in Catalonia (Spain)
English text reproduced from
with the author's permission
Mediterranean is a great place for an introduction to sea kayaking. And the
Catalan coasts provide beauty spots, spectacular cliffs, caves, minute
inlets, etc. accessible only by sea kayak. Sea kayaking is a sport which
does not require a special degree of fitness, as we can start paddling in
calm seas without much effort. If we take our time and the weather is good
we can enjoy the surrounding area without tiring ourselves. Although, if
that is our wish, a kayak excursion can also be strenuous, depending on the
paddling rhythm, type of gear, duration, state of the sea, weather, etc.
is important to realise that a sea kayak is different to that used in
interior waterways (rivers): Our craft is longer (4-5 metres), more stable
and, thanks to its bulkheads, practically unsinkable. Built-in hatches
provide great interior loading capacity. And ease of use means that we can
cruise for hours in comfort.
To enjoy sea kayaking we must maintain
maximum safety precautions. Knowledge of the changeable medium we are in (sea
state and weather forecast), knowledge of the vessel (kayak) and knowledge
of rescue and self-rescue techniques (eskimo roll) are basic to the practise
of this sport. And we must always consume energy-rich foods and drink during
We should also take into account the daily
sea breeze regime of the Catalan coast: Gentle wind from sea to land during
the central hours, followed by land to sea breeze until sundown. This is why
the first and last hours of the day provide the calmest paddling conditions;
an important point to bear in mind when planning a route.
we have assimilated these concepts we are ready to plan our first sea kayak
excursion. A 2 to 4 hour tour will allow us to cover a considerable distance
(5-10 miles) with little effort, reach places inaccessible by land, enjoy
crystal waters, literally touch the rocks on the coast, enter marine caves,
The Catalan coasts allow sea kayaking from
virtually any access point (hundreds of miles of beaches, dozens of sport
marinas). If we don't have our own kayak there are several companies which
provide rental for paddling on our own (if we are experienced) or guided
excursions (recommended). Two example outfitters are Riumar (in Vilanova i
la Geltrú) and Kayaking Costa Brava (in L'Escala). Here we can hire or buy
gear and join group kayak outings along the coast. The excursions vary in
length from one morning, to one day or a week-end, depending on our level of
experience, and always guided by a specialised leader.
If we use our own kayak we can launch from
any beach, with no associated red-tape or the need to request a permit.
Practically all beaches can be reached by car up to the sand line. We can
also start our excursions from the marinas.
general the best area for sea kayaking is the Costa Brava (the northern
third of the Catalan coast), due to its rockiness, abundance of caves,
spectacular cliffs, small coves for resting, etc. Ideal paddling sites are:
Northwards from Blanes, around Tossa de Mar, the Medes islands from
L'Estartit, Aiguablava, from Roses to Cadaqués, etc. Any point of the Costa
Brava is appropriate for launching; we will always find beaches on our way,
and the beauty of the scenery is unmatched. Only in the more abrupt
stretches (Cap de Creus and Cap de Begur) should we take more care as there
are fewer resting points.
The Central Coast (north and south of
Barcelona) is very sandy with long beaches. Only to the south will we find
interesting sites for kayaking, like El Garraf, Sitges, Vilanova i la
Geltrú, where small but scenic rocky formations break up an otherwise
To the south, we have the Costa Daurada (the
southern third of Catalonia) where long beaches are interrupted by cliffs
and solitary inlets, specially in Torredembarra, Tamarit (Punta de la Mora)
and L'Ametlla de Mar.
In all these areas we'll be able to sample
Mediterranean cuisine thanks to the many beach restaurants (in Summer) and
get our strength back for the return trip.
Once at sea we will discover scenery "for
our eyes only", specially on the following stretches of coast:
de Creus - Cadaqués - Roses
- Les Illes Medes i la Foradada
- Aigua Blava - Llafranc
- Calella de Palafrugell - Palamós
- Tossa de Mar - Blanes
- El Garraf - Sitges
- Sitges - Vilanova i la Geltrú
- Torredembarra - Punta de la Mora
- Sant Jordi d’Alfama - L’Ametlla de Mar
In conclusion, Catalonia is a paradise for
an introduction to the sport, or to experiment new sea kayak sensations
thanks to a Mediterranean coast of great variety and beauty.