Pals is truly the ultimate in day trips. Every history buff, polite lady, and gentleman, I have ever met would love Pals or has probably visited. The medieval city up on a hill consists of a cobblestone network of narrow paths and alleyways peppered with shops, restaurants, lookouts, and private homes.
As well, there is a vibrant town at the base of the medieval area with more shops and restaurants, accommodations, and markets. Aside from the historical area, there is also a beach nearby, campsites, and a thriving summer holiday scene.
Pals is located about 1.5 hours (130 km) from Placa Catalunya in the Girona region of the Costa Brava.
We arrived in Pals and parked our car near a weekend market by a school. Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as clothes, bags, and souvenirs were displayed in stalls and on tables.
We walked up a paved path that turned into cobblestones leading us first to the main square with some bars, cafes, and shops with pathways leading in many directions. We found great shops with local rice, beautiful bags, wind chimes, art, and souvenirs.
Although we only visited Pals for the day, this would be a great place to stay for a night or two. Beautiful restaurants in charming gardens and shops selling artisan crafts and upscale souvenirs could keep me busy for at least two days.
Aside from the businesses Pals is home to many people. Families who have lived there for decades to homes that have become some city slickers’ passion projects. Around every turn and corner lovely homes with beautiful doors, and windows, some with bridges, some with gardens, amazed us with their restoration and old-world charm.
I can imagine this area is a wonderful place for those who love the finer things in life or have older children who can hop in the car and head to the beach. Anything is possible, but I didn’t get the feeling that these homes had swimming pools, and a regular dip in the sea would definitely be needed in the hot Spanish summers.
The only other question I had was how the locals receive postage or Amazon packages? I’m sure they have seasoned drivers and mailpersons who know the paths like the back of their hands, but wow if they ever quit or get sick. I can’t imagine trying to find a house in this area where not all of the streets have visible names or numbers.
Pals to Begur
After a short 15 minute drive we arrived in Begur. Another great holiday town closer to the beaches.
Sa Garrofa Restaurant, Camí del Mas Rostei, 17255
We made reservations to have lunch at a place called Sa Garrofa. It’s a restaurant, yoga, and meditation center with ample outdoor dining space surrounded by nature. It’s open from March to September for lunch, dinner, and special events.
They have a great flexitarian menu with many vegan options. Aside from regular dining, this would be a wonderful place for a wedding, anniversary, milestone birthday, or large event.
Sitting on the patio eating one delicious dish after another, I found myself wondering who I needed to know and how I could get an invite to one of these types of events as it would be truly magical.
We started with the Mezze Platter which was brimming with assorted chips, crostinis, olives, vegetables, mixed greens, and three dips. Visually beautiful but also quite filling. This would be the must-order dish if you were enjoying an afternoon glass of wine and good conversation with friends.
We were so impressed and couldn’t believe we had never thought of drizzling sesame oil over hummus! This has become a regular family thing now.
Next we had roasted mixed vegetables, seitan stew, mushroom risotto, and vegan chocolate brownies for dessert. Everything was delicious, and the service was excellent.
While we were dining, my husband and I took breaks to entertain our toddler and look around. In the front of the restaurant there was a table with various local gift products and down a little path was the yoga and meditation studio.
I had a nice chat with an older woman who was so kind to me and my toddler that I wondered if she had any interest in being a grandma to a Canadian/Spanish toddler and maybe his mom?
Perhaps you are visiting Barcelona for the first time or have been to this region many times and might be looking for something new. If so, I highly recommend visiting the beautiful Costa Brava region and Pals/Begur in particular. And if you do manage to somehow get an invitation to a wedding or party at Sa Garrofa – let me be your plus one!