It’s named for its jagged cliffs, hundreds of small coves and secret bays. Rugged beauty. Costa Brava encapsulates the stretch of land just north of Barcelona to the border of France, where the Pyrenees Mountains join the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s known for the sun, sea, and sand, but there’s more to it than that. It’s in the seaside villages and medieval hamlets often lost in the countryside. Favor the quieter spots in-between the tourist heavy Blanes, Tossa de Mar, and Lloret de Mar. Take the railway that slithers upward to Núria, a town that fills the roles of both religious sanctuary and ski resort. The inland villages of Breda and Arbúcies are idyllic and the exuberant city of Girona boats the highest standard of living in Spain.
Costa Brava enchants with its forests that reach out to the water line. The Fageda d’en Jordà is a fairytale beechwood forest worth exploring. Each season the forest reinvents itself—wild orchids and violets bloom in spring, a shady refuge for hot summer days, fall brings showings of ochre and red, while it bears a mysterious, misty guise in winter.
Past the forest lies the volcanic area of Garrotxa. In the national reserve, you can cycle amongst the sleeping giants that lay dormant amidst country houses and castles. Walk the Camins de Ronda, a series of winding footpaths created by fishermen and police. On the path you’ll stumble across abandoned watchtowers, once used to patrol the coast for smugglers. If you need more choice, there are the walking trails carved into the cliffs that look out upon the blue expanse.
Don’t forget the gastronomy. The area has been bestowed over a dozen Michelin stars and was home until 2011 to El Bulli, a three Michelin star restaurant well regarded as being one of the best in the world. Rivaling the fame of Dalí (who was born in this region) is Ferran Adrià, a man who led Costa Brava’s rise to culinary prominence. Other prestigious restaurants have enthusiastically filled the void left by El Bulli as they serve fresh paellas, wild mushrooms that taste of autumn, finished with a pour of the area’s sweet wine, Garnatxa de l’Empordà.
With emblematic locations and well-preserved historic towns, the Costa Brava region proves to be eclectic and irresistible. For more information on holidays and things to do in Costa Brava please click here.