Absolutely Everything to Know About Hiking the Camino de Ronda

May 2, 2024   26 Comments »

If you’re planning to hike the Camino de Ronda and looking for up-to-date information and first-hand experience from someone who has done it, you’re in the right place! Keep reading for answers to the most frequently asked questions about hiking the Camino de Ronda.


Ever since I walked into the plaza at the cathedral in Santiago, Spain, completing the Camino de Santiago Saint James Way, I’ve been looking for something. In a weird way – the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage didn’t end in Santiago for me; my pilgrimage actually just began there. I wanted more, I didn’t want it to end; so I’ve been on a quest for similar long-distance hiking experiences around the world.

Even though many people are happy to walk the Camino de Santiago again and again, I’m not that type of person. I don’t do re-do’s – I want to keep exploring new things and places.

I’ve found similar experiences to the Camino such as Turkey’s Lycian Way Hike, but it was more of an involved long-distance hike with camping, hauling food, and roughing it. Even though it was great, it wasn’t quite like the long-distance walk of the Camino de Santiago where you sleep in a different village every night and also are able to enjoy the urban life and perks civilization brings.

This summer I completed 100 miles of the 135-mile Camins de Ronda and Coastal Paths of Costa Brava Spain; experiencing that same type of long-distance walking satisfaction and excitement that I had in Santiago. So if you are like me and are looking for the next Santiago or a new long-distance village-to-village hike, Costa Brava offers an excellent alternative; less crowded, intense culture, and beautiful coastal views the whole way.

cami de ronda hiking book

History of the Costa Brava Coastal Paths

camino De Ronda Cliffs

What started as small footpaths along the cliffs to connect fishing villages in the 19th century evolved into police surveillance and border patrol routes to stop smuggling along the Catalan coast in the 20th Century. This is essentially how the name Costa Brava Camins de Ronda came to be. ‘Ronda’ means beat or patrol. However, after the 1950s, the paths started to disappear in lieu of urban development and lack of use. Now, there’s an effort to reinstate the Camins de Ronda footpaths that connect the modern-day villages and run along the Mediterranean coast of Catalonia, Spain.

Some sections of the coastal paths are well-maintained and refurbished, but others are still overgrown or too treacherous to hike along the coastal cliffs. Other major hiking paths have been created though to connect the various sections of the old Camins de Ronda and essentially create a complete coastal hiking system along the Costa Brava stretching 135 miles from Blanes to Portbou at the border of France.

One such path is the GR-92, part of the Grand Randonee European long-distance path system. It’s a well-marked and maintained path running the entire Catalan coast. Where the Camins de Ronda is not walkable or not well connected, the GR-92 snakes inland into the Costa Brava farmlands, providing a fun variety of coast and inland hiking.

Of course, you have a lot of questions about how a hike like this can work and what to expect along the Costa Brava Coastal paths, here are the most frequent questions I get when it comes to long-distance hiking. Hopefully, this will help you make your decision on if this hike is for you!

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Camino de Ronda Frequently Asked Questions

Before we dive in, I’d like to point out that you will see the Camino de Ronda referred to as Cami di Ronda, Cami de Ronda Trail, Costa Brava Coastal Path, Costa Brava Coastal Hike, or Camina de Ronda. These are all the same thing, so don’t be confused!

1. What is the Hiking Terrain Like?

Camino de ronda terrain
A look at all the different kinds of trails you’ll be hiking along!

This is a coastal hike, so first and foremost, you can expect a lot of ups and downs.

The coastal trails are normally described as moderate. However, depending on the trail and the day, it can range from easy to difficult. Most of the coastal paths run along the coast, traversing peninsulas and coves that jut out like fingers. This means you will rarely be hiking in a straight line from point A to point B. Instead, you will be going in and out of each little peninsula and cape as if you were traversing in and out, fingers on a hand.

In addition, along the coastal paths, you tend to continuously go up and down from the rugged cliffs to the secluded beaches. Often times there are stairs (sometimes rather steep) around the more developed areas and communities, which makes the footing easier, but it’s still up and down. However, on other parts, it is simply a dirt trail and can be quite steep at times.

Review my hiking packing list – essential hiking gear for any hike

The Costa Brava Trails Go Through Two Distinct Terrains

The southern part of the hike (from Blanes to Pals) is full of magnificent cliffs, coves, and lush forests and farms. The abundance of pine, holm-oak, and cork trees gives you a nice canopy of shade while hiking.

The northern part of the hike (from l’Estartit to Portbou) is much more rugged and varied. You’ll move through wetlands to the rocky, barren region of Cap de Creus, the easternmost point of Spain. This is the rough and tumble foothills of the Pyrenees rising out of the Mediterranean. There are few trees and shade in this region.

However, this isn’t mountain hiking, you aren’t dealing with altitude or scrambling up and down rocks or boulders – it’s just good, solid hiking. If you are a frequent and strong hiker, it will be fairly easy for you, but if you don’t do a lot of hiking or aren’t as sure-footed on trails, then it may prove a nice challenge.

The real challenge of the hike is the long distance. If you do the entire Costa Brava Coast, then you’ll be hiking approximately 7 to 12 miles a day for 2 weeks straight, so endurance is a factor.

You’ll hike in and out of the towns along the coast, so do keep in mind that the routes leading in and out of the towns are quite urban and the trail often turns to a sidewalk or stone path. You’ll also find yourself hiking in the sand on beaches quite often.

2. Can You Hike It Independently?

book

The trail is well-marked enough to easily hike it on your own if that’s your style. If you want to arrange all of your logistics, it’s easy to do so since it’s mainly hotel stays.

If you do go independently, the best book out there in English with proper maps, elevation, and time frames is  The Camins de Ronda Costa Brava Way.  It breaks the entire trek into 12 stages and is a great resource for day hikes and more.

A couple of local companies offer assistance with maps and/or lodging and transportation:

Costa Brava Walks provides GPS maps for the entire route and information for your phone for reasonable prices.  They can also assist with lodging and transportation of luggage for each day hike or the entire Costa Brava Coastal Path route.

Cami De Ronda offers both self-guided hikes and guided hikes. For self-guided, you sign up online. They provide a detailed Cami de Ronda map and English guidebook, GPS maps for your phone, and they can help you organize your hotels and move your luggage day to day. They focus on the most popular routes and not the complete Camino Ronda route. However, Cami De Ronda is the company that my father and I used for our hike.

3. Is Guided Hiking Available?

If you prefer to go with a group and want everything organized for you, there are plenty of local and international touring options for that, too. However, most of the guided hiking groups don’t do the entire length of the coastal paths but instead do 5 to 7 days of the trail. In addition, the group companies arrange hotels and meals for you, and many of them move your luggage from stop to stop.

As mentioned above, you can use a local company like Cami de Ronda to guide you along the Coastal Path. They also do group guided hikes if you want more local knowledge of the food and culture of the area this is a great option. They also do a unique circular route (self-guided or guided) that starts in Girona, goes out to the coastal towns walks the Camino de Ronda for 4 days, and then back inland to Girona.

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There are also larger, international companies operating in the Costa Brava with the coastal paths as a part of their itinerary. Small group travel companies specializing in hiking and biking, like Exodus Travels (a great company I’ve traveled/hiked with before), offer itineraries in the region that go beyond just the hiking trail and cover other areas and Catalan culture in the itinerary. Check out their Coastal Trails of Catalonia Walking Trip – it includes a couple of the best coastal trail routes and free time and also takes you through Barcelona sights.

4. How Do You Find Your Way on the Camino de Ronda?

Camino de ronda trail markers camino de ronda tickets
Trail markings come in many shapes, sizes, and colors along the coastal paths

The trails are marked really well in 85% of the areas, but you may come across some regions that are a little confusing. You will mainly be following either the Camino de Ronda trail markings or the GR92 trail markings.

  • Camino de Ronda trail markings are marked in various ways in the different regions, but most of the time you’ll see green-marked signs that actually say Camino de Ronda.
  • The GR92 trail markings are pretty abundant since it’s an international trail system and it’s always marked in red and white.

The signs vary; sometimes there will be nice signs and maps in the urban areas, but while on the more remote, natural trail you simply look for markings on trees, light posts, rocks, and other signs… basically anywhere and everywhere. This may seem worrisome at first, but as you hike the trail, your eyes and brain get used to searching for the markings and soon it becomes second nature.

When you find yourself at a crossroads, look for the markings everywhere, or look for an ‘X’ marking, which indicates that this is NOT the right way.

When Trail Markers Fail, GPS Will Work (and also just ask for directions)

The markings in the South region were very good, probably because it’s the route that is traversed more often. However, I found that the further north I hiked (Roses and beyond), the markings got a bit less frequent, and they started to intermix with other trail markings. This is where my GPS map from the Cami de Ronda company (which I had loaded on my smartphone came in very useful.) If you do get lost, you won’t be lost for long as you are generally always close to civilization and there are normally people you encounter on the trail who you can also ask. In the entire two weeks of hiking, I only made a wrong turn a couple of times and quickly found my way again.

5. Essential Hiking Gear for the Camino Ronda Hike

I’ve hiked all around the world and have found some key gear that I take on every hike for every kind of weather. From backpacks to socks, check out my complete list of the best hiking gear out there!

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  2. Osprey Packs Sirrus 24 Womens Hiking Backpack
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    This is my 'go-to' day pack for hiking. It's got a great hip belt and support. It comes with a rain cover - no need to buy it separately! My favorite feature is the Stow and Go Trekking Pole functionality - you can store and easily get out your hiking poles without taking off your pack! Big water bottle holders and space for a water bladder! The perfect pack!

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  3. Oboz Women's Bridger Bdry Hiking Boot
    $190.00

    My favorite hiking boot. I have hiked with them all over the world. Rugged boots with great footbed support. Sole is great for rocky trails, and the color is pretty cute too! Great for hard hikes and thru hikes.

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  4. LEKI Makalu FX Carbon
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    Super lightweight and easily folds up to fit in a suitcase or backpack.

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    05/08/2024 08:02 pm GMT
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6. When is the Best Time to Hike the Camino Ronda?

You can hike the coastal trails at any time of the year, including winter, because the temperatures are mild year-round.

Summer (July/August): This is the most popular time to hike the coastal paths because tourism is at its height; however, so is the temperature. The good news is that coastal hiking normally always has a nice coastal breeze that helps keep you cool, not to mention the tree cover in the southern part of Costa Brava. However, once you reach Cadaques and beyond, in the northern part of Costa Brava, the heat really takes hold since there are practically no trees and shady spots in this region. The big advantage to going in during the busy summer months is that the Mediterranean water is warm, perfect for swimming or just cooling off in the middle of a hike.

Spring & Fall (April/May/September/October): If you are looking for cooler hiking temperatures, and fewer people – then consider going in the off-season. The temperatures are cooler (perfect for hiking), however, you may run into a bit more rain.

camino de ronda weather - camino de la costa
A large storm forms on the horizon as I’m hiking in May!

In the North, starting around Roses to Portbou, be prepared to contend with the powerful north wind called tramontana (beyond mountains), which has caused many naval disasters. The wind can happen year-round and has the ability to really slow you down.

costa brava weather
You can refer to this chart for weather averages in the Costa Brava region

Or check here for more information on weather averages of the Costa Brava Region

7. Can You Transport Your Luggage?

Most companies that offer tours will offer luggage transport. However, if you want to hike independently and go pack free, or simply day pack weight, then you can hire the services of a company like Cami de Ronda who will move your luggage from hotel to hotel through their self-guided package offer.

lowepro photo sport day pack - hiking near ronda spain
I carried a daypack only

I had my luggage moved daily and carried a Lowepro Photo Sport day pack that allowed me to carry rain gear, snacks, first aid, and also my cameras and lenses with easy access.

8. Are There Bathroom Facilities On the Trail?

You’ll find public and private bathrooms all along the way in the little towns and beach communities you traverse through. If you stop in a bar, restaurant, or shop, try to purchase something if you are using the bathroom. You’ll often find public restrooms at any larger beach area so keep on the lookout and use them when you see them. If you find yourself on a remote part of the trail and have to ‘go’, be kind and leave no trace.

9. Where Do You Stay Along the Camino de Ronda?

Towns and lodging are spaced out along the trail so that it’s easy to find lodging each night in any of the coastal towns along the path.

You can stay in high-end premium hotels are remain basic and choose hostels, or even do Airbnb in the towns. If you book with a tour company, they will help you arrange hotels each night based on your route. If you hike independently, you can book your own hotels. During the busy summer months of June, July, and August, you’ll want to reserve in advance on weekends. However, if you are hiking in the off-season of Spring and Fall and weekdays, you can likely get a hotel room the day you arrive.

10. What Do You Eat Along the Trail?

Food is a highlight in Costa Brava! If you are into gastronomy, then make sure you plan ahead and reserve your spot at some of the great Costa Brava Michelin-star restaurants on the coast.

However all of the towns you’ll pass through have great food and especially great seafood. Each region of the coast specializes in different seafood depending on the season, so be sure to ask the locals what to order. Since this is a mix of urban and nature hiking, you’ll always have food close by.

Costa Brava food
Some of the best dining in the world is available along the trail!

Do note that in Costa Brava people don’t eat lunch until 1 PM typically so it is most busy at that time. Lunches are large and time-consuming, but oh so delicious! Dinner is normally served late at 9 PM. A typical hiking day for me was eating a big breakfast at the hotel, bringing fruit or snacks for midday, and hiking through lunch. Then I’d treat myself to a big dinner at the end of the night.

Try the Menu-del-dia’s (3 or 4-course menu of the day) that includes wine (normally a whole bottle!) as they are the most economical choice and provide a lot of great fuel for hiking the next day.

11. Can You Do Laundry Along the Trail?

If you are packing light and need to do laundry, then you’ll likely have to rely on your hotel laundry services. There are few laundromats in towns. You’ll also have to plan ahead and ensure you’ll have a free day to wait for the laundry.

12. Is There Internet Connectivity?

All hotels have free wifi in the area. However, if you want connectivity along the trail for online maps and resources, then you’ll need to either purchase a local sim card, ensure you have an international data plan on your personal phone, or rent a MiFi device.

13. Is There Medical Help Close By?

Since the coastal trails are never far from urban towns, medical help is never far away. Pharmacies are plenty and you can always find someone there who speaks English. Each town also has a medical center and you simply need to ask a local or stop in at the pharmacy to get directions. Note – for emergencies on the trail, dial 112.

14. How Do You Access Money on the Trail?

ATMs and access to banks are simply along the coastal paths since you stay in a town every night. Don’t carry too much cash on you at once and simply get what you need via ATM. All hotels take credit cards.

Have I swayed you now at how easy this is to organize and do?! Read my other articles about the Costa Brava Hiking Paths to learn more about the ins and outs of the route and my specific route.

15. Can You Hike the Camino de Ronda Solo?

I actually hiked the trail with my father, so I don’t know that I have a good answer to this question. Of course, you can hike it solo; it’s a well-traveled, maintained path that is always pretty close to civilization.  However, I didn’t do it alone so I can’t really say.  But my personal feeling is that you can do anything solo…and you should! I wouldn’t have given it a second thought to hike that trail myself for two weeks if my dad decided not to join me. In fact, for a couple of days, I hiked alone when my dad transferred to town, and I felt completely fine about it.  I ran into some people on the trail, however most of the time I was on my own and felt safe.

Related Posts:

Essential Hiking Gear: An Easy-To-Use Guide for Any Hike
Training for Hiking Long Distances
Best Hikes in the World I’ve Personally Completed
7+ Thru-Hiking Trails Around the World: Alternatives to the Camino de Santiago

Download the Costa Brava Coastal Paths Ebook and plan your hike!

Dowload Ebook

View all of my Camino de Ronda Coastal Path Photography here to see what the trail is like

Camino de Ronda Photos

Disclosure:

I was supported on this trip by Visit Costa Brava tourism and Cami de Ronda. And this post was also supported by Exodus Travels, however all opinions here are my own.



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