Garraf, Spain: A Date with Myself

The small slice of tranquil beach in Garraf, Spain. Princy James photos.
The small slice of tranquil beach in Garraf, Spain. Princy James photos.

A Date with the Inner Self on the beach in Garraf, Spain

By Princy James

The Port of Garraf, where yachts and fishing boats are docked.
The Port of Garraf, where yachts and fishing boats are docked.

Once in a while, everyone deserves to live by the adage ‘the joy of doing nothing’.

It should be a cardinal rule in life where we often find ourselves caught in the web of existential thoughts while walking on tight ropes in our effort to live. It’s essential to de-focus from our hackneyed lives and go on a date with our inner-selves every now and then.

Garraf, Spain, just might be the perfect place to do that. A small fishing haven, located about 20 km south of Barcelona, is a minuscule paradise that could teleport you to unimaginable realms. If you are planning on a European trip, don’t miss this place.

Uncongested Beaches

Be it a getaway with your partner, pleasure trip with family or spending some quality time all by yourself, the uncongested beaches will serve you just right. Here’s where the appositeness of Garraf beach comes. It offers tranquility without killing the excitement.

Kids enjoying the sea in Garraf.
Kids enjoying the sea in Garraf.

Here, the water is shallow, hence ideal for kids and those who don’t swim.

Comparatively smaller than the famous Sitges beach nearby, or the Barcelona City beach, the place is not thronged by tourists all the time.

Garraf beach is a damsel perfectly veiled by cliffs on both sides.

A heart-stirring view of the blue sea awaits you as you approach Garraf. After the train passes through a tunnel that pierces the mighty cliffs that plunge into the sea, you reach the Garraf station, where the enticing beauty welcomes you with her sea-facing huts, bougainvillea walls, and her famous heat-resistant blue and white buildings.

At first glance, you might feel like being teleported to the famous Santorini island of Greece after seeing those cerulean bordered achromatic abodes, a characteristic feature of the Grecian Cyclades.

At first glance, you might feel like being teleported to the famous Santorini island of Greece after seeing those cerulean bordered achromatic abodes, a characteristic feature of the Grecian Cyclades.

Once you step inside this nature’s canvas, its crystal clear shallow beach lulls you into its depths as you walk through the lightly lapping waves over the soft sands and velvety moss-covered stones that harbor seashells. On both ends of the beach, at times, people are found gathering seashells from the coves.

La Cupula Garraf Restaurant.
La Cupula Garraf Restaurant.

If you have had enough fun in the water and got sufficiently tanned, you can probably walk towards the restaurant ‘La Cupula Garraf’ aka ‘The Dome Garraf’ overlooking the sea and relish the exquisite seafood that can satiate any pescophile. The place is ideal for organizing dinner parties or get-togethers.

But if you aren’t looking for something big and want to go easy on the pocket, there is a cozy little restaurant which serves yummy croquettes and paella a little down the opposite side of the road.

For booking and other details, here’s the link to La Cupula restaurant website 

Gorging on Shellfish

After gorging on the mixed shellfish dish and brownie templado with bourbon custard, you might actually want to burn those extra calories by sauntering along the alleys that feature comely villas with ceramic number tiles and bougainvillea-decked walls.

Restaurant Gaudi GarrafThere is even a small church with a Mother Mary statue amidst those abodes. One particular house, which has a wooden blue gate with barbed wires and a rusty bell, might remind you of some abandoned house from the story books.

The Garraf port is just a few minutes walk down, but it’s appropriate to hold the thought for some time and wait for the scorching sun to set.

On the other part of Garraf, there is Bodegas Guell – a ‘modernism’ building that boasts about Moorish architecture with its crenelated arches and courtyards.

Originally designed as a winery by maestro Antonio Gaudi and his associate Francesc Mestres under orders of Count Eusebi Guell i Bacigalupi in the late 19th century, this stone structure overlooking the sea proclaims the grandiose Catalan ‘Art Nouveau’.

The construction no more serves its original purpose, and now forms a part of the restaurant ‘Gaudi Garraf’.

At the entrance to the restaurant, there is an intricate metallic fishnet gate and a gold-tinted anchor proclaiming their loyalty to the fishing heritage of the village. Also interesting was to find colorful fluid-filled glass bottles hung from a tree in the front yard.

The golden anchor at Gaudi Garraf restaurant.
The golden anchor at Gaudi Garraf restaurant.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and is ideal for large gatherings. Since they have a chapel, the location is preferred by many for weddings.

The place is usually unoccupied during non-serving hours, hence you can loiter around admiring the architecture or even doodle a bit if you have a pen.

For booking and other details, check their website

Fishing Boats and Yachts

Once the sun settles down, you can walk towards the Garraf port where you find fishing boats and yachts tied to their moorings. The ideal way to sign off the Garraf sojourn is to try your luck with fishing.

Near the port, there is this spectacular view of the sea from the rocks. With the sun gone, you can sit on the rocks and stare at the ever vanishing horizon or test your compatibility with the fishing rod.

You might feel quite connected to nature with the fate of an unfortunate fish lying in your hand (if lucky) or while playing God by letting it go back to waters…those are simple moments that bring enormous joy to the mind.

The last train back to Barcelona is at 9.45 pm, and you probably might want to catch it unless you have plans to spend the night there.

As the train leaves, don’t forget to take one last look at the blue heaven; you can either bid adieu or render a promise to visit again!

How to get to Garraf from Barcelona:

Take the train (Renfe Rodalies R2 Sud) in direction Vilanova i la Geltru from the Barcelona city train stations in Estacion Franca, Passeig de Gracia and Estacion de Sants . There will be trains every 30-40 minutes.

You can check the train schedule at this website

For accommodations, you can either stay in Garraf, or at Sitges, the neighboring city.

Hotel Garraf

Princy James is a journalist with 7 years experience in the media, both in print and new media, the last stint being at Yahoo! India Editorial.  She quit her desk job to become a full-time freelance writer in 2013. Her articles have been published by Yahoo! India and Yahoo! South East Asia news sites; MSN, among others.

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