Excursion in Costa Brava: Kayaking and Snorkeling in Costa Brava
In the past when I have visited Spain and Catalunya, I have always wanted to go on a nature excursion. Recently while traveling in Catalunya, I decided to head up to a small coastal town called Llança to fulfill this desire. Llança, as I found, is a peaceful little town in northern Costa Brava that has a monastery, several natural parks, and beaches; it is small but worth a stop if you are in the area. Those who enjoy the outdoors will find it to be a good place for trekking as hiking in Costa Brava is a popular thing to do. Others who wish to take things more slowly (tranquilo in local speak) can pass some time relaxing on its beach. Ideally located, Llança is just minutes from the border with France and less than an hour or two from other major cities in Catalunya such as Barcelona and Girona. These characteristics and conveniences help to make Llança a good stopping point for travelers.
Outside of doing some hiking and site-seeing, I also chose to do an excursion into the Mediterranean with some adventure sporting via kayaking and snorkeling. For my snorkeling and kayaking excursion in Costa Brava, I went with a company called SK Kayak. They are a locally owned and operated company and that specializes in Kayak rentals, excursions, and snorkeling in Costa Brava, more specifically the Cap de Creus area in Llança. Our excursion lasted a couple of hours and it was something that I had wanted to do for a while as I have never really gotten the opportunity to snorkel in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is such an interesting place to me as a history lover because as a visitor you never realize the wealth of history that you are touching just by being there. Whether you are swimming in the ocean or visiting monuments such as the San Pere de Rodes monastery and museum, some of history’s greatest empires have passed there before you.
For those that are interested in further adventuring and/or training, SK Kayak also offers lessons in kayaking in Costa Brava from beginner to advanced levels and different excursions around Cap de Creus. If you are already experienced with Kayaking or Snorkeling then you are also able to rent gear from them for daily use at your disposal.
What did I see while Snorkeling in Costa Brava?
I never expect to see too many things when swimming in the Mediterranean. From years of commercial over fishing and depleting of fish supplies, the Mediterranean’s fish population has dwindled substantially in recent years, especially with respect to fish that are commonly eaten in restaurants and homes. Keeping this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw as it was my first time snorkeling in Costa Brava or in a relatively underpopulated area of the Sea.
I got to see many different species of fish, which surprised me because in the past, I rarely got the opportunity to see this in other more populated beaches around the Mediterranean as they were either over-fished or too crowded. I also got to see many different plants and animal species ranging from sea urchins, star fish, sea grass, to red anemones and even an octopus (locally called un pulpo). Here are a few pictures from the trip.
A few highlights from the underwater snorkeling adventure in Costa Brava:
I love the water. Personally, it is also something that can be quite intimidating as the ocean is very vast and filled with lots of unknowns. Nonetheless, I still love the ocean. The reason that I like it so much is because it gives one the opportunity to see another perspective in life. As much as we may forget, the ocean is not our domain. It is something that we commonly enjoy, but it is not where we can live. So therefore, seeing the things in the ocean is a special treat because they are often things that we won’t find on land anywhere.
Guide in Llança, a contact for you.
A good contact point for you if you are looking for someone who is quite knowledgeable in the monastery and medieval town as well as the different activities around Llança is Marcel Gutinell Maurí. I met Marcel for lunch and he taught me many things about the surrounding history and he accompanied me on my snorkeling and kayaking excursion. He is a local Catalunyan with extensive knowledge of the surrounding nature and history. I’d recommend him for insider tips. He is a good Costa Brava guide if you seek one.
Accommodation in Llança: Where to stay?
It depends what you are looking for in the city. As a backpacker and budget traveler, I typically choose to find economic places to stay that offer common amenities that I need while traveling. I can recommend a place that I stayed in. I stayed at Alberg Costa Brava, which was conveniently located on the side of the train station. It is just minutes away from many of the major attractions, and it is very tranquil complete with hammocks for siesta time! I think that it is a great stopping point for anyone looking to find a central location for completing all of their activities in the Llança area. The owners are very hospitable and nice.
Arriving in Costa Brava: How to get to Llança?
Arriving in Costa Brava is quite simple. Most, if not all, of the coastal towns are connected by train. The ones that are not should be accessible by local bus routes. The trains that you should look to purchase are called Cercanías and can be purchased at the train station in any major Spanish city. Advanced purchases are not typically necessary, but you can if you think the tickets might be sold out.
If you have to purchase from a ticket window in the train station then you should look for the windows labelled Medía Distancía. Tickets should not be too expensive as the distances are relatively small. It will take roughly two hours to arrive from Barcelona. You can expect about one hour from Girona.
If you are driving or cycling, there are several roads that connect the region to others. In addition, some people choose to walk or hike as hiking is quite popular in Costa Brava and the Pyrenees Mountains that divide France and Spain.
Lagniappe: Something Extra
At the conclusion of my last day, Marcel offered me to attend a tour that he was giving of the local fish market. I have only been to one fish major fish market in the past and it was in Catania, Sicily. For me, it is interesting to see the entire process of the market, from the sea to the table. Both local and commercial fisherman bring their catch in from the sea and drop them off at a local market where the fish are put up for sale. Local vendors bid on the fish and take whatever fish that they purchase back to their restaurants or stores. Contrarily to other methods that we see in auctions, the price of the fish starts high and then falls until someone bids. This tour may be of interest to you.
Have you been to Llança before? What is your favorite place to go snorkeling or kayaking in Costa Brava?
**Tags: snorkeling costa brava, kayaking costa brava, llanca catalunya, cap de creus llanca, excursions in costa brava, kayak costa brava, day trips from Barcelona, day trips from Girona**