Have you ever wanted to try rock climbing but don't have the time to learn? Were you worried that you lacked the skill that too skills involved in scaling a sheer cliff? If you are a fan of heights, and want to dip your toes into the world of rock climbing, a via ferrata may be the answer for you!
While traveling through the Costa Brava Region of Catalonia, Spain, we heard about a Via Ferrata in the historic town of Sant Feliu de Guixols. There are some 200 via ferratas in Spain and the Via Ferrata de la Cala del Molî is the only coastal via ferrata in Europe.
What is a Via Ferrata?
Have you ever seen those posts that talk about the most dangerous hikes in the world, or the world's most dangerous trails? Well, most of them are via ferratas, and while they can feel a bit hair-raising and scary as you traverse mid air along high cliffs, they are not dangerous. But they make for a great headline!
Most Via Ferratas in Europe are well maintained and well-travelled. If you have your doubts, hire a guide or tour company to take you out for a spin on the rocks. We took our Via Feratta Advneture with, Aventura Girona. The bus will meet you in Girona for pick up, or you can drive yourself and meet them in the parking lots near Cali Moli in St. Feliu de Giuxols if you are staying in one of the nearby coastal towns. They supply all gear and helmets, and they even take photographs of your journey so that you are fee to concentrate on navigating the high wires and bridges.
The Via Ferrata Cali Molî has only been opened for 2 years and it is very popular with the locals and tourists alike. It closed for awhile during the Spanish financial crisis and recently reopened welcoming several groups of adventure lovers each day. The town of Sant Feliu de Guixols is a popular tourist destination along the Costa Brava coastal drive and it's an easy day trip from Girona. It's known for its large monastery and beautiful views and it's worth spending some time here after you finish your adventure on the Via Ferrata Cali Moli.
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A Via Ferrata is the ultimate adventure hike. Dangling on what is known as an iron road on high sea cliffs, it offers thrills and outrageous views for the adventure lover in you. The journey takes 2-3 hours of traversing along sea cliffs and outcrops.
You'll cross harrowing steel cable bridges, climb steep ladders, and cling to hard granite rocks.
What makes this via ferrata so special is the fact that you are always surrounded by sea. As you pause to take a breath or wait for people to navigate around trickier portions of the climb, you'll be awed by the magnificent Costa Brava Coast.
It starts off easy with large handholds and iron grips on simple terrain. Your guide will go over the basics with you and then you are let loose to weave your way through the obstacles ahead. The first section of the via ferrata is low and there are lots of holds and then as it weaves in and out of the outcrops it progressively gets more difficult and much higher. This via ferrata is considered intermediate and it's a great introduction.
By the time you reach your first bridge dangling above the blue waters of the Mediterranean, you feel ready to look down and enjoy the view.
Via Ferratas are quite safe in the fact that metal handholds are bolted into the rock face giving the climber a good grip to hang on while traversing the cliffs.
You are clipped into steel cables that are secured throughout the route and you are NEVER EVER not clipped into safety.
While walking along the via ferrata, you have two clips that are always connected to the cable. Whenever you have to move ahead or avoid and obstacle, you unclip only one and clip it into the next section before unclipping the next. If you concentrate and remember to never unclip to clips at once, there is no way for you to fall. Clips should face out towards you as if they are facing into the rocks, they could hit the wall and become unclipped. If they face out, they would bump into anything that could cause them to move.
It's all about redundancy and safety. Even at the highest point, you are safe because you are clipped in. Sure, you're heart may be pounding and you may be thinking to yourself “this isn't normal” but you will be safe and once you are comfortable on the cables, you will settle in, sit back and relax as you enjoy one of the greatest day adventures in travel.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for your via ferrata on your next vacation. They're gaining in popularity and can be found around the world.
- To book Via Ferratas in the Catalunya Region of Spain, visit Aventura Girona. They not only take you to Via Ferrata Cal del Molí , they also visit via ferratas throughout the Pyrenees.
- Our trip to Costa Brava was sponsored by the Costa Brava Tourism Board.