Having made a sweeping statement last month about the glories of April, only to be confounded by one of the wettest, chilliest Aprils on record (and admittedly, can anyone remember a warm, sunny Easter on the Costa Brava?), I hesitate to predict a magnificent May, even though the countryside has never looked better than after last month’s showers… a checkerboard of deep green corn and barley fields rimmed with poppies, pinks, corn marigolds and cowslips, interspersed with huge fields of shocking yellow rapeseed, all lined with oaks and chestnuts rippling with fresh foliage; the newly-flooded paddy fields mirroring the cornflower-blue skies above, and the Garrotxa and Pyrenees mountains to the west and north still demarcated perfectly against the endless sky before the summer heat blurs their outline.
These long, sunny days inevitably point towards the great outdoors, but as the evenings are still rather too cool to comfortably sit outside, the cinema is still a good option and there are a
number of original version (VO) films on offer this month. Incidentally, a big thank you to Juan Silva from Ocine who keeps us updated
on their screenings every month:
Ocine Platja d’Aro: Red Joan, starring Judi Dench, on Thursday 9 May at 8.30pm; The White Crow, the true-life story of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, starring Ralph Fiennes, on Thursday 23 May at 8.30pm.
Ocine Blanes: The box-office blockbuster Avengers: Endgame on Thursday 2 and 9 May; Pokemon: Detective Pikachu on Thursday 11 May; Hellboy on Thursday 23 May; and Guy Ritchie’s remake of Aladdin, featuring Will Smith as the Genie, on Thursday 30 May, all at 8.30pm.
Ocine Girona: Avengers: Endgame on Thursday 2 and Tuesday 7 May; The Vanishing, starring Gerard Butler, on Thursday 9 and Tuesday 14 May; and Pokemon: Detective Pikachu on Thursday 16 and Tuesday 21 May, all at 8.30pm.
Torroella de Montgrí: The Aftermath, starring Keira Knightley and Alexander Skarsgard, on Friday 24 May at 10pm.
Palafrugell: Red Joan, starring Judi Dench, on Saturday 18 May at 7.30pm.
May is one of the very best months for ramblers and hikers and there are a number of organized walks on offer:
Every Thursday there is a fairly leisurely (90 minutes) organized walk to explore the countryside around Tossa de Mar, leaving from the municipal swimming pool at 9.15am. Price: €6.
Every Saturday in May you can discover the natural and cultural heritage of Lloret de Mar on an organized Nordic walking route with three options: the north coastal footpath, the south coastal footpath and the forests of Lloret. The walks start at 10am and last a couple of hours, the first two from the Museu del Mar on the promenade and the third from the main tourist office. Tickets cost €5. Not recommended for children under the age of 12.
On Saturday 4 May there is a walking tour of the Aiguamolls de L’Alt Empordà wetlands, geared specifically towards families. This is the perfect time of year to spot all kinds of birds and waterfowl. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and bring a snack or picnic lunch. Meet at the Aiguamolls car park at 10am – price €12 per family.
Also on Saturday 4 May there is a leisurely walking tour of the rice paddies near Pals, which is highly recommended this month as they have recently been flooded for planting and look spectacular, apart from attracting all kinds of birdlife. The walk is free of charge and leaves from the log cabin at Basses d’en Coll (near Pals beach) at 11am.
On Sunday 5 May there is an organized walk up to the stunning monumental complex of Sant Pere de Rodes from all the towns and villages of Cap de Creus, namely Cadaqués, Port de la Selva, Selva de Mar, Vall de la Santa Creu, Llançà, Vilajuïga, Pau, Palau-saverdera and Roses. The idea is for everyone to arrive at the monastery more or less at the same time, where there will be an open-doors day as well as sardana dancing, live music, a rice lunch for those who want it, and a bus service back to your starting point. You can register at the tourist offices of any of the towns mentioned above; the registration fee is €4 if you just want a snack, or €15 if you intend to stay on for lunch. Still in Roses, early risers may be interested in a walk on Sunday 26 May from Portlligat near Cadaqués along the old path across Cap de Creus to Mas
Rabassers; if this appeals, meet at the SARFA bus stop in Roses. Note: for both these walks, you need to be a member of the Cabirols Roses walking group; visit www.cabirols.cat. Annual membership is €20 for adults and €10 for under-14s.
On Sunday 12 May, the forty-first edition of the Marxa del Montgrí starts at 8.30am from the Port of L’Escala, with transport provided from Estartit by boat (7.15am from the port) or from Torroella by bus (7am to link up to the boat in Estartit, or 7.30am direct to L’Escala). The hike follows the clifftops and coves between the two coastal towns and there are three different levels to choose from – Easy (13 km), Moderate (14 km) and Challenging (16 km). Places are limited to 450 participants so you need to register with organizers Runedia at https://runedia.mundodeportivo.com/en/race/41-marxa-del-montgri-2019/20194190/. Price: €10. Comfortable shoes a must and hiking poles recommended.
Sunday 19 May sees the seventh edition of the charity climb to Montgrí Castle, the focus this year being gender equality and support for Catalonia’s imprisoned politicians. Once up at the castle there will be various musical performances, lunch for all and the world’s biggest tasting session of DO Empordà wines! Tickets cost €13 and the walk starts at 10am. Register at www.itacacultura.cat.
And finally, on Saturday 25 May the third edition of the Port to Port walk between L’Escala and Estartit takes place, comprising a fairly undemanding 10 km hike and an extremely undemanding return by boat with stunning views of the coastline. And breakfast is included! Participants should meet at the Port car park in L’Escala at 9am. Be sure to register first at www.visitlescala.com, the tourist office or the Creuers Mare Nostrum ticket desk. Price: €12.
Don’t forget that 18 May is International Museum Day – don’t miss the chance to visit that
museum you’ve always been promising you’ll visit one day… free of charge.
If you’re interested in Iberian, Greek or Roman history, Empúries is the place to be on the weekend of 4-5 May, where the twenty-fourth edition of their Greco-Roman festival, Triumvirat, takes place. There’s a packed programme of activities, guided tours and performances plus virtual tours of the Greek and Roman ruins, workshops, special activities for children and an all-day market.
Palafrugell (not forgetting its satellite resorts of Calella, Llafranc and Tamariu) is holding its annual Flors i Violes festival (Flowers & Violas) on 3, 4 and 5 May, which celebrates the arrival of spring with a host of cultural events and activities. A number of public and private patios and courtyards will be open to the public to showcase artistic and decorative creations, concerts and shows. Visit www.palafrugell.cat for the full programme. Don’t miss the spectacular inaugural son et lumièrein Plaça Nova at 9.30pm on Friday 3 May.
If you missed out on the Carnival festivities back in March, Platja d’Aro offers another chance to immerse yourself in the carnival world with its Carnival of Carnivals on Saturday 4 May when the whole town will come alive with a procession of the prize-winning floats from the carnival processions held up and down the Costa Brava a few weeks ago. After the procession at 5pm there will be dancing to live music at the town’s civic centre.
This month, Port de la Selva celebrates its Festa Major, or annual saint’s day festival, on 18, 19 and 20 May. Notable events include a cooking demonstration on Friday 17 May at 9pm, the RANDEMAR Family Music Festival on Saturday 18 May from 5pm, and a procession by the local Gegants (giants) on Sunday 19 May from 12 noon.
On the weekend of 19, 20 and 21 May, the peaceful little town of Castell d’Aro will come alive with the sixty-fourth edition of the Festival of Sant Isidre. Rather than a festival, this is a gentle affair more akin to a village fête, with an emphasis on competitions and displays of local fruit and vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants, as well as workshops and live music.
The gorgeous seaside town of Tossa de Mar will be even more spectacular on the following weekends thanks to an amazing son et lumière experience using projection mapping techniques. Each night there will be two sessions in four languages and a new feature this year is the first National Tossa de Mar Mapping Competition with two categories: general and educational. The showings in English are at 9pm on 3 and 4 May and on 17 and 18 May. Not to be missed!! Even further enhancing an already beautiful town, the Flower Festival – Tossa Flor de Mar – takes place between 26 April and 5 May. Later on this month, the Tossa Indiana festival will be taking place in celebration of Tossa’s long-standing connection with the Caribbean Antilles. As yet no information has been posted by the tourist board, but watch this
If you’ve got kids, be sure to head for the breath-taking Santa Clotilde gardens just outside Lloret de Mar where a treasure hunt is organized every Saturday morning during May: ‘The Enigma of the Gardens’. The idea is to follow a series of clues to solve the final enigma while enjoying some of the most spectacular gardens and views you’ll find anywhere on the Mediterranean. The activity starts at 10am, last about 2 hours, and tickets cost €5.
Pals Rice Month continues through to 12 May, featuring a whole range of different activities including trips on the little road train, El Xiulet, to the rice paddies and around the old town, special rice-based menus in all the local restaurants, guided tours based on the history and traditions associated with Pals’ long-standing rice-growing tradition (see full article in Eating & Drinking), cooking courses, food markets and much more. Contact the tourist office for full details.
Begur’s Peix de Roca (rockfish) season continues throughout May, with many of the local restaurants putting on a special fixed-price menu for the occasion. Home cooks are also encouraged to take part with a competition open to all on 18 May featuring TV3’s presenter Marc Ribas as one of the judges. If you’re interested in taking part, contact the tourist office.
Beer lovers should make a beeline for Lloret de Mar between 3 and 5 May where Birrasana, the craft beer festival featuring top Spanish and international brands, will be held on the town’s lovely seafront promenade. Apart from the main attraction there will be delicious things to eat, live music, clowns, tasting sessions and much more.