Blanes attractions – what to see in the beautiful city. Did you know that Gaudi’s most famous creations and Spain’s most popular beaches are concentrated in the north-east of the peninsula – in the autonomous province of Catalonia.
How to get to Blanes
We took bus number 601 from Girona to Blanes, leaving at 7.30 a.m. from Girona bus station (same as the train station). The distance between Girona and Blanes is 42 km. The cost of the ticket is 7 euros. The bus was 20 minutes late. The locals, who were also waiting for it, said it was always late 🙂
Just a little enquiry. Blanes is the first town on the Costa Brava (it’s called the Gate of the Costa Brava for that reason) with an area of just over 18 km2, which belongs to the province of Girona. The town has a population of approximately 40,000. Blanes is considered an open air museum because of its spectacular views and natural beauty.
Walking through the town of Blanes
Our driver stopped us in the centre of the town, Plaça de Catalunya. Here is the tourist office, where we went to ask how to get to the hostel Los manos. The office worker was obviously reluctant to stop talking on the phone, but told us that bus number 1 goes to the hostel and gave us a map of the city. Before we could even get out, she continued the conversation.
Literally across the road from the tourist office is the beginning of the promenade and beauty… Turquoise sea, bright blue sky without a single cloud, beloved mountains, snow-white yachts… Blanes greeted us with hot, sunny weather.
Almost immediately we saw a tourist tram and took a ride. There are two colours of trams in the city – yellow and blue. The fare is 5 euros. The tram goes up to the botanical gardens of Marimurtra (great views of the port on the way), and back to the square.
Spent a full day in Blanes, spent the night and drove on. Everything in the town can be done on foot.
Interesting link: My review – Toy Museum of Catalonia
The most beautiful places in Blanes
So, the most beautiful places you can’t miss in Blanes:
The promenade and the observation deck. The Portal de la Costa brava near Sa Palomera cliff in the traditional fishing district of Barri de S,Auguer is a must-see. Every year at the end of July, this is where the International Fireworks Competition takes place for 6 days. On the promenade are figures of dancing boys and girls in national costumes. What’s striking is that the cafes are located by the sea, but the waiters carry the food from the premises across the street. There is even a road sign showing that a waiter is coming.
The promenade is part of tourist route 07 – Ruta Roberto Bolaño (Roberto Bolaño Road). Roberto Bolaño was a Chilean poet, author of the famous Los Detectives Salvajes, who came to Blanes in 1985, started a family and lived here until his death in 2003.
Saint Mary Cathedral
The Saint Mary Cathedral (La iglesia de Santa María) is 25 metres high and was built between 1350 and 1410 in the Gothic style. The facade and bell tower remain from the first building (14th century, which was burnt down in 1436). On the way to the cathedral is a wall painted with graffiti. Entrance to the cathedral is free. In the cathedral the painting of the altar is striking. Interestingly, among the disciples of Christ depicted on the altar is Saint Narcissus, the patron saint of Girona and Catalonia. It was at the feast dedicated to this saint that we found ourselves in Girona, which I will write about later.
Church of our lady of Hope
Church of our lady of Hope (Capilla de nuestra senora de Esperanza) is a small but very colourful 17th century church. Since Blanes was originally a quiet fishing village, the church is decorated in a ‘nautical’ style. There is a picture of a ship in a stormy sea above the entrance to the church and models of ships hang from the ceiling inside the building. The church used to be used for council meetings to decide issues and consider suggestions from the citizens. Entrance to the church is free.
Marimurtra Botanical Garden
The Jardín Botánico Mari Murtra is a landmark of Blanes and one of the most beautiful gardens in the Mediterranean. The garden, designed by the German businessman Carl Faust, has more than 4000 species of plants from different climatic zones of the globe. The cost of admission is €7.
A ticket to Marimurtra also entitles the holder to a discount on a visit to another of Blanes’ gardens, the Pinya de Rosa, opened in 1945. Every year the Mari Murtra botanic garden hosts an open day. The garden is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. The garden is very pleasant and I will devote an article to it. Plant lovers, you must allow at least 3 hours for visiting the garden. There is a cafe on site.
Church of Sant Francesc
The 17th century Ermita de Sant Francesc church is located next to the beach of the same name. The building was erected in 1861 for the veneration of St Francis of the Society of Jesus. Unfortunately, the building is now almost in a state of disrepair due to high humidity. Next to the church is an observation platform to once again admire the waters of the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by cliffs.
Interesting link: If you are planning to visit Tenerife, read about the best time to go there
Church and Fortress of San Juan
The Romanesque Church and Fortress of St Juan (El castell de Sant Joan) is over 15 metres high and some 7 metres in diameter. It is the most important architectural structure of Blanes, built around the 10th and 11th centuries, and is located on the Sant Joan hill.
From here the 173-metre high hill offers stunning views of the city and sometimes you can even see Mount Montjuïc in Barcelona. We weren’t lucky in that regard, as there was a haze and we couldn’t see Montjuïc. It’s quite difficult to get up to it, especially if you’ve already walked half the city (as we did), but it’s worth it.
The Casa del poble pink building
The Casa del poble (Pink House) is a townhouse in Blanes, listed as a cultural heritage building in Catalonia. It was built in the 20th century in the neoclassical style as a political and cultural centre representing the symbols of the Republic: “liberty, equality and fraternity”.
Casa Tordera, an Art Nouveau house built in 1908 by immigrants who had become rich in America.
The beaches, including the blue flag beaches of the European Union. For the most part, you can rent a boat or sailboat in Blanes. The approximate cost of a boat without a licence is €90 for 2 hours; €140 for 4 hours; €175 for 6 hours; €200 for 8 hours; €145; €185; €245 and €275 respectively, with a licence.
Morning fruit and vegetable market
The open-air morning fruit and vegetable market, which is also regarded as an attraction. Here, from Monday to Saturday, you can buy salted goods from all over Catalonia and “homemade” fruit and vegetables. At the market we met a dog with a cap (!). Couldn’t take a picture, unfortunately 🙁
That’s all! When in Catalonia, be sure to stop in Blanes.