One of the things we love the most about living in Barcelona is the fact that we can escape to Costa Brava whenever we want. Most of our favorite places are situated maximum 2 hours driving from home and even after 6 years I still have to hold my breath every time we visit one of these charming towns. Summer is coming closer and the places we put on our list are waiting for visitors from the very beginning of June, so take a pen and write them down! I am not sure when the borders for foreigners will be open, but if you live in Spain, you should definitely not miss these spots!
Cadaqués was the first town in Costa Brava that I visited and it’s curious considering its distance from Barcelona. It’s the farthest point on the list and you have to estimate a 3 hours drive before to get there, but the view emerging from the hills will quickly reward you for the ride. Cadaqués is a quiet, fishing town with a very bohemian atmosphere on every corner. The famous Spanish artist Salvador Dalí used to live there, so visiting his home-museum is a must. The historic center is a labyrinth of cobbled alleys and buildings painted in white tones with blue details, artisan workshops and restaurants where you can taste delicious local gastronomy. You can also visit Cabo de Creus National Park and take a bath in one of many beautiful calas.
My forever favorite destination in Costa Brava is Tamariú. We spent my last Birthday there and I couldn’t imagine a more romantic place to celebrate it. The views from our hotel were breathtaking and it was the most beautiful Birthday surprise ever. We loved this place so much that one month later we took my parents there. Tamariú is a perfect destination for couples but also for water lovers, because it’s a home to Cala Aigua Xelida -a real treasure hidden between the rocks. About 20 meters wide and just over a kilometer from Tamariú, this small cove with crystalline waters is perfect for snorkeling and diving.
Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar was on my bucket list for a long time, until I finally had a chance to visit it last summer. This unique town gives you an opportunity to enjoy the views of the Mediterranean Sea, together with its charming heritage and medieval history. In fact, Tossa de Mar is the last fortified medieval town on the Costa Brava, so you should extend your stay and visit Vila Vella – a beautiful 17th century castle, getting lost on the tiny streets inside the fortress.
Calella de Palafrugell
If you decide to visit Tamariú, don’t miss Calella de Palafrugell. It’s a really magical town and the neighborhood of the port of Calella has even been declared a place of Cultural Heritage of National Importance. The urban beach of Port-Bo stands out above all for its surroundings, from the old white fishermen’s houses, to the boats immersed in the sand, to the arcades and terraces serving fresh seafood. Calella is the place where we stayed for the night when my parents came to Spain and they loved the spirit of this town.
If you are more seeking for adventure rather than just sunbathing on the beach, L’Estartit is your destination. It is one of those places where you can lose yourself in nature, since it is located a step away from the Natural Park of Mongrí, Bajo Ter and the Medes Islands. As my Man is full of surprises, last year he took me for a snorkeling Birthday lesson on Medes Islands. I was scared since the water has never been a good friend of mine, but once I found myself in the sea, the fear disappeared. It was absolutely worth it! We had a lot of fun, so if water sports are your thing, put L’Estartit on your list.
Despite being a home to the most beautiful beaches in Spain, Costa Brava is not only about the coastline. One of my favorite cities in Catalonia is Girona because of its ancient Roman remains.
Let yourself be captivated by the charm of the labyrinth of bridges and and don’t forget about the Jewish quarter of Girona, one of the best preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe. However, of all the many monuments in Girona, the Cathedral always stands out, since its Gothic nave is the largest in the world. The Plaça de la Catedral is also impressive, with a staircase that seems to raise it to the sky. It’s not surprising that the sixth season of Game of Thrones was recorded there!. So if you are a fan of medieval towns, Girona is a must, especially in May during the Temps de Flors festival, when all the streets are filled with floral decorations, making the city a real dream come true.
Apart from Cadaqués, Figueres is the town that attracts a lot of Dalí lovers, since its old theater, the Teatro de Figueres, was chosen and designed by Dalí to house his impressive work. Visiting Dalí Museum is a lifetime experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Just 800 meters away from the Museum you will also find one of the largest military fortresses in Europe, the Castillo de San Fernando (Castell de Sant Ferran), which stretches along the 32 hectares!
It wasn’t easy to fit the essence of Costa Brava in few points, but I hope this list will give you an idea of what’s waiting for you there. From beautiful beaches and underwater adventures, to medieval history, adorable old towns and fabulous food, Costa Brava has everything you need to make your vacations unforgettable.