Portbou, Catalonia, Spain

The first town in Spain for travellers from the rest of Europe by road or rail. The rail yards were built in 1929 in conjunction with the International Exhibition held in Barcelona.

The beach promenade has rows of cafes and restaurants that attract a large number of day-tourists. The border to France is close and visitors can still find the price differential between France and Spain. Local shops sell alcohol and tobacco, leather goods and clothing to French day trippers.

But Portbou should not only be for the day-tourists.The village is in a valley which has stopped excessive building. The main beach in front of the harbour is never overcrowded, even in main season during July and August. On the beach you can still see classical Catalan fishing boats. The new port houses both fishing boats, sport boats and smaller up to mid-size yachts.

You can take a boat trip to a number of small beaches along the rocky coast. Most of these beaches can also be reached by foot. For example Platja del Clapé.

In 1940 the last battle of the Spanish civil war took place near the village. That same year the German philosopher and art historian Walter Benjamin died here. Benjamin’s death on 27 September 1940 in the Hotel de Francia in Portbou remains a mystery.

The neo-gothic parish church was built by Joan Martorell. Five relatively small hotels and pensions are open during the entire year. Twelve restaurants and 10 Bars or Cafeterias.

Hotels in the area

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