El Port de la Selva is small Ampurdan coastal village. Its municipal area also covers the village of La Vall de Santa Creu. It stands on the northern side of the Cap de Creus peninsula, very near the French border. Since March 1998, it has been included in the Cap de Creus Natural Park and both the coastal and inland area of the village are subject to different levels of protection.
El Port de la Selva’s coastline is precipitous as a result of the sea and the wind’s erosive action. A great number of river valleys reach the sea there, creating picturesque coves, high capes and rugged headlands and several islands.
At the entrance to the village, on our right, is the Sant Fruitós de la Vall church. The church is dedicated to Santa Maria de les Neus, which is now El Port de la Selva’s parish church, was built in the early 20th century and inside it there is a gothic image of St Peter that came from the Sant Pere de Rodes monastery.
The Sant Baldiri de Tavallera chapel forms part of the architectural cluster consisting of the church, the vicarage and other adjoined buildings that are enclosed within a partially fortified area and a circular watchtower.
The small village of La Vall de Santa Creu can be found inland at the back of the valley. Alongside it runs the riverbank that was formerly used by several mills, such as the Pairet and Canavall mills. There is a footpath that runs from behind the village up to the monastery.
The Sant Pere de Rodes monastery stands atop the Verdera mountain, around 520 m tall, and overlooks the bay of El Port de la Selva and the Mar d’Amunt, and a good deal of the Cap de Creus massif. It is one of the most impressive medieval monuments in the west Mediterranean. A highlight of these buildings is the basilica, built in the 10th century.
Sant Salvador de Verdera castle can be found on the highest summit of the Rodes mountain range, 670 m high. We can reach it from a trail that leads up next to the entrance to the Sant Pere de Rodes monastery. It is an exceptional viewpoint over the Ampurdan plain and the gulf of Roses.
The Santa Elena or Santa Creu de Rodes church dates to the pre-Romanesque era. Of particular note is the unique bell tower. The church was excavated and studied in 1989 and 1991 and was strengthened in 1992. The medieval hamlet that surrounds it was abandoned in the 17th century.