The former Greek colony of Roses stretches between the sea and the mountains, right on the Costa Brava. This town in the province of Girona offers a multitude of beaches and coves among rocky cliffs, where visitors can practise a great variety of water sports as well as walking in the nearby Aiguamolls de l´Empordá and Cap de Creus Natural Parks. Meanwhile, the historic-artistic site of La Ciudadela is an example of a Renaissance defensive structure on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
At one end of the Gulf of Roses, between Cap Creus and the Montgrí massif, is the town of Roses. The peaceful waters of this natural harbour were already sought after in the times of the Greeks from Rhodes, who set up a commercial colony here. The remains of the Greek city of Rhode, founded in 776 BC., the old Greek district (3rd C. BC), the Roman town and the 11th-century Romanesque-Lombard monastery form part of the layout of the Ciudadela, declared a historic-artistic site. This construction of this military fortification was ordered by the Emperor Carlos V to repel attacks by pirates and corsairs. The Renaissance style of the building can be seen in its curtain walls and sea port. To this same historical period (16th C.) belongs Trinitat Castle, built on Poncella Point. Its layout preserves the five-pointed star shape used in this type of military construction at the time. Next to it stands Roses lighthouse, one of the many dotted along the broken outline of the Costa Brava.
Roses town centre
In its town centre it is interesting to visit the parish church of Santa María y la Casa Mallol. The latter belongs to the Modernist style, as can be seen on its main façade. Inside it preserves ornamental ceilings, wrought iron elements and stained glass by local craftsmen.
Coves with clear water among cliffs and wide sandy beaches with all kinds of facilities or in a semi-wild state extend along the coast at Roses. Some of its beaches have been marked with the Blue Flag symbol, which accredits the quality of their environment, and at strategic points are luxury developments like El Salatar, Santa Margarida or Puig-Rom. In the latter, you can visit a 7th-century Visigothic hill fort.
Restaurants, bars and terraces are established on the most beautiful parts of the coast so you can enjoy splendid panoramic views while you taste cuisine of Girona. Cod salad (“esqueixada”), cold roast vegetables (“escalivada”) or “xató” (escarola lettuce with anchovies and cod) are some of the starters. The combination of mountain and sea also reaches the kitchen in the form of chicken with spiny lobster or rabbit with snails. Grilled fish and shellfish, stews and rice dishes are other tasty recipes. Among the desserts, “crema catalana” (a kind of custard with caramelised sugar) and fresh cheese with honey (“mel i mató”) are outstanding. The best wines for this menu belong to the Ampurdán-Costa Brava Denomination of Origin.
Natural areas and diving
Of the various leisure activities offered by its coast and marina are added other adventure sports which can be practised in the nearby Rodes hills or in the Aiguamolls de l´Empordàand Cap de Creus natural parks. The rich landscape of this region enables you to admire the last foothills of the Girona Pyrenees – cliffs that fall into the Mediterranean – and the lakes and bird-life of one of the largest wetlands in Catalonia.
The underwater riches of the Costa Brava are another of its tourist attractions. Boats with undersea views, snorkelling or diving provide an excellent chance to get to know the large numbers of animal and plant species living in these depths.
From Roses you can tour a good part of the province of Girona and go to places as picturesque as Cadaqués or Port de la Selva. Empuries preserves important Greek remains while, inland, at Figueres you must visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum, tribute to the master of surrealism. On the edge of a cliff beside the Mediterranean stands the Aiguablava Parador de Turismo, an excellent four-star hotel where visitors can relax during their free time. The medieval town of Pals, declared a historic-artistic site, and Girona, with its walled town known as La Força Vella, are some of the many other possibilities offered by this Catalan region.