Just a two hour flight from the UK, the Costa Brava takes in a 100 mile stretch of coastline in the Catalonia region of north east Spain that runs from Roses near the French border down to Blanes, just north of Barcelona.
Always a sound choice when it comes to enjoying a beach holiday, the Costa Brava – or rugged coast – offers year round sunshine, miles of sandy beaches, sheltered rocky coves and modern, international tourist resorts with high rise hotels alongside unspoiled fishing villages and medieval towns with ancient castles.
Although warm throughout the year, in high summer temperatures skyrocket. June and September are ideal months if you want the heat without crowds.
Where to stay
The Costa Brava resorts most popular with British holidaymakers include Lloret De Mar and Tossa De Mar because they are not only near many of the region’s best beaches but offer a wide variety of entertainment such as waterparks and an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
More than one million visitors make the trip to this former fishing village each year, mainly because it offers a choice of four beaches. You’ll also find waterparks in the Costa Brava plus a an abundance of restaurants, bars and night time entertainment to suit all ages, tastes and budgets.
However, the first port of call for many holidaymakers in Lloret De Mar is the beach. Platja de Lloret, which has Blue Flag status, is found in the centre of town and is roughly a mile long. Activities on offer here include: jet ski hire, kayaking, water skiing and parasailing.
Be sure to check out the bronze sculpture called a Monument to Fisherman’s Wife. Legend has it that whoever touches the foot of the sculpture while looking out at the horizon, will have their wish come true!
At just under half a mile in length, Platja de Fenals is the second largest beach in Lloret and is found at the top end of town in a sheltered bay overlooked by the castle on the hill. It also has Blue Flag status and offers a wide variety of watersports. Other beaches in the town include the Blue Flag Cala Boadella, which is below St Clothilde gardens, and Platja Santa Cristina.
Stay in the adults only Hotel Delamar, a modern accommodation which boasts its own mini-supermarket and nightclub.
Just over seven miles east of Lloret De Mar, Tossa De Mar is another very popular resort with sun seekers. The walled old town offers stunning views of the surrounding coast and is the perfect location to soak up some of the history of the region, as well as the sun on one of the resort’s 4 beaches.
Platja Gran Tossa de Mar – or Big Beach – is the largest beach in town and offers a range of attractions, including glass bottomed boat tours. La Mar Menuda on the other side of the bay is protected from northerly winds that can sometimes affect Tossa, while Platja d’es Codolar and Platja Santa Maria de Llorell are quieter spots to soak up the sun.
Away from the seashore, Tossa also has a castle to explore in addition to a Moorish tower, while the medieval old town known as Vila Vella has winding cobbled streets filled with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. After dark, Tossa is not as lively as Lloret but still boasts a wide range of restaurants and bars along the seafront.
For somewhere to stay, try the Golden Bahia de Tossa & Spa, which is crammed with facilities such as a wellness centre, four outdoor swimming pools and is just a short walk from Big Beach.
The Dali Triangle
If you want to enjoy some culture on your holiday to Costa Brava, then base yourself near one of the three towns that showcase the life and work of world-famous Surrealist artist Salvador Dali.
- Figueres is the birthplace of Dali, and the Dalí Theatre-Museum (pictured above) houses a large collection of surrealist works along with the Dalí Jewels collection. You’ll also find the Toy Museum of Catalonia in the area. For a great place to stay in Figueres, we recommend the Duran Hotel which has a modern feel and provides guests with a truly personalised service.
- Púbol is the village where Dali bought a medieval castle and decorated it with his paintings for his wife Gala. The house is now the Gala Dali Castle-House Museum.
- Port Lligat, a small village near Cadaques, is home to Salvador Dalí House Museum which was the painter’s private residence and workshop.
Close to Girona, this horseshoe shaped beach is a great all rounder. It has beautiful scenery, shallow waters for children to paddle in and plenty of diving and snorkelling opportunities. The promenade behind the beach has plenty of fresh seafood restaurants and cafes too.
Cap de Creus
Near the village of Cadaqués, this nature reserve comprises a series of tiny coves and is the most eastern point in Spain. Not only that, the eerie, spectacular landscape inspired Salvador Dali.
Platja del Canadell
Popular with tourists, we’d be lying if we said Platja del Canadell doesn’t get crowded in high season, but this Blue Flag beach is famous for a reason. Its calm waters and golden sands make it the perfect place for a family day out, with plenty of nearby shops and cafes to keep you wined and dined.
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