What to visit - Blanes-Costa Brava
Blanes (Costa Brava) has two globally recognized jewels when it comes to botany and tropical botany. The Marimurtra Botanical Garden and the Pinya de Rosa Tropical Garden are both essential stops on any itinerary when visiting the city.
A walk through history
The capacity to adapt to changing times without forgetting its own origins and the valued virtue of making visitors feel like they are at home have made Blanes a dynamic modern city. A route through the city's historic old quarter makes latent the legacy left behind by centuries past. It transports us through history, to when Blanes was a town of small and white fisherman's houses and it evokes years of summer holidays of the Catalan bourgeousie in the larger houses along the seafront. But Blanes' history goes further back than that to the Iberians, the Romans and the feudal lords whose vestiges provide us with a deeper understanding of the origins of the locality.
Sant Joan mountain rises above the highest point in the city. The remains of the castle that goes by the same name conserve a slender 11th century tower. In the city centre, there are elegant classical houses and important gothic vestiges such as the Gothic Fountain, a precious example of Gothic Catalan civil architechture. There is another great Gothic monument in the middle of the historic centre: the Santa Maria church, formerly a palace of the Viscounts of Cabrera from the XIV century.
Viscounts of Cabrera
The palace of the Viscounts of Cabrera once formed one solid building with the parochial church and the two were separated when the parish church was instituted in the year 1319.
In 1114, El Castell-Palau already pertained to the Lords of the Blanes family and in 1378 it was bought by the Cabrera family. In 1623, its assets were sold by judicial order and it was aquired by a merchant named Esteve Alemán. The Palau dels Cabrera served as headquarters for the troops that travelled around the region and the fact that what had fallen or been destroyed was not reconstructed was largely due to the excesses and lack of consideration of these soldiers. The wars against France that same century destroyed in large part the Palau.
Of the artistic or architechtural remnants that we are left with today, those worth highlighting are the bell tower and the facade from the XV century. The rest was reconstructed after the war.
This is a magnificent fountain in the gothic style of civil architecture that is so rare that it is considered unique and notable.
The daughter of the Count of Prades, Na Violant de Cabrera, was responsible for the fountain's contruction at the beginning of the XV century. In her plans, the light played over the age-old rocks, bronzed by the centuries. To highlight several elements: its carefully wrought crest, the slender and wonderfully ornamented pinnacles, its six gargoyles with human figures and irrational heads, and its centrepiece adorned with the family arms of the Cabrera.
Its octagonal form makes one think that it was most certainly situated in the middle of a small square surrounded by the arches of the Carrer Ample, which was not a straight street, as it is today, but winding instead, thus giving it a slender and tasteful aspect which its designers emphasised with its six fountainheads.
A few years ago, a group of Blanes townspeople studied the possibility of unfolding it, so to speak, so that all of its sides could be admired, but this was considered technically impossible since it would require dismantling it stone by stone, something that centuries of corrosion would not permit.
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza
The date of construction is difficult to place exactly but we know, from some 17th century records, that the town councillors often met to deliberate and discuss town affairs. History also tells us that the priest that cared for the chapel also taught grammar to the local children. It is open during the week and on public holidays but you have to ask for the key to pay Nuestra Señora a visit.
It was ordered built by Grau de Cabrera in the middle of the 13th century. Although the tower is from the time of Charles I, there is no doubt that a fortification existed here in earlier times. The watch tower is from the 16th century, when danger from Mediterranean corsairs and Barbary pirates required a higher promontory to better dominate the panorama and give warning of the approach of possible enemies. Today, Sant Joan defines the silhouette of our city and serves as a fine vantage point for admiring a complete view of Blanes and a good part of the Costa Brava.
ROUTES THROUGH THE CITY AND ROUTES
Despite being a modern city with its own services and infrastructures, Blanes (Costa Brava) conserves the spirit and characteristics of the small fishing village it once was. This is why the majority of the points of interest in the city can be seen without much difficulty by simply strolling through the streets. Here below you will find diverse and fascinating itineraries, perfect for getting to know Blanes, that can easily be adjusted to suit your possibilities and interests.
- Itinerary A - From plaza Catalunya to the docks
- Itinerary B - From the hermitage of Esperanza to the Cala Sant Francesc
- Itinerary C - From the Sant Joan castle lookout
- Itinerary D - From the calle ancha to the Santa Cristina cove
- Itinerary E - From plaza Catalunya to the delta of the river Tordera
- Itinerary F - The historic old quarter of Blanes
- Modernist itinerary - The American Legacy in Blanes
- Literary itinerary - Roberto Bolaño Route