As working life seems to get more and more stressful and fast-paced, it’s easy to see the appeal of Spanish culture. There’s the famous siesta (a mid-afternoon break to avoid the heat before a couple more hours’ activity) and long, late dinners surrounded by loved ones.
Many Spanish cities also boast plenty of attractions, from historic sites to museums and restaurants serving world class meals. In this article, we uncover some of the best ways you can live like the locals in Calella after flying to Girona airport (GRO).
Just a short drive from Barcelona, Calella sits on the beautiful Costa del Maresme. Major renovations happened in the 1960s as Spain’s tourist scene exploded with popularity, but there are still many signs of the city’s history as a quaint fishing town.
Attractions include the famous lighthouse dating back to 1859 and looking out over the bay, as well as Les Torretes, two remaining towers of a nineteenth-century Semaphore line.
Of course, its popularity as a holiday destination has also left its mark on Calella – and the city has embraced cosmopolitanism in return, with numerous celebrations of foreign residents and visitors around the year. So, there are clearly many reasons to visit this destination beyond just sun, sea and sand!
Visit the Market
With homemade trinkets and a variety of locally sourced produce on offer, there’s more than enough on offer here. The fresh produce is especially good, with many stalls stocked with fruits and vegetables, fish, squid and other seafood.
A Feast for the Senses
The fresh food fills the bustling environment with enticing and exotic smells – and the sights are equally impressive. In the central Plaza del Rey, the nineteenth-century building housing the market draws inspiration from Catalonia’s baroque farmhouses. It’s a completely unique experience at the market and something definitely worth doing.
Relax in Dalmau Park
No city is complete without a park – somewhere to relax, to get away from the urban rush and back to nature. Calella is no exception, with Dalmau Park providing a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation, from pine forests in the higher part to banana trees in the lower.
A natural meeting place, Dalmau also boasts a variety of events, including:
- Art exhibitions
- Music and theatre
- Catalan folk dancing (sardana)
Learn About the Past in the Museum of Tourism
All the little bits of knowledge you pick up wandering the town centre and the park get contextualised in the local museum, which tells the area’s history with a unique twist. While many city museums simply narrate events, Calella’s focuses explicitly on tourism, allowing it to provide unique insights into how visitors over centuries have transformed the city’s economy, culture and even geography.
As well as giving you a lot of information on Calella, the museum will also provide an insight into Catalonia more generally. The area received 16.7 million foreign tourists in 2015 alone, showing the continuing importance of the travel industry to the region’s economy.
More than Just a Tourist Attraction
Locals also benefit significantly from the museum’s presence, as it funds research and education projects alongside its more traditional endeavours and attractions. Accordingly, visiting doesn’t just teach you about the city’s past – it lets you participate in its cultural present.
While there’s nothing wrong with buying souvenirs and picking up bargains, the real attraction on Calella’s two-kilometre long shopping street is how great an opportunity it presents to see and explore the city.
Crucially, it’s also a great chance to see first-hand how Calella presents itself to tourists. More than 500 shops in a single line might sound overwhelming, but a mix of historic architecture, new pop-up businesses and open spaces to enjoy a coffee and some local delicacies make the area wonderfully varied.
Eat at a Local Restaurant
After walking around the shops, park and museum, you’ll likely be in the mood for a hearty meal. There are plenty of amazing places to eat in town, but Llar de Foc gets a special recommendation. Its focus on traditional regional cooking and fresh produce makes it the perfect place to sample paellas and grilled meats and fish – or to explore further for some unique twists.
Add in an elegant, air-conditioned setting, with light-coloured walls and table cloths to keep things feeling relaxed, and you have the perfect place to end your local experience. Just make sure you make a reservation to guarantee space.
Where to Stay
Apartments Atzavara – 200 yards from Platia Gran beach and the main shopping area, Atzavara offers guests an outdoor pool, onsite bar and free Wi-Fi, as well as all the amenities you’d expect in fully air-conditioned rooms. Reception staff are also happy to provide local tips and excursions. This spot is also pretty close to Girona airport (GRO).
H-Top Amaika –A few minutes’ walk from the beach, this quiet, adults-only four-star hotel gives you access to a restaurant, bar, pool and spa. If you like to retire to the lap of luxury after a long day’s exploring, this is the place for you.
How to Get There
Flights to Girona airport (GRO) are frequent and affordable, and several airlines offer the route. The journey takes a little over two hours. After you land, a Shuttle Direct transfer will get you to Calella in just over half an hour, keeping the journey simple and comfortable.
- UK to Girona airport (GRO) Flight Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- GRO to Calella Distance: 41 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 34 minutes
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is Europe and North Africa’s best regarded airport transfer operator, boasting a fleet of experienced and friendly drivers happy to get you where you need to go on time and in style.