Escala Old Town
L'Escala has a population of
around 6,000, which swells to many times that amount during the busy
summer months. The town is surrounded by blue flag beaches; At the
northern end of the town the Bay of Roses has some of the most beautiful
unspoiled beaches anywhere. In the town centre is the popular beach at
Riell's, and at the south side of town is the lovely beach at Montgo.
L'Escala is one of
the smaller holidays resorts in the Costa Brava/Catalonia region - it is
not far from the border with France and is perfect for families and
independent holidaymakers wanting to avoid the mass-market package
holiday resorts. You will soon discover that L'Escala is an excellent
base to discover the mostly unspoiled northern Costa Brava, beautiful
beaches, art, historic monuments, nature parks and one of Spain's most
important wild bird reserves is situated a few miles to the north of
The town is renowned for its anchovies and ancient ruins of Empuries
and it is host to several festivals throughout the year.
The older centre of the town still retains the character of a typical
Spanish working town with its bustling narrow streets and good selection
of shops, bars, cafe's and restaurants. There are two small, popular
beaches in the old town that add to the overall charm and atmosphere of
is a pleasant promenade which takes you from the old town into the
Riells area. Along this promenade there is a weekly market every Sunday
morning all year round. Riells has a good sized, gently sloping, sandy,
blue flag beach and large Marina. There are also numerous bars,
restaurants and shops around the Riell's area.
The area boasts a wealth of facilities for sports enthusiasts: There
are several golf courses in the area including the excellent Emporda 27
hole course. Cycling is very popular here, the area around LEscala
is flat, and the Pyrenees provide the inclines for the more serious
riders. Tennis, walking, horse riding, go - carting and fishing and
other water sports such as kayaking, sailing and snorkeling are popular
are catered for and there are several scuba diving centres.
For water sports enthusiasts excellent beaches to the north of L'Escala
in the Bay of Roses is a paradise for sailing and windsurfing. These
quiet beaches, of superb fine sand that last for miles, are ideal for
sun bathing. The few rocky parts that exist have an abundance of fish
and other marine life and make for great sites for snorkeling.
Culture & Festivals:
L'Escala has carefully conserved the typical natural beauty and the
typical urban atmosphere of the Costa Brava. But, equally important, LEscala
has kept alive many popular traditions and celebrations. These events
were not maintained solely for the tourists, they are customs that are
strongly rooted among its inhabitants.
Sardanas are the local dance. It
is one of the few national dances that is actually danced by the
townspeople themselves rather than by a group. An orchestra known as a "Cobla"
accompanies the dancing. The participants stand in circles and by
listening to the cues given by the music know what step they should be
dancing at any given time. Sardanas look deceptively easy to dance! The
dances take place every Wednesday evening at 10pm during the summer at
the beach at Riell's and spontaneously groups of people form into
circles. Everybody is invited to participate in the dancing..
The Landing of the Three Kings -
5th January The Three Kings arrive by sea are eagerly met by the local
children. The Kings disembark onto the main beach and then ride through
the town on horseback. That night the children all go to bed hoping that
when they wake up in the morning the Three Kings will have left them
some gifts, however if the child has not behaved well during the year he
may find he has been left a lump of (edible) coal!
Dia de Sant Jordi (Saint George's
Day). April 23rd: Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia and the
day is celebrated throughout Catalonia. The legend has it that when the
famous dragon was slain, a rose grew from its blood. To celebrate the
victory over the dragon Catalan men give the woman they love a red rose
on Sant Jordi's day. In return women buy their loved ones a book. Over
recent years the Catalan custom of buying books on Sant Jordi's day has
become fairly international and in many countries of the world April
23rd is known as "International Book Day".
Triumirat Mediterrà is a
market that is held in L'Escala in June. What makes it special is the
fact that the whole market is "set" in 30BC. Traders are
dressed in Greek or Roman dress, the Tavernas sell drinks that would
have been available at that time and all products must be compatible
with the era. During the days leading up to the market there are plenty
of related activities and many restaurants offer a special Roman meal,
serving similar food to that which the Romans at that time would have
eaten. On the day of the market activities include several gladiator
fights and an auction of slaves.
La nit de San Joan - June 23rd. It
is a night when people build bonfires and have firework displays.
Families and friends get together for a special meal traditionally
accompanied by "cava" (champagne) and "coca", a type
Festa del Carme July 16th This is
the day on which the town pays homage to its senior citizens. There is a
boat parade which brings many of the town's "elders" to the
beach from where they are accompanied by their grandchildren or other
relations to the church for a celebratory mass, followed by more
festivities lasting all day.
Giants and Capgrossos originate from the Corpus Christi processions.
Nowadays many Catalan towns have "giants" which are brought
out on high days and holidays. There is an annual "giant"
meeting in early September every year in which all the local "giants"
come to L'Escala for the day and parade around the town. These are
L'Escala's "giants", Pere and Maximeta. Here they are standing
either side of the church door behind a "carpet" of coloured
sand made on the day of the Festa del Carme. The Catalan insignia is
represented in a sea full of fish and with small groups of people
The "Festa Major" from
the 2 to the 6 of September where the Sardana, the traditional dance of
Catalonia, is enjoyed with a special passion. Other interesting
festivities, although of a more tourist character are the Festa de
la Sal, annually in October where the visitor can see the
traditional offices related to fishing industry, - in which also
participates the population. Another is the Festa de l'Anxova
where everyone will be able to taste the internationally acclaimed
anchovies of LEscala.
Local Food & Drink
The choice of restaurants in L'Escala are suited to all tastes covering
traditional and European recipes in the menu's. Authentic Catalan, Tapas
Bars, Fish Restaurants, Pizza's and Pasta's, Chinese and Mexican dishes
Look out for some of the traditional dishes available made from Local
produce such as olive oil, fish, vegetables and meat. Arroz negro - made
with rice and squid ink, suquet - made with fish and potatoes. L'Escala
is famous for its excellent fish and anchovies.
Another gastronomic pleasure are the 'tapas' ( in bars). Whether at
mid-day or in the evening, you will be unable to resist trying the many
delicacies such as cheeses and hams, tiny earthenware dishes of sizzling
'aperitifs' of seafood, fish, meats. It's the chance to dip into so many
tastes, as well as the visual spread of tapas that make them universally
The Mediterranean diet is generally regarded as one of the most
nutritionally healthy in the world. Meals in many of L'Escala's
restaurants are fantastic value; they can cost as little as 7 Euros for
a quality 3 course meal including wine and water.
thanks to Veronica Hall, a L'Escala resident for contributing this
For details of L' Escala Villas to rent visit our 'Holiday
Drive time to L'Escala from
the nearest airports are:
Girona: ¾hour, Perpignan (France): 1 hour, Barcelona: 1¾
Click here for a full list
of airlines and UK airports and airlines serving these airports.