Costa Brava Sailing Destinations
Barcelona Sailing School Spanish Mainland Cruising Area
Marinas on the Costa Brava - All Spanish Sailing Holidays and RYA Spanish Sailing Courses, Barcelona, Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada
Barcelona Sailing School is based in Palamos for RYA Sail and RYA Power Boat plus Port L'Escala Spain for Charters and Sailing Holidays. The marina's are next to the beach and you can choose between historic city sailing or the beautiful Bay Of Rosas. There are facilities for dinghy sailing and of course great diving. Our sailing boats are walking distance from town where a lively promenade is full of life in a true Catalan style. On the Costa Brava (Rugged Coast) you can enjoy private secluded bays of turquoise waters surrounded by pine trees and rocky cliffs whereas on the Costa Dorada (Golden Coast) to the south of the Costa Brava to Tarragona the color of gold - soft, warm and sparklingly bright - is prevalent along the shores. The 80 Nm of Costa Brava has 26 ports and over 100 anchorages! This is a perfect natural coastline to explore whilst learning to sail and gaining the sailing skills you will need to go cruising. The healthy Tramontana wind from the North keeps our sails full and the summers mild. A day's sailing south from L'Escala and Palamos down to Barcelona city offers a contrast to the rugged countryside on the Costa Brava. This spectacular city has an amazing culture unlike the rest of Spain. Its is a blend of old and new, like the historic buildings such as The Sagrada (left) and the funky modern Ramblas de Mar and Park Güell. There is also a fantastic nightlife in Barcelona and some fabulous restaurants. For the adventurous sailors your RYA course or charter could include a passage south down to the Balearic Islands and a cruise of Palma de Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza or Isla de Formentera. Likewise we can sail north to France and explore the glamorous Cote d'Azur before returning to the Costa Brava and soft sand beaches like Calella de Palafrugell. North of Palamos there are beautiful coves such as Cala Fosca, Cala de Calella and the islands Islas Formigues where we anchor. The rugged Costa Brava coast here is full of coves and caves. Good for practicing your navigation skills with many submerged rocks. Continuing north of Cala de Calella you will meet lovely coves Cala de Lafranc, Cala Pedrosa and Cala Tamariu.
A selection of marina's and anchorages you may visit - weather dependent.
RYA Courses from Port Olympic RYA Sail and Motor Cruising and Port L'Escala Spain for RYA Water Sports including RYA Power Boat 1 and 2 plus RYA Sail Cruising. The marina's are next to the beach and you can choose between historic city sailing or the beautiful Bay Of Rosas. There are facilities for dinghy sailing and of course great diving. Our sailing boats are walking distance from town where a lively promenade is full of life in a true Catalan style. On the Costa Brava (Rugged Coast) you can enjoy private secluded bays of turquoise waters surrounded by pine trees and rocky cliffs whereas on the Costa Dorada (Golden Coast) to the south of the Costa Brava to Tarragona the color of gold - soft, warm and sparklingly bright - is prevalent along the shores. The 80 Nm of Costa Brava has 26 ports and over 100 anchorages! This is a perfect natural coastline to explore whilst learning to sail and gaining the sailing skills you will need to go cruising. The healthy Tramontana wind from the North keeps our sails full and the summers mild.
A day's sailing south from L'Escala and Palamos down to Barcelona city offers a contrast to the rugged countryside on the Costa Brava. This spectacular city has an amazing culture unlike the rest of Spain. Its is a blend of old and new, like the historic buildings such as The Sagrada (left) and the funky modern Ramblas de Mar and Park Güell. There is also a fantastic nightlife in Barcelona and some fabulous restaurants. For the adventurous sailors your RYA course or charter could include a passage south down to the Balearic Islands and a cruise of Palma de Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza or Isla de Formentera. Likewise we can sail north to France and explore the glamorous Cote d'Azur before returning to the Costa Brava and soft sand beaches like Calella de Palafrugell. North of Palamos there are beautiful coves such as Cala Fosca, Cala de Calella and the islands Islas Formigues where we anchor. The rugged Costa Brava coast here is full of coves and caves. Good for practicing your navigation skills with many submerged rocks. Continuing north of Cala de Calella you will meet lovely coves Cala de Lafranc, Cala Pedrosa and Cala Tamariu. A selection of marina's and anchorages you may visit - weather dependent.
Port Bou - Girona
Last port of refuge before the French border. A small and well protected marina now complete, a maximum LOA of 20m, there is fuel on the quay but check the draft, with low pressure our Beneteau 473 had a clearance of half a metre on the fuel berth. All provisions ashore, train connections in the busy siding behind the sea front shops. The anchorage is weed and sand and the holding is not great, 5-8 metres in the middle of the small bay, exposed to the NNE. There are very limited yacht repairs.
Puerto de Llanca
Excellent yacht harbour, well protected with reasonable facilities. Once round the outer wall a sharp turn to starboard. The visitors' quay will be found to port ask here for a berth. Max LOA 15m limited facilities and a good anchorage in the bay in sand and weed.
Port de la Selva and the Bahia de la Selva
The marina is home to a small commercial fishing port so stay off the sea wall. Berthing is bows or stern to but in practice most choose to anchor just off in the bay. Good holding in sand and weed once the hook is in. In a blow expect to have to hunt for good holding. In summer there could be a hundred yachts anchored so use your day Shape and anchor light at night. Stunning scenery all around. Good restaurants ashore with a small chandler, most facilities available to the cruising yachtsman. A recommended stop-over, safe with plenty of swinging room available.
Puerto de Cadaques
A contradiction there is no port. A large well-protected bay with an historic town ashore. Easy approach in all weather, well-lit and buoyed. Visiting yachts are now discouraged from anchoring close in and the buoys belong to local and registered yachts. You will be moved on in the season. Visitor's moorings are managed by the Yacht Club and you can call them on VHF 9 or 6 they will more often than not assist in mooring you to a buoy, and they offer a yacht taxi service from 1000hrs until 2200hrs. Too early in the evening for most so a tender ashore is inevitable. Anchoring within the yellow markers is now prohibited so you must drop the hook well off. Cala Conca in 8m is fine but a way from the town. On the E side Playa del Ros in 5m is well protected and a small footpath leads round the headland to the town. There is a small bar / restaurant overlooking the bay beside the slip. In Tramantana the bay is alive; take care in the tender, remove the outboard overnight, and lift the dinghy. Ready to slip should be the watchword in strong offshore winds.
Excellent all-weather marina, the harbourmaster speaks good English and is very helpful when berthing. Call on channel 9 and he will meet you in the entrance between the old fishing port and the new marina; they do not take reservations. Full facilities ashore including WiFi, a major port now catering for all sized yachts, 110 visitors' berths. Excellent anchorage just past the sea wall to the NNW anchor in sand, mindful of the two well lit fishfarms, or head over into the corner of the bay past the South Cardinal Mark and anchor between 3 and 8 metres in sand. Well protected from the Tramontana, use a trip and lay a second anchor. The marina rarely turns visitors away, and only once to us in an August blow from the South, when every charter yacht on the Costa Brava ran there for shelter.
A large modern marina with most berths belonging to the villas and houses that make up one of Europe's biggest yacht havens. Bavaria and Hanse deliver here for onward transportation. Berthing is mostly on piles which need care especially if you are on the smaller size in a larger berth. Narrow and sometimes difficult entry in strong on and offshore winds, incredibly busy in summer. Call on VHF 9 the harbourmaster speaks good English and is quite helpful. All major facilities and hundreds of restaurants, bars and nightlife.
Port Santa Margarita
500 berths max LOA 15m mostly made up of narrow waterways, with the entrance prone to silting, narrow approach. Very English, report to Club Nautico on the starboard sde of the Gran Canal. Bars and resturants line the waterways; a bustling place in summer but dreadfully quiet out of season. All modern facilities and, once inside, good shelter.
Port L´Escala Blue Oyster RYA Watersports and RYA Sail Cruising Power Boat 1 & 2 Modern marina offering full facilities all year. The old port which harbours the fishing fleet, customs and the Guardia Civil is left to port, and then straight in and onto the fuel Quay. Three pumps and a long safe wall, side to mooring; once moored the office has an intercom to call the office for fuel or a berth. The bay offers a safe anchorage but open to the N, note the North cardinal and don´t close on the beach. There are plenty of rocks just below the surface. Normal opening times, they shut for siesta. Jordi speaks English and will help with berthing, bows or stern to usually outside the shower blocks. Facitlities operate on an entry code but the fuel quay has services open all the time.Don´t call on VHF 9 if your Catalan is a bit limited, just moor and call the office who speak English. La Clota Restaurant on the quay offers excellent food, open during Easter to October; the Fishermans Restaurant is open all year, just by the hoist.
We recommend Restaurant La Clota on the Marina seafront - telephone 0034 972770827 ask for John or Cathy
Yacht maintenance and repairs
Good approach across the bay and well sheltered from the north, if you have a strong headwind head in the Bay of Roses will be much worse. No one ever answers the VHF here but they are very friendly and most welcoming. Good opening inside for a sail drop in protected waters, the fuel quay is large and protected. If you want a berth, call by all means; in practice the marinaro from the fuel quay will wave you towards a berth. This may take some time so be patient, prepare to stand by or moor on the fuel pontoon. Fenders both sides and bows or stern to. The facilities are in the N corner with the yacht club, so if you are guided to the S wall it´s a bit of a trot. Good restaurants ashore and an English provisioned supermarket, expensive but open all year. Good anchorage in sand 5 metres just outside the sea wall. Very busy in season with tour and dive boats.
The Meades Islands
Just offshore a nature reserve surrounded by special marks, yellow flashing. No anchoring, but there are mooring buoys which are laid all year and free. Don´t go ashore onto the nature reserve, or fish within the reserve area. Depending on the wind direction, you can shelter either side of the Meades.
One of the smartest marinas on the coast, but small, and visitors will struggle to find a berth. Call on VHF 8, depths 1 - 8 metres, and good protection once insde. In practice the anchorage off the beach in 5m of sand is preferable. Good shelter from the N. In summer the bay is full of moorings for smaller day boats so pick your way carefully in the dark and use a trip. Out of season an open and beautiful bay with restaurants a short row. Quiet in the winter but there is plenty happening at weekends. Weather and webcam Callela de Palafrugell.
Port of Palamos
Palamos offers excellent protection from Tramantana and head for the bay if the wind strengthens. The commercial port has a few berths, if the fishing fleet is out, side to, but they return at 1600 weekdays so you will need to move. Large container ships use the port and the outer wall has just been extended. Sound signals are seldom used but the pilot boat will chase you off if you are in the way. The Club Nautico is on VHF 9, very uncomfortable in strong W -SW winds, max LOA 25m depths 3 - 6M. All modern facilities, English spoken, and close to the market town, a short stroll. In summer the place is a hive of activities - in 2007 the Tall Ships regatta called here. A good chandler is just outside the marina gates. Website
We recommend Restaurant La Gamba and La Menta C/ Tauler I Sèrvia 117230 Palamos 972 314 709
A newish modern marina with all facilities, incredibly expensive and not visitor friendly. The entrance opens onto the fuel quay, side to with plenty of room, but open to tramantana and difficult to manoeuvre if you are caught in here. VHF 9 they speak a little English but will reply, once inside the short walk up into the old market town is its advantage. Many shops and retaurants and a lovely market town feel, open all year. The approach in a SSW is extremly difficult, leave the main up until you are safely in, if you need to run off out to sea you will have plenty of room - and a sail ready. WiFi enabled. A chandlery is on site, along with a very noisy nightclub.
An excellent anchorage even from Tramantana, two anchors may be necessary but sand and free of weed makes for good holding. Yellow swim markers close off the beach in summer, but out of season you can tuck right in and even anchor behind the inner wall in front of the fishing fleet. Do give them enough room, they will sound off if they feel restricted. It´s free and many cruising sailors spend a long part of the summer here. It´s safe and the dinghy pontoon in the N corner is in the heart of the town.
We recommend the hotel on the beach - Hotel Trias and Restaurant Fish on the sea front, viewed from Palamos Bay with a red and white canopy.
Port DÁro - not recommended for visiting yachts!
Probably the narrowest approach to any marina ventured into. The new sea wall and clubhouse are now complete with good facilities. The Club flies a yellow flag for caution when the wind is from the E, SE or strong from the NE, don´t try on the red flag, you will be surfing in a couple of metres of water!! Once inside the marina the fuel quay is opposite and open 24 hours in the season. Very very limited English, this is the Catalans' home port; everyone from Barcelona appears to have a second home and a berth here, high charges. Max LOA 15m but the rules are a little grey. The club facilities are excellent - pool, restaurants, beaches, sauna available members only. Platja DÁro is a short stroll and is the Catalans' party town. Smart, clean and not a sign of trouble anywhere. A hive of activity all year. Call on VHF 9 but don´t expect an answer if you are not fluent in Catalan or Spanish. Book ahead in summer. Lift out in the small yard is restricted to 15M.
Yacht maintenance and repairs.
We recommend Restaurant Friends on the sea front Platja DÁro. Good food on the beach in a relaxed alfresco outdoor area. Great furntiture. Dutch.
Saint Feliu De Guixols
Excellent all-weather marina, good English spoken call on VHF 9. New berths on the starboard approach once through the heads. Difficult in strong E winds with a swell. No anchoring in the bay, enforced. Stern or bows to in the old quarter, floating finger pontoons in the modernised part. Good facilities ashore but the showers and toilets are in a portakabin whilst the new club house is being built. The town has a beautiful Catalan market feel, full of life, shops and restaurants; well worth a visit. A reasonable charge 15m out of season 40 Euros.
Free anchorages and overnight moorings north of Barcelona on the Spanish Costa Brava
There are many safe bays to overnight in along the northern part of the Costa Brava, some of our favourites are mentioned below. Take care, refer to up to date pilot books and charts, and keep your wits about you for Tramantana. A clear bright sky, with cigar-shaped clouds is an imminent sign of a N wind.
Tossa de Mar
A safe open bay, excellent anchorage busy in summer. Sandy bottom 5 - 10 metres a good selection of restaurants and bars ashore with a splendid fort. Do not confuse Tossa with Lloret, Tossa is a medieval town steeped in history. Shelter is nearby at Sants Feliu or Palamos.
A large open bay between Saint Feliux and Port DÁro protected from all but an ESE. Good holding in sand depth about 5m; choose the protected side of the bay and anchor close in. In summer yellow buoys cone off the beach area and summer moorings are laid to the NE side of the bay. Some are private others are charged at a small rate if they decide to collect. Ashore the beachfront is alive with good quality restaurants, the blue and white striped one in the NE corner will deliver preprepared food to order. If the weather changes you have the marinas already mentioned and Palamos bay to seek shelter in.
An all-weather, well-protected anchorage. A swell can roll in from the SE, there are good marinas close by if this should be the case. All provisions can be brought ashore easily in the tender. Good restaurants on the beach, Hotel Trias and Fish, a red and white canopied restaurant, both offer menus of the day at 10 Euros. In summer take a stroll into the back streets of the old port of Palamos - here again many restaurants and the town cathedral.
Just before Ant (Hormigas) Island on the port side are a number of excellent anchorages protected from all but the SSE. Cala Fosca, anchor in sand 2 - 5m avoiding the pipe that runs out from Roca Negre, a small taverna on the beach has good food during the season. Although the area is buoyed for smaller boats in the summer June onwards there is still plenty of room. Across the bay to the NNE Cala Castell, a favourite with locals who mainly never overnight. Beach bar, and pedal boats, again buoyed in summer. You must row ashore and the Canoe Hire Centre gets a tad annoyed if you use their channel to motor in. Safe in sand 5m.
A small Cala just past Islas Hormigas, tucked way on the W side of Palafrugel. Beware rocks awash, they are charted and break the surface close in. Well protected from any blow with S and very picturesque. Sandy bottom, but deep, anchor in 10m sand. A small beach ashore but you will need to provision for yourselves, if it blows up head for Palamos, LlaFranc across the bay is small and full with owners' boats. The anchorage at LlaFranc is full of moorings in summer and the beach marked off. Motor in alongside the marinas wall and anchor clear in sand 5m. If windy from the N then stay outside the wall and nose up under the cliffs and light house of Sans Sebastion. The Hotel LlaFranc is open all year on the beach, and El Far above the cliffs is worth a visit, a superb panaoramic view, restaurant and luxury hotel.The marina is lit, and if entering at night use the light at Isla Hormigas as a back bearing to gain access to the anchorage.
We recommend Hotel El Far a beautiful hilltop Resturant and Hotel, 12 individually designed rooms. Good food - good views! and the Hotel on the beach Hotel LlaFranc.
A sheltered anchorage anchor in 10m as close in as the other seasonally-moored boats allow. Ashore there are several restaurants, and a motorboat hire centre. Clean beach and a very friendly welcoming community. Out of season the restaurants mainly open weekends, but one at least always seems open. As you head further up the coast you will note the large white Hotel on the cliff top. The Aiguabrava Parador, and tucked away behind it the Cala Aiguabrava. An excellent anchorage just off the beach. There are private moorings but if you approach with caution you can clear these and shelter just off the beach in 6m of sand. The rock face under the Hotel has some rings attached, so run a stern line ashore. No charge. The beach again will be marked off in summer, you can tender ashore to the local restaurants and supermarket, use the stone pontoon under the Hotel. Peurto de Fornells on the other side of the bay is a tiny marina for dayboats, don´t be fooled into seeking refuge here, you won´t get in! Tamariu webcam and weather
We recommend Hotel Tamariu and Restaurant Royal 972 62 00 41.
Cala Sa Tuna and Cala Aiguafrida
A favourite of www.costabravasailing.com with excellent shelter and only open to the NE. Anchor in 10m close into the rocks on the S side or off the beach. Two wonderful restaurants ashore open in the season, one fish and expensive, one menu of the day. They both get extremely busy in the silly 6 week holiday season. Once in and safely anchored paddle ashore, moor the tender to the stone quay, and reserve a table, both have two sittings in the evening. Small paper shop with expensive limited provisions. There are some excellent coastal walks and vantage points. If it blows up be aware that the bottom is incredibly weedy so keep an eye out. There are 2 visitors' mooring buoys in the centre that carry a small charge.
We recommend The Hotel Sa Tuna.
Cala Sa Riera
A wonderful sandy anchorage under the hills of Cap Begur. Restaurants ashore, and a dinghy pontoon, anchor in sand in 3m. Be aware that there are rocks on the approach heading S into the Cala, well charted use good pilotage.
If the wind blows from the S you can leave the beach area and nose up under the rocks, quite deep and sheltered, the beach area can be quite exposed. Nearest safe haven is L´Estartit across the bay, good all-weather entrance, be careful with an E swell.
Once around the headland and into the Bay Of Roses there are several small Calas, the biggest of which is Cala Montgo. Good protection but open to the NE; careful when anchoring in 5m the bottom is weedy, look for the sand. Use the sheltered side of the bay, restaurants are in the N. Many small boat moorings are laid in the summer and again the beach is coned with yellow marks. The swell sometimes makes the bay uncomfortable, locally referred to as the Montgo Wallow, if you can´t sleep move on, the Bay of La Clota offers a little less roll, and the Port of LÉscala. The hotel on the beach seems quite happy for yachties to use the facilities if you breakfast, lunch there. Very good coffee. The town behind is a little random so stay on the front. There are two restaurants serving adequate food overlooking the bay, choose your table wisely and you will be able to keep a watch on the yacht.
La Clota Bay
Excellent shelter but open to the N and dangerous in Tramantana. Do not close on the beach, the N Cardinal alerts you to the obvious danger, anchor in 10m of sand. The old town of Escala is quite a way from the marina on the headland and this is pretty active all year. The new town is very quiet with La Clota Restaurant open from Easter to October, very good food and an extensive menu. Costa Brava Sailing has a base and yachts here if you need anything please just give us a call 34 972 662 494.
Bay of Roses
Across the bay to the N, the ports of Roses Santa Margarita and Empuria Brava (Ampuriabrava) offer good shelter and provisions. The anchorage near to Roses has excellent holding and suitable for all weather. Yachties actually live here, keep an eye out for the red ketch. Along the N side of the Bay are anchorages protecting you from the N winds. So if you get stuck in Montgo bay with a N coming in move to the other side of the Bay of Roses.
Cala Canyelles Petites & Cala Canyelles Grand
Approach with caution and use your pilot book - there are off lying rocks permanently awash between the two Calas. Anchor in 5m in weed / sandy bottom and be prepared to dig in. Both have active towns ashore with good quality restaurants. Our favourite is the larger of the two with a superb restaurant on the sea front and a good one above on the cliff offering a good view of the Bay of Roses.
Cala de Montjoi
A nice anchorage nestled into the National Park above, open to the SE but well protected from the N. Small and private with a couple of laid moorings. There is a dive centre on the beach with a bar. No provisioning here but splendid isolation. Very weedy bottom, dig in well and keep an eye out! Across to the other side Cala Pelosa has a new restaurant on the beach with safe anchorage in 5m of sand. There are moorings and you are well protected under the cliffs, as you look at the restaurant and to the NW there is another small bay with excellent holding in sand 3-5m. Superb snorkelling and very private, obviously in summer the area is busy, but pretty much everyone goes back to their marina at night. The stars and the sky can be amazing with a full moon. DO NOT cross beteen Cala Montjoi and Cala Pelosa there are rocks awash between the two Calas in the middle of the bay. Use good pilotage and stay outside them!
A favourite Cala offering excellent protection open from NE to SE the bay is split into two with a secluded anchorage to the W side and to the NNE a bay with moorings laid all year. The moorings belong to the hotel and beach restaurant and are free to the those who use their facilities, a coffee or aperatif will do. However, you are allowed to anchor inside their moorings and in summer the bay can be quite exciting. A swim here is a must, there is a dive centre on the beach and the two restaurants offer good food. They are expensive. Anchor between 5-10m sandy bottom with occasional weed as close to the beach as draught allows. This is a National Park and is extremely beautiful, with some fantastic walks. A special place.
We recommend the Hotel and the Beach Bar.
Between Cadaques and Cape Cabo Creus
There are many small anchorages, all reasonably well protected with Cadaques a short distance if the weather turns. Around the headland and in bad weather with onshore swells stay at least 5 miles out and refer to Pilotage and up to date charts for information. There is an inner passage in calm weather. Around the headland Cala de Culip with the Club Med base on the hill offers reasonable protection from all but N winds. Anchor in 5m and surrounded by rocky cliffs the perfect uncrowded and unspoilt anchorage. A safe haven can be sought at Peurto de La Selva either in the marina or in the bay which offers good protection. Weedy bottom but mainly sand. The town is interesting and with plenty of restaurants and a buzzing nightlife. The fishing industry keeps the town lively all year.
Puerto de Colera, and the Calas of Cau Del Llop, Cala Garbet
These offer unspoilt anchorages which have remained that way over the years. Cala Garbet has a large restaurant in the NNE corner which is open during the season. Again sandy bottom and anchor to draught close to the beach. For a safe haven run to Llanca, and Peurto De La Selva, this is a dramtatically unspoilt coastline offering some really good quality Med cruising.
This is not an exhaustive list of Calas, nor is this information intended as pilotage; as a good skipper you must have up-to-date charts and navigate with current professionally prepared pilotage books. This information is intended to support that which is already published. If you note any inaccuracies please let us know by email on the contacts page.
Contact Spanish Rescue authorities on channel 16 or 0034 972 600711