Girona and Costa Brava Guide
Costa Brava is an area of the Spanish coastline in the northeast corner along the Mediterranean Sea. The Costa Brava begins on the southern end in the town of Blanes, which is 60 km north of Barcelona. It continues all the way up until Spain turns into France. The coast is warm and sunny much of the year and boasts beautiful beaches as well as inland nature.
Why visit Costa Brava?
The Costa Brava is worth visiting not only for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters but also for its culture. So, many coastal villages are built up with high rise hotels and prices that drive the locals out. Luckily, along the Costa Brava, you’ll find plenty of spots where this trend had been avoided. Small restaurants remain intact and local watering holes, where the elderly of the village have been going for decades, have stuck around. It’s a great combination of nature and culture along the Costa Brava. And then there’s Girona town, a miniature Barcelona, full of activity and culture, very Catalan.
Best time to visit
The weather is good much of the year and the sun is almost always shining. Any time of the year is a good time to visit Costa Brava. But if you’re really looking to get a deep, dark tan, you’ll want to hit the Costa Brava beaches during summer months when the sun, and the heat, are strongest. Keep in mind that the summer, July and August see high prices and lots of tourists, kids and their families on summer holidays. If you don’t mind a bit of a lighter hue on your skin, head over to Costa Brava in May, June or September. You’ll get a bit more peace and quiet as well as slightly lower price tags all around.
Top things to see and do
- Girona Cathedral: A stunning, massive, inland Gothic cathedral built by the Roman Catholics. It’s an impressive sight both in and out especially during the flower festival Temps de Flors. Also the set for major scenes from the Game of Thrones.
- Jardín Botánico Marimurtra: On the south end of the coast, these gardens are perched high enough to not only be full of exotic plants but also amazing views.
- Empuries Ruins: A mini Pompeii with Greco/Roman ruins is the most important archaeological site in Spain. It’s been very impressively preserved.
- Salvador Dali House Museum: The artist’s house turned museum in Portlligat is as weird and quirky as you’d expect from the man. Consider the Dali Triangle tour, a must for all lovers of Dali and art. Serious fans can go on a Dali triangle tour.
- Cap de Creus National Park: Up a mountain near the French border you’ll experience keep quiet. Beautiful views of cliffs and the sea and lots of nothingness.
- Cycling: Girona province is a world renowned cycling destination for all levels of cyclists, from recreational family bikers to professional, world record holders.
Where to stay
Some parts of Costa Brava are touristy and built up with family resorts. There are other parts with chi-chi bars, sea side dining, natural parks, and secluded beaches. And all along the Costa Brava you will find amazing restaurants, boutique hotels, and stunning beaches. The coast is very diverse in its character of towns, and visitors to the area can find the perfect place to stay based on their interest.More : Where to stay
Getting around in Costa Brava
It is highly recommended to hire a car in Girona when visiting the Costa Brava. While there are buses which run between some spots they do not go everywhere and they do not go often. If you’re reliant on public transport you’ll want to give yourself a great deal more time to do everything there is to do. Inland towns like Girona and Figueres are connected with Barcelona by fast trains.More : Essential information
The best way to conquer the Costa Brava is to choose one or two base cities, depending on how long you have, and make day trips from there. Well connected cities work best for base camp. This way you can take easy day trips to the other recommended towns and things to see around the region.
What to eat and drink in Granada
Costa Brava is a small region and it is possible to live in one town and travel to another, just for a meal, or an evening. Many towns are culinary hotspots and known for their local food or for haute cuisine.
- Restaurant Ibéric, Girona. Try the Costa Brava fish stew, caldereta in Spanish. With lobster, monkfish, saffron, and garlic.
- Sa Rascassa, Begur. Try any of the fish from the sea, or other seafood, as well as the ‘chocolate stones’ for desert.
- Compartir, Cadaqués. Michelin starred chefs serve at this restaurant where the name means ‘to share’ get a plate of the Iberian pork tenderloin served with Moroccan couscous and start handing out forks.
- Boia Nit, Cadaqués. A bar where once upon a time you may have run into Salvador Dali himself, while that’s no longer possible the cocktails will make up for any disappointment.
- Es Blanc, Blanes. A beach bar and restaurant. Have a gin and tonic and just enjoy the atmosphere.
Planning a Costa Brava visit as a family
Many Costa Brava towns are perfect family getaways, with shallow beaches, water parks full of pools, raft rides, gardens, and mazes. There’s also many camping sites. And you will get plenty of ice cream everywhere, to stay cool during your days on the Costa Brava with the family.
Visiting Costa Brava as a couple
Couple particularly prefer cozy little, undeveloped beach towns along the Costa Brava, and there are many which could provide the perfect backdrop for a holiday as two. Coves along the coast have equipment rentals for water sports and activities like snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. All along the coast you’ll find perfect spots for a date night feast looking out over the sea. With its cosy small towns, it would be hard to go wrong in this area, as a couple.