On the northern border of the Costa del Marzema, Melgrat de Mar is an irrational place of refuge, in the best sense.
So if you are looking for great sandy beaches, friendly seafood restaurants, a small and picturesque resort and an inviting land view this will suit you perfectly.
There are no organized activities and nasty nightclubs here; Instead, you are in the perfect location to see the best sections of the Costa Brava and the resorts of the province of Barcelona.
Here are the best things to do in Malgrat de Mar:
1. Malgrat Beach
On the other side of the train tracks there are four and a half miles of beaches. In essence it is just a long white sandy beach, occasionally separated by a breakwater and surrounded by palm trees and a small track.
The beach is so wide that looking in front of the town it can be difficult to understand where the sand ends and the sea begins. The currents here are light, and in the summer you can even swim out to a floating play area, climb up and look back at the beach.
2. Marineland Catalunya
One of the top living attractions in the area is right in the backyard of Malgrat. Marinland combines animal shows, large birds and a water park for a day out that will be a sure hit among families.
The Dolphinarium puts on shows twice a day and you can also watch the sea lions revolt with the help of expert therapists.
There is a marine zoo in Maryland, with penguins and seals, as well as a large bird sanctuary with a demonstration while feeding in the early afternoon.
The rest of the time you can spend resting on a deck chair by the pools or diving at high speed on one of the park’s six slides.
3. Torre del Castel
A ride on the funicular lift is one of those must-haves if you are holidaying in Malgrat de Mar. It was completed in 2010 and carries you from the base in Carre de Passada up the slope to the Parc del Castel for free.
Here there is a 14th century tower which is a national cultural asset and a popular symbol of Malgrat de Mar. It was built by Lord Palpouls as a guard tower to protect the coastal access to Villanova de Palpulas, a few miles inland.
Pirates have been a major threat to towns in this area from the late Middle Ages onwards.
4. Elegance of Sant Nicolau
Malgrat has a large church given that it was no more than a village before tourism arrived. The neoclassical church has long been known as La Catedral de la Costa (Coastal Cathedral) due to its impressive scale.
What you will immediately notice is the unusual bell tower. It has an octagonal floor plan, but if it looks weird it’s because it’s never completed, and ends abruptly with a flat stone roof.
Another small and fun detail can be seen in the apse, where gun loops are installed at a time when France’s eyes are on this part of Spain.
5. Can Cua Aqueduct
Travel to the countryside behind Santa Susanna to find this Roman rift, which has only recently been declared a cultural asset of national interest.
It is housed in farmland and was originally built to flow water from a local stream to one of the magnificent Roman villas that were scattered along this part of the coast.
The monument has been left exactly as it was, and can be seen 39 meters from it, with five pillars, two pillars and six arches, four of which are completely intact.
6. Castell de Sant Joan de Blanes
This castle was built by the Viscountries of Cabrera who held this part of Catalonia from the 11th century onwards. It belongs to the neighboring resort of Lance, which climbs high above the back of the city. It was established immediately after Catalonia was re-occupied by the teachers, who raided this area from the Majorca stronghold.
One-meter-thick sections of the strong exterior walls are still standing, but the best-preserved feature is the tower. It is 173 meters above sea level, and on a clear day the view descends from here to the Montjuic in Barcelona.
7. The Marimortra Botanical Garden
A common but always blessed spectacle on the shores of northern Catalonia are seaside gardens, elevated on rocky hills and blessed with the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
Marimortra was designed by the German botanist Carl Faust and began to take shape in 1920. Faust began collecting all kinds of Mediterranean and subtropical plants from Central America and South Africa.
The gardens take advantage of the steep slopes as you make your way to the great shrine dedicated to Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.
8. The world of water
The perfect summer attraction for kids who are starting to get restless at the beach, the water world is a colorful tangle of slides and pools on a green hillside with pine stains with mountain views.
There is a free shuttle bus to the park from Malgrat, and the ride will not take more than 20 minutes or so.
Parents will enjoy the scenic location of the park, while children and teens can go crazy in all the plots and playgrounds.
Older children can try Speed Furious, an almost vertical dive, or even a real bungee jump from a height of 80 meters.
9. Parc del Montenegro El Cordur Island
Marsem’s hinterland is a long series of mountain peaks, all protected as a natural park. In the car you will be in this landscape seconds after you leave the resort, meandering along the country with a majestic view of the coast and the Mediterranean Sea cobalt blue.
The park is a combination of pine, oak hall and cork, and often followed hiking trails with wild rosemary and even wild asparagus in the spring, and mushrooms in the fall.
There are also plenty of Neolithic remains around Montenegro, so keep your eyes open for a dolmen and a river.
10. Curse Lighthouse
High on a rocky spur, 50 meters above the water, at the edge of the coast of Kallah is a working lighthouse that has been operating for almost 150 years.
Its beacon can be seen 18 miles to the sea and the tower is a symbol of the curse.
Come inside to see a small exhibit on the construction of the lighthouse and the history of maritime navigation along this busy strip of the coast of Catalonia.
11. Food and drink
Paella is not a strictly Catalan dish, but all the basic ingredients are made and sourced from this area, so the best restaurants nearby will do a great job.
It goes great with a glass of chilled white wine. Alternatives are arròs negre, another dish of rice made with squid or squid, or Fideuà, another cooked sea fish, this time made with short noodles and served with aioli on the side.
For dessert: In Spain, creme brulee is known as crème catalana, and the custard is spiced with a little cinnamon and citrus zest.
12. Neighboring resorts
If you are wondering what else you can find nearby, you are in a useful place. All the way down to Barcelona is a continuous sequence of small resorts with wide white sandy beaches, many of which have won the blue flag.
It’s even more exciting when you go north, where the shore becomes rugged and steep, and wide bays crumbled by rocky capes with secret coves.
See the medieval coastal defenses of Tossa de Mar, or the Panels beach with the pine edges in Lloret de Mar.
13. Iberian settlements
The Lloret de Mar also has a trio of ancient Iberian archeological sites, dating to the period before the Romans landed on these shores in the 3rd century BC.
Of the Turó Rodó, Montbarbat and Puig de Castellet, the latter is the most visitor-friendly. It’s just up and back from the resort in what could have been a smart strategic location with a clear view of the sea and the surrounding landscape.
There is an elevated promenade that crosses the site, giving you a good look at the stone foundations below, with informative signs that will give you a hint of what the settlement would have looked like 1500 years ago.
14. Palpouls Castle
This fortress at the top of the mountain may be lying in ruin, but what is left is definitely beautiful. Anyone with a passing interest in medieval architecture will want to go up there to see what he can find.
The castle was built in the 900s and is actually part of a fortress that had ironworks, courts, a notary and its own mayor.
When you reach the summit you will notice the irregular shape of the compound, pushing itself on the narrow rectangular shape of the summit.
You can devour up to the railings and dodge under old stone arches. The chapel is Romanesque and has preserved some spectacular early medieval murals.
Get in the car or hop on the train and you will be in this famous city within an hour. Come for a day out, even if it’s not nearly enough to see the best of Barcelona!
What you get up to depends on your taste: if you want to indulge in some shopping, you have come to the right place.
The upscale Passage de Gracia has every fashion house under the sun, but also trendy independent boutiques abound, as well as huge branches of beloved streets like Mango.
Culture has a large ensemble of Catalan modernist projects, on the UNESCO list, breathtaking apartment buildings, parks, concert halls and churches by Anthony Gaudi and other masters of this movement.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Malgrat de Mar, Spain
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