Things to do: A tranquil stroll and a magnitude of photo opportunities
Meander around one of the many sights of Tossa: Go at your own pace and stop off at a bar or two for some light refreshment on your way, or take a guided tour! So you may ask, ‘Where can I walk?’ Below are a few ideas but it’s fun to find your own way, at your own pace, and just enjoy what you happen upon as you go!
Guided Walks around Tossa
The Municipal Museum
The ruins of San Vicente Church
The Mediterranean Lighthouse Interpretation Centre
Join Ava Gardner
The Roman Ruins
The Moorish Tower
Cami de Ronda
Sa Riera Park
Take your own armchair tour of Tossa with our photo movies or Virtual Tour Videos.
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Guided Walks around Tossa
For a fabulous insight into the history and legends of Tossa de Mar, try the Pandora’s Box walk Tour, a guided walk around the village of Tossa organised by the Tourist Office.
It’s described as ‘A walk through the history and magic of Tossa’.
Before becoming a tourist resort, Tossa was a small fishing village, and before this, was involved in various other industries such as cork, food preservation, charcoal burning, wine making and olive oil production. At one time, Tossa even had a fleet of boats which traded with other Mediterranean ports and America.
The tour starts at the ruins of the Roman village of Turissa, over 2,000 years old. You are then taken on an historical tour of Tossa, seeing the major features and learning about their history as you go. The guide also covers Tossa’s past industries. The artistic heritage of Tossa is also part of the tour and you are treated to a visit to the Municipal Museum to see some of the masterpieces.
Another important part of Tossa’s history was the filming of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman in the 1950s, with Ava Gardner and James Mason in starring roles. A background to this story is also covered.
At the beginning of the walk you are given a box – Pandora’s Box – but you’ll have to go on the tour to find out more about its significance!
Departures: Every Friday at 10am from the Tourist Office (during the summer months)
Duration: 3 hours
Reservations: the Tourist Office
Price: €9 for persons over 12 years of age, under 12 years free.
From Tossa - along the coast or inland - discover the beauty of the surrounding area
If you are really into walking, then why not try one of the planned walks offered by the Tourist Office? There are six walks, which vary in length and difficulty. The walks are a must if you want to discover the true natural beauty of the environs of Tossa. For more information visit http://www.infotossa.com/an/natura.htm
For the latest Guided Walks Timetable and prices visit our Events Diary page.
See the Villa Vella in pictures:
Part 3 including the Lighthouse Centre
Take the Vila Vella Virtual Tour (Broadband) (Dial-up)
A tranquil stroll around the old town reveals a multitude of intricately interwoven alley ways, each leading to it’s own spectacular pine framed view of the bay of Tossa, lapped by the sparkling topaz blue Mediterranean, sunlight drizzling through the branches.
Stepping through the archway at Carrer Portal you find yourself in a shady square, the Plaza de las Armas. There are two entrances into the main village from this square. Choose the one to the right and you’ll pass a cosy restaurant which has sneaked itself into its surroundings. No doubt you’ll pause to view its menu, and you may well return here later when your taste buds stir at the thought of succulent fresh fish and other traditional Tossa delicacies.
As sunlight begins to drizzle into view, you reach a tranquil patio area. Sit a while and let your senses drink in the sweet scent of the floral bouquets, before you pay a visit to Tossa’s town museum.
The Municipal Museum (Museu Municipal)
A visit to the Museu Municipal is a must if you want to breathe in some of the important cultural heritage of the place. The building, slap bang in the centre of the walled town, was previously the old 14th Century governor’s house, Casa Falguera, but on 1 September 1935 it became home to an exhibition of valuable relics revealing how the folk of a bygone era used to live. The museum was founded by a professor, a painter, a sculptor and other artisans who loved and admired Tossa.
The museum is graced by the astounding archaeological collection of Dr Ignacio Melé, the town’s GP, who was initially responsible for the discovery of the Roman settlement around the early part of the 20th century.
The Museo Municipal is considered Spain’s first Modern Art Museum. Its renowned collection includes 19th and 20th Century Catalan pieces as well as works of national and international artists who patronised Tossa during the 1930s. Don’t miss Marc Chagall’s famous and baffling ‘The Celestial Violinist’, a painting that mystifies every onlooker – are the windows opening outwards – or are they opening inwards?
Open: Oct-May 11am-1pm and 3pm-5pm Mon-Fri, 11am-5pm Sat-Sun, Jun-Sep 10am-8pm every day
Adjusting your eyes to the beaming sun as you step outside the museum, take a moment to enjoy Es Codolar.
Step through the arched doorway out onto a walled platform and let a breathtaking view of the bay of ‘The Keep’ melt your heart. Jagged cliffs jut into this seascape. The petite, cosy beach below is lapped by a calm, crystal clear sea, punctuated with rocks carpeted in plums and greens. Snorklers admire the beauty below the surface, bathers cool their sun baked feet in soothingly fresh waters.
The ruins of the Church of San Vicente
During it’s heyday, the Vila Vella accommodated some eighty houses and a magnificent gothic style church. The church is now in ruins but still forms a scene worthy of many a stone-arch framed photograph.
In 1757 the old church within the walled village was abandoned as the erection of a new church, that of San Vicente, was completed a short distance outside the walls and can be seen from most viewpoints in Tossa.
Just in front of the church sit two canons which were part of the original defence system of the town. Thankfully, these canons were reclaimed from the sea and restored to their natural pride of place where they now form a highly popular posing spot for photos.
The Mediterranean Lighthouse Interpretation Centre
Download the Villa Vella and Lighthouse Centre photo movie
A natural snaking path leads you to the summit of the Vila Vella: El Faro/El Far, or the Lighthouse. From the area surrounding the lighthouse, spectacular views of the entire bay of Tossa, it’s beaches and the magnificently rugged coastline fading into the distance, will capture your heart and soul.
The Mediterranean Lighthouse Interpretation Centre opened on Saturday 17 September 2005.
The Lighthouse Centre is not just a feature of Tossa, but one of the entire Costa Brava. It is promoted throughout the region and has become a major point of interest not just for holidaymakers staying nearby, but also for tourists, students and teachers from a large radius. And it is no wonder... it is a superb place to visit!
The centre is at the top of the Vila Vella. If you’re not able to walk that far, there is a train called the 'DicoTren' which takes you up there (and back) for €3 each. Just a word of warning though – the ride is a bumpy one – not really suitable for anyone with back or neck problems.
Enter through the gates and at the end of a shingle path you’ll find yourself in the grounds of the Lighthouse Centre. If you wish to visit the Lighthouse Museum itself then buy your ticket from the kiosk just next to the bar (Bar del Far del Mar). Then take the book they give you with the tickets, and sit in the grounds and admire the coastal views, or stop for a drink and a snack in the bar overlooking the Med. Read the book - all of it - then when you're ready to enter the Museum - let the staff in the ticket office know. You really need to read the book to get the background and explanation before you go in.
When you are ready, you are led inside the main lighthouse building, maybe on your own, or with others if a number of people have bought tickets at the same time.
You are now on your own without a guide. You will go through several different rooms, with exhibitions and videos in each, and at the end of each a door opens automatically and you go on to the next room.
The first room is freezing cold, pitch dark, and a gusty wind blows round your legs, as you watch a video of rough seas and listen to the crashing waves and emotive music. It creates the feeling of being alone at sea, cold and scared, not knowing whether you are going to hit rocks - basically it's showing the need for lighthouses.
Then in the next room, you are educated on the history of lighthouses and how they progressed, and how communications have developed over the years.
The last room is the best one where you will see a video of Tossa and the Costa Brava. The video is excellent and shows amazing aerial footage. You will gasp as the camera sweeps over mountains, glides over the top of the church and sharply descends into the streets of Tossa. There is footage of fireworks exploding over the Vila Vella and cascading down onto the beach, as well as a glimpse of the amazing rugged coastline north and south of Tossa.
When the show is finished, you end up in a room displaying all the different types of light bulbs used in various types of lighthouse, and this room is also a shop where you can buy postcards and other souvenirs.
You can't really take photos or video footage in the Museum itself as it's so dark, and it would really spoil the show for anyone else in your group if you were using a flash.
The opening times are as follows:
Tuesday – Sunday 10am to 7pm. Closed Mondays.
Entrance costs €3.
The DicoTren provides transport to the Lighthouse Centre and runs a regular round trip, stopping by the Creu Roja First Aid Station opposite the beach bar Banys Claudi, outside the Capri Hotel, and outside the Lighthouse Centre. A return trip costs €3.
Join Ava Gardner
Learn more about Ava Gardner’s starring role in Pandora & the Flying Dutchman
At one of the most spectacularly astounding viewpoints of the Vila Vella, there is a magnificent bronze statue of the renowned American actress, Ava Gardner.
The statue, the work of Spanish sculptress, Ció Abellí was erected in August 1998. It sees the actress immortalised for eternity as ‘Pandora’, from the acclaimed and intensely romantic 1951 film, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, which was filmed in Tossa de Mar.
An interesting fact is the clothes shop in the new town, Pandora, was once a bar and was the very bar featured in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. In the film it was known as Las Dos Tortugas – the Two Turtles – and was frequented by gypsy flamenco artists.
Visit the Roman Ruins
The remains of this Roman villa, built when Tossa was know as Turissa, with it’s amazing mosaics and evidence of a central heating system and swimming pool, can be accessed from the Avenida del Pelegrí, the road that leads down from the Tourist Office.
Although the ruins are currently fenced off and not open to the general public, you can get a closer look at them on the fantastic guided tour of Pandora’s Box which leaves the Tourist Office at 4pm every Wednesday during the summer months. On this tour, you’ll be taken onto the Roman grounds and given the chance to take photos of the ruins and listen to an interesting commentary.
View Tossa from La Torre dels Moros (the Moorish Tower)
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Take the Torre dels Moros & Turissa Virtual Tour (Broadband) (Dial-up)
Undoubtedly one of the most astounding viewpoints of Tossa is the Moorish Tower which was once an important part of the town’s defence system. It was usually manned by two people whose job was to watch out for attacks – particularly from the North African pirates – then send word to the town so they could seclude themselves with the walls of the town.
To reach the tower, follow the road down from the Tourist Office, past the Roman ruins. At the end of the road, turn right. Here there is a steep road leading up to the Hotel Neptuno. Just past the hotel is a building worthy of note: Antiguo Mas Rabassa. This was built in the 14th Century and has a large square watchtower with floors and a barbican dating from the 16th Century, and a 17th Century sentry box located at one corner of the first storey with inscriptions along its lower half. After admiring this historical building, continue onwards and upwards until you reach a junction. You will see the Moorish Tower to your right, protruding through the canopy of trees and bushes.
The climb to the tower isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it. The views literally take your breath away; they have to be seen to be believed. From this tower, the most spectacular panoramic vistas are set out before you: the Vila Vella; the bay of Tossa and it’s beaches; the warren-like streets winding into each other; the pine topped mountainous backdrop.
Cami de Ronda
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Cami de Ronda or 'Ronda Way' is a series of walkways with stepped pathways, viewing platforms and signposts to help visitors appreciate the stunning coastal views on offer.
A map showing the route has been erected, and as with all the maps and signposts along the way, it’s all in Catalan. Just remember ‘vostè és aquí’ means ‘you are here’, and you’ll be fine.
The walk starts at Es Codolar. Take the footpath up the cliffside and continue up to the top, and you’ll find yourself at a very high viewpoint with spectacular views of the Vila Vella and beach at Es Codolar. Next you will find an unfinished part of the walk where there is a huge sign explaining how the council are investing in this new walkway.
From here, you climb up a footpath and you are met with your first signpost. Here the proper walkways begin – nice low steps that are easy to climb – and fences to for safety. To your left, you will start to see amazing views of the coastline south of Tossa. You’ll see the boats on their journeys to and from the other towns, with their white tails of froth following them.
Your next mirador tenders views of Cala Moltó , La de n’Olòs and La Bola, a series of rocky coves at the bottom of a rugged cliff shaft sprouting blooming cacti and flourishing palms.
At the next platform you will see more of La Bola from a different angle and the headland of Es Bressol. All the way along, the cliffs are carpeted in lush greenery and dotted with pretty flowers. With the calming sound of the waves washing the rocks below, and these dramatic views, you’ll want to sit for a while at one of the viewing platforms and take it all in.
Continue up even more steps, stopping of course to admire the views and take lots of photos, and you’ll come across signs of an earlier settlement. There is a well, almost hidden by foliage, and opposite, a drainage system or waterway. If you go off the track into the woods at this point, you’ll see two ancient looking gateposts. There is so much history hidden away in Tossa!
Now we are near the top and the end of the walk at Es Cards. The viewing platform here is the biggest – and highest – of them all. Here you can see right along the coast and back to the Vila Vella in the distance.
The rest of the viewing platforms on the way up are very pleasant, decked areas with benches for the weary walker and rubbish bins for those who fancy a picnic on their way.
From the first signpost, the round trip takes about two hours, allowing for lots of photo calls at each mirador!
Sa Riera Park
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Take the Sa Riera Park Virtual Tour (Broadband) (Dial-up)
This beautiful park can be reached from Av. Catalunya. It is set along the bank of the river and offers a variety of settings ranging from shady, lush green areas to wide-open spaces punctuated by silver birch trees and framed by a wonderful mountainous backdrop.
Within the park you will find the oldest tree in Tossa, ‘Es Pi Gros de Can Marti’ says it’s sign. The tree is said to be 250 years old, is over 23 metres in height and has a diameter of 1.4m.
Further into the park you’ll find the lake, adorned by rushes, reeds and water lilies. The lake is also a haven for ducks, herons, moorhens and kingfishers and the underwater life teems with eels, frogs, carp, water tortoises, crayfish and water snakes.
The park is a haven for anyone looking for a tranquil walk, and is also the starting point for many of the planned walks organised by the Tourist Office. You’ll find many information points detailing the walks.
The Tourist Train
Take this delightful little ‘train’ around the streets of Tossa. If you are prepared to be whistled at and are ready to wave at everyone, jump on this little train at Playa Gran and it will take you on a tour of the new town, ringing it’s bell as it goes! The tour lasts about thirty minutes.