This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make a commission from.
Gambas de Palamos, the jewel of the Mediterranean coast, are considered the best-tasting shrimp in the world!
Also known as red prawns, Gambas de Palamos come from Costa Brava, Spain, and are protected to ensure their sustainability.
To understand these prized delicacies, we spent a day on a fishing boat fishing for Palamos prawns in Costa Brava.
Discover Gambas de Palamos, where to taste them, and plan your visit and culinary journey to Palamos in Costa Brava.
What is Gambas de Palamos?
Gambas de Palamos, or prawns from Palamos, comes from the northwest Mediterranean sea town of Palamos, north of Barcelona.
The Palamos prawns have an intense bright red color and are highly valued for their amazing flavor and succulent meat.
Their delicate, sweet flesh can be found in the most prestigious restaurants across Catalonia and around the world.
During Christmas and New Year, these Palamos prawns can command high prices of more than 225 euros per kilo.
Highly valued by diners all over the world, few are aware of just how long of a journey it takes to bring the prawns from the depths of the sea.
Fishing for gambas Palamos is strictly regulated and authorized for only a few shipping boats.
Fishermen in Catalonia have a saying:
“Entre tu i un peix, sempre hi ha un pescador” — between you and the fish, there is always the fisherman.
Where to Find Gambas de Palamos
Tasting gambas de Palamos is a must for any food lover. The easiest way to experience their delicious flavors is while traveling through Spain.
Here are a few ways to get your hands on the precious red prawns.
Buy Gambas de Palamos Online
While Gambas de Palamos are exclusively fished in the Costa Brava region, it is possible to purchase them online with delivery throughout Spain.
At this time, shipment is not available outside of Spain. There are a few sites that provide 24-hour delivery in Spain. Medium-sized shrimp cost about €61.60/kg (approx. $67.67), and large-sized shrimp cost about €104.50/kg (approx. $114.79).
Their exclusivity and sustainable fishing practices make it difficult to find Gamba de Palamós widely available.
Get Gambas de Palamos in Spain
When traveling in Spain, your best option is to stop by your local fish market to sample the incredible gambas de Palamos. If you’re staying in Barcelona, try the Sant Antoni fish market.
Beyond the market, you can taste la gamba de Palamós prepared at several local restaurants.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are in Barcelona and want to dive into Spain’s local culinary culture, we recommend taking a food tour with a local guide. This Tastes & Traditions of Barcelona food tour takes to you to two local neighborhoods for 13+ food and wine tastings. Discover local favorites including Catalan specialties on this fun-filled and delicious 3.5 hour food tour.
Gambas de Palamos Price
For the most cost-effective gambas de Palamos, you want to visit the Palamos fish market. You’ll get the freshest prawns at the best prices.
At local restaurants, you’ll find dishes with gambas de Palamos ranging anywhere from €25 to €70 (approx.$27.46 to $76.90) depending on the dish and restaurant.
Depending on the season and occassion, the prices for Palamos prawns can exceed €225/per kilo at New Year.
Gambas de Palamos are available in different sizes from extra, grande, medio, y pequeño (extra large, large, medium, and small).
Plan Your Visit To Palamos, Spain
When planning your visit to Palamos, we recommend staying in Girona. Girona is a medieval city worth sightseeing with easy access to explore the Costa Brava region including Palamos.
There is a lot to do and explore in Costa Brava, known as the “wild coast”. From the local food and wine specialties to the stunning rugged coastline, you will be enchanted.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: While in Palamos, take a scenic boat trip and enjoy panoramic views of the Costa Brava coastline. This 3-hour boat cruise from Palamos to Calella de Palafrugell, takes you on a 1903 wooden ship for a traditional cruise experience. From your expert crew, you’ll learn about the biology and geology of the area. Enjoy swimming in the sea before heading back to Palamos.
Where to Stay in Girona
The city of Girona is a centrally located and a great place to set up a base while in the region.
Girona is about 45 minutes away from Palamos. And, one of the easiest ways to get around in the region is to rent a car.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: While in Girona, consider exploring the local culinary specialties on a food tour. We took this Girona food tour and absolutely loved discovering Catalan food. See more about The Ultimate Girona Food Tour To Indulge in The City’s Finest Gastronomy.
Girona Boutique Hotel Nord 1901
Just steps from Girona Cathedral, the charming Hotel Nord 1901 is central to popular restaurants and cafes.
This family-run hotel has a beautiful garden terrace and a garden-lined swimming pool.
With a delicious breakfast buffet, room service, and access to massages in your room, the amenities are unbeatable.
To see prices, read reviews, or find similar boutique hotels, check Booking.com.
Salieti Palace: Girona Luxury Apartment
Girona also offers amazing apartments to stay in the old town. One Girona apartment we stayed in was Salieti Palace in the Old City. This striking 14th-century house was renovated by the architect Rafael Masó in 1911.
The architecture of the building is quite exceptional, with an inner courtyard, a staircase, arches, and windows in a neo-Gothic style.
If you love the medieval architecture of the Game of Thrones, this is your ideal place.
To see prices, read reviews, or find similar luxury apartments, check Booking.com.
Where to Stay in Palamós
While Girona is a great central base, it is worth spending one night in Palamos to best experience the city and its unique culture.
Here are a couple of places that we recommend.
Hotel Trias is a beachfront hotel just a few blocks away from Palamos Beach.
This contemporary and spacious Hotel Trias offers modern conveniences and rooms with sea views.
There is a free breakfast buffet offered each morning and a delicious Mediterranean restaurant on site.
In addition to an outdoor swimming pool, water activities, and boat trips are available from the port.
Casa Vincke Hotel
The Casa Vincke Hotel is a beautiful property located in the heart of Palamos.
The hotel’s striking architecture reflects the history and appreciation for Spanish culture.
There is a complimentary buffet breakfast, an outdoor swimming pool, and a garden to enjoy.
To see prices, read reviews, or find similar luxury hotels, check Booking.com.
Where to Eat Gambas de Palamos
Whether after a day at sea or simply visiting Palamos, you’ll be tempted to taste the famous gamba de Palamos.
There are many seafood restaurants in Palamos. However, only a few have the “Gamba de Palamos” Guarantee Stamp.
This certification guarantees that the gambas you eat are indeed Palamos gambas.
Here are a few restaurants offering the certified Palamos gambas that we recommend.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you love the water, consider scuba diving in Palamos. This Discover scuba diving in Palamos experience takes you on a personalized dive with a local instructor. Spend 3 hours exploring the underwater world in a controlled environment.
This restaurant welcomes you in a fisherman-style decor with a woody interior, fish nets, and baskets on the wall.
Can Blau specializes in only a few regional dishes. They serve freshly caught Palamos fish and seafood with the local rice from the Costa Brava region.
Ca L’amadeu is located on the Marina side of the Palamos port. This quaint restaurant has a beautiful terrace overlooking the marina and Palamos boats. Their menu is known for excellent fish and seafood dishes.
Entre dos Mons
This restaurant is co-owned by Mila and Roger, a young and dynamic couple. Mila, a native of Peru, brings Peruvian flavor, while Roger, a native of Costa Brava, brings the Catalonia flair.
Entre dos Mons offers an amazing gastronomic experience in Palamos with fresh gambas and local products paired with excellent wines.
Enjoy one of their curated tasting menus, purchase an experience-based food pack, or sample their Palamos prawn rice.
Fish for Gambas de Palamos: A Unique Experience
Fishing for gambas de Palamós is a fascinating and unique experience. We’ve taken various tours on our travels for authentic food experiences, but none are as raw and authentic as this one.
If your travels take you to Costa Brava, we highly recommend fishing for Gamba de Palamós. With this unique experience, you’ll dive deep into the tradition of this cultural and regional delicacy.
Become part of the crew for one day on a professional fishing boat. Learn about the gambas de Palamos, observe modern fishing practices, and enjoy time with the fishermen.
Along with the fishing experience, you’ll have a deeper appreciation of fresh seafood and what it takes to bring it to you.
Book Your Fishing Tourism Experience in Palamós
Contact Museu de la Pesca to book your Gamba de Palamós fishing experience.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +34 972 600 424
Our Experience With Sustainable Fishing Gambas de Palamos
Our fishing journey started at 6:15 am when we met Captain Xavier at Palamos port just before sunrise.
He cautioned us that the fishing experience would be rough due to the strong Tramuntana wind.
To alleviate potential motion sickness, we were advised to take Dramamine, an over-the-counter remedy.
Sustainable fishing, we learned, is at the heart of the fishing tradition in Palamós. Following a strict plan, only a few fish boats are permitted during daylight hours for 10 months of the year.
This is not a large-scale or industrial operation. It is a traditional process done by hand and a legacy passed down by fathers to sons.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Make your culinary travels worry-free! With the right travel insurance, you’ll enjoy a delicious experience. From medical emergencies, flight cancelations, car rental protection, or tour cancelations, a good travel insurance has got you covered. Check out our travel insurance review for food lovers to get started.
Catching Gambas de Palamos
The actual fishing for the gambas takes about four hours using large nets.
Once the net is in, timing is everything, as the seafood needs to be as fresh as possible. The gambas are sorted then topped with ice and kept in a cooler.
It was amazing watching the crew work harmoniously. No words were spoken-everyone simply did their part.
Tasting Raw Gambas de Palamos
Before we left the fishing boat, Captain Xavier had us taste the Gambas de Palamos raw. He told us that’s when the flavors are the sweetest.
With that, we sucked on Palamos gambas and were surprised by their sweet, delicate, and wonderful sea flavors.
Palamós Fish Auction
After fishing for the Palamos prawns, you’ll be able to go into the Palamos Fish Auction Hall. This is where the gambas are inspected and categorized by size, then placed in bins.
At the end of our fishing experience, everything the crew caught was sold at the Fish Auction.
Our boat day’s catch was a total of 40 kilos with a majority of large-sized Palamos gambas. They were quickly sold at the fish auction.
And as Captain Xavier said: “For me, it’s a good catch, and I have left gambas in the sea for tomorrow and for future generations.”
Palamós Fish Market
Attached to the auction hall is the Palamos Fish Market. At the market, you can find and buy freshly caught gambas de Palamos.
This market is open only from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm when the fish is fresh off the boats.
Open to the public, the Palamos Fish Market is unsurprisingly busy with shoppers looking for the freshest catch.
The aisles of fresh fish and seafood of all colors and varieties were fascinating to see.
It was also interesting to observe the pricing of the Palamos gambas. The price increase per kilo was considerable from the auction hall to the market.
Have you heard of Gambas de Palamos before? Please let us know in the comments below.
Savor the Adventure!
More Local Food Experiences and Recipes
Love Gambas de Palamos? Pin It!
Disclosure: Special thanks to the Costa Brava Tourism Board for organizing this unique fishing experience. And, a big thank you to Captain Xavier and the crew for having us on their boat. All views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds, too.
Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
Find out more about Authentic Food Quest