THE PORT AND THE FISH AUCTION
Sa Palomera Rock in Blanes, where the Costa Brava begins, marks the entrance to the S’Auguer fishermen’s district and to a town that boasts one of Catalonia’s most important fish markets, where daily auctions are held.
– Sa Palomera (41.670590, 2.791990)
Large rock where the Costa Brava begins – Blanes
On the western edge of Blanes Bay, at the end of the seafront promenade, the point that joins Blanes and S’Abanell beaches. In the town centre.
This 20-metre-high rock formation is the iconic symbol of Blanes. Together with the Sa Pujola and Es Portell islets, it forms the point where the town’s two main beaches meet: Blanes Beach or Bay and S’Abanell Beach.
The vantage point of this rock formation offers visitors a panoramic view stretching from the town’s seafront to the Tordera Delta, which empties into the sea two kilometres further south.
The rock itself contains the foundations of an ancient round stone structure, reddish in colour, which suggests that it may have had the function of a fire tower, serving to guide sailors. Sa Palomera may be named after the paloma, the rope used to drag boats out of the water. The rock still offers shelter to small artisanal fishing boats that operate in this area.
– S’Auguer (41.671360, 2.789181)
Old fishermen’s district – Blanes
On the western edge of Blanes Bay.
This fishermen’s district is located on the southern edge of the town, at the foot of Padrets Hill, between Passeig de Marina and Carrer de s’Auguer. Its main streets are Sant Andreu de sa Palomera, S’Auguer, Sant Pere Pescador and Méndez Núñez. It was the first fishermen’s district in Blanes. The so-called Blanda (Roman necropolis) was located here and it was also a site of shipbuilding activity.
– Es Portal (41.674944, 2.790609)
Place where fish was traditionally sold. Today the activity takes place in Plaça dels Dies Feiners – Blanes
Plaça de la Verge Maria and Plaça del Dies Feiners. In the town centre. The two squares are very close to each other in the town centre.
The town’s fish stalls, which since ancient times had been located under the arcades of Es Portal in Plaça Verge Maria, right in the town centre, were moved to Plaça dels Dies Feiners, even closer to the sea, when the municipal stalls were built at the end of the 1960s. Here they keep alive the tradition of the old open-air stalls, continuing to offer customers fresh fish from the Costa Brava. The stalls, which have their own boat, cater for today’s commercial demands and are still owned by the municipal authorities.
Plaça de la Verge Maria, also known as Plaça del Peix (Fish Square), conserves the Es Portal mediaeval gate, along with the arcades named after the gate and the old counter from which fish was sold, dating from 1901.
– Chapel of Mare de Déu de l’Esperança (41.675977, 2.795664)
Chapel devoted to Our Lady of Hope, protector of seafarers, built by the town’s jurors – Blanes
C/ Nostra Sra. de l’Esperança, 67- C/ J. Roig i Raventós. In the town centre. Visit it on the Blanes “Chapels Route”.
This gable-roofed chapel, with two oeil-de-boeuf (oval) windows on its façade, is located in the town centre, although the site is outside the old town walls and close to the natural port. The sgraffito work on the façade and the ex-votos in the form of miniature ships in the interior highlight the chapel’s links with the town’s maritime history. The original chapel complex, comprising the apse and sacristy, dates back to the 16th century. The arcaded porch was added later on. Its present-day appearance is the result of restoration work carried out in 1920.
– Blanes Port and Fish Market (41.674434, 2.800769)
The heart of the fresh fish market. The engine of the primary fishing sector of La Selva – Blanes
Esplanada del Port, s/n. On the eastern edge of Blanes Bay, at the end of seafront promenade. Visits to the fish market organised by the Blanes Fishermen’s Guild.
The natural bay that forms Blanes Beach was established by the Romans as a small port and served for centuries as a port for fishing, for the transportation of people and goods, and, at certain times, for military purposes.
Thanks to its enviable geographical location, Blanes become a trading hub for many boats on Mediterranean routes: fishing boats were moored on the beach while larger boats were anchored a few metres from the coast. It was not until 1916 that the construction of the port proper began. Part of this port, of which the old fish market remains, was up and running in the 1930s. The port was extended years later, with the addition of the Sailing Club in the 1960s and the new fish market in 1994.
The most recent additions to the port, dating from 2011, comprise a fishing dock and a marina, created through the construction of a new dyke and breakwater, and through the extension of the outer harbour.
Head over to the fishing dock at dusk from Monday to Friday and you’ll see all the fishing boats arriving back at the port loaded with fish that is immediately auctioned at the fish market, which is one of the largest in Catalonia in terms of sales volume. On days when the boats don’t go out, you can see their fishing nets spread out on the esplanade of the dock, along with other fishing gear, which, although modern, is connected to the ancient fishing techniques of Blandae, the Roman Blanes.
– Chapel of Sant Francesc (41.678033, 2.806061)
Chapel built in gratitude for a fishing concession – Blanes
C/ de l’Ermita, 10. Close to Bona Cove (or Cove of Sant Francesc), in the town of Blanes. Visit it on the Blanes “Chapels Route.
This chapel, with a rectangular nave and a façade crowned by a bell gable, dates from 1681, as indicated on the stone lintel of the doorway. It seems that its origins lie in the resolution of a conflict between the owners of the almadraba (tuna trap) fishing operation of Bona Cove and the community of the Convent of Sant Francesc. When the conflict was resolved in favour of the owners of the almadraba, they took Saint Francis Xavier of the Society of Jesus as the patron saint of their activity.
– Chapel of Mare de Déu del Vilar (41.714421, 2.777144)
Seafarers’ chapel – Blanes
Santuari del Vilar, 106. 9 km from Blanes, on El Vilar Hill. Visit it on the Blanes “Chapels Route”.
Although tradition has it that the statue of Our Lady of El Vilar was found on 5 August 1012, the earliest documentation on the chapel dates from the 14th century. Its present-day appearance (comprising the chapel, the attached house and the exterior courtyards) dates from 1951, when the chapel was reconstructed after being destroyed in the Spanish Civil War.
As in the case of the other chapels and sanctuaries associated with seafaring life and occupations, the chapel contains several ex-votos placed there in gratitude to the Virgin for her protection. One of the most important ex-votos is the one placed there by the Girona-born writer Joaquim Ruyra, in gratitude for the success of his short story El rem de trenta-quatre (The Long Oar).