Costa Brava is located in the province of Girona and has 206km of varied coastline stretching all the way from Blanes up to the border of France. When you think of Costa Brava, you may fall into the trap of conjuring up images of hoards of British tourists with restaurants serving up nothing but British grub all along the coast. However, you may be surprised by just how far this is from the real Costa Brava. In reality, it offers stretches of beautiful and quiet beaches with quaint villages and tantalizing restaurants offering traditional Catalan cuisine. It should come as no surprise that this is what makes the Costa Brava one of Spain’s most popular destinations.
The coastline is extremely varied and can cater for pretty much all types of holidays, be it an active one with water sports or golfing, a holiday with mates or just relaxing on a quiet beach to sink into a good book. You will find there is so much to do that it is impossible to fit it all into one holiday so you may inevitably find yourself coming back for more!
Things to do & see
It is impossible to list all the hundreds of sights and activities to do along this coast, so the best idea would be to take a daytrip to Costa Brava, here are some highlights not to be missed:
Empúries is an archaeological site near the town of L’Escala where you can find the remains of Ancient Greek and Roman settlements. It is the only archaeological site in the Iberian peninsula where there are remains of a Greek colony (Emporion). It is possible to reach the site from the town L’Escala which has connections by bus or train to Barcelona. The site is generally open 10 am – 6 pm but opens for longer during the summer months, check out the official website for up-to-date times and prices.
Cap de Creus national park:
This national park is the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula and was the first terrestrial and marine national park in Catalonia. It features stunning geological formations where the craggy rocks contrast with the amazingly clear aquamarine waters. You can go for walks along the coast, participate in water sports including kayaking and diving, take a boat trip or have a go at mountain biking. It is in a great location and can be visited via the charming towns of Cadaqués and Roses. Bus services run from Barcelona and Girona to both these towns and from here you can explore the park on foot.
This is a former fishing village and considered to be ‘the jewel of the Costa Brava’. Many artists and writers enjoyed visiting this picturesque spot including Dali, Picasso and Federico Garcia Lorca. Dali’s home can be found just around the corner in Port Lligat where there is a museum dedicated to the artist. The house is a fascinating insight into the life of Dali and his wife Gala, it even includes a whispering room where you can sit across the room from a partner and hear what they are saying as if they were sitting right next to you whispering into your ear! Tickets for visiting the house must be reserved in advance and cost €11 for adults, €8 for reduced tariffs (students, retired over 65 and unemployed) and under 8’s go for free.
Roses is a former Greek colony which became a Roman colony later on. It has many archaeological ruins to explore and it is another beautiful, picturesque place to visit along Costa Brava. There are also many water sports activities on offer.
Lloret de Mar:
Lloret de Mar is well-known for its lively nightlife but can also offer a host of other activities to enjoy during the daytime including water sports, relaxing on the beach or visiting cultural sights such as Sant Romà Church, Santa Clotilde Gardens and the Maritime Museum.
Where to eat
El Celler de Can Roca
The restaurant thrives on the endless creativity of the trio of gastronomically talented brothers behind one of the most acclaimed restaurants on the planet. If you want to try excellent cuisine and perfect service, this restaurant has it all. El Cellar de Can Roca is run by the trio of Roca brothers: head chef Joan, pastry chef Jordi, and sommelier Josep. The restaurant has 3 Michelin stars and has been ranked twice the No.1 restaurant in the world. The most popular are Jordi Roca’s desserts which you should definitely try on your trip to Costa Brava. They also offer vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free options.
Address: Carrer de Can Sunyer, 48, 17007 Girona
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 13:00-00:00
Average price: 22 €
Els Tinars restaurant is a family restaurant currently run by the third generation of the Gascons-Lloveres. It is set in a renovated Catalan farmhouse with an option to dine outside amongst fragrant hanging wisteria vines. You can experience waiters cooking, grilling, or carving meat and fish right in front of your eyes. If you book in advance, you can also try a degustation menu during lunch time or night from 20-22 o’clock. In Els Tinars you will find more than 500 wines on the list from Spain and around the world.
Address: Ctra. de St. Feliu a Girona, km 7,2, 17240 Llagostera, Girona
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 13:00-15:45, 20:00-22:45, Sunday 13:00-15:45
Average price: 17 €
If you are feeling like something different than classic Spanish and Catalan cuisine, we would recommend you this authentic Mexican restaurant. You can choose to sit inside the tiny restaurant or outside on the leafy terrace, above a busy pedestrian street. Here you can find some typical Mexican meals such as nopal (cactus) tacos, homemade blue corn tortillas or cochinita pibil (slow roasted pulled pork) with homegrown habanero chilies on the top!
Address: Carrer de la Cort Reial, 1, 17004 Girona
Opening hours: Tuesday – Thursday 20:00-23:00, Friday – Sunday 13:00-15:15, 20:00-23:00
Average price: 12 €
Where to stay
Many visitors travel to Costa Brava from the city of Barcelona for a day trip or longer, if you would like to find accommodation in Barcelona we picked some interesting options to provide you with an unforgettable experience:
Situated in the coastal town of Llançà, apartment with rustic elements includes the chimney and terra-cotta tile floors in the living room. Provides a private sunny terrace to get the most out of a relaxing vacation on Costa Brava. Bedrooms have large windows to allow in a fresh sea breeze. Great location close to the seafront promenade and scenic beach.
From 83€/night | 65m2 | License : HUTG-019267
The perfect choice for families or friends who want to enjoy a vacation in Costa Brava. The possibility of spending afternoons or evenings on the terrace with loungers and stunning mountain views. The two bedrooms and two bathrooms provide the best possible comfort. Location of Llançà is famous for its beach Grifeu, where the sand is a golden hue, and the water is crystal clear.
From 132€/night | 65m2 | License : HUTB-019273
This exquisite home is ideal for families or groups of friends. Exclusive and spectacular house with swimming pool situated in an idyllic spot is a winner of European holiday home award 2015. Large bedroom with luxury details has an en suite bathroom and the living room, open to the kitchen features refurbished wooden furniture with a rustic style.
From 285€/night | 300m2 | License : HUTG-013146
How to get there:
- Bus: If traveling by bus, you can reach various destinations throughout the Costa Brava from Estacio Nord bus station with Sarfa Bus Company.
- Train: You can reach Blanes by the R1 (blue) line. From Blanes you can take another bus to your final destination in Costa Brava.
Photo credits: tredencias.com, butterfield.com, totaltravel24.com
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