Calella is well known for its beaches, bars and mass tourism. Even in mid October the golden sands are busy with sunbathers both clothed and unclothed! Most tourists will probably never find the two hidden gems we discovered today which is such a shame.
Every week I plough through the local publications, mostly in Catalan but occasionally in Spanish, looking for somewhere different to explore. Thanks to the Correu Del Maresme free magazine, we headed to Calella today but made our way inland, and not to the beach.
Just along from the Tourist Information Office on the main NII road running through the town is the entrance to Parc Dalmau. To be honest, it doesn’t look anything special from the road but wander past the tile laden walls and look for children’s play area with a dinosaur in it. Yes, that’s right, a dinosaur! That’s where you will find the entrance to an air raid shelter from the Spanish Civil War.
At the moment it is open at weekends from 1000-1400 and the entrance fee is just ONE Euro. Inside you can relive the horror of life in the shelter thanks to the dim lighting and audio soundtrack. All of the displays are written in Spanish, Catalan, French and even in ENGLISH! It’s quite a haunting place made more so by the video playing through the bars at the far end. Surviviors of the war recount their stories of what is was like to live in Calella. They are speaking in Catalan but it is subtitled in English. It’s not going to be a lengthy visit but it is certainly worth the effort of finding it. Afterwards take a wander through the pines to clear your mind of the horrors of war.
At the southern end of Calella you can’t miss the lighthouse. Getting to it can seem difficult though as it’s not signposted and far from obvious how to climb up. Between the campsite entrances for Camping El Far and Camping Bonavista is a road which doesn’t seem to go anywhere. If you are driving you can park in the ample car park there and walk up the short track to the lighthouse. It is signposted from the base of the track. It is not a difficult climb and the path is well made. It should take you ten minutes at most.
At the top, the lighthouse gazes over the Costa del Maresme. Inside the lighthouse is a very informative interpretation centre. There you can learn all about the history of lighthouses on the coast of this part of Spain from the era of pirates through till the last lighthouse keeper just a couple of decades ago. Once again everything is in English and it is quite well written.
Everyone has heard of lighthouses, but what about telegraphic towers? After learning all about this ingenious method of communication from a time before the telephone had been invented, you can climb up to a couple of crumbling towers on a hill which towers above the lighthouse. It’s not difficult to find the path but some erosion due to the rain has led to a diversion being set up and marked on the road. From the top the views are simply breathtaking. It soon becomes clear how it was possible to send messages from tower to tower along the coast of Spain.
- Giants and Big Heads in Badalona
- Mataró’s Tapas Trail