Guide to Costa Brava, Spain

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If you are ever in Barcelona during summer, you should take a week out of the calendar and drive up north. Costa Brava means The Wild Coast and it is wild, rocky, charming and just perfect for a week (or more) of exploring the small villages along the coast.

As my family has a summerhouse on the coast, I’ve been to the Costa Brava stretch many times, but last summer my husband and I treated ourselves to a full week of exploring the coast.
Here are my recommendations to my three favorite villages along the Costa Brava.

 


 

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Begur is a charming little village five kilometers from the sea. It is located high on a mountaintop and is a great base for some days at Costa Brava. From there you can drive to many and very different bays nearby in 10 – 15 minutes and enjoy the atmosphere and great restaurants by night.

Where to stay

Hostalet de Begur
We stayed two nights at Hostalet de Begur last year. It is undoubtedly one of the best small hotels we have ever stayed at! The place is incredibly calm, located just 5 minutes by foot from the main square of the city, there is great attention to detail and it is child free (as we don’t have children yet, we really enjoyed the tranquility at the place – our time for family holidays will come 🙂 ). There are just seven rooms, all facing the large garden and pool. The breakfast is served on the terrace by the pool and is delicious.

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Where to eat

Casa Juanita
For an authentic experience you should go to Casa Juanita. It is a tiny place where they only serve fish and the menu depends of the catch of the day. The waiter will show you the fishes on a tray and let you chose which one you wish. Once you chose, the chef will start preparing the food in the oven inside the restaurant. Quite pricy, but an amazing experience. We paid aprox 90€ for two main dishes and wine for lunch (we chose the most pricy fish as it was a special one from the area).

Location: Carrer Pi i Rallo, 7

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Burger station
If you fill yourself with paellas and three course menus for lunch, a light dinner is appreciated. Burger Station at the main square is very recommendable for a burger and a beer in a lively area of the village.

Location: Esglesia’s Square

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El Jardín de Can Marc
This place is legendary on the Costa Brava. El Jardín de Can Marc used to be the place where all the wealthy youngsters from Barcelona would come and party in Summer. It still is, but now there is a more low-key atmosphere at the place, which is actually a private house with an immense garden turned into bar and restaurant. If not going for dinner, then go for appetizers, gin tonics and the view. Both the gin tonics (the gin menu is huge) and the view are extraordinary.

Location: C/ de la Creu 10

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Turandot
Turandot is number one on Tripadvisor and was recommended by our hosts. Unfortunately it was closed when we were there, but we will definitely try it next time we pass Begur.

Location: Avda. Onze de setembre , 27

What to do

Visit the bay Sa Tuna
Take the morning in the bay of Sa Tuna. Have lunch at the restaurant Es Furio de Fito (I can warmly recommend their rice and fish stews) and then take the coastal path to the next bay named Aiguafreda (it’s 10 – 15 minutes of walking). The path has great views to the rocky coast line and there’s a nice little bar to enjoy coffee once you get there. Stay the afternoon in the bay before heading back to Sa Tuna and home to Begur.

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Visit the bay Aiguablava
If you drive towards the Aiguablava hotel and park the car there (probably not allowed, but we did it!), you can walk on the right side of the hotel down to a tiny little bay where the water is clear and the rocks are just behind you. Perfect little bay to spend the morning.

 

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Stroll in the city
Begur is a beautiful city with many antique houses, great shops, markets and a lively atmosphere. You can spend the afternoons and evenings strolling around and enjoying the cosiness of this little village.

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Dalí moved to Cadaqués because of the light, which is said to be the best in Spain. And it is true that there is something special about Cadaqués where almost all houses are painted white and the church rises high on the hill. Take at least two night there as the road for getting there is curvy and not something you want to do two days in a row.

Where to stay

L’Horta d’en Rahola
L’Horta d’en Rahola is a fantastic little boutique hotel with a beautiful garden and a delicious restaurant. There is only 6 rooms, making the place very intimate. The breakfast is outstanding and so is the lunch. Try to get the largest room with a penthouse terrace from where you have view to the church (it is a little more expensive than the other rooms, but it’s worth it).

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Where to eat

Compartir
Compartir is among the Top 10 restaurants my husband and I have been to. Compartir means to share and that is the essence of the place. The dishes are made to share and with a twist. The service is great and the local white wine we were served also excellent. The prices are very fair: we had appetizers, three-course menus, a bottle of white wine and sparkling water for aprox. 110€ in total.

Location: Riera Sant Vicenç

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LUA
Restaurant Lua has a delicious light lunch menu with a twist. There are tables on the little street to enjoy the menu. To accompany the lunch I recommend a Tinto de Verano, which is a fresh edition of sangria.

Location: Paseo de Eduardo Dato, 5

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L’Horta d’en Rahola
Besides from being a fantastic little hotel, l’Horta d’en Rahola is also a superb restaurant. The place actually used to be a restaurant and had been so for decades until it was turned into a little hotel some years ago. The lunch in served in the shadow on the beautiful terrace. The price for a three course lunch including beverages is aprox. 28€ per person.

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What to do

Visit Dalí’s house
In Portlligat, a little fishermans village next to Cadaqués, you can visit Dalí’s house. Even if you are not interested in art, you will probably find this place fun to see. The house is large and white and has this special light, which meant so much to Dalí. The garden is one of a kind and the olive grove immense. Like many other tourist attractions in Spain, they have introduced online ticketing, which allows you to pre-book your visit for a specific time slot in advance, which saves you time in a queue and an overcrowded place.

There are boat tours leaving all day long from the little port right in front of the house, which will let you see the coastline from the sea. Just remember to bring cash, as the guys don’t accept credit cards.

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Walk along the cliffs around the city
Cadaqués is a rocky place. There are cliffs along the shore inviting to explore the hidden areas. Go for a walk there and find the prefect place to enjoy the incredible nature.

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Drink white wine in S’Olivar del Ros
Lovely place in an olive grove right in front of the sea. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a glass of cold white wine after a day on the beach.

Location: Platja del Ros

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Explore the the white town
After a day by the sea, a nice lunch and maybe a siesta, it’s time to explore Cadaqués town with the many curvy streets and cute shops. There is a nice and vibrant atmosphere in the late afternoons and until 11 p.m. when most shops close. Go to the main road by the waterfront to watch the sun set over the town.

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We visit Calella de Palafrugell every summer and just love the place. The beaches are quite narrow and often crowded, but very authentic. There are rocks everywhere and the water is crystal clear, which makes it the perfect place to do some snorkeling.

Where to stay

I have never slept here so I cannot recommend anything first hand. But if I was to book some nights, I would probably go for the luxury Bed & Breakfast Casa Dos Torres for the place or Hotel La Torre for the location and view. Find both on Tripadvisor.

Where to eat

Restaurante Tragamar
We have had lunch at the terrace of Tragamar every summer for the past five years. All the dishes we have tried along the years have been superb. It is a popular place and they do not take table reservations on the terrace. So take a day on the beach in front of the restaurant, go there in the morning and get your name on the list and pass by every 20 minutes to see if it’s your turn. It’s worth the waiting time.

Location: Platja del Canadell s/n

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What to do

Go kayaking
There are kayaks for rent in the bay. Take a double kayak and explore the coast from the waterside.

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Walk the coastal path to Llafranc
Llafranc is the neighbouring town and can be reached within 15 minutes on foot. The coastal path is beautiful and along the way you can walk down to the cliffs from where you can take a swim.

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Enjoy Costa Brava!!

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