lifetime.
Archaeological Museum of Catalonia – Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya – Empúries

C/ Puig i Cadafalch, 17130 Empúries-L’Escala

The Empúries branch of the Catalan Archaeology Museum is above all an open-air experience. The museum houses two major archaeological sites: visitors can see a Greek and a Roman city, both exquisitely preserved. Here you can see the remnants of the original Greek and Roman settlements established in Catalonia.
L'Escala At Night
Events
Markets

L-Escala-Sant Marti d-Empuries-1
Sunday Market – Mercat del Diumenge

Plaça Víctor Català, 17130 L’Escala

L’Escala’s traditional Sunday market is the best place to discover local produce and specialties. Pick up an iconic jar of the village’s famed anchovies or try a local variety of cured meat or sausage, available from many local farmers. A smaller number of stalls also offer antiques and curiosities: ideal for unusual souvenirs.
Solés Anchovy Factory – Solés Fàbrica

Carretera Closa d’en Llop 40, 17130 L’Escala

While it isn’t exactly a marketplace, the Solés anchovy factory is one of the highlights of a cultural tour of L’Escala, and a great place to do a little marketing. Since 1888, the same family has managed the anchovy factory. Today, visitors can take factory tours.

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Jackie De Burca

Jackie De Burca is is a travel, arts and culture writer. The author of Salvador Dalí at Home, De Burca has spent much of her life in Spain since 2003. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, she is the creator of Travel Inspires: the authentic travel magazine by the people, for the people. She mentors aspiring writers around the world, who have the opportunity to showcase their work on Travel Inspires. De Burca feels an inspirational connection with the land in Spain, while maintaining her deeply rooted attachment to Irish landscapes, soil and of course, the Irish character.

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L'Escala Costa Brava Things To Do & See

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