If you are looking for a destination with sea and mountains, lots of leisure options for the whole family and spectacular gastronomy… you have to travel to Roses. We’ll show you the most fun things to do in Roses with children.
10 places to see in Roses with children and fun plans for the whole family
You already know that the Costa Brava and the province of Girona are one of our favourite destinations for travelling with children. In fact, we return as a family almost every year to discover new places and interesting experiences to do with our children. This summer the chosen town was Roses and we have returned delighted.
This municipality in the Alt Empordà has an exceptional geographical location, as it is located to the south of the Natural Park of Cap de Creus and overlooks the beautiful Gulf of Roses from a privileged position. Sea and mountain embrace each other to form amazing landscapes.
In addition, it is a town that has many quality services and leisure options for the whole family, so after our recent stay we are going to recommend 10 places to see in Roses with children.
Table of contents
1 Plans to do in Roses with children
1.1 Visit to the spectacular Ciutadella de Roses
1.2 Hiking routes through the Cap de Creus Natural Park
1.3 Taste the rich gastronomy of Roses
1.3. 1 Restaurant La Barretina
1.4 Excursion on the Roses Exprés tourist train
1.5 Excursion with Water Bikes
1.6 Watch the sunset from a catamaran
1.7 Kayaking and nautical activities with GEN Roses
1.8 Enjoy the beaches and coves of Roses
1.9 Stroll through the old town and the Paseo Marítimo de Roses
1.10 And if you have more time… visit other places on the Costa Brava
Things to do in Roses with children
The location of Roses would already be a great incentive to visit this destination with children. What’s more, the Catalan Tourism Agency has awarded this Alt Empordà town the “Family Beach” seal of approval, which accredits it as a Family Tourism Destination.
Take note, here are some of the things to do in Roses with the family that our children have liked the most.
Visit to the spectacular Ciutadella of Roses
It is highly recommended to start discovering the town of Roses through one of its icons. The guided tour of the Ciutadella is ideal for discovering the past of this area and seeing the many villages that inhabited this enclave on the Costa Brava centuries ago.
The Ciutadella de Roses is a spectacular archaeological complex located in a 16th-century walled fortress.
The guided tour tells you how the settlement began with the small Greek colony of Rhode and how it later became a Romanesque villa, a Romanesque monastery and an enormous defensive fortress.
The complex covers 131,000 square metres, so once you’ve finished your visit you can wander around and enjoy the number of remains that have been found over the last 13 centuries. There is also a small archaeological museum and the Ciutadella hosts a multitude of cultural and leisure events.
Hiking routes in the Cap de Creus Natural Park
Roses is located to the south of the Parc Natural de Cap de Creus and is therefore an ideal destination for enjoying short walks and hiking trails in a truly fantastic setting.
Moreover, as the diversity of the landscape and the number of routes is very varied, there are many of these trails that are perfectly suited to the youngest members of the family.
For example, we took a short but very scenically varied route that goes from Punta Falconera to Cala Rostella. At the beginning of the route you can see a series of viewpoints, machine-gun posts and bunkers from the Civil War.
The path between Punta Falconera and Cala Rostella runs along the Camí de Ronda that leads to Cala Montjoi and offers magnificent landscapes full of pine trees twisted by the Tramuntana, idyllic coves and cliffs of unique beauty.
Tasting the rich gastronomy of Roses
If anything has put Roses and the province of Girona on the world map, it is its delicious gastronomy. This town in Alt Empordà was a place of pilgrimage for foodies from all over the world who wanted to try Ferrán Adrià’s creations at El Bulli.
However, you don’t have to go to a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant to enjoy the gastronomy in Roses. There are plenty of interesting places to try the culinary creations of the Costa Brava to suit all tastes and budgets.
Fresh fish and seafood, high quality meats, local fruit, vegetables and wines… whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Roses. And with children? Well, also, because Teo and Oriol are very good eaters, so we recommend you some of our favourite restaurants in Roses:
Restaurant La Barretina
This restaurant specialises in fresh fish and seafood from the area. So much so that when Jose wanted to show us the menu he approached us with a huge tray of freshly caught fish and asked us to choose which we wanted to try.
Everything we tasted was very fresh and we especially liked the tagliatelle, clams and mussels, prawns and baby squid. The scorpion fish (or scorpion fish) cooked with chilli peppers and garlic was finger-licking good. Don’t miss their homemade desserts either.
Restaurant La Barretina is located at 29 Cap Norfeu Street in Roses.
Restaurant El Caimán
Tapas and fresh fish are the specialty of this magnificent restaurant located on the beachfront with a terrace on the Paseo Marítimo de Roses. The truth is that everything we tried was delicious.
They have from simple but very tasty tapas such as mussels or grilled prawns, to slightly more elaborate recipes such as tuna tataki or crunchy artichokes with soy and honey that are finger-licking good. Everything is market cuisine and fresh products.
El Caimán Restaurant is located at Plaça de Catalunya 10 in Roses. Manel and his team will treat you great.
Restaurant Can Cervera
If what you like is good meats and a kitchen that bets on high-quality Km.0 products, where even the smallest detail is taken care of… the Restaurant Can Cervera is a true paradise.
They have a lunch menu that is a real show if we take into account that it only costs €25.95. Carpaccio of beef from Cabanes, low-temperature egg, salad with foie shavings, and stone-grilled meat that takes your breath away. Carlos and his team have achieved a perfect relationship between quality and price.
We recommend that you try the Restaurant Can Cervera in the central Carrer d’en Mairó, 56
Poke Corner Bar
Jordi has come up with a super fun proposal with very tasty products in his Poke Corner Bar. It is a place where you can try burgers, poke bowls, wraps, sandwiches, tapas… of very good quality and at very competitive prices.
The place is decorated as if it were an old sports bar, with very funny posters that will delight Barça fans (like us). The kids loved the NBA burger while we were delighted with the delicious poke.
You have the Poke Corner Bar in Avinguda de Rhode, 193
Excursion on the Roses Exprés tourist train
The Roses Express tourist train is a classic that every child from Roses and the surrounding area has tried at some point in their lives. It’s an excellent way to see some of the main attractions of the town and the Cap de Creus Natural Park in a short space of time.
There are several routes, but we chose the one that climbs to the top of Puig Rom, the highest point in Roses. The best thing about this route is the spectacular panoramic views of the bay and the Gulf of Roses.
Other very interesting points that we saw during the route (and that we could not visit during our trip to Roses) were the Trinitat Castle or the Creu d’en Cobertella Dolmen, which dates back some 3000 years and is considered the largest megalithic dolmen in Catalonia.
Another of the curiosities of this route is that from Puig Rom you can see the four natural parks of the province of Girona: Cap de Creus, Medes-Montgrí-Baix Ter Islands, Albera and Aiguamolls de l’Empordà.
The staff on the little train are very friendly and the train is designed for the little ones to have a great time. Of course, depending on the time of day, children can fall asleep from the rattling.
Excursion with Water Bikes
A very different and fun way to discover Roses and its coastline is through an excursion with water bikes or Water Bikes. We went from the Port Esportiu to the beautiful cove of Canyelles Petites.
The trip takes about an hour and a half, depending on your fitness. The important thing here is to ride at a steady pace, but without overdoing it. The bikes are easy to control, even for people who don’t know how to ride a bike like me (hahaha).
The adults were on normal water bikes, while the kids were on a kind of board with electric handlebars, so they can follow the rhythm without any effort.
This is a very innovative experience that can be perfectly adapted to the pace and fitness of each traveller. If you want to try this activity, you can book it at Costa Brava Water Bikes.
Watching the sunset from a catamaran
Another must-do in Roses with children is to take a catamaran trip. From the Espigón dels Ginjolers, located on the town’s seafront promenade, you can find the different boats that sail around the bay of the Gulf of Roses or go on excursions to Cadaqués or Cap de Creus.
Among the wide variety of options, we chose a sunset excursion offered by Magic Catamaráns. This is a leisurely sail that departs at 19:30 and lasts about an hour and a half.
Feeling the wind and the smell of the sea on your face is a real pleasure, a moment that becomes even more intense when the sun disappears over the horizon and the light is magnificent.
The boat’s crew is very lively and don’t be surprised if the sailing turns into an improvised party where there is no shortage of laughter and good humour. The price of this trip is 15 € and a drink is included in the price.
Kayaking and nautical activities with GEN Roses
We have already seen that Roses is a true paradise for nautical activities. One of the experiences we enjoyed most with the family was a kayak trip around the Port Esportiu.
There you will find the headquarters of the Grup d’Esports Nàutics de Roses (GEN Roses), which offers the possibility of practising various water sports such as kayaking, sailing, windsurfing or Paddle SUP.
There you can rent the equipment and also do beginners’ courses or mini sailing cruises to learn the basic sailing techniques and enjoy the sea and its surroundings.
We rented a kayak for three and had a great time admiring the Roses coastline from the sea, at a leisurely pace and practising sport as a family. Highly recommended.
Enjoying the beaches and coves of Roses
It’s no secret that the beaches and coves of Roses are one of the main attractions for tourists who visit this town on the Costa Brava. The town has 9 beaches and 7 coves to suit all tastes and colours, so whatever plan you are looking for, you will find it.
The most popular of them all because it is next to the seafront promenade is Platja Nova, although Platja Salatar and Platja Santa Margarida have similar characteristics (due to their proximity). They are very accessible, with fine sand and shallow waters, ideal for the youngest members of the family.
However, if you are looking for more idyllic and less crowded spots, Roses has a spectacular collection of coves.
Some of the most beautiful are Platja Del Bonifaci, Canyelles Petites (which we reached by Water Bikes from the sea) and Canyelles Groses, Cala Lladó, Cala Murtra which is nudist (accessible by the Camí de Ronda), Cala Rostella or Cala Montjoi, which became world famous for hosting Ferrán Adrià’s restaurant El Bulli.
Strolling through the old town and along the promenade of Roses
One of the things that surprised us most about Roses was the atmosphere in the shopping streets and the seafront promenade, although it is also worth wandering around the old town, which is full of pedestrian streets with little shops, bars and restaurants everywhere.
The children were very impressed by the many ice-cream parlours. However, one of the buildings that stands out the most (and is actually just a short walk from the sea) is the Church of Santa Maria, which has an interesting neoclassical façade. The air-raid shelter in the Plaça de la Pau and the beautiful modernist buildings in the Plaça de Catalunya are also worth a visit.
It is also well worth walking along Roses’ busy promenade, which runs practically from the Ciutadella to the port area. The beach is usually very lively, as are the many restaurants and shops in the area. From there you have magnificent views of the Gulf of Roses.
And if you have more time… visit other places on the Costa Brava
We have already pointed out that Roses has a spectacular geographical location, so it can serve as a base of operations to visit other towns on the Costa Brava that are located very close by.
After getting to know Roses in depth, you can take advantage of your stay in the Alt Empordà to discover nearby towns and places such as Cadaqués, the Ruins of Empúries, Calella de Palafrugell or the neighbouring Empuriabrava (where we parachuted a few years ago).
You can also visit the beautiful Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Empordà, Begur, the medieval villages of Besalú, Pals and Peratallada, sail the Medes Islands from L’Estartit or stroll along the long beaches of Sant Pere Pescador… just to mention a few examples. We’ve already told you that we love the Costa Brava, haven’t we?
Where to stay in Roses
There is a wide range of accommodation in Roses, with hotels to suit all tastes and budgets, tourist flats and also high-quality campsites with spaces for campervans.
We chose the Hotel Marina for its excellent location, right on the beachfront and just a stone’s throw from the Ciutadella de Roses. This accommodation has spacious rooms for families, a good buffet breakfast and a restaurant with a terrace where you will feel very comfortable.
However, what the children liked most was the swimming pool on the top floor, which also has a spa. It is one of those hotels that takes care of all the details, and the kids were left a very sweet surprise that made them very happy.
You can find more information at Living Roses and on the website of the Associació Empresaris Roses Cap de Creus.