Cala de Sant Francesc, also known as Cala Bona, is a fantastic beach set in a beautiful cove.
Its setting, across the hill of St. Juan, at the foot of a well-to-do suburb — with expensive villas tightly packed across the surrounding hillside — explains why this is pretty much a locals beach.
During the week the 220 meters long beach tends to remain relatively uncrowded — except, perhaps, during the height of the summer season.
You will find tourists here, but they tend to be of a different caliber than those found in Blanes’ hotel and camping district.
How to get to Sant Francesc
You can reach this beach by car, or on foot. You can either climb the hill of San Juan all the way from the foot, or spend a Euro or two on the bus that runs between the Placa de Catalunya and the Marimurtra Botanical Garden.
Once the bus drops you off at the entrance of the garden you may first want to double back a few feet for a fantastic view of Blanes.
Then, pass the entrance of the garden and walk via the Passeig de Carles Faust and Carrer de L’Ermita to a small chapel, next to which is an overlook from where you can admire Sant Francesc’s beautiful vieuws.
You make your way down to the beach on a paved walk at the other side of the chapel.
San Franscesc has toilet facilities, chair- and parasol rentals, a restaurant and a snackbar. The latter both offer good food at decent prices — as well as friendly service.
Along most of Blanes’ beaches the sand level quickly drops off, giving way to water too deep for young children.
At Cala de Sant Francecs the slope is a little gentler. There are also some nice tide pools with calm, shallow water in between the rocks.
The absence of boisterous youth also contributes to making this a family-friendly beach. That said, at times during the summer a class or two of primary school children can show up. However, the children — supervised by teachers — are well-behaved.
As anywhere in Spain topless sunbathing is allowed. During the quiet morning hours one may happen upon more-or-less elderly locals taking a quick dip in the sea — all or not wearing bathing suits — but one seldom encounters fully nude sunbathers here.
At the far northern end of the beach a set of steps leads to a gateway set in a rock. Behind it is a narrow path hewn out in the rocky cliffs.
This path is known as Camí de Ronda (Spanish: Camina de Ronda): a series of footpaths built along the entire Costa Brava coast to help the Guardia Civil control the coast and stop smuggling.
This path does not lead anywhere in particular — and indeed stops abruptly some 15 minutes into a calm walk. The views from the path are breathtaking.
A few years ago, after a fatal accident in which someone slipped and fell on the sharp rocks below, the path was closed off.
It remained closed to the public for three years, until — in 2017 — the path was completely renovated and, with new safety guards in place, was reopened. And now the path actually leads somewhere. Walk far enough and you arrive in Lloret de Mar!
At the far southern end of the beach lies another narrow path that still leads nowhere, but from which you can take in some stunning panoramic views.
Diving off Sant Francesc
With its clear, clean water, diving is a popular sport all along the Costa Brava.
Here’s what the sea at Blanes’ Sant Francesc beach looks like to a diver: