Wish you were here!
One of the most enjoyable hikes I’ve ever done is the coastal path around Cap Béar… and the fact that it ends at one of the best wineries in the region doesn’t hurt!
Starting in Port Vendres, it is a bit hard to find the trail head but well worth the search: the views are breathtaking for the entire two -three hour hike. Starting out, the first twenty minutes are up hill and offer sweeping views over the Mediterranean as you head to the lighthouse which is at about the 40 minute mark. It is easy to lose the trail here because it crosses the road and winds around the lighthouse on the sea-side. (Those wanting to shorten the hike can drive to the lighthouse and start here). The next hour (or so) is the most difficult and the most beautiful section of the trail, you’ll weave through a handful of cottages amidst the agave plants (this is another spot where you’ll need to be careful to not lose the trail) and you’ll then scramble up and down the rugged coastline escarpments with the aqua water gurgling and chuckling below. One of the things that makes this hike so incredible to me are the scents of herbs that fill the air as your legs brush past wild rosemary or thyme. The last section is an easy walk into the beach amidst the grapevines of the vineyard where you are headed for a fabulous lunch and wine tasting!
(This hike is part of our Best Kept Secrets of the French-Spanish Borderland Sojourn)
On days when I do this hike, I feel incredibly luck to be alive and I try to soak in every moment and savor the experience of just being there.
TIPS: You’ll need to be prepared for a fairly strenuous walk -the path is rocky and there is a lot of erosion leading to steep escarpments. Wear good shoes, take a hat on sunny days and be sure to bring water. BRING YOUR SWIMMING SUIT & TOWEL–there are a couple of little alcoves where you can swim or sunbath along the hike AND a nice beach at the end of the trail.
WINERY & RESTAURANT: Cazes in the bay of Paulilles is a really good winery whose wines you can find in fine restaurants. Originally based in Rivesaltes, they expanded here recently by buying this well established winery “Les Clos de Paulilles“. Make reservations in advance to enjoy lunch here.
WINE RECOMMENDATIONS: Francis loves Cazes’ dry white Viognier-Muscat wine. I LOVE their Rivesaltes Ambre (a naturally sweet before dinner or dessert wine) –it has a fabulous caramel flavor (the first time we had it, these wineries were still still separated so it is a real treat to now be able to get their Rivesaltes with out going to the city of Rivesaltes). We both really like their banyuls (another sweet before or after dinner wine) which you can see macerating in sun in the big glass bottles in front of the entrance (see the picture above).
-Lisa (Sojourner Tours Owner)