Discovering the Beauty of Costa Brava: A Journey Along the Spanish Coastline
Welcome to Costa Brava – the “wild coast” of Spain.
While the world tourism had discovered the Côte d’Azur already in the beginning of the 20th century, Costa Brava remained generally unknown to it. It mainly served as Sunday leisure pursuits for local people until the Spanish government decided in the 1950’s to substantially develop the coast as a holiday destination.
The arrival of the first tourists and travellers has greatly reduced the area’s economic dependence on fishing and sea salt extraction. In the last decades, the Costa Brava has established themselves as one of Europe’s top travel destinations that hosts incredible nature, quiet rural corners and the largest quantity of blue flag beaches.
Costa Brava Weather
The weather in Costa Brava could be the best in Spain.
Like the rest of the country, it has long summers and warm winters, however, because it is to the north of the country and on the water, it picks up the cool moisture from the sea and keeps summer temperatures bearable with a nice breeze.
In summer, the temperature holds in between twenty-five and thirty degrees Celsius, which is perfect weather to be outdoors and enjoying all of the nature that this spectacular area of Spain has to offer. Compared to the other coasts of this nation, Costa Brava rarely gets blistering hot, but has even less of a chance of getting uncomfortably cool.
In summer, rain showers are infrequent but once in a while will occur. These do not usually last longer than a day or two so they are not something to worry about.
Autumn weather in Costa Brava is obviously not as great as in the summer, however when the sun shines and there is little wind, it is still a wonderful place to be. In the fall it is usually light sweater and pants weather.
In October you can still go swimming in the sea on a nice day, but by November the water becomes too cold. These months are also plagued with thunderstorms quite frequently so be sure to have indoor activities planned also for the wetter days.
Cooler temperatures that rarely get close to zero degrees characterize winters here. Compared to the rest of Europe, Costa Brava is still seen as an escape from the bitter cold in winter, however light snow and frost has fallen in the area before. As spring progresses temperatures warm up, as does the sea, and by April summer weather is just around the corner.
Costa Brava Nightlife
Along with Barcelona and Ibiza, Costa Brava is certainly the place to be if you are looking exciting nightlife.
You will experience the Spanish way to enjoy life: share some tapas and sangrias when the sun sets, enjoy delicious seafood at a seafront restaurant, have a few chupitos (shots in Spanish), and get ready to party until the sun rises in one of the hundreds of clubs you will find there.
Probably the best place for off-the-hook parties considered to be Lloret de Mar. Small coastal town, just 67 km to the north of Barcelona, is full of night clubs, pubs and disco bars and considered a small ‘’Ibiza’’. You may want to check places like Moby’s for disco classics, Tropics, Moef-ga-ga and the Hollywood for best pop hits and Café Lation for best salsa.
In many resorts along the coast it is not rare to find very good live music including jazz, blues, flamenco and rock music.
As well, romantic star-lit dinners are very popular along the beachside restaurants. The Catalan tradition of tapas is in full force in Costa Brava and there are countless bars, restaurants and pubs that offer a wide selection of delicious dishes. But if you want something a little more exciting all of the larger cities along the coast have busy nightclubs that are open all of the night and most of the morning. There are also a few casinos if you want to try your luck at the tables.
If you are in Cadaques, Café de la Habana is a great atmosphere with mouth-watering drinks and live music most nights of the week. If you are in Begur and are looking for a place to party then Carpes de Begur is one of the best options around.
This club provides three different venues to dance in each featuring their own style of music. One room is house music, the other is Salsa and Latin music and the third switches on a nightly basis. If you want to do some singing while you dance then the Alcatraz International Bar in Calella has some intense karaoke competitions and a nice atmosphere to have a drink and shoot some pool.
Do some investigating and try some new drinks, you may just find your favourite new beverage, at your favourite new bar.
Costa Brava for Families
Being one of the most unique places along to coast of Spain, Costa Brava is a land of many faces. It quenches the thirsts of families looking to experience a paradise entailed with a wide spectrum of adventures, including the calming waves of golden beaches, which branch off into a huge selection of water activities that suit the desires of those looking to relax and also those looking to experience adrenaline.
The adventures go beyond the beach into the exciting tours of castles and ramparts or even visiting the pottery town of La Bisbal, where pottery can be viewed anywhere from the streets to the buildings where locals reside.
In addition to these activities, this coastal region can be discovered through the means of differing sports. Horseback riding is a phenomenal way to explore the regions that cannot be accessed through other means of transportation such as by cars or bus.
This activity is not only perfectly suited for a romantic getaway, but also for a fun afternoon with the kids. Another great way to explore this is exquisite land is via walking or hiking. There are many trails to suit the needs of each individual family, which include long trails, short trails, or even paths that are bound to the coastline.
The resorts and hotels in Costa Brava, like the land, are one of a kind. There are hotels to accommodate every family, whether they are ocean lovers by the crystal blue waves or land lovers, cuddled up on the breathtaking hills of the countryside. If you’re in the mood for a change after being on the coastline, there is also a vast array of cottage-like accommodations in the mountains.
Many of these are specially meant for one night stays for individuals and families looking to experience another exceptional side to the diverse land.
The Best Places To Visit In Costa Brava
1. Costa Brava Beaches
Imagine a place where the sea is a deeper blue than the sky and the beach is always open for a front row seat of the spectacular scene ahead. The beaches along Costa Brava are different than what you would find anywhere else on the continent.
Because they are on the edges of a large landmass, the peripheries of these beaches are an assortment of rocky coves, vegetation, strips of forestry and stunning architecture. The northeast coast of Spain is famous for its remote coves that give new meaning to the private beaching experience.
“Travelling to Costa Brava is like entering a world of unparalleled natural beauty, with its stunning coastline, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque villages.”— The Culture Trip
There is perhaps no better adventure than taking a kayak up the coast and discovering some of these hidden beaches for your self.
The beaches in Begur are particularly striking. Shaded in tall pine trees, like most of the beaches in this region, Begur offers eight different coves to experience. Just south of Begur, Calella de Palafrugell also has eight beaches to check out. Some of these are very popular and can be more crowded, making for great people watching and lots of activity on the coarse sand.
For hot spots like these check out Platja del Canadell and Platja del Golfet. Some smaller beaches in this area include Port de Mala Espina and Platges de Sant Roc where a more private beach experience is likely.
To find the perfect beach, ask around about which beaches have Blue Flag status. This is a prestigious marker of a beach with everything needed to provide a magnificent day in the sun including drinking water, restaurants, showers and beach cleanliness.
Costa Brava has the largest quantity of Blue Flag beaches in all of Spain, so chances are one of these great places are minutes away. Some of the best Blue Flag beaches are Tamariu and Llafranc.
L’Estartit is a port town south of Roses on the shores of the Mediterranean. There are numerous fun ways to get around the town, whether it is by foot, cycling or even by horseback. L’Estartit is the place to get the true Mediterranean experience. The weather is always pleasant and the activities are in abundance.
Exploring the rich natural life including exotic birds, vast wetlands, coves on the coastline and rocky cliffs is a must. There are also tons of other things to do like checking out the local Castle that has been there for eight hundred years, going to the Museum of the Mediterranean to learn about one of the world’s most famous seas, and tons of great sporting activities.
L’Estartit is best known for its breathtaking views of the local bay and the Medes islands, which sit across the water, still in eyes’ view. Meda Gran is the largest of the seven islands visible from L’Estartit, topped with a lighthouse that has directed sailors away from the landmass at night for over a hundred and fifty years.
Most of the other islands are just large rocks that jet out of the water, similar to icebergs. Meda Gran, like L’Estartit, has tons of history.
A fortress was built on the large island to fend off pirates in the 15th Century and was later turned into a prison that has now been long abandoned.
The Medes Islands, which are just about at the center of Costa Brava, are also one of the premier scuba diving spots in all of Spain. The unbelievable life under the sea here has been salvaged and many of the species that were once endangered have now begun to flourish. As well, the remains of shipwrecks from centuries ago can still be found near the islands. This makes for an underwater experience like no other.
3. Lloret del Mar
Lloret de Mar is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Barcelona life.
The fast speed of the city comes to a halt and the laid back nature of Lloret takes its place. What originated as a fisherman’s village has evolved into a tourist’s haven with everything a get-away needs. Lloret de Mar has a magnificent balance of history, nature, shopping and partying. What is most important about this town is that everything and everyone here strives for perfection.
What started as a popular trading post over two thousand years ago has been home to a diverse number of cultures since then and its architecture is a perfect example of this. En Plaja’s Castle is a beautiful gold-couloured stone castle that leans over the side of a small cliff that borders the water. This castle is a great starting point for a walk along the beach and witnessing it somehow makes you feel like a part of the town’s history.
Also, the remains of Sant Joan’s castle is literally a portal back in time to numerous wars and furious storms that have battered the very land that the tall castle stands on.
However, although there is a strong historic presence, many parts of the town have also been gentrified to accommodate a younger crowd of tourists from all of Europe.
The nightlife in Lloret de Mar is second to none in Costa Brava.
With a nice mix of clubs, bars and discos, whatever you are looking for at nighttime you can find here. The Hula Hula Polynesian Bar is a fun option with a variety of different exotic drinks and a welcoming environment for all.
If you are looking to dance then St. Trop Disco has been home to the clubbing environment for fifty years, and without question they have mastered the experience. Big acts like Sebastian Ingrosso often play here and other clubs in the city, so often the night can spill over into the morning without noticing.
There are also tons of things to do in the daytime in this spectacular town. There are five beaches, all of which are clean and well acclaimed. There are tons of statues and monuments which act as checkpoints on long walks through the picturesque city.
For those who are a bit more extreme with a need for speed, there is Bungee Jumping and a large Karting Formula track not far from the heart of Lloret. Perhaps the most original thing to see here is Pinya de Rosa, the world’s largest botanical cactus garden that has been developed for more than sixty years.
So come and experience everything Lloret de Mar has to offer but make sure you book off a few days because there is lots to see.
4. Platja d’Aro
If you are looking for a modern, chic city along Costa Brava then Platja D’Aro is the place to go. Platja D’Aro is a beach city popular with Catalan locals, with sand stretching for over two kilometers in more or less a straight line.
This, along with the consistently warm weather, brings people to the beach morning, noon and night. There are also many other smaller, more private beaches that are perfect for a Mediterranean escape.
This cosmopolitan area has some of the best shopping in Costa Brava with four different outdoor shopping areas. Here you can find fancy and designer clothing, but you can also find cheaper t-shirts and second-hand clothing for great prices.
There are smaller shops that sell everything from novelty items to purses to sunglasses and everything in between.
After a long day of shopping and tanning, there is a ton of different options for the evening festivities. Platha D’Aro has gained the reputation for having one of the best nightlife’s in Spain. It has many popular and trendy clubs, along with a variety of different bars.
The music around town is always up to date with what is popular at the moment, and often is ahead of the music scene
There are many routes for walking and cycling to explore the town and there are also guided tours if you prefer learning about the land as you see it. It is not only Platja D’Aro that should be experienced, but also Castell D’Aro that must be seen. This is an ancient area that is right beside Platja D’Aro, which is full of monuments from many centuries ago.
This land has been inhabited for over two thousand years, and therefore every step on its soil is a shared experience with a vast history. It is centered around a medieval castle and church that are still a magnificent place to walk by.
5. Sant Feliu
Sant Feliu has developed over time into a bustling township, right on the coast of the Mediterranean. Small mountains, a variety of forests, and the water border the city, which is rare for such a small town. The seafront is its most attractive lure, with water temperature and regular temperature always warm and welcoming.
The sea is lined with a boardwalk that is filled with great cafes, restaurants and shops, and you can’t really go wrong when choosing. Just pick a patio with a menu that tickles your fancy and watch the locals and tourists walk past until the sunsets.
There are some beautiful hotels and resorts in this area as well, so comfortable accommodations should not be difficult to come by.
Sant Feliu is one of the cities with the most history in Costa Brava, and that is because the town was based around its monastery over a thousand years ago. The Benedictine monastery was built sometime in the nine hundreds A.D. and can still be found there today, now a protected museum.
Inside, the medieval architecture is stunning and you feel transported back in time. Because of its popularity at the turn of the first millennia, and its continued popularity in the next few hundred years, there are many striking monuments and houses around the city.
If you are in Sant Feliu then you should definitely check out their local market, that is where, besides the waterfront, most of the people can be found. Placa del Mercat is home to shops filled with local delicacies, nick-knacks, clothing and many other items.
Every morning you can get fresh fruit and vegetables here. The whole fun of markets is the adventure of searching and finding something unique and this market is filled with them.
Roses is a gem of a city located in between two nature reserves, both equally remarkable. This alone makes this city unique, however Roses has so much more to offer as well.
It is perhaps best known because of its history. This land has been used for centuries by numerous cultures and has always been admired for its coastal and mountainous regions.
Most recently, Roses is a popular destination for tourists to check out the history of the area, the magnificent environment and the numerous sporting activities that it offers. The Roses Express Train is a great way to see everything the town has to offer.
It is not actually a train, but it definitely takes you into some of the most picturesque corners of the territory. You can also take kayak and see-thru boat excursions to tour the Bay of Roses and other breathtaking coves nearby.
But whether you are travelling with a family or by yourself, a day at Roses Aqua Park is something you do not want to miss out on…especially if it is summertime!
There truly is no other water park like this in Spain and even all of Europe.
There are two separate worlds for children to explore, along with a massive wave pool that spans over five thousand square meters. There are many mind-blowing slides that feel more like roller-coasters scattered throughout the park, each with their own fun names like The Black Hole, Kamikaze and the Mississippi.
In these slides you will flip, twist, shoot and speed through into refreshing water.
After a long day of thrilling slides there is also a great area to relax, filled with Jacuzzis and warm pools. The aqua park even offers river rafting if you want to try your luck with the waves. There are few places in Costa Brava where you may have more fun than here in the Roses Aqua Park.
7. Tossa del Mar
“Travelling to Costa Brava is a journey that is full of surprises, with hidden gems and unexpected delights around every corner.”— Time Out Barcelona
Tossa de Mar is perhaps the quietest out of Costa Brava’s most popular cities and may be the most beautiful.
Just north of Lloret, this quaint town offers a more relaxing experience, where you can get a true feel of the locals quite quickly. This town is meant to be explored by foot, with tons of great passageways and alleys that interlock and lead you to new streets to discover.
The best area to walk around in the city is “Vila Vella” the medieval inspired architecture that makes up the downtown area, with old stonewalls that date back to the twelfth century.
There are many delicious restaurants here, targeted towards tourists, so if you are looking for something more local you may have to venture to the periphery of the city.
There are three towers around this area that add to the medieval feel of the neighbourhood.
What is most striking about this city are the town walls and towers that border the city. The mosaic of rock formed with great detail is a photographer’s dream and makes the entire city seem ripe for a postcard. This fortress not only provided safety in the past, but now offers a stunning view of the surrounding city.
What is also nice is that these walls stretch out onto the beach, which makes a day in the sun rather magical. Sitting on the rocky shores, your background is the beautiful, ancient rock walls, a very similar experience to Dubrovnik, Croatia. There are three beaches in total in Tossa, “El Codolar”, the Tossa beach and “La Mar Menuda”, all of which are beautiful year round.
In the summer these beaches are quite crowded, so if you want a more secluded experience you may want to search for a more discreet cove just outside of the city.
“Costa Brava is a destination that is beloved by travelers for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture.”— The Independent
Cadaques is the most northern town of Costa Brava, bordering the south of France, but it is well worth the trip. This city of about two thousand residents has a tremendous history and lots of the best parts of its past have been preserved. Its isolation geographically led to the development of a unique culture for the people within the town that can still feel when you are there.
This community’s spirit and the natural beauty of the land attracted famous artists including Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso and some of their most famous works were inspired and created here. To this day, Salvador Dali’s home, which is just outside the city, is a popular tourist destination.
Transformed into a museum, the villa is filled with artifacts and artwork by one of history’s greatest painters and creators.
The activities in Cadaques are perhaps the best part of visiting the town. This is because they are centered around the environment and getting the full experience of the diverse terrain around you. One example of this is renting a boat and exploring the beautiful coves surrounding the town.
This is relatively cheap and a great way to spend an afternoon. An even more affordable activity is going on one of Cadaques’ famous walks. Cadaques Bay is a great option and is filled with people and patios for drinks and delicious tapas.
The Cala Nans Lighthouse and the Old Town are also great destinations for a nice walk. All of these things to do and even scuba diving can be found in Cap de Creus. A nature reserve, this area that spreads across numerous towns is some of Spain’s best scenery.
Touch unique rock-faces that have been formed over millions of years and stand at the tip of a cove and watch the waves splash underneath you.