The fishing town of Sant Carles de la Rapita has been an important tourist destination for many years, because of its privileged location at the edge of the Delta de l'Ebre, by the sea, set against a backdrop of mountains. It certainly has a charm about it, although in recent years it has become more developed, but nothing that comes close to some areas of the Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca. This town is still a gem, which has exceptional food, surroundings and plenty to do.
Sant Carles de la Rapita Things To Do & See
1. Discover Europe's largest natural harbour
In front of the town's coastline is La Punta de la Banya, part of the Alfacs Bay, which is Europe's largest natural harbour. Declared a Partial Nature Reserve, La Punta de la Banya is a little peninsula that is linked to the Delta de l'Ebre by a long sandbar, called Trabucador Isthmus, which is around 4 km long and varies between 100 to 200 metres in width.
However Trabucador Isthmus is a delicate area, due to constantly changing winds, and access to it is restricted, although it's a superb bird watching spot. A number of observation towers have been erected, from where you can see a great range of bird species, particularly flamingos. From 15th July to 15th September the access is opened up and visitors can enter on foot. Here is a route suggested by the Generalitat de Catalunya - route Sant Carles de la Rapita Delta d'Ebre.
Sant Carles de la Rapita is a perfect place to have a relaxing holiday, and visit the Delta de l'Ebre, even if you do nothing else. However it's also well placed to see some other interesting spots, should you feel that way inclined. Our Sant Carles de la Rapita Travel Guide will give you a few ideas, in case you feel like exploring.
2. Drive into the Delta de l'Ebre
As you leave Sant Carles de la Rapita to drive into the southern part of the Delta de l’Ebre, don’t forget to try to find places to stop from time to time.
It’s a narrow road, so you’ll need to be careful, but you absorb the immense personality of the Delta – do try to get out of the car when it is safe. As you get further into the Delta you will see lots of birds, and the unique nature of the area.
3. Don't miss the panoramic views from the Mirador de la Guardiola
Before you start hiking or booking excursions or activities, take time to go to the Mirador de la Guardiola, where you’ll have a panoramic view over the area.
Located at 116 metres altitude, on La Torreta (Turret) mountain, the Mirador de la Guardiola is the perfect place to contemplate the beauty of the Delta, and when visibility is particularly good you can see the castle at Peniscola, to the south, and Salou, to the north. A trip to the Mirador de la Guardiola gives wonderful perspective, as you look down over the Bay of Alfacs, the Punta de la Banya, the Trinity Salt Works and beyond.
4. Sample seafood in Sant Carles de La Rapita – a Seafood Lover’s Paradise
A seafood lovers paradise, with fresh catch of the day available in its many restaurants, there’s no wonder that the town is considered by many to be the gastro-capital of the Terres de l’Ebre. That said there are many towns along this part of the coast that are very good gastronomically, but there’s another element that sets Sant Carles de la Rapita apart, which is this organisation.
The town has cleverly set up a co-operation between many businesses, that really streamlines the offerings. See Sant Carles de la Rapita Water Estació Nautico (Sant Carles de la Rapita Water Sports Centre) further below.
5. Enjoy the beautiful port of Sant Carles de La Rapita
The fishing port of Sant Carles de la Rapita is one of Catalonia’s most important in terms of the number of boats and its catch. Originally founded by Rey Carlos III (King Charles III) as a trading port to serve the Spanish colonies, today it’s a well-placed holiday destination, with the right ingredients for a lovely break away in sunnier climes.
Tourists can also enjoy the fishing action, by seeing what the fishermen are up to and going along to the fish auctions. However this is only the tip of the iceberg of activities in and around the area.
6. Go To Sant Carles de la Rapita's fish market
The fishing boats arrive in around 3.30 pm, Monday to Friday, which is when the pandemonium kicks off with restaurants and retailers battling for the freshest fish. Go to the modern building that is by the fishing port There’s a passage on the first floor, which surrounds the conveyor belt, from where you can watch the sale of fish. The fishermen don't go out during the months of May and June, so naturally the fish auction isn't on during these months.
7. Discover more in the Sant Carles de la Rapita Maritime Museum – Museo Oscar Carballo
The museum is in the Les Casotes building which was built originally in the 19th century. It’s a fine building in a perfect central location, and the purpose of the museum is to show the identity of this integral part of the town and its local history.
There are four main topics explored in the museum, which are:
- Fishing and maritime activity
- Marine, coastal ecosystems
- History of the city
Originally built by the Royal company for the Ebre’s irrigation and canalisation, today the building balances its history along with the functionality to showcase a variety of important aspects of the locality’s patrimony.
8. Become A Fisherman Yourself
You can take part in traditional fishing – “Marisqeig” – which is fishing with a net of around 600 metres length, in shallow water. This is a great experience, in the lovely clear Alfacs Bay waters. Afterwards you can choose whether to cook your own catch or organise for a local restaurant to do it.
Children: From €25
Sant Carles de la Rapita Water Estació Nautico (Sant Carles de la Rapita Water Sports Centre)
Sant Carles de la Rapita Water Estació Nautico is a clever association of collectives, institutions and companies that have come together to offer a wonderful abundance of activities and experiences in the town and surrounding areas. This organisation aims to encourage tourism which is based on principles of sustainability, quality and co-operation. In fact if you wish, they can even customise your holiday for you.
They really have a mind-blowing amount of possibilities available to visitors; from kite-surfing to cooking workshops, and from seeing the cave paintings in Ulldecona to doing the Route of the Mussel Beds.
Rent a leisure boat from as little as €40 for the smallest option for one hour, and navigate the mussel beds, get close to the Salinas de la Trinidad (Trinidad Saltworks), travel around the Partial Nature Reserve of La Banya, get close to where the flamingos breed or go to the restaurant that floats in the bay – El Chiringuito.
Sant Isidre, 128
43540 Sant Carles de la Ràpita
Phone: 977 744 624