Costa Dorada GR-92 Garraf To Sitges hiking trail


Garraf Beach hiking

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Garraf to Sitges Hike (via a Buddhist Monastery)

Easter in Barcelona can be a dull period for an expat, so this year I decided to get out and about and visit a place that I’d been curious about for some time now: The Sakya Tashi Ling Buddhist Monastery on the Garrif massif.

I decided to get out and about and visit a place that I’d been curious about for some time now: The Sakya Tashi Ling Buddhist Monastery

Checking Wikiloc (an excellent site for hiking trails), I found a perfect route that went from Garraf Train station to the monastery and then down to Sitges, for a celebratory beer and train back to Barcelona.

Starting Point: Garraf

Garraf beach, an enclosed slice of sand with characteristic holiday huts lining the back and a slab of rock to the right, is a great place to spend the day, but on this occasion there was just time to take a photo and convince myself that 6 hours of hiking was definitely going to be better than spending the whole day on the beach. Definitely.

Not as good as a hike…

From here we had to bear right and duck under an undercarriage to find the trail that took us up a fairly steep slope that wound up next to an abandoned quarry. We picked up a Romanian hiker who seemed to think we were going in the correct direction, whilst the presence of a party of Chinese tourists coming down the trail reassured us we were on the right track.

Nothing says Arcadian beauty quite like a dirty big quarry

The Garrif massif is, if not spectacular, then at the very least a picturesque place to stretch the legs. A coastal mountain, it is sparsely wooded, but still verdant with plenty of grass, shrubs and flowers covering its rocky surface. It is also a protected area, and we discovered little in the way of civilisation apart from a few cute bungalows… one of which we stopped off at to ask for directions.

The road (thankfully) flattens out at the top of the massif

It had been a slightly longer and steeper climb than I was anticipating, but we made it.

The Monastery

The Sakya Tashi Ling monastery was established in 1996 in an old Indiano palatial home called Palau Novella, built in the 19th century.

The Sakya Tashi Ling monastery was established in 1996 in an old Indiano palatial home called Palau Novella, built in the 19th century.

It’s an arresting cream-coloured building with an impressive gate and distinctive square tower, outside of which is the traditional Buddhist stupa – a place for meditation decorated with multiple reliefs of a white and blue lion beast, the symbology of which I’m not going to pretend to understand (tempted though I am).

A palatial point of pilgrimage

This beast is the God of Angry Clouds (probably).

We arrived just after a guided tour had begun, and didn’t have time to wait for the next one, but those keen to go inside might want to time their visit better than we did. The 45 minute tour runs, in Spanish, on the hour from 11am to 5pm, every Saturday, Sunday and holiday.

They also run an English tour two Sundays a month at 10am. Check the website for the precise dates.

Whilst it was a bit disappointing not to get at least a little gander inside, we enjoyed a nice picnic in the shade of some nearby trees, washed down with some ginger tea courtesy of our new Romanian friend.

A colourful tapestry adorns the wall of the restaurant

The monastery had what looked like a pretty nice restaurant if you forgot your jamon sandwich, and a splendid tapestry (pictured above).

Final Stretch to Sitges

The final stretch of the hike was a pleasant downhill walk, with our target – Sitges, unfurling beside the Mediterranean – clearly in sight.

A view of the massif with the Mediterranean at your back

We passed some wooded hillside villas with enviable looking vistas, as well as some ruins, where we stopped for a moody photo…

I should really be an Instagrammer….

And then trudged through the outskirts of town into the heart of Sitges, always a delightful place to visit, with its lively cafes and restaurants and picturesque streets and coastal promenade. Here are some tips if you’ve never been.

Being true cheapskates romantics we decided against a beer at one of the local bars, instead grabbing a trusty tinnie from a supermarket and plonking our posteriors on the sand underneath the town’s iconic church.

Treating ourselves to a supermarket cerveza

The hike had taken longer than expected, what with picnics and photo stops, and our less-than-Olympic pace, and whilst Wikiloc said we’d take 6 hours, I’d leave a bit longer if you’re a casual hiker.

Garraf Massif: A Peaceful Escape Is Closer than You Think


Garraf, photo by Ted Buckner (CC BY 2.0).

Heading south from Barcelona, the first port of call for a day trip is usually the ever-popular seaside town of Sitges. En route, however, one has to go around, under or over the mountainous coastal landscape of the Garraf Massif, home to rugged parkland, idyllic beaches and quaint seaside towns. The Parc Natural del Garraf hides amidst these coastal mountains, whose dense shrubland and chalky slopes are dotted with cavities and sinkholes. Follow the rugged cliffs down to the sea, and you will find the quiet coastal town of Garraf, a former fishing village with a peaceful stretch of golden sand. As rich in archaeological history as it is in natural beauty, and only a stone’s throw from Barcelona, it’s the perfect place to escape the crowded city and enjoy the sunshine in tranquility.

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Parc Natural del Garraf, photo by Anselm Pallàs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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Parc Natural del Garraf, photo by Andreu C.M., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Parc Natural del Garraf, photo by Anselm Pallàs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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Parc Natural del Garraf, photo by Anselm Pallàs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Parc Natural del Garraf

This natural park covers a large area of the massif. The landscape is characterized by limestone hills covered in dense thickets of low rise shrubs and occasional wooded areas. Deep valleys, eroded over time, are riddled with caves and underground lakes, and reach down into clear Mediterranean waters. The park itself is notable for being an almost entirely uninhabited rural area, and the rugged landscape offers a wealth of options for hikers, cyclists, stargazers and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

Hiking Trails

The park’s looping hiking and cycling trails are all clearly marked and wind around the mountain’s rugged landscape. The jagged scenery, which is littered with chasms and canals, evolved gradually over centuries of water and wind erosion. Trails can be found on the Parcs de Catalunya website.

Astronomical Observatory

The Garraf Astronomical Observatory is located at the park’s entrance. It offers guided visits every two months and can be booked for events such as anniversaries and parties.

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Garraf, photo by Jorge Franganillo (CC BY 2.0).

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Garraf, photo by André M. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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Garraf, photo by André M. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).


Sheltered at the base of calciferous cliffs is the small and sleepy seaside town of Garraf. Formerly a fishing village, the area suffered pirate attacks up until the 18th century. In the center, there is a small whitewashed church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and a property designed by Antoni Gaudí, known as Celler Güell. Far less busy than neighboring Sitges, Garraf retains much of its authenticity, and locals still come together in the square in the evenings to play cards or dominoes. Its long fishing history means that fresh produce can be found in both local markets and restaurants.


Sakya Tashi Ling Buddhist Monastery

High in the hills is the Modernista mansion of La Plana Novella, built by Pere Domenech i Grau in 1890. Since 1996 it has been the location of the Sakya Tashi Ling Tibetan Buddhist monastery and community. The retreat is the first of its kind in Catalunya, and offers guided tours, an exhibition on Tibetan art and culture, relaxation workshops and activities related to inner harmony. A more recent endeavor is Restaurant Colònia Agrícola Plana Novella, which is dedicated to using locally grown, traditional Mediterranean products. The monastery is open to visitors on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:00 to 18:00 and on weekends 9:30 to 19:00, and the restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday (reservations recommended).


Celler Güell

The architectural complex of Celler Güell was commissioned by Eusebi Güell in 1882, after he saw Antoni Gaudí’s work at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878. The original plans included a winery and several hunting pavilions, but the latter were never built. With a triangular profile, steep sloping roofs and asymmetrical arches, the whimsical winery was completed in 1897 to a suitably Gaudí finish, and produced wine for the Compañía Transatlántica Española shipping fleet. For a while, Güell produced wine here, but production was stopped in 1936 due to a lack of commercial success.


Photo by Oarranzli

Platja del Garraf

Below the village is a stretch of golden sand, lined with white and green wooden beach houses, originally used by fishermen. The peaceful cove is 350 meters long and 25 meters wide, with showers, toilets, sun loungers, paddle boats and umbrellas available for rent. A small selection of restaurants overlooks the bay, and Garraf’s port offers a variety of water sports and activities. At the northern end of the beach sits Little Beach House; what was once a rundown hotel has been renovated by Soho House Barcelona, with 17 luxury guest rooms and a beach club vibe.

La Cúpula

Perched atop a rocky outcrop at the southern end of the beach, La Cúpula serves fresh, locally sourced food with an emphasis on seafood and rice dishes. Soak in the extraordinary sea views as you dine on traditional Mediterranean dishes and local wine. Main courses start at €15.95, and a tasting menu is available for €36.30.

Club Nàutic Garraf

Founded in 1965, the Club Nàutic Garraf is situated in the port at the southern end of town. The club has a cafeteria, restaurant, swimming pool, gym and sauna, and offers a range of activities, including sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking lessons for all ages and abilities, as well as diving trips and cruises. Originally published June 2018, updated August 3, 2021.

Summary of Prices

Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Adult € 8.05 FREE Child € 8.05 FREE Notes Walk is free, Return train ticket costs 8.05 Euros.

Address: Estacio de RENFE, Garraf. 08860

Start the route at Garraf Renfe RODALIES station on the R2 and R2 Sud line. End at Sitges on the same train line. I recommend buying a single ticket to Garraf and a single ticket from sitges to Barcelona becaue they are in different zones and the Garraf ticket is slightly cheaper.

Documents for Garraf To Sitges Walk

Click on any one of the 2 PDFs to view in full screen and download.

Wikiloc Trail for Garraf To Sitges Walk

A0180 – Garraf to Sitges walk

A Linear route from Garraf to Sitges via mines, Can Lluca Farmhouse, Campdasens, Can L’Amell, Trinitat Hermitage and Vallcarca telecoms tower.

Distance: 14.76 Km

Difficulty: Easy

Return Travel Fare: 8.05 EUR

Transport Network: Renfe Rodalies



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