Roses is first and foremost a bay, lined by a long sandy beach dotted with palm trees and separated from the road by a string of hotels and restaurants. As early as 7am, the tourists and locals are up and taking advantage of the relative cool of the morning to go running, walking, bicycling or swimming. A sandy beach sloping gently down to the sea, free freshwater showers and sun beds for hire: it is ideal for seaside activities.
Towards the centre, a cluster of buildings of various sizes are home to shops and restaurants whose terraces and brash neon signs intrude on a quadrangle of pedestrian lanes. Fish and seafood figure prominently on the restaurant menus, which is hardly surprising! Roses is the major fishing port of northern Spain, so you must make sure you pay a visit to the fish market (sign up at the tourist office), before buying ray, anchovies, sea bass, red mullet or even lobster.
Historical reminders are discreet in Roses, but there nonetheless. On Place de la Pau, it is possible to visit an air-raid shelter used during the bombing that took place during the Spanish Civil War. Founded in Antiquity by Greeks from Marseilles, Roses has always been a strategic harbour and Romans and Visigoths successively occupied the town. All of this can be discovered at the Roses citadel, the first pentagonal fortress to be built in Spain in the 16th century by Charles V. The entrance is through the huge, Renaissance-style Porta de Mar with its ornamental pilasters and frieze decorated with plants and flowers. A museum houses the remains of all the different civilisations that have lived in the town over the centuries, from Prehistoric times to the 19th century. Within the massive ramparts that encircle what is left of the citadel, you will come across Roman remains, the ruins of a Romanesque church with a very handsome Lombardy chevet and a long edifice transformed into an armoury by Napoleon’s troops.
A leisure destination first and foremost, Roses also provides another insight into the magical landscape of Cap de Creus: either get in your car or put on some sturdy walking boots and follow the coastal path down to unspoiled creeks and calanques (coves) of incredible beauty whose turquoise waters are set against a line of shady pine trees. On the way, you will go past the Creu d’en Cobertella dolmen, the biggest megalithic monument of Catalonia.
Right at the end of the road is Montjoi calanque, where one of the most famous chefs in the world had a three-star restaurant, El Bulli, for many years. You may have recognized that we’re talking about Ferran Adrià, from whom we are at present without news.
Finding out more: www.catalunya.com
Barcelona is a premium destination for many regular and low-cost airlines and direct flights to and from Barcelona can be booked from most of the main cities in Europe. Those keener on rail travel may like to know that there is TGV (high-speed train) link arriving at Figueres direct from Paris and a well-established rail network in Catalonia linking it with most of the towns of south-west France and, of course, Madrid and other Spanish cities.
Where to stay?
Avinguda de Rhode, 34 - 17480 ROSES (Costa Brava), T. +34 972 25 61 54
A family run establishment since 1935 with a modern look, the Terraza is ideally located by the beach with the sea in the background to send you to sleep. 81 rooms and suites, 65 of which overlook the sea and the stunning Bay of Roses. Peace and quiet guaranteed and a spa on the magnificent rooftop terrace, overlooking the Bay.
Going out for a drink?
Rosa Azul, Placa Dr. Pont, 1, Cadaquès.
What to bring back from Roses?
Roses, the biggest fishing port of northern Spain, is famous for its excellent fish stock, which is exported as far afield as Australia!
Roses Tourist Office
Avingua de Rhode, 77-79, 17 480 Roses, Tél : +34. 902 10 36 36