Spain's Coast and Villages Inn-to-Inn Trail

The sweeping, sunlit curve of the gulf of Roses stretches for 10 miles from the Cap de Creus peninsula in the north to the Montgri mountain range in the south, its long sandy beaches running along the edge of the alluvial plain of Emporda which was formed by the Muga and Fluvia rivers. This is the backdrop for your Coast to Village trail ride. The Greeks founded two colonies at either end of the Gulf—Roses and Empuries—as part of their bid to occupy this part of the Mediterranean. Between these two colonies lies Castello d´Empuries, the capital of the important feudal earldom of Empuries, which embraced nearly all the Emporda region. This little town has preserved a rich architectural heritage, which bears witness to its distinguished past: the large 14th C. Gothic basilica of Santa Maria with its fine sculpted doorway, the former market building (now the town hall), old manors and convents and a medieval bridge all add to the charm of your week.

During your ride on a noble Andalusian, you will venture through several small towns like Peralada, north of Castello, a village with several noteworthy buildings. Foremost among them, standing in the midst of a large park, is the great castle of the Rocaberti family, which has fine Renaissance features (16-17th C.) and others that are neo¬medieval (19th C). Now, it houses an important casino and a celebrated International Music Festival is held there every summer. Nearby are the old convent of El Carme, with its church and cloister in elegant Gothic style (14th C.), and the Museo del Castell de Peralada (containing ceramics, glass and ancient art) and an interesting library. The Romanesque cloister of Sant Domenec, various mansions and the fine square with archways are also worthy of mention. Peralada produces excellent table wines and sparking cava wines.

As you ride further inland, separated from the sea by the wide sandy beaches, are marshes which are all that remain of the old lakes that were drained, to make way for crops and cattle. The landscape is attractive, with farmhouses surrounded by walls or fences, cattle sheds, meadows bounded by irrigation channels and hedgerows with trees. The surviving stretch of marshland between Castello d´Empuries and Peralada, which now constitutes the Emporda Marshes Natural Park, is the home of many interesting species of plants and animals and a haven for migrating birds.

As you ride along the gulf of Leon and the Empordan, you will see where the imposing Albera and Rodes mountain ranges, at the easternmost end of the Pyrenees, descend abruptly towards the Emporda plain and the sea, giving rise to some of the wildest. and most rugged scenery on the Coast and local villages. Along the jagged, rocky coast are small inlets and natural harbours where the towns and villages are located.

The ride above is just a sample of past rides available.

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