Little pleasures of life… There are few better plans than going for a leisurely walk, feeling the sea breeze and the sun on your face, taking spectacular photographs, cooling off in a hidden cove and ending the morning with a nice vermouth on a terrace by the sea.
If you are seduced by this place, very close to Barcelona, between Sitges and Vilanova i la Geltrú, there is an attractive stretch of coastline that you can easily walk along an old coastal path. This is the Ruta de les Cales de Garraf, an itinerary that follows part of the GR-92 long-distance footpath through beautiful seascapes that combine peaks, penya-segats, small caps and quiet, secluded coves.
You don’t even need to take your car, as, for example, from Barcelona you can easily reach Sitges by train in just over half an hour. If you are spending a few days in Sitges, this is a perfect excursion that you can do in just half a day.
Laura Rangel | Journalist
The coastal paths
A large part of the Catalan coastline is criss-crossed by small paths that run parallel to the sea, crossing beautiful cliffs and discovering hidden beaches. Known as coastal paths, they owe their name to their original use. In the past, these paths were trodden by guards and smugglers: one used to make the rounds to make sure that no ship disembarked without paying customs duties, the other used them to smuggle smuggled goods.
After decades of disuse, these coastal paths have been recovered today as ideal routes for inexperienced walkers, amateur photographers and nature lovers.
The section from Sitges to Vilanova i la Geltrú is very easy and has little gradient. It runs parallel to the train tracks and offers the attraction of constant views of the coastline, with privileged viewpoints from which to discover the rugged coastline of this part of the Garraf region. Instagramers and tiktokers will enjoy taking spectacular panoramic views and don’t forget to share your photos with us with the hashtag #VisitVilanova!
Leaving from the Renfe train station in Sitges, take one of the streets that go down towards the sea until you reach the seafront promenade. Once there, we must start walking southwards, towards the right, leaving behind us the emblematic church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, one of the iconic images of Sitges.
If we get up early enough, we can enjoy the unusual image of deserted beaches, very different without the crowds that throng them on summer days. On the Passeig Marítim itself, a little further on, you will see the Anquines beach on your left, which forms a small bay.
Before reaching the end of the promenade, there are stairs leading down to the beach of Còdols and the Riera de Ribes. Here you should look for the red and white lines that mark the GR-92 itinerary, which is the long-distance footpath that you will follow throughout the route.
As its name indicates, the beach of Còdols (pebbles in Catalan) is quite stony. Crossing the Riera de Ribes is no problem. It is usually dry or has barely a sheet of water on it.
Once you have crossed the stream, continue walking and leave the Terramar Golf Club on your right. In a few minutes you will pass in front of what remains of the old Atlantida discotheque, now abandoned. As a curiosity, a Roman necropolis has been found in its car park.
At this point the path starts to gain height to go over a small hill that the railway crosses through a tunnel.
Between Punta de les Coves and Desenrocada, the idyllic cove of L’Home Mort is an ideal place to achieve a perfect tan without marks. Playa de l’Home Mort in particular is a historic nudist beach with an LGTBI atmosphere that was one of the first in the world when naturism began to be practised there in the 1930s. It is surrounded by cliffs, but if you go down there during the bathing season you can enjoy the services of the beach bar.
Did you know that...?
Prehistoric caves, with great care, from the tip of the Caves we can go down to a small cove of boulders and enter one of the caves that give it its name.
With great care, from the point of Les Coves we can go down to a small pebble cove and enter one of the caves that give it its name. In one of these caves, one of the oldest prehistoric human remains in Catalonia has been found: a jawbone of Neanderthal man, between 100,000 and 40,000 years old.
After Platja de l’Home Mort, we go up a small slope until we reach a crossroads. We continue along the one that indicates 4 kilometres towards Vilanova, along the “corriol costaner”. The town is already visible in the distance, and from this point you will also have wonderful views of the cove and Punta de l’Home Mort.
Momentarily you leave the railway track to reach Punta Grossa. From here we border the Xica cove and return to the railway line.
Arriving in Vilanova i la Geltrú.
Follow the path and pass behind the house known as the Chalet de la Sal, just before Punta Llarga. Here we move a little further away from the track to enjoy the views from a new viewpoint.
We have now reached the start of Vilanova. Follow the GR-92 markings towards the centre along the street Pujada del Far de Sant Cristòfol, flanked by some beautiful houses of indianos.
You reach the Sant Cristòfol hermitage, which already appears in documents from the 14th century and also gives its name to the beach in front of it. We can go down to the sand down some steps to see the Punta Mabrera bunker, an old machine-gun nest from which Vilanova was protected during the Civil War.
Sant Cristòfol lighthouse / Espai Far
Next to the seashore, the current Sant Cristòfol lighthouse dates back to 1905 and currently houses the Museu del Mar de Vilanova i la Geltrú and the Museu de Curiositats Marineres Roig Toqués (Roig Toqués Museum of Maritime Curiosities). It is called Espai Far and inside you can admire its collection of photographs, models of boats, fishing gear, etc.
Even if we do not visit the museum, it is worth visiting the garden, where there are propellers, anchors, shipwrecks… It is a pleasant place with shadows, trees and grass, perfect for resting at the end of our tour.
Things to do in Vilanova i la Geltrú
Finish with some prawns or a "xatonada" in Vilanova...
Finish with some prawns or a “xatonada” in Vilanova…
You can round off the day with a stroll along the seafront promenade, the Iberian settlement of Adarró or the Ribes Roges Park, where on Sunday mornings there is a little manned train that will delight the little ones.
If you have any energy left, Visit Vilanova offers all kinds of sporting activities, experiences and slow tourism.
In the port, you must try the delicious Vilanova prawns, a xató or a sweet malvasia wine in the restaurants El Nàutic, Macot or 1918 Cuina de Mar.
If we want to return to Sitges we can do it walking or by train. Vilanova station is located in Plaça Eduard Maristany, and right next to it is the spectacular Railway Museum, a visit not to be missed.
The trail has virtually no shade, so in summer or spring it is essential to bring a hat, sunglasses, water and sun cream. A swimming costume and towel are optional, but we wouldn’t leave home without them!
The route is easy but runs over tarmac, paths, rocks, sand and probably wet sections, so we recommend avoiding flip-flops and opting for safer footwear.
Bear in mind that there is only one beach bar along the way, the one at Cala de l’Home Mort. It’s a good idea to bring a snack or even some food for a picnic in one of the coves.
- Starting point: Sitges seafront promenade.
- Distance: Approximately 9 km.
- Time: 2h 30′ approximately.
- Cumulative difference in altitude: +/- 50 metres.
- Signposting: Just follow the two markings, white and red, of the GR-92. The path always passes close to the sea and never crosses the railway line, so you can’t get lost!
- Track: https://ca.wikiloc.com/rutes-senderisme/gr-92-vilanova-i-la-geltru-sitges-35498332
- When to go: You can walk the coastal path all year round, although it is best to avoid the hottest days. Spring is the best time of year if you want to enjoy the coves without the typical summer crowds.
- Difficulty: It is a short walk, with no gradients or complications. A walk suitable for anyone.
- Children: The route can be done with children, but you must be careful in some sections along the tracks.
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