Get to know the book city of the Costa Brava

by admin

There is a municipality on the Costa Brava that has put itself on the map as a real ‘book city’. With almost 11,000 inhabitants and a growing number of seven bookstores, this coastal town has developed into a real attraction for literature lovers.

There are few things as wonderful as lying on the beach with a good book against the acoustic backdrop of the rushing waves. This is possible in Calonge i Sant Antoni. The place is located in the heart of the Costa Brava, between Palamós and Platja d’Aro.

From historic castle to literary hub

Calonge has a rich history dating back more than a thousand years. Sant Antoni, originally a fishing village, is now an important tourist centre on this holiday coast that is loved by the Dutch. The two places now together form the core of this literary project. Three years ago, the municipality launched the ‘Poble de llibres’ (city of books) project. The aim was to revitalise the socio-economic and cultural activities in the village through literature. Other examples of ‘book cities’ can be found in the Netherlands (Bredevoort), the United States (Gold Cities, California), France (Fontenoy-la-Joûte) or Lilleputthammer in Norway.

More than just books

The ‘book city’ initiative includes a very diverse range of bookstores. A series of seven literary cycles have been created to supplement the cultural programming of the municipality. These cycles take place on the first weekend of every month. They are aimed at a broad audience, with activities ranging from reading hours and book presentations to comic workshops and theatre.

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The book city as a communal project

There are two general bookstores and several specialised stores in Calonge. The bookstores work closely together within this community project. For example, La Viatgera offers a unique combination of a bookstore, travel agency and cultural activities, while Calonge Còmics focuses on comics, manga and graphic novels. This collective initiative attracts visitors from far beyond the region and offers an alternative to traditional sun and beach tourism.

Books as a cultural and tourist attraction

Calonge’s ‘book village’ transcends national borders with a range of books in different languages. This also makes the village a destination for international audiences, including digital nomads, holidaymakers and literature lovers. The presence of this unique literary community is also combined with the celebration of important events such as the Day of Sant Jordi. In which couples give each other books and roses. It makes Calonge a must-visit for anyone interested in culture, literature and sustainable tourism.

Medieval castle

The city of books has more to offer than just bookstores and literary events. The inland part of the municipality of Calonge is famous for its medieval castle. Castell de Calonge dates back to the 8th century. Located in the heart of the old village, this castle is one of the most impressive historical monuments in the region and attracts many visitors. It was damaged by fires during conflicts in the 15th century, but was quickly restored. A mix of architectural styles from different time periods characterises the castle. This includes a square tower from the 12th century, a trapezoidal enclosure with battlements added in the 14th century and a late Gothic palace added in the 15th century. The castle is currently owned by the Generalitat de Cataluña and is being adapted for modern use.

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