Thinking of the Costa Brava can only remind me of endless summers spent there. Great weather, an unbelievable atmosphere, fantastic food… this post is nothing but a genuine ode to some of the places that have brought me more joy in my, still short, but intense life. Summarising the best of the region in such few words has taken time and effort, yet I have given it a try by focusing on some of the main locations around the area.
My personal favourite, with more than seven kilometres of coastline, La Escala (or l’Escala in Catalan) is a corner that suits the tastes of any bather. From long sandy beaches with all kinds of services around to small pebbly coves surrounded by pine forests and cliffs. L’Escala hosts the medieval ruins of Sant Martí d'Empúries and the beautiful village of Bellcaire d’Empordá, with its very well conserved medieval castle and the Church of Sant Joan de Bellcaire, characterised by the mix of up to 4 different artistic styles around its walls. The beaches in the area are calm, of clear water and gentle slope, the largest ones are Riells, Cala Montgó and the Empúries beaches (next to the archeological site).
Rosas (Roses) is a major tourist center, with residential areas, hotels and beaches and two ports. A very attractive and high-profile location within the northern sector of the Costa Brava. The coast of Roses includes a long sandy beach and, further to the east, a large number of coves among which we recommend Canyelles Petites, l' Almadrava, Cap Norfeu, Punta Falconera and Montjoi.
Palafrugell incorporates the mesmerising towns of Calella and Tamariu. The coastline of the municipality is made up of endless rocks, cliffs, beaches and hidden corners of great beauty. We recommend a boat trip, kayak or walk along the coastline to discover all its charm. The village of Begur is within a 10 minutes drive, known for the small Romanesque core of Esclanyà and its eight small coves and beaches.
Lloret de Mar, together with Blanes and Tosa de Mar, can host up to 1.5 million tourists during high season. Lloret de Mar itself receives more than 40% of the total tourist mass of the Costa Brava as the best hotels in the area concentrate there. However its fame is not only a matter of beaches, coves and luxury as the city also possesses some cultural charm with the Iglesia de Sant Romà or the Castillo de Sant Joan among others.
Accommodation around the Costa Brava is quite varied and can range all tastes and budgets. From our perspective, renting an apartment with friends will make the most suitable choice for students. Doing the groceries will always be cheaper than paying for any bed & breakfast, and the restaurants and “chiringuitos” around the beach aren’t necessarily expensive.
As all around Spain, tasting its gastronomy is a must. The Costa Brava is specially rich for putting together mountains, plains and beaches within a few kilometres. This faculty names one of its best known dishes: the "mar y montaña” (mar i muntanya), which consists of a combination of stewed seafood and meats in delicious sauce. Other traditional dishes are the great “arroz de Pals” (best served with the “gamba de Palamós”), the fantastic “anchoas de l’Escala” and the world famous “pan tumaca” (pa amb tomàquet/tomata, depending on the dialect), my favourite breakfast.
240 kilometres (150 miles) of beautiful Mediterranean coastline, free of the characteristic overexploitation of Spanish beaches characterise my favourite place in Spain. Concentrated around the eastern leg of Gerona, it is less than 2 hours from Barcelona in its furthest location. As a matter of fact, it is ideal for a long weekend in the mountains or the beach (or both). Despite being a 7-hour drive from Madrid (it can also be reached by train or plane) we would unquestionably recommend renting a car for at least the stay, it will make it much easier to move around the area and visit as many places possible. Everybody is welcome!
By André Agostinho