Sant Feliu de Guíxols is an old port town that traditionally relied upon the cork industry that since the 1950s has relied heavily on tourism. Today it is one of the major centres of tourism on the Costa Brava, benefitting from stretches of sandy beach between rocky outcrops.
The town itself is relatively active throughout the year, with a busy Sunday market, but the summer is when tourism takes over. The town beach itself is protected by the harbour wall, but further north is the beach of Sant Pol and then the gated community of s’Agaró, dominated on the Sant Pol side by 5-star Hostal de la Gavina, which has been a firm favourite of the Hollywood set since the 1950s.
The town consists of a jumble of narrow streets with many old buildings giving some real character, although the promenade (Passeig Mar) includes a number of 1960s apartment blocks. However, it avoids some of the Costa Brava’s worst excesses.
The seafront at Sant Pol beach is rather picturesque with rows of brightly coloured beach huts near La Taverna Del Mar restaurant, which is expensive but offers excellent seafood dishes right next to the sea with service to match.
Platja de Sant Feliu
The town beach is relatively well appointed and protected by the harbour’s breakwater. Being close to the town itself, the beach has a wide variety of facilties close by.
Platja de Sant Pol
This is one of the best beaches in the area and consists of a wide expanse of sand that slopes gently into the water making it suitable for children. Well appointed, most of the time it avoids becoming excessively overcrowded. If you are prepared for a 10 minute walk there is generally plenty of parking on the side streets.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols
The town consists of a mixture of old and new, but it is the newer apartment blocks in which you are more likely to find available in the town. The town is relatively lively throughout the year compared with many coastal resorts, and has escaped much overdevelopment.
Platja de Sant Pol
While the southern end of Sant Pol is dominated by modernist houses built in the late nineteenth century, more centrally it has a number of small hotels and restaurants, while set back from the beach itself are blocks of modern apartments. The northern end of the beach though is dominated by the view of the luxury Hostal de la Gavina of s’Agaró.
This area is actually part of the municipality of Castell-Platja d’Aro, but is closer to Sant Pol and Sant Feliu de Guíxols. The gated community here is the epitome of exclusivity and properties in this enclave can go for in excess of €10 million. However, it is one of the most tastefully constructed areas of the coast around here and the coastal path is definitely worthwhile taking.
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How to get to Sant Feliu de Guíxols
Like other towns in this area of the Baix Empordà region of the Costa Brava, Sant Feliu de Guíxols is easily accessible from Girona airport while lying just 80 minutes from Barcelona by road, making it popular with both foreign tourists and Catalans holidaymakers alike.
The AP7 motorway is easily accessed via the C35, although the volume of vehicles at weekends during summer often cause chronic traffic jams to both reach the AP7 and then on it.