The coast in and around Arenys consists of extensive beaches with a background of hills which slope down to the sea, which acts as an introduction to the more rugged coastline of the Costa Brava. In the port there is also a large Marina containing many pleasure craft and there are facilities for accommodating any passing yachts and cruisers. Throughout summer many sailing boats stop off in Arenys as part of their Mediterranean itinerary. The boatyards, which in the past were responsible for construction of a large part of the Catalan commercial fleet which traded with America, are still important to the local economy.
In the middle of the Riera, across from the Plaza de la Iglesia(the church square) you can see the Mercadear(covered market) a magnificent yet functional building in the modernist style. It is open every morning(except Sunday) and some afternoons. Inside the hubble of people and the frantic activity is constant. On Saturday mornings the Riera becomes the commercial hub due to the activity of the open air weekly market.
The Calisay building is another famous construction in the town. It was at one time a distillery making liqueurs, which became well known throughout Spain, and is now being used as a municipal cultural centre.
The celebration of Sant Roc, on 16 August, is highlighted by the passage through the town of groups of young people carrying special crystal containers full of eau de cologne which they sprinkle over everyone. This tradition is in memory of their ancestors who asked the saint to release them from the plague. This a rather unusual fiesta, as there are few like this in Catalonia where the main “character” is eau de cologne!!
During the summer months the programme of events brings together all types of activities- cultural events, dances, and fiestas- one after the other. The fiesta of San Juan sees the beginning of the season with an enormous celebration on the beach, and the Feria de Solsticio (summer solstice)- a craft fair which takes place on the Riera. In addition there is the jazz festival, arts fairs, and the numerous street parties.
Arenys is proud to have created the first municipal radio station in Catalonia and it is also working towards the aim of being notable in the fields of IT and communications. In a short time it is forecast that the people, and the businesses, of Arenys will be able to enjoy the latest broadband cable technology.
Two important industrial zones are being developed- both through public and private initiatives and, although agricultural production has declined in recent years, the area still contains some market gardening.
Los Baños de Can Titus, which has been operating for many years, as a spa hotel which offers the latest in thermal treatments and installations.
Arenys welcomes many day visitors throughout the year, especially groups of retired people and school children. The artistic charms and monuments, the museums, the port and everything surrounding the myth of Sinera- the creation of Salvador Espriu, are good reasons to pay a visit to Arenys.
The attraction of the beaches in Arenys is their size and the coarse sand. For those who prefer the shade to the sun the park of “Lourdes” and the quite streets of the town are excellent for walking.
At the top of the Riera, on both sides, can be found many examples of houses of much beauty hidden away. The amount of walking needed to cover this area is well worth undertaking as the beauty of the buildings brings ample reward. Some of the defence towers built to ward off the Berber pirates are still standing and have been well preserved. The Fidel Fita historical archive contains some of the most important historical documents relating to Arenys and the surrounding area, which have been recovered and preserved.
At the top of Turò de la Pietat, to the west of the town, stands the towns cemetery which is a classic example of the marine cemeteries of the Mediterranean. The writer Salvador Espriu eulogised the cemetery into a literary myth in his great poetical work “Cementiri de Sinera”. Inside are many sculptors of notable beauty by modern artists of renown such as Josep Llimona and Venanci Vallmitjana.
The view from the cemetery is breathtaking. From there you can see the main landmarks and symbols of the geography of Arenys. To the west, the silhouette of the Torre dels Encantats guarding the limits between the dioceses of Gerona and Barcelona. From the interior contemplating the omnipresent Tres Turons. To the east the view is occupied by the port where the ancient Montcalvari building stands out. A glance from this privileged balcony allows us to pick out the church of Santa Maria, the various convents of religious orders, the neo-classical house donated by a son of the village, Josep Xifrè, and on the horizon, looking upwards, the mountainous mass of Mont Negre.