Barcelona toll roads, and Empuries

Aug 28th, 2003, 01:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 138
Barcelona toll roads, and Empuries

OK all, my trip is a week away and I am nearly bursting with excitement. Thanks to everyone for the helpful advice so far, (and for the millions of posts which now have me addicted to this board.)

A couple of last minute questions--

The maps indicate that the road between Barcelona and Girona is a toll road. Do I need to have exact change for these roads, or bills of a certain size or smaller? Are there certain lanes which do not accept cash? Anything I should be aware of in this regard?

Next, a possible stop along the Costa Brava is Empuries, site of some ancient ruins. Any opinions out there from those who have been there? Is it a worthwhile stop, or is the time better spent elsewhere? Are you really not allowed to take photos if you go?

Thanks again to all, and especially Maribel, for the great suggestions!

sls15 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 163
Hi sls 15:
The A7 is a toll road in spots but from deep inside the recesses of my memory I don't think it was overly expensive. (just can't be sure how much) You can get off the A7 at Exit 9 to pick up the N11 which is not a toll road. (but this isn't that far from the cutoff to girona)
The N11 is the "scenic route"(not really as it parallels the A7 all the way to the French border) and at times is stop and go with traffic.
You pick up a card from a machine as you enter the toll road and this you hand in at the end to pay per km. The toll routes pay booths are staffed by humans who will give change. However just as a tip...we always have small change/notes with us and try to come as close as possible to the amount which registers on a little led sign after you hand in the card. Disputes have been known to occur regarding the amount of money you say you gave the human in the booth as opposed to what they say you gave them. this only happened to us once (and not in spain) but it has made us wary ever since.
As you are getting off the toll roads just watch for the signs above each pay booth, these will indicate whether they accept only a passcard from truckers/locals etc or actual money. Sticking to the centre lanes is normally safe.
As far as your Empuries query........we enjoyed the spot very much. Photos were very much allowed when we were last there two years ago. I have the pictures to prove it. there are lots of other places nearby that are quite interesting but this one kept us entertained for a few hours with it's ruins from a few past civilisations in evidence. If you do take in Empuries take a walk along the boardwalk just outside the site towards the little village of San marti. It's a cute little place with some nice old houses..The town has some cute little restaurants, and while not fancy they serve great pizza and calamari (so we have both!).Even the French come here for lunch!
For other ideas in the area, if you are interested in Salvadore Dali you could follow his route from Figueres - Poblet - Cadaques - Port LLigat; OR check out the prettified village of Pals; or take a fabulous drive from Gerona to Banyoles, Besalu, Olot and if you wish through the foothills to Vic. But for the ultimate time while you are in the Costa Brava everyone should once travel up to Nuria. You can reach this by train from Barcelona which connects to a cogwheel train up to Nuria which is a old sanctuary in the centre of the Pyrenees. Fabulous. There is a hotel which is quite nice so stay overnight for a real taste of the place. You can hike, go horseback riding, climb, or sit in the fabulous,historic lounge and drink Spanish brandy.
Whew.....sorry to run on like this.
I know you're leaving soon so have fun. We love this area.

keldar is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 12:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8
Well, I don't know how old you are.... but if you feel like dancing, party at night time you have Lorret de Mar... if you don't want party stay away from this city....... but it is great foe party ! North of this you have the gorgous coat of Costa Brava..... why take the motorway..... when you can drive the costal way!!!!!!!!
Cadaques along the cost is gorgous as well..... Rosas ....... and I love the Dali museum of course..... but I live in Barcelona (for the moment)...... and what else could you say!!!!!!!Catalunia have soooooooo much top offer..... If you write what your intrests are I can send some more info......
l84wrk99 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 08:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 138
Wow, thanks so much for the helpful replies! It sounds like Empuries will make the final cut

and l84, we do enjoy dancing and nightlife in general...our two nights outside of Barcelona will be spent at Aiguablava and Girona (thanks to Maribel!) Any good nighttime recommendations in either of these places?
Thanks again!
sls15 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Compared to the US, tolls on the Spanish autoroutes can seem rather expensive, but exact change isn't required in all lanes. As keldar has said, just avoid the lanes marked as "solo tarjetas", usually lanes on the sides, which only accept c.c. and are unmanned or "solo camiones", only for trucks with passes. We keep lots of change for the toll booths too, but we've never, ever had a problem with not receiving the proper change back. We also ask for a recept, "un tiket" or "recibo". I really would stick to the A7 as the alternate routes can very often be stop and go traffic, moving at a snail's pace, as keldar says.

I'm not an ancient Roman and Greek scholar or am I particularly knowledgable at all, but I really loved Empuries, as well. It's truly fascinating. Well worth your time! It's also located above a pretty and expansive beach.
I also echo another poster's recommendation on your other thread of the medieval village of Peratallada. Both Pals and Peratallada are highly picturesque medieval towns, but Pals is almost too "movie set perfect", and also rather private as wealthy catalan families have restored the elegant mansions there and live behind tall iron gates. You can peek in, but Peratallada is more real, more genuine, more authentic with a great central square lined with cafes and fine restaurants, like El Pati and Can Bonay, also a lovely antique ceramics shop off the plaza.
We've been to Peratallada 3 times now. It's an obligatory stop. You'll love its ambience and authenticity. And La Bisbal is the pottery capital of the Empordá with something for every taste and price range if you look long enough.

Have a great time!
Maribel is online now  
Aug 29th, 2003, 10:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,319

just a couple of points :

The autoroute tolls seem cheaper than those in France.

You can pay tolls by credit card.

I found Empuria Brava fascinating. We spent longer there than intended. There is a small museum on site. Off the adjoining beach, the historic harbour wall is in surprisingly good condition.

A couple of links :

mpprh is offline  
Aug 30th, 2003, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 163
Hi sls15
If you are looking for a truly Catalan dining experience while in Girona you can't go wrong with the Casa marieta in the Placa Independencia (#5-6).
This restaurant was recommended to us a few years ago while we stayed in Girona. We loved it so much we didn't venture to any other place afterwards. Be forewarned though that dining is quite late .......about 8:30PM is the earliest seating for dinner. If you are dining out Friday or Saturday reservations are most necessary. They have a website (although I find the words printed so small that they are hard to
For a nice lunch experience check out the Cafe Mozart right beside Casa Marieta. They offer a great fixed price menu for lunch. Casual but very nice.....elegant almost, but reasonably priced.
We have eaten in quite a few restaurants in Girona over the years and they are usually quite nice.
We love Girona, hope you do too.
( I actually find the shopping here very good too, minus all the hype of Barcelona it's very enjoyable. Watch the mid day closing hours, they are quite strictly adhered to. How civilised that they want to go for their lunch and don't worry about a lost sale. )
keldar is offline  

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