The Costa Brava, or the “rugged coast”, offers visitors a taste of real Catalan beach life. Despite an out of date reputation as a package holiday location, if you go to the right places you’ll find a quintessential Mediterranean experience. There are so many wonderful places it can be hard to pick one. So, to give you a flavour of what you can expect from a Barcelona Private Experience to the Costa Brava, and starting with the closest to the French border and working back toward Barcelona, here is an introduction to some of our favourite towns.
The region is beautiful at any time of the year, but in September and October, it is truly exceptional when the intense summer heat has passed but the water is still warm and welcoming and the best restaurants, chiringuitos and hotels are full of life.
You can’t really mention Cadaqués without also mentioning its most famous ex-resident, Salvador Dalí, who lived there for decades, and if you’re interested there’s the Casa-Museo de Salvador Dalí (House-Museum of Salvador Dalí) to visit. The white village with its gorgeous surroundings is arguably one of the most unspoilt parts of the Costa Brava, but it still manages to offer some high-end restaurants and great nightlife. As with most of Spain, there are festive events all year round. The old town is made of cobbled streets with bright white buildings, and interesting shops, bars and restaurants scattered throughout. Then there are the amazing beach coves of the Cabo de Creus Natural Park, with crystal clear water and amazing views, easily accessible by a walk around the headland.
By far the most modern town on the list, Empuriabrava is perhaps a surprising inclusion for some. The 25 kilometres of canals that can be found at Empuriabrava explain why it is sometimes called the ‘Venice of Spain’. It’s the largest residential marine area in the whole of Europe and it’s surrounded by an amazing mountainous backdrop making it a breathtaking sight. The town has a feel of luxury about it and a visit here will leave you feeling that you’ve seen a spot on the Costa Brava that’s different to most. There are long stretches of golden sand nearby that extend into the natural park of L’Empordà, and of course, beautiful restaurants and bars for refreshment along the way.
L’Estartit takes its spot in the world where the Montgrí Massif mountains and the Mediterranean meet, so you can get adventurous in the surrounding country or head to the beach for some relaxation. Or, maybe a quick trip to the Medes Islands which are very close. The town is also placed close to medieval villages like Pals, which makes a wonderful afternoon out. The restaurants, terrace bars and beachfront promenade are a fantastic choice to see in the evening with a few cocktails, but L’Estartit is particularly great for families if you’d like to make it a stop on a Catalan experience with the kids.
Begur is a part of the Baix Empordà region. During the summer the population can exceed 40,000 people so we’d recommend keeping this one for out of the main season. It has plenty to offer though with medieval remnants in the city, like the castle of Begur and the Romanesque Esclanyà and Fornells. The main reason to stop here though is the choice of amazing and prestigious beaches like Sa Riera, Aiguafreda and Aiguablava.
Tossa de Mar
Tossa is a special place. As you make your way north from Barcelona you pass some towns that make perfectly decent holiday spots but Tossa is the first one that really shows what the Costa Brava has to offer. There is one large beach and a couple of smaller coves, all of which have crystal clear water and will give you the feeling of really getting to know Catalonia. It is the last fortified medieval town on the Costa Brava. When strolling around you’ll notice the tall walls that house cobbled streets, vibrant restaurants with amazing food, and the real atmosphere of the Mediterranean.
Whichever of these towns take your fancy, we will design the best possible visit for your tastes to the Costa Brava. Of course, we will arrange exclusive access wherever possible, and don’t forget, arriving by yacht can make your visit truly spectacular. You can read more about visiting your preferred parts of Spain in our Yacht Hire Barcelona article, or if you’re ready for us to start designing your itinerary, just leave us a few details now and we’ll get to work.
Main photo by Tom Grimbert