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Roses: sea, relaxation and history on the Costa Brava

Have you already planned your summer holidays?  If you're looking for a great idea for where to go, here's the perfect place for you: Roses!  This is a small Spanish town which overlooks the crystal clear waters of the Costa Brava and isn't far from the wonderful and lively city of Barcelona. 

This is the perfect place for couples and for families, so, why not go for it? It's also idea for young people who are looking for somewhere to relax without having to miss out on the lively Spanish social life.

The lighthouse at Roses
The lighthouse at Roses

How to get to Roses

Roses is a town of a little over 20,000 inhabitants.  This makes it small enough to retain its typical and tranquil character but big enough to have all the amenities that a visitor might need or want.  In addition to this, it is easily accessible by car or by taxi.  If you are coming from Barcelona, the journey time by car is around 2 and half hours.  You can easily rent a car at one of the car rental companies in the town and Roses is also less than 30 kilometers from the French border which makes it a very popular destination for French tourists as well as everybody else who is travelling along the coast road. 

The beaches at Roses

Roses is the perfect place in which to spend your summer holidays: its sunny and there's always a wonderful sea breeze and the town boasts a promenade that stretches for a kilometer which is ideal for anyone who enjoys going for a run or jogging.  When you spend your holiday in Roses, you will be able to enjoy the whole day on the beach, refreshing yourself every now and then with a dip in some of the cleanest water on the Mediterranean.  It is also worth bearing in mind the interesting fact that entry and use of the long stretch of beach at Roses is free of charge, but it is also well organized.  You'll find sun loungers that can be used by visitors to the beach and use of this service is paid directly to the person who's responsible for their rental (run by a company that manages the entire area) and who can be located along the beach throughout the day.  For those people who love having a dip in the more intimate coves, you'll be happy to discover that there are at least three of these close to the center of Roses which are easily reachable on foot by walking along a path that runs the length of the coast in an easterly direction.  You just need to walk towards the lighthouse and carry on along the coast from above and then you'll find one cove after another. 

One of the coves at Roses
One of the coves at Roses


The history of Roses: The Citadel

Another of the beautiful features of Roses is the fact that, just a short distance from the town center, you can visit the inside of the old fortified Citadel which, in earlier times, was the heart of the town.  For just a few euros, you can experience for yourself, the sensation of being catapulted into another time as you immerse yourself in the history of Roses.  The Citadel is, in fact, a precious testimony to the passage of history dating back to Greek and Roman times and thereafter, during which so much changed in the daily lives of the inhabitants along with the urban spaces that were commonly used.  This historical journey is displayed in the museum inside the Citadel: it all started with the arrival of the first Greek settlers from the wonderful island of Rhodes who initiated significant commercial traffic, so much so that the Romans then decided to conquer the area for themselves along with the Visigoths which resulted in the construction of this splendid fortress that still dominates the town today from the top of the Puig Rom hill.

The Citadel at Roses
The Citadel at Roses


What to do in Roses

Roses is a town that has something for everyone, even for young people who can't sit still for long.  During the day, visitors can enjoy a wide range of sporting activities as well as excursions.  From the center of the town, there are numerous routes heading in the direction of some of the main attractions further inland such as the wonderful medieval town of Castelló de'Empúries. For those who enjoy mountain biking, there is the nature reserve of Aiguamolls, a wonderful expanse of natural greenery which is an animal sanctuary that stretches from the coast right up to the mountains of the Pyrenees.  Also close by, in the opposite direction to the coast, is the Cap de Creus Natural Park with its stunning rock formations that have been sculpted by the wind, small coves that are lapped by the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean and buffered by a wealth of lush, low-lying and perfumed vegetation.  There are also plenty of sporting activities that can be enjoyed in the area, among which are: skydiving, canoeing, sailing and go-karting, windsurfing, horse riding, golf and bird watching.  Before you launch yourself into the famous Spanish night life, you can enjoy some relaxing down-time by the sea at sunset, (Roses is famous for its stunning sunsets), thanks to its location on the northernmost part of the coast which will enable you to capture the last rays before the sun drops completely below the horizon.  When it comes to the "social" aspect, although not quite as lively as Barcelona, you won't be disappointed: the small bars in the town are open until late and often have music and somewhere you can dance whilst there are also Flamenco shows which are often held at El Patio (on the main street) and at El Cortijo (on Carrer Alhambra). 


Some of the signposts in Roses
Some of the signposts in Roses


Are you on holiday in Roses and, surprisingly, the weather isn't great? No problem: in 30 minutes by car, you can get to Figueres, where you can visit the astonishing Salvador Dali Museum.


The popular fiestas in the town, as is the case in the rest of Barcelona, are very important events.  During the summer months, events such as concerts and an open-air cinema (especially at the Citadel) are organized or there are food festivals to be enjoyed as well.  It isn't difficult to find a good restaurant in Roses, particularly if you wander along the streets in the center around the church.  Just like in Barcelona, you can enjoy some wonderful tapas and really good quality fresh fish which has just been caught and will be cooked in the typical Spanish style. We would definitely recommend the El Jabalí restaurant which is located in the western part of the city (at No. 9 Carrer de Jacinto Benavente): here you can order delicious meat and fish dishes which will be served to you by the efficient and friendly staff.  In fact, if you are fortunate enough to find yourself in Roses at the time of the fiesta of Sant Joan, you definitely shouldn't miss out on the fireworks at the beach which take place at night on the 23rd and 24th June.  There are also the fiestas to celebrate San Pedro (St. Peter), the patron saint of fishermen which are brought alive by the locals from the town in their human castles (an activity which is typical of the area) with music and of course, loads of good food with plenty of fish for everyone!  

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