To the south of the Golf of Roses lies the little resort of l’Escala, which in the past was a fishermen’s district of San Martí d’Empúries. Its name most probably derives from the Latin "Scala", a term often used to refer to a small port or refuge for boats.
Sant Martí d’Empúries was the bishop’s seat and capital of the region until the 11th century, when it transferred to Castelló d’Empúries, an area which was more protected from possible pirate attacks.
As in the majority of coastal villages, the economy was originally based on the fishing industry. The production of anchovies in l’Escala has given it such popularity that anchovies have become its most well-known specialty. Nowadays, the fish is still preserved using traditional methods and some of the factories can be visited.
Due to tourism and the construction of the marina in the area of Riells, the village has changed significantly from its original appearance, although it still retains the beauty of its beaches.
Riells beach, a long narrow beach in the newest area, or the Port d’en Perris beach closest to the old quarter, are both examples of beaches combining dunes and rocky cliffs.
Other attractive beaches also with coarse sand are Barques, Portitxol, Cala Montgó or Empúries beaches. The tiny island of El Cargol can be seen just off the coast and the La Creu beach with its shallow bathing waters is presided over by the viewpoint of the same name. A typically Mediterranean pine forest surrounds the Platja del Rec, a long and narrow beach.
Not far from l’Escala, in an outstanding area of beauty and only a few metres from the beach lies Empúries, where you can visit the amazing Greek and Roman ruins.
Top attractions in l’Escala:
- Museum of the Anchovy and Salt
- L'Alfolí de la Sal, a building from the 17th century catalogued as a place of national cultural interest.
- Outlook towers of Pedró and Montgó
- Can Cinto Xuà fisherman’s house
- Motorbike museum
- Ruins in Empúries and Museum of Archeology of Catalonia
Special dates to consider when visiting L’Escala:
- Triumvirat Mediterrani; a Greek-Roman food festival celebrated in June
- Festa Petita de Sant Pere (patron saint of the town); 29 June
- Festa del Carme; 16th July
- Festa Major; 2nd September
- Festa of the Anchovy and Salt; October
Local market; every Sunday
And more information in .… l’Escala