What to see in Cap de Creus Natural Park in Catalonia, Spain

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Cap de Creus Natural Park on the Costa Brava is not only scenically a true gem of the Catalan coast. Geologically and biologically, this region in the north of Catalonia is also one of the most important on the Iberian Peninsula.

The Natural Park includes fascinating landscapes, important natural reserves with a great diversity of flora and fauna, both on land and in the sea.

Whether for swimming, hiking, nature discovery, water sports, or just to fill your camera with spectacular landscape shots, Cap de Creus (Cabo de Creus in Spanish) is always worth a trip. So let’s find out what to see in Cap de Creus Nature Park.

What makes the Nature Park Cap de Creus so special?

Cap de Creus is the first sea-land park in the country with 11,000 hectares of land and another 3,000 hectares of sea section. It is home to many rare, even endemic species.

The nature park includes important protected areas such as Cabo Norfeu and is committed to the conservation of rare species. Among them, above all, various plant species as well as unique bird species.

In addition to the biological and scenic interest, however, is the cultural heritage of the region is also unique. Because here some significant buildings and relics from past times are located.

Where is Cap de Creus, Spain?

Cap de Creus Map, Catalonia
Source: Google Maps

Cap de Creus is located on a small peninsula in the northern part of Catalonia on the Costa Brava, about 25 km/15.5 mi from the French border. The peninsula protrudes about 10 km/6.2 mi into the Mediterranean Sea and is therefore only easily recognizable on a Catalonia map.

Despite its proximity to the coast, Cap de Creus is a foothill of the Pyrenees, which makes for mountainous terrain with elevations up to 670 meters/0.4 mi above sea level.

How to get to Cap de Creus

View over Cadaqués, Cap de Creus, couple
Enjoying the stunning view over Cadaqués

Getting to Cap de Creus by airplane

The nearest airport to Cap de Creus is surprisingly not in Spain, but in France, namely in Perpignan (about 60 km/37 mi away). The nearest Spanish airport is located in Girona at a distance of about 65.5 km/41 mi.

The nearest airports with a higher range of international flight connections are Barcelona Airport (about 155 km/96 mi away) and Marseille (about 200 km/124 mi away).

You can find the best airfares by booking in advance (about six weeks) and comparing prices on comparison platforms like Skyscanner.

Getting by car to Cap de Creus (Recommended)

The easiest way to get there is probably by car. Either you travel in your private car or rent a car on-site. You can find good rental cars from various providers on-site (Girona or Barcelona) or on Rentalcars.

Getting from Girona to Cap de Creus

From Girona, you need about 1 hour 20 minutes by car (about 80 km/50 mi) to Cap de Creus. If you want to save on tolls, you can also take a small detour via the N-II.

Getting from Barcelona to Cap de Creus

From Barcelona, you have about 175 km/110 mi to Cap de Creus. The route takes about 2 hours 20 minutes. The best way to do this is to follow the AP-7.

Getting to Cap de Creus by Public Transport

Those who do not have a car at their disposal can also travel by public transport.

From Barcelona to Cadaqués by bus

Between Barcelona and Cadaqués (via Port de la Selva), buses run two to three times a day. The bus ride takes about 2 ½ hours and is usually operated by Moventis. You can book tickets either locally (Barcelona Estació del Nord) or via Sarfa/Moventis.

From Cadaqués, you can visit Cap de Creus by cab (about 20 minutes drive).

From Girona to Cadaqués by bus

You can also reach Cadaqués by bus from Girona. There is usually only one bus (Cap de Creus – Girona) per day (at 1 pm). The trip takes just under 1 hour 45 minutes.

From Barcelona to Cadaqués by train (not recommended)

If you don’t like to take the bus, you can also use the train connection between Barcelona and Llança. Trains depart from various Barcelona stations (e.g. Passeig de Gràcia) about every two hours and take just under 2 ½ minutes.

From Llança, you can get to Cadaqués by bus (line 32 – about 45 minutes; leaves every 2-3 hours) or by taxi.

From Girona to Cadaqués by train (not recommended)

You can also take the train from Girona to Llança. Trains leave Girona every two hours and take about an hour.

From Llança, you can take a bus (line 32 – about 45 minutes; leaves every 2-3 hours) or taxi to Cadaqués.

Joining a tour to Cap de Creus

The easiest way to visit is to join a tour to Cap de Creus. This way you won’t have to organize your own transportation and you will be comfortably transported to the Cap de Creus sights.

You can find trustworthy tours and offers via GetYourGuide or Viator.

Cap de Creus Transport

To see the individual sights on-site, a car is definitely worthwhile. However, since some of the roads are very narrow and winding, we strongly recommend that you drive slowly and carefully.

If you arrived by public transport, you can visit the individual attractions during a Cap de Creus hike, by taxi, or with a tour. There are also buses between the different places.

If you decide to take a tour, you don’t have to worry about transportation.

Where to stay in Cap de Creus

Depending on which attraction you want to see in Cap de Creus, it is worthwhile to stay in different places. If you want to visit all the major attractions in the region, it may be worth changing your accommodation in between.

In general, Cadaqués, Roses and El Port de la Selva are good starting points for your Cap de Creus trip.

The best Hotel in Cadaqués

Hotel Octavia

This 3-star hotel is located in the beautiful center of Cadaqués. It is especially popular for its traditional charm, family atmosphere, and beautiful views. The hotel offers double rooms and triple rooms.

Check more info, prices, and availability of Hotel Octavia

The best Hotel in Port de la Selva

Hotel Spa Porto Cristo

This 4-star hotel is located in the second row to the beach and offers its guests a real piece of luxury. Particularly outstanding for us was the absolutely delicious breakfast. For even more relaxation, there is also a spa and wellness area. In the hotel, there are double and twin rooms of different equipment and a family suite.

Check more info, prices, and availability of Porto Cristo

The best Hotel in Roses

Hotel Carmen

We felt super comfortable in this 3-star hotel. The hotel is located just a few steps from the beach and offers real comfort. With artworks by local artists and absolutely friendly staff, this hotel offers a real complete package for your vacation.

Check more info, prices, and availability of Hotel Carmen

More accommodation options in Cap de Creus?

>>Check all accommodation in Cap de Creus on Booking.com

What to see in Cap de Creus

Cap de Creus Lighthouse

lighthouse Cap de Creus, Costa Brava

The Far de Cap de Creus, as it is called in Catalan (Faro del Cabo de Creus in Spanish), is one of the most popular sights in the region. It is so popular, in fact, that most people specifically mean this place when they talk about Cap de Creus when planning a trip.

The lighthouse is eleven meters high and has stood here since 1853, making it the second oldest lighthouse in all of Catalonia. There is also a tourist information center inside.

From the lighthouse, you not only have a spectacular view of the unique landscape but also access to some of the most beautiful calas (Cala Fregadora and Cala Jugadora).

After refreshing yourself in the cool waters of the Costa Brava at the calas, walking along one of the hiking trails, or just enjoying the fascinating landscape, you can have some refreshments at the restaurant located next to the Cap de Creus Lighthouse.

How to get there

The best way to get there from Cadaqués is by car. However, especially during the summer, access to the Faro is often closed to cars.

If this is the case, you can leave your car in the parking lot and take the bus (leaves every 30 minutes) up. The ride takes about 15 minutes and costs €7 round trip.

Las Calas

Cap de Creus Calas
View of the stunning Calas of Cap de Creus

If you want to swim in Cap de Creus, you should not miss the beautiful calas of the region. The calas and beaches of the Costa Brava are not without reason among the most beautiful beaches in Spain. Below we present four of the most beautiful calas.

Cala Fregadora

With just eight meters in length, this Cala is a real little gem, located very close to the Cap de Creus’ lighthouse. With crystal clear water, Cala Fregadora simply invites you for a refreshing swim.

Cala Jugadora

Cala Jugadora is located very close to Cala Fregadora. Here, too, crystal clear water and the possibility of nude bathing await you at a length of 15 meters.

Cala Tamariua

Cala Tamariua, Port de la Selva

Cala Tamariua is located very close to Port de la Selva. The small cala can be reached either on foot (about 1 km/0.6 mi walk) or by car. It is great for snorkeling.

We recommend coming here early in the morning as it can get very crowded during the summer months.

Cala Rostella

Cala Rostella is considered one of the most beautiful bays in Cap de Creus. Although you can only reach the cala (near Roses) by car or via a longer hike, it can get quite crowded here.

The Cala is especially popular with snorkelers.

Rutas de Dalí

Cap de Creus, rock formations, Dali

Anyone who walks around the park on one of the countless hiking trails can see how water and wind have shaped unique landscapes over thousands of years. Not only today’s visitors are fascinated by these unique stone formations.

Also the famous Catalan artist Salvador Dalí used some of these rock formations and surreal landscapes for his artwork. Probably the most famous work of art that is clearly based on one of the rock formations is his painting El Gran Masturbador, an oil painting from 1924. You can find the inspiring rock formation at Cala Cullaró.

Cadaqués

Cadaqués in the natural park Cap de Creus

For many, Cadaqués is one of the highlights during a trip through Cap de Creus. The small former fishing village enchants its visitors with its Mediterranean atmosphere, white houses, and narrow flower-covered alleys.

It is worth walking through the picturesque old town, getting lost in the small streets, or enjoying the view of the Mediterranean Sea while having some tapas and a full-bodied vino.
As you stroll through town, don’t miss the Gothic church of Santa Maria, located a little higher up with amazing views over the sea.

Cadaqués Fun Fact: A replica of this town is built near the Chinese city of Xiamen.

Portilligat – Casa Salvador Dalí

Opening Hours Dalí House: Depending on the season 09.30 am – 08.30 pm/ 10.30 am – 06.30 pm. You can check the most recent opening hours on the official Webseite here.

Entrance Fee Dalí-House: 14 €

As a true Dalí fan, you should definitely plan a visit to Portlligat. This is the house where Dalí and his wife Gala settled after his return from the USA.

Here you can learn more about Dalí’s life by visiting his house, the library, his workshop, and garden.

Swimming in Cap de Creus – Beaches

beaches in Cap de Creus, Playa de Salvador Dalí
Platja de Salvador Dalí

Besides the fantastic calas that we have already mentioned, there are also several beaches on the Cap de Creus peninsula that are worth a visit. Depending on the season, it can get quite crowded. That’s why we recommend visiting the beach in the early morning or during Spanish lunchtime (approx. 1 – 3 pm).

Platja Salvador Dalí

On our way to find beautiful beaches in the area, we discovered this classy beach. Granted, it’s not a dream beach, and you’ll definitely discover more paradisiacal beaches on the Costa Brava. But what makes this beach special is its peaceful atmosphere.

Small fishing boats on the horizon, a relaxed silence and crystal clear water make the beach a great destination for a little cool down in between.

Canyelles Petites y Canyelles Grosses

Just 4 km/2.5 mi outside Roses, you can find these two beaches that are particularly suitable for families with children. This is especially due to their easy accessibility as well as their shallow depth.

Although the beaches are semi-urban coastal stretches, a golden sandy beach with transparent waters awaits you here.

Monasterio de Sant Pere de Rodes

Monasterio Sant Pere de Rodes, Costa brava
The towers of monastery Sant Pere de Rodes

Opening Hours Sant Pere de Rodes: Tue – Sun: June – Sept.: 10 am – 8 pm; Sept – May: 10 am – 5.30 pm

Entrance Fee Sant Pere de Rodes: 6 €

Website: Check their Official Website here.

Even if you are not a fan of religious buildings, visiting this Benedictine monastery is a must when you are in the area. You can already spot the impressive building from the parking lot.

The monastery is perched on a hill about 500 meters/0.3 mi above sea level. From here, you can also experience a magnificent view over the Costa Brava to Port de la Selva.

views of Costa Brava, Cap de Creus
The spectacular views of Costa Brava

The construction of this magnificent building began already in the 6th century, and so you can still find relics from several centuries. If you like, you can use the free audio guide during your visit, which you can download to your phone at the entrance via the in-house wifi (also available in English).

There are numerous legends surrounding the monastery. One of them says that the bones of St. Peter are still buried inside the monastery walls.

Church Santa Helena de Rodes

Santa Helana de Rodes Church

If you take a short turn on the way to the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, you will find the remains of the Santa Helena church. After looking around the small property, it’s worth taking a few minutes to sit on the bench located here to enjoy the fascinating view over the Costa Brava.

Castillo de San Salvador de Verdera

Castillo de Sant Salvador Verdadero
Above the impressive monastery you can clearly see the castle ruins (top right)

If you haven’t had enough of the unique landscape and the breathtaking view over the Costa Brava after you visited the monastery, it’s worth taking a hike up to the Castillo de Sant Salvador de Verdera.

The imposing castle ruins, dating back to 904, are located at an altitude of about 700 meters/0.4 mi above sea level. Admittedly, even if there is not much left of the castle, the way up is worthwhile for hiking enthusiasts for the view alone.

El Port de la Selva

beach El Port de la Selva, Cap de Creus
The city beach of El Port de la Selva

El Port de la Selva is a small town on the bay Golfe du Lion with less than 1000 inhabitants. If you are looking for some relaxation right on the Costa Brava, but don’t want to miss out on quality restaurants and entertainment, this is the place for you.

The small town enchants its guests with a great mixture of former Mediterranean fishing village, beach destination and medieval buildings and relics.

For many, El Port de la Selva is the first choice as a starting point for excursions in Cap de Creus, because the place is much smaller and therefore quieter and more relaxed than, for example, Cadaqués or Roses.

Roses

sunset beach, Roses, Cap de Creus
Stunning sunset at the city beach of Roses

Roses offers everything you could expect for a summer vacation on the Costa Brava. Beach, sun, a wide selection of restaurants, bars and cafes, and plenty of entertainment and excursion destinations.

The small town has its own sandy beach right in the center and has been considered one of the most popular destinations on Costa Brava for years. Roses is famous for its mix of diverse cultures, which once began with the settlement of the Greeks in the region.

In addition to various water sports like scuba diving or kayaking, you will find the impressive 16th century Roses Citadel. Moreover, Roses is another wonderful place to go hiking in Cap de Creus.

Interesting Day trips from Cap de Creus, Costa Brava

Figueres

Figueres, Dali Museum, Catalonia

Figueres is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona and most visited destinations in Catalonia. This is because it is home to one of the most important art museums in the country, the Teatre-Museu Dalí.

Together with Portlligat and the Castel de Púbol, the museum forms the so-called Dalí Triangle, which is a real must-see for many art lovers.

Peralada

Castel de Peralada, castle
The beautiful castle of Perlada

Peralada is a small town about 7 km/4 mi from Figueres. Surrounded by a wine-growing area, it has one of the best cavas in all of Catalonia. The town’s landmark and probably the main reason for many to travel is its castle, Castel de Peralada.

The castle gardens can be visited free of charge, although the imposing castle itself is privately owned. Inside you will find a luxurious casino. If you want to learn more about the castle and the history of Peralada, you can do so in the neighboring museum.

In addition, Peralada is especially popular with golfers. One of the most important golf courses in Catalonia is located here.

Empuriabrava

Canal in Empuriabrava, Catalonia
Blick auf die Kanäle in Empuriabrava

Empuriabrava (Amburiabrava in Spanish) is also often called the Venice of the Costa Brava. The reason for this is because numerous canals flow through the city. The best way to discover the Catalan city, located only a few kilometers from Roses, is by boat.

You can either join a boat tour or rent a small boat yourself, with which you can sail around the canals even without a license.

Frequently asked questions about visiting Cap de Creus

Is Cap de Creus a good day trip from Barcelona?

Cap de Creus can be easily visited from Barcelona. However, to see all the sights of the region, you should take more than one day.

How do I get to Cap de Creus most easily?

Cap de Creus is best visited by car from both Catalonia and France.

Is Cap de Creus good for snorkeling?

The clear waters of the Costa Brava are perfect for snorkeling. In many of the beaches and calas in Cap de Creus it is worth snorkeling early in the morning before other visitors arrive.

Is Cap de Creus food for hiking?

Cap de Creus has some of the most beautiful hiking routes in the region. Be sure to bring enough water, as it can get quite hot here.

How is the wine in Cap de Creus?

Nearby are some of the most important wine regions of Catalonia. Therefore, if you like, you can perfectly combine a visit to Cap de Creus with a wine tour.

How is Cap de Creus pronounced correctly?

Cap de Creus is a Catalan name and is pronounced something like this: “Capp de Cre-us”.


What do you say? What place should one not miss in Cap de Creus? Let us know below in the comments!

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About the AuthorVicki

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