Casa Calvari

L'Escala, Catalonia, Spain Book from Book from £210 per night

A stylish three-bedroom townhouse in the charming Catalan coastal town of L’Escala, with rooftop pool, sea views and beachy-chic decor (sleeps 6-7)

It was love at first sight for Anglo-French owner Trudi: one glimpse of what is now Casa Calvari, and she knew it was meant to be. And who can blame her? The place exudes charm from the very entrance, where a butterfly bush tree elegantly sweeps above pastel-blue wooden doors – it looks like the set of a romantic arthouse film. Trudi’s far from the only French resident who’s been lured by the beaches and bays of L’Escala. This Catalan fishing port 65km from the French border is a well-kept secret among Toulousians, she tells us. No wonder – it’s got it all: a picturesque old town, Greco-Roman ruins, pine tree-lined trails and beaches with turquoise waters – all without the crowds you’d expect.

Casa Calvari is centrally positioned to take advantage of it all, only 100m from the town beach. Inside its cinnamon-scented interiors there’s a distinct Ile-de-Rê vibe – think beachy-chic décor made up of rattan, wicker, swirly wood, soft linens and exotic shells, all in a seaside-inspired palette of neutrals, bright white and blues. It’s effortlessly cool across all three floors with the bedrooms below and an open-plan light-filled kitchen with breakfast bar and squashy sofas above. And just when you think it can’t possibly get any better, the al fresco dining terrace leads up onto a rooftop splash-pool surrounded by yucca plants, featuring views of the Bay of Roses and Caningó mountains beyond. Perfect for couples and friends to share together.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

Highs

  • L’Escala itself: the pretty old town hums with cute cafes, trendy al fresco restaurants, boutique patisseries and a glittering bay; all a short stroll away
  • Owner Trudi has perfected the hard-to-get-right beachy-chic vibe: it’s fresh, fun and stylish without even a hint of twee
  • Supremely comfortable beds in all three bedrooms that make lie-ins a must
  • The rooftop plunge pool with underwater lighting for night-time swims – plus mountain, sea and church-top views
  • Access to the Costa Brava’s beautiful beaches

Lows

  • You’ll need a car to get here from Barcelona. Otherwise, it's a train to Girona, where you can catch a bus to L'Escala
  • The kitchen features top-of-the-range Smeg appliances and hob, but no oven
  • Steep staircases might be problematic for anyone with mobility issues
  • Each room has an en-suite shower and sink, but two of the three rooms share a toilet
  • No twin beds

Best time to go

L’Escala is lovely all year round. Art and music lovers might want to come for the annual Portalblau festival in July/August, while those seeking a quiet escape should avoid peak summer months and book between September-November or March-May. Casa Calvari's rooftop plunge pool is open from May to the end of September.

Our top tips

We loved the sea-facing Ultramar Bar and Restaurant for its craft cocktails, fusion food and cool DJ set – in summer months, sit outside to soak up the atmosphere and Med views.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • Townhouse rental
  • 3 bedrooms
  • Self-catering; restaurant nearby
  • Over 7s only
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Pool & beach towels
  • English speaking caretaker
Room:

Rooms

On the ground floor, the first bedroom features an exposed red-brick vaulted ceiling and an open shower room; the bathroom is next door. Up a tiled staircase – past in-built shelves decorated in minimalist style with colour-coded books, exotic shells and modernist vases – are the second and third bedrooms. These share a toilet, though they too have en-suite open showers and sinks. Trudi has kept things stylishly simple in all three bedrooms: golden-warm lighting and soft Toulousian textiles make you want to cocoon yourself inside, while black-out blinds, luxurious linen sheets and the comfiest of beds mean an excellent night’s rest is in store.

On the top floor, an open kitchen-dining-living room featuring rattan and wood furnishings gives off a beachy-chic holiday feel in a palette of sea-inspired blues and gleaming white. It’s fresh and bright in here – natural sunlight pours in through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open out onto the terrace.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Satellite TV
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

An open kitchen on the top floor features a wooden breakfast bar and a cream-coloured Smeg fridge and freezer cool enough to be considered part of the decor. Access to fresh Catalan market produce means cooking here’s a treat – there’s plenty of appliances and a touch-control induction hob/cooker (though no oven). A top-of-the-range espresso machine makes great coffee to go with freshly-baked croissants from the boutique patisserie down the road.

We loved the light, airy feel to the living room, which opens out onto a terrace with white-washed walls and a shaded dining area: here’s where to sit on balmy summer evenings as the sun sets pink. It was peacefully quiet during our stay – just the welcome sound of church bells ringing on the hour.

If you can tear yourself away, there are plenty of great restaurants, cafes and wine bars in L’Escala’s old town – head to the bay for meals with sparkling Med views. Trudi recommends La Gruta (modern French cooking offering “market bistronomy”: gastronomy at bistro prices), Korpilombolo (creative Catalan cuisine with a kooky Nordic twist, just by the church of St Pere), Café Dell’ Arte (excellent fondues, pizzas, tapas, just 30 seconds walk away with an airy terrace) and Bar 1869 (right on the port with sea views from the heated winter terrace serving lovely home-made tapas).

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Enjoy the Costa Brava’s famous turquoise-clear waters. Local beaches include El Portixol and Cala Montgó
  • Hire a boat from the Club Náutica to explore hidden coves
  • Go scuba-diving or paddle boarding – there’s a choice of scuba schools and paddle rentals in town
  • Explore the mind of the world’s most famous surrealist at the Dali Museum in Figueres (30 minutes away)
  • Discover L’Escala’s celebrated fishing history at the Anchovy and Salt museum, set in a former abattoir dating from 1913
  • Jog, cycle or stroll down the picturesque pine tree-lined Passeig Marti D’Empuries
  • Don’t miss the Greco-Roman archaeological site Empuries – or the fairytale-like hamlet of Sant Martí d’Empúries
  • Hike in the protected Montgrí natural park, home to pine forest trails and wetlands
  • Visit Girona's medieval centre, 30 minutes away – it’s also a haven for cycling enthusiasts

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Paddle boarding
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Children over 7 are welcome, and the house is well suited to families with older kids, or a small group of friends. No under 7s are allowed, mainly due to the steep steps up to the rooftop pool (with no banister).

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

An air mattress can be added to Bedroom 1 on request.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Casa Calvari is in the heart of L’Escala, a small coastal town set in the picturesque Emporda region of Catalonia, looking out onto the Bay of Roses, and sandwiched between the well-known Costa Brava hotspots of Cadaques and Begur.

By Air:
Fly to Girona Airport (45 minutes away) or into Barcelona itself (1hr 50m).

By Car:
Day trips to nearby beaches and towns are much easier if you have or hire a car, and we highly recommend driving to get here from Barcelona.

By Train:
You can also take a train to Girona and from there, a bus to L’Escala.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Girona–Costa Brava Airport 55.0 km GRO
  • Barcelona Airport 168.0 km BCN

Other:

  • Beach 0.3 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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