This is the land of Dalí, Gaudí, Spain’s highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants, a rugged coastline lined with pine-edged coves, and transparent waters stretching over 200km. This is, Costa Brava. This travel guide will show you the best places to visit in Costa Brava.
This pocket of Spain is home to countless scenic treasures, (seriously, you’ll never put your camera away!), charming medieval villages, and remarkable cultural attractions. There are so many reasons to visit Costa Brava. My Costa Brava itinerary gives you everything you need to know to see this hidden gem tucked away in the corner of the Mediterranean.
What is the Costa Brava
The name Costa Brava literally translates to ‘rugged coast’ or ‘rough coast’ and rightly so. The term originated in 1908 by the Girona-born journalist, Ferran Agulló, who used the term to describe the coves and towns of the Mediterranean coast.
The Costa Brava is a diverse region with exceptional natural beauty, a unique artistic heritage thanks to Salvador Dalí, and important Greco-Roman ruins.
Each day brings a new opportunity to explore each of the intimate beaches along the rocky coast that boasts varied wide bays, small coves, and high cliffs.
While this holiday region has well-known resort towns, you won’t find tacky tourist strips here. Far from it. Instead, you’ll experience chic establishments alongside fishing villages that cling onto the rocky seascape.
Where is the Costa Brava
So, you’ve decided you want to visit the Costa Brava. Awesome!
But where is it exactly?
Located in the northeast corner of Spain at the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Costa Brava sits within the province of Girona in Catalonia. Its coastline runs from Portbou to Blanes covering some 200 kilometres.
Are you ready to visit Costa Brava?
Five Things You Should Know about the Costa Brava
Before we jump in, here are five important things you should know about this itinerary to Costa Brava.
- If you’re visiting Costa Brava for the first time, this guide is for you! This guide assumes you have no prior knowledge of the region and coastline and its incredible beauty. Boy, are you in for a treat!
- You’ll need a car. I highly recommend you hire a car as there is little to no public transport. Plus, having a car will give you the freedom to start and end your days on your terms.
- I’ve tried to find a balance between quality and quantity. That being said, how often do you get to go to a drop-dead gorgeous region like theCosta Brava? For some, this might be a once off experience and you want to see as much as possible. The best part of this itinerary is that you can adjust it to suit your needs and personal preferences. For each daily bucket list, each location is no more than one hour from the next, which gives you total flexibility should you prefer to linger a bit longer at any location.
- Keep a towel handy. There are lots of beaches on this itinerary, so make sure you come prepared.
- It gets hot in Costa Brava. If you’re visiting during the summer, in the words of the Australian Cancer Council, Slip, Slop, Slap! Slip on a t-shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat. Check the forecast for the day ahead and consider rearranging any activities so you’re not outdoors at the hottest time of day (unless you’ re at the beach, of course) and always carry water with you. This a great compact water-bottle solution.
So, without further ado, here is my complete 5-day Costa Brava road trip itinerary that will guarantee you see all the best places to visit in Costa Brava.
Included in this guide to the Costa Brava
Looking for something in particular? Use these links to jump around.
- Map of Costa Brava Itinerary
- Day 1 itinerary
- Day 2 itinerary
- Day 3 itinerary
- Day 4 itinerary
- Day 5 itinerary
- How to Get to Costa Brava
- Where to Stay in Costa Brava
- When to Go to Costa Brava / What is the Costa Brava Climate like
- Got more time? More Things to Do and See
Want to know where you’ll be going? Take a look at the detailed map below.
Tip: For a larger view of the map, click on the icon in the top right corner.
Click on this interactive map and see where this itinerary will take you. I’ve created this map using Google Maps which you can save and use as you travel around Costa Brava.
The coloured pins represent different pockets of Costa Brava to explore each day. Click on any pin for more information.
Day 1 – Purple pins
Day 2 – Green pins
Day 3 – Turquoise pins
Day 4 – Yellow pins
Day 5 – Pink pins
Things to do in Costa Brava
Whether you arrive in Costa Brava in the morning or the night before, use your first day to get to know your base, Tossa de Mar. Did you know that Tossa de Mar was the first place in the world to declare itself an Anti-Bullfighting City in 1989?
Tossa de Mar
The centrepiece of this gorgeous seaside town is “Vila Vella enceinte”, the only fortified medieval town still standing on the Catalan coast. Located within its walls is the Old Town. From here you’ll get spectacular views of the surrounding coast.
Marc Chagall, the French painter, loved the quality of life here so much that he nicknamed Tossa de Mar – Blue Paradise. If it’s good enough for him…;)
What to do in Tossa de Mar
Vila Vella (Old Town)
Sometime in the 12th century, the medieval town was walled off and a castle was built on the highest point of Mt. Guardí, this castle was later replaced by a windmill then later became a lighthouse which is still operational today.
Take your time to meander through the quiet cobblestoned streets of the Old Town. These narrow passages are decorated with flowerpots and laundry crisp dry from the Costa Brava sun.
Step inside any of Tossa de Mar’s numerous bars, restaurants and shops, which seamlessly integrate into the historic part of the town.
Two beautiful churches to worth visiting are:
Capella de la Mare de Déu del Socors (Chapel of Our Lady of Socorro)
This chapel is actually where the original Tossa de Mar village was founded and expanded from over the years.
Located in the middle of the shopping district, this tiny chapel manages to maintain a peaceful ambience, making it a favourite amongst locals for its tranquillity.
Església Parroquial de Sant Vicenç (Parish Church of Saint Vicent)
This is Tossa de Mar’s parish church, large enough to host the entire population of the town during big events. Built between 1755 and 1775 to replace the smaller 15th-century church, the church is dedicated to the martyr, Vincent of Zaragosa.
Originally, the church was decorated with Baroque altarpieces and images which later disappeared during the Spanish Civil War. The only exception is the altar of the Immaculate Conception. A recent renovation of the interior paintwork has brought back some of the church’s former beauty.
It might be a small city but Tossa de Mar has three main beaches!
By the way, the Spanish word for beach is ‘playa’ however, in local Catalonian language called Catalan, beach is ‘platja’.
Platja Gran, or Tossa Beach, is the big one you can’t miss right in front of downtown. There are toilet facilities at either end of the beach with a couple of beach bars. Platja Gran is 380m long and 60m wide, giving you plenty of room to spread out
Platja La Mar Menuda
La Mar Menuda is located on the other side of the bay and provides all the usual services and facilities such as sports equipment hire and change rooms. The rocky headland here is a great spot for snorkelling and scuba diving. Smaller than Platja Gran, this beach is 180m long and 20m wide.
Platja d’es Codolar
Located behind the medieval castle and under the Vila Vella’s walls is Codolar beach. It can be accessed by climbing up the cobbled pathway from Platja Gran. This beach is the smallest of the three.
Where to Eat in Tossa de Mar
Hungry? Head to Sa Barca Restaurant for a real treat. I had one of my best meals here whilst visiting Costa Brava. For my first meal in Costa Brava, I couldn’t pass up ordering a vegetarian paella, my first paella and absolute favourite of the trip.
Sa Barca specialises in serving traditional local Mediterranean seafood cuisine. Tossa’s traditional cooking was something that has not only been passed on from mother to daughter but also from skippers to young sailors and coal managers to young colliers. This practice evolved from the men who had to spend several hours away from home and had to both look for and cook their own food.
Tips for Visiting Tossa de Mar
- Time: Allow 2-3 hours to slowly explore the Old Town. There lots of boutiques and shops to browse and plenty of photo ops.
- Price: Free! It’s free to wander around inside the walls of the medieval castle and Old Town. Lunch, on the other hand, is up to you.
- Getting around: Tossa de Mar is tiny, so leave your car at the hotel and head out on foot.
- Pro Tip: Reach the top of the medieval castle by walking through the old town rather than via the winding path next to the beach. Instead, take this route on your way back down. This way you’ll have a shaded ascent to the top with a much-needed escape from the hot Costa Brava sun.
After you’ve digested a hearty and satisfying lunch, head to the colourful city of Girona.
Girona’s history stretches back 2000 years with two fortified enclosures, the Força Vella and the Medieval Quarter. The Força Vella dates back to the city’s Roman past while the medieval extension of the city walls was carried out during the 14th and 15th centuries.
What to do in Girona
Passeig de la Muralla (City Walls)
Today, you can still see the mark the Romans left on the city with its imperious walls. They were expanded further during the time of Charlemagne in the early 800s then enlarged again in the 14th century.
The best part is that you can still walk along the defensive walls that encapsulates almost all of the entire old quarter. There are numerous watchtowers with spiral staircases leading up to some of the best vantage points of Girona’s skyline.
Sant Narcís and the flies
This is one of the many legends that still survive in Girona and locals are particularly well-versed in its retelling.
As the legend goes, in 1285, under the order of the French king, Philippe the Bold, Girona was surrounded by French troops who sacked and damaged numerous churches in the city.
When the troops entered Sant Fèlix (also included in this itinerary), with the intent of profaning the body of Sant Narcís, the city’s patron saint, giant flies began to fly out of the former bishop’s body, killing many of the French troops and their horses.
To this day, the fly is a sort of hero for the Gironí people which is why you’ll see stone flies (as pictured above) all over the city.
This legend even inspired the idiom “Les mosques, per Sant Narcís, a cada picada en maten sis“ which means “the flies for Sant Narcís, for each sting they kill six”.
Palanques Vermelles aka the Eiffel Bridge
Crossing River Onyar is Palanques Vermelles, a bridge designed and built in 1827 by the Eiffel company. Yup, the same lot who built the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1887!
This striking metal structure painted bright red will definitely remind you of Gustave Eiffel’s more famous piece of work. Crossing the bridge will give you a lovely view of the coloured houses that line the river. Which leads us to the next thing to see in Girona.
Cases de l’Onyar (Houses on the Onyar)
Lining the banks of River Onyar are these beautifully coloured houses known as Cases de l’Onyar. Their colours were actually chosen by artists Enric Ansesa, James J. Faixó and architects Fuses and J. Viaderand.
Built in the 19th century, the houses sit along where the old medieval city wall used to run. One of the houses, named the Casa Masó, is even open to the public. This was the former home of the local architect Rafael Masó. A great vantage point of the houses is both from Palanques Vermelles and Pont d’en Gómez.
Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona
One of the most impressive vantage points in Girona is the view from the bottom of the staircase in Plaça de la Catedral looking up to this massive Roman Catholic Cathedral with a baroque facade.
While the main layout is Gothic, this impressive cathedral combines several architectural styles from different periods. It also has the widest Gothic nave of any church in the world, and the second largest of all, second only to St. Peter’s Basilica.
El Call (Jewish Quarter)
Perhaps the highlight of Girona is its impressive Jewish Quarter. Here you’ll find winding cobblestone streets, stone walls, stairways, and secret gardens. While the Jews of Spain were expelled way back at the end of the 15th century, it’s a miracle that much of Girona’s Jewish Quarter is still standing.
The Jewish Ghetto started to form around the 1100s and continued to develop over the next 300 years eventually becoming one of the largest in Spain.
This part of Girona was even selected by the producers to film parts of Season 6 of Game of Thrones. If you’re a GoT fan, you’ll recognise scenes from Braavos and Kings Landing, minus a bit of CGI here and there.
Museum of Jewish History
Also in the Jewish Quarter is the Museum of Jewish History which provides more context about the city’s historic Jewish community. The museum retells the story of the Jews in the old Kingdom of Aragon from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Spread over three floors, you’ll get a better understanding of the medieval Jewish life and important events that shaped the city.
Esglesia de Sant Feliu (The Collegiate Church of St. Felix)
Located on the Romans equivalent of a highway is Church of Sant Feliu. In fact, the church’s design is gothic but has a Romanesque layout.
Be sure to also go inside and see the eight Roman and early-Christian sarcophagi which date back to the years 200 and 400.
La Lleona (The Lioness)
You might throw a coin in the Rome’s Trevi fountain or rub Juliet’s breast in Verona, but in Girona you have to kiss the Lion’s butt.
Located just outside Church of Sant Feliu is this odd looking lion which if kissed will guarantee a return-trip to the city.
The official message reads:
“Qui besa el cul de la lleona retorna a Girona”
“Whoever kisses the lioness’s ass will return to Girona.”
The tradition of kissing the Lion’s bottom used to be a way to officially declare your allegiance and love for the city of Girona and a way to recognise your status as a “gironí.”
Banys Àrabs (Arab Baths)
These Arab baths would have originally sat outside of Girona’s city walls until further development. This bathing complex actually has medieval and Romanesque origins. There is a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm bath), and caldarium (steam room). The most beautiful part of the baths is the apodyterium (changing room) where an octagonal pool is surrounded by eight slim columns with ornately decorated heads.
Rambla de la Llibertat
As you come out of the narrow alleyways of the Jewish Quarter you’ll arrive in Girona’s Rambla de la Llibertat. This wide pedestrian and commercial boulevard is a place for locals and visitors to shop, meet up and go for a coffee. On any given day of the week, you’ll see one of the city’s markets.
Plaça de la Independència
Plaça de la Independència is a beautiful neoclassical square with high arches leading to arcades. This square is packed with restaurants with outdoor tables. At its centre is a statue dedicated to those who defended Girona in 1809.
Catalan Museum of Archaeology
Located within the atmospheric 12th-century Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants is Girona’s Archaeology Museum. If you’re interested in learning more about Girona’s past from prehistory to the Middle Ages, this place is for you. You’ll enjoy eyeballing the artefacts collected from Roman and Ancient Greek site at Empúries, including tableware, glassware and mosaics.
Museu del Cinema (Film Museum)
If you’re a film geek, pay a visit to Girona’s Film Museum. This museum focuses on the evolution of moving photography with the journey starting way back in medieval times using camera obscura before making its way to the 19th-century with the arrival of photography.
There are also some great bits of movie memorabilia, like James Dean’s boots from Rebel Without a Cause and a lamp from Rick’s Bar in Casablanca.
Where to Eat in Girona
El Celler de can Roca
You can’t talk about food in Girona without mentioning that it’s home to the world’s #1 restaurant (as of June, 2018). Every year since 2011, El Celler de can Roca has been voted the best restaurant with an impressive three Michelin stars. The restaurant is run by the three Roca brothers, the youngest of which is in the Netflix series “Chef’s table”. If you’re keen, then you’ll need to book months ahead and be prepared to fork out a few hundred Euros.
If you’re on a more modest budget, I recommend eating at either Casa Marieta located in Plaça de la Independència and Indigo at Hotel Carlemany, just outside the historical centre.
Casa Marieta creates seasonal dishes based on traditional and market cooking. The average price per person ranges between 17 and 23 €.
Located inside Hotel Carlemany, Indigo restaurant serves the best cocktails in the city and provides a more modern culinary experience.
While you may not be able to afford to dine at El Celler de can Roca, you can get dessert at Rocambolesc which is run by the same owners! You’ll find all sorts of oddly shaped ice-creams from the finger of Columbus, a nose, and of course the Girona Lion.
How to get to Girona
From Tossa de Mar, Girona sits just 40km / 25miles northwest and will take you approximately 50 minutes to arrive in Girona’s historical centre.
If you’re based in Barcelona (100 km / 62 miles away) and fancy a day trip, by car, the journey will take you just under 90 minutes. Alternatively, there is a high-speed train which takes 40 minutes. Check train times and prices here.
Tips for Visiting Girona
- Time: Depending on how many museums you want to visit and how far along the wall you want to walk then wander the ancient streets, allow anywhere between 3-6 hours.
- Getting around: Girona is best explored on foot, however, you can also jump on a bike and ride around the city too.
- Pro tip: Girona is full of cobblestones so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
Today, you’re going to step inside the world’s largest surrealist object thanks to one of the most prolific artists of all time, Salvador Dali. After you’ve experienced the surreal, it’s then time to visit a gorgeous mountain-top medieval town.
Since Figueres is the birthplace of surrealist artist Salvador Dali, Figueres has made its mark on the tourist trail. Located an hours drive from Tossa de Mar, Figueres is a perfect day trip option.
What to do in Figueres
The main drawcard to Figueres is without a doubt the Dalí Theatre-Museum. Not only does it hold the largest collection of major works by Dalí in a single location, it was even designed by the man himself.
After this former municipal theatre was destroyed by a fire at the end of the civil war, Dalí converted the building into a spectacular, and at times, strange Theatre-Museum between 1961 and 1974.
No surface is wasted. From the outside, you’ll see a castle-like building, topped with massive eggs and golden Oscar-like statues with bread rolls dotting the walls.
Once inside, every turn you’ll experience illusions, tricks, and see bizarre yet profound pieces. You need a guide to explain the pieces inside and understand Dalí’s thought process. Trust me, he had one, but it takes some imagination to grasp.
In his own words, Dalí said:
I want my museum to be a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealist object. It will be [a] totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream.
Below the museum, Dalí is buried in the crypt below where the stage was.
It’s also wonderful to see Dalí’s wife, and lifelong muse, Gala seen throughout the museum. The way he portrays her in his work and captures her beauty, for me, was really romantic to see.
Dalí Joies (Dalí Jewels)
Is there anything Dalí couldn’t do? Located outside the main museum but still accessible with the same ticket, is Dalí Jewels.
This permanent exhibition showcases a collection of 37 jewels designed by Dalí. Dalí designed these on paper between 1941 and 1970 and were made by specialists in New York.
As you ascend each of the three floors, the pieces become even more imaginative, some of which animate thanks to intricate built-in mechanisms. My personal favourite is the heart, which up until a year ago, used to beat to the same rhythm as a real heart. A video is played next to the heart showing how it once looked. Unfortunately, in order to repair the mechanism inside the heart it would need to be almost entirely destroyed. Booo!
Tips for Visiting Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres
- Time: Allow 3 hours to see both the Dalí Theatre-Museum and Dalí Jewels.
- Getting around: No need for a car, this place is totally doable on foot.
- Price: A ticket to the Dalí Theatre-Museum including Dalí Jewels is 14€.
- Pro tip: This place gets busy so book your tickets online ahead of your visit. Tickets have set entrance times so make sure you arrive in time for your allotted time slot.
Castell de Sant Ferran (Sant Ferran Castle)
Just 10 minutes walk from the Dalí Theatre-Museum is Sant Ferran Castle. This 18th-century castle is very well-preserved. You can walk the entire 3 km perimeter of the castle for free and take a tour of the interior for €3. The tour includes an audio guide available in English, Spanish, Catalan, French, German, Russian, Dutch, and Italian. Lasting 45 minutes, the tour covers 14 of the most important points of interest. Also available is a more traditional tour with a guide.
Esglesia de Sant Pere (St. Peter’s Church)
Even if churches aren’t your thing, you might want to visit this one. St. Peter’s Church is where Salvador Dalí was baptised! You won’t have to go far to get there either because it’s located in the same square as the Dalí Theatre-Museum.
Where to Eat in Figueres
Keeping with the Dalí theme, why not have lunch at Duran Restaurant, Dalí’s favourite restaurant in town. It might not look like much from the outside, but inside it’s like a mini shrine to Dalí. Upon entering you’ll be greeted by a large Dalí bust before being led around to a wall covered in photographs of Dalí and some of his sketches.
How to get to Figueres
If you don’t have a car, there are many other ways of arriving in Figueres. Take either the train, bus or even an organised tour. Check here for available tours.
By now you’re probably all Dalí-ied out, that’s ok, because it’s time to visit that medieval town I was telling you about. Hurray!
Just 25 minutes down the road you’ll arrive in one of the most stunning medieval towns on this itinerary, Besalú.
The name Besalú comes from the Latin ‘Bisuldunum’, which means a fort on a mountain between two rivers. Don’t you just love how literal Latin place names are?
Besalú was once a Christian pilgrimage destination which spawned pilgrim housing and several hospitals, only one of which survives today, Sant Julià.
Things to do in Besalú
Pont de Besalú (Besalú Bridge)
To reach the town, first you’ll need to cross this fortified stone bridge. Records date the bridge back to 1075! During the Spanish Civil War it was severely damaged but repaired soon after.
With its pale sandstone and two turreted gates, the bridge provides one of the most striking vantage points of Besalú.
Jewish Quarter and Mikveh (Jewish Baths)
Besalú remains an important stop for the Jewish community who come to visit Besalú’s Jewish Quarter.
For a time the Jews lived alongside Christians until the 14th century when the Jewish people were persecuted.
Surprisingly, it is said that the Jewish families of Besalú were able to leave the city with relatively little bloodshed; a stark contrast compared to many other towns in Catalonia.
Today, remnants of the synagogue and the city gate the Jews used to enter and exit to town can still be seen. However, Besalú’s most famous and important attraction is the ancient ritual purification bath known as miqveh. While the bath was discovered by chance in 1964, it dates back to the 12th century.
Just two years after the baths discovery, the site was declared a national historic and artistic patrimony. Not only is the mikveh well-preserved, it’s also the only remaining Jewish ritual baths in Spain. It is believed that the baths remained so well-preserved thanks to the quality of the soil and water of the river which surrounds the miqveh.
To visit the mikveh, get a ticket from the tourist office located near the car park before crossing the bridge.
Sant Pere de Besalú (Saint Peter of Besalú)
Saint Peter of Besalú is a Benedictine monastery of which only the church still stands. This church is so old it strains memory. To think it was inaugurated in 1003! Its facade was added in the 12th century.
Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart Chapel)
After meandering through the flower pot lined streets, make your way up to Sacred Heart Chapel for Besalú’s highest point. After strolling along a tree-lined path you’ll be rewarded with epic panoramic views of the town and surrounding hills.
Tips for Visiting Besalú
- Time: Allow 2-3 hours to wander around the town
- Getting around: Yup, you guessed it, explore this place on foot.
- Pro tip: If you happen to be visiting Besalú on a Wednesday in summer, then you might want to stick around to see its 2000-odd residents dress up in period attire and relive their medieval past.
How to get to Besalú
Besalú is very close to Girona, and should only take you 25-30 minutes by car.
Driving to Besalú from Barcelona will take about 1 hour 45 minutes via the AP7/E15.
Alternatively, there are also four daily bus services that operate between Barcelona and Besalú and take roughly the same amount of time as driving.
The services are operated by Teisa, and depart from the company’s offices at C/ Pau Claris 117. Check here for the latest bus timetable and prices. Teisa also runs buses from Besalú to Girona.
It’s time to soak up some rays and discover why Costa Brava is known for having the second clearest waters in the world, after the Carribean!
Platja d’Aro is one of the many gorgeous beaches that makes up Costa Brava’s rugged coastline. The town, Castell d’Aro is located in the heart of the Costa Brava and 80 km north of Barcelona.
What to do in Platja d’Aro
Sea. Sun. Snorkelling! Platja d’Aro’s seafront is full of intimate coves and long beaches but the best way to experience the turquoise waters is by either going snorkelling or diving.
I went on a 2-hour snorkelling trip with Ictinio Diving Centre who took us out to two different locations where we got to know Costa Brava from below the surface. I’m not the most confident swimmer in open water but since you’re hugging the coastline the tide was very calm which made this one of my favourite snorkelling experiences.
As the name suggests, Ictinio Diving Centre also offers both scuba diving courses and trips out for the more experienced water dwellers.
You’ll definitely want to take a GoPro with you to capture the moment as the water here is simply gorgeous. Mixed with the elegant white-washed homes lining the coast, try your hand at capturing a split photo like this one. All you need is this inexpensive housing for your GoPro.
Tips for Visiting Platja d’Aro
- Time: For a snorkelling trip, allow 2 hours plus time to get changed before and afterwards.
- Pro tip #1: Ictinio has a toilet, two showers, and a changing area plus all the diving and snorkelling equipment you’ll need. So there’s no need to bring anything but a towel, sunscreen and a change of clothes.
- Pro tip #2: The office is locked up when you’re out on the water, so you can leave your bag behind. The boat also has room for smaller bags in case you want to keep more valuable items on you such as your phone and wallet.
Where to eat in Platja d’Aro
After all that swimming, you’ll no doubt have built up a killer appetite. In that case, head to Casa Brinda. Just five minutes drive from the beach, the decor and design of Casa Brinda is inspired by the colonial houses of Mauritius. Spread over two floors, Casa Brinda serves a Mediterranean cuisine with seasonal ingredients from local producers.
Camins de Ronda in S’Agaró (Coastal Path)
Apart from snorkelling along the Costa Brava, one of the best ways to see its incredible landscapes is to walk along the Camins de Ronda (Coastal Path). From here you’ll stumble upon hidden beaches and get dramatic views of the rugged coastline.
The path stretches to over 200 km / 124 miles and initially had a double function. Firstly, it provided a quick transit route for fishermen who had to move from one beach to another and secondly, it was patrolled by guards who kept an eye out for any maritime smuggling.
This is, incidentally, how the paths got their name. In Catalan, ‘rondes’ means guards hence Camins de Ronda (Guard Paths).
While you don’t need to walk the entire length of the path, one of the best places to start is from S’Agaró.
The mansions you’ll see that line the coast start at a cool 4 million Euros and have their own private entrances to the coastal path.
Tips for Visiting Camins de Ronda in S’Agaró
- Time: Allow 2 hours to complete a round circuit from S’Agaró beach to the stone verdana temple. Here you’ll see a staircase leading up to street level. Turn left and follow the road back to where you started.
- Pro tip: Take a bottle of water with you and wear sunscreen, it gets hot hot hot in summer.
Today, let’s head back to the beach but this time to Platja de Fenals for a spot of kayaking! Located in the Mediterranean coastal town of Lloret de Mar, Platja de Fenals is just 13 km (8 miles) south from Tossa de Mar and 30 minutes by car.
Things to do in Lloret de Mar
Kayaking in Platja de Fenals
You’ve snorkelled and walked along Costa Brava, now it’s time to kayak in one of the world’s clearest bodies of water. I went out on a 2-hour kayaking trip with Transbrava who took us 4 km down the coast towards Blanes which marks the start of the Costa Brava.
Navigating through shallow aqua-green waters and jagged rocks, this is a lovely way to enjoy views of the blue sea and the rocks just below your feet.
Tips for Kayaking in Lloret de Mar
- Time: Transbrava have both a 2-hour and 4-hour kayaking tour
- Cost: 30 € for 2 hours, 50 € for 4 hours,
- Pro tip #1: You will get a little bit wet in the kayak so I recommend wearing your swimmers, a t-shirt for extra sun protection and sunglasses. As always, wear sunscreen.
- Pro tip #2: Transbrava have a small hut on the beach where you can leave your bag.
- Pro tip #3: There are no private showers in Platja de Fenals, just beach showers. There are however a few toilets you can use to get changed in.
Where to eat in Lloret de Mar
Sybius Cala Canyelles
After a morning of kayaking, it’s time to feed you soul at Sybius Cala Canyelles, a lovely beachside restaurant. Its star dish is its firewood grilled fish. However, if you’re a veggie like me, then snap up one of their amazing vegetarian paella.
Jardins de Santa Clotilde (Santa Clotilde Gardens)
After lunch, head to Santa Clotilde Gardens. Designed in the Italian Renaissance style, this garden is set on a rocky Costa Brava hillside providing breathtaking views over the sea.
Originally, there was a vineyard here which was sold to Marquee Raul de Roviralta Astoul (that’s quite a mouthful) in 1919. The marquee transformed the land into his residence and designed these private gardens for his first wife and family.
The design was inspired by the famous gardens at Villa d’Este just outside of Rome and feature slong stairways lined with statues.
The marquee was a doctor, perfectionist, and a generous man. Each year he would invite local children to the gardens to receive a gift of their choice.
The marquee died in 1979 but it took another 13 years before the gardens were opened to the public, just in time for the Olympic games.
Santa Clotilde Gardens are evergreen which means that no matter which time of year you visit, you’ll be sure to see the gardens at their best.
Tips for Visiting Santa Clotilde Gardens
- Time: Allow 1-2 hours
- Cost: 5 € for adults, 2,50 € for pensioners, students and people with disabilities.
Blanes marks the start of the Costa Brava and is considered the “Gateway to the Costa Brava”. Its name comes from the Romans who called it Blanda, meaning ‘mild’ after its mild and comfortable temperatures.
What to do in Blanes
Marimurta Botanical Gardens
Established in 1920, the Marimurta Botanical Gardens are located on top of a cliff with more than 4,000 species of plants, primarily Mediterranean and subtropical. The gardens feature a large lake and a long flight of stairs leading up to the Linnaeus temple where you’ll have gorgeous views over the coast and sea.
There is market held every Monday morning in Blanes selling everything from fruit, vegetables, jewellery, shoes, leather goods and clothing made by locals craftsmen. There is also a fruit and vegetable market in the Passeig de Dintre that runs every day from Monday to Saturday.
Blanes is home to the longest beach on the Costa Brava called Platja S’Abanell. All the beaches here have showers and wooden boardwalks for easy access to the shoreline.
An absolute must is climbing to the top of the large rock formation known as Sa Palomera, which marks the official start of the Costa Brava.
Castillo de San Juan (Sant Joan Castle)
Sitting 173 metres up, the Castle of Sant Joan has the best panoramic views over Blanes, the port, its beaches and the coastline.
The castle dates back as far as 1002 and was designed to defend the Viscounty town from the dangers that arrived by sea. The castle consists of a large tower, surrounded by a moat and a rectangular walled area.
Tips for Visiting Sant Joan Castle
- Time: Allow an hour once you’ve reached the castle
- Cost: 3€ for adults, 1,50 € for pensioners, students and people with disabilities.
- Pro tip #1: On clear days you can see Montjuïc mountain in Barcelona. The signs with information will tell you how to spot it
- Pro tip #2: Wear comfortable shoes for the walk up and be sun smart.
- Pro tip #3: If you don’t feel like walking, you can drive up the winding road where there is free parking
Where to Eat in Blanes
Es Blanc Restaurant Lounge and Club
A lovely way to end the day and spend your last night in Costa Brava is with a special culinary experience at Es Blanc Restaurant Lounge and Club. Watch the sunset pass over Blanes and relax to the sound of chillout lounge music.
Es Blanc is located opposite Sa Palomera and has a seaside terrace and three different indoor spaces. Take your time and work your way through their delicious menu starting off with their Mediterranean sushi fusion. Thirsty? Their cocktail bar has more than 30 varieties of gin! After dinner, why not stick around for the nightlife as their inside area transforms into a dancefloor.
Ditch the car, it’s time to explore sandstone medieval villages far from the tourist radar. How? On a burricleta of course! Otherwise known as an electric bike.
Cycling through Medieval villages
Ocitània took us out on an adventure which covered 20-odd-kilometres. Don’t worry though, the burricleta does most of the hard work so you won’t die of fatigue.
Starting at Ocitània’s office, we set off on the hunt for several neighbouring villages that could only be described as absolutely gorgeously charming (yes, I speak good English :P). I mean, just look at these photos!
Passing through the countryside you’ll stop in villages such as Peratallada and Palau-sator with each town prettier than the last. My absolute favourite was Peratallada.
Peratallada is a tiny village full of narrow streets, archways, sunny cobbled squares and sandstone houses dripping in ivy. If ever there was a fairytale location, this is it!
Its name derives from pedra tallada, meaning ‘carved stone’. The village was declared a historic-artistic monument and I can see why. It’s an absolute treasure! A defensive wall still surrounds parts of the village and its stone castle.
Spots of interest include Arche en pierre, Church of Sant Esteve, and the Walls of Peratallada.
Here’s a random fun fact, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was filmed here in 1991.
It will take no more than 30 minutes to see most of village.
Tips for Cycling through Medieval villages
- Time: Tour last between 2-7 hours.
- Cost: Starting from 25€
- Pro tip #1: The bikes have two small baskets in the rear which can hold small backpacks and handbags
- Pro tip #2: Wear comfortable closed shoes that won’t slip on the bike pedals.
- Pro tip #3: Take a large bottle of water, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Pro tip #4: Before leaving Peratallada, grab a gelato from the local Gelats Angelo to cool off.
After your bike tour, head to Mooma, the only cidery within a 500km radius that is taking the region by storm.
What started as an orchard 60 years ago has now been producing cider for the past 2.5 years. Mooma sells a selection of different apple based product including four types of apple juice, vinegars, gin, compte, dried apple pieces and of course, cider.
Mooma is going from strength to strength as it continues to expand. Its latest addition is its restaurant that serves an awesome apple-based menu. Save yourself for dessert, a delicious apple pie awaits!
Learn more about its history and production by booking one of Mooma’s tasting menus and tours here.
One of the best ways to reach Costa Brava is with Jet2 who fly into Girona/Costa Brava airport from Belfast, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle.
Jet2 even have an included 22kg baggage allowance which is a much welcome bonus.
Check flights to Girona with Jet2 here.
If you’re travelling from London Stansted, Jet2 have loads of low-fare flights to destinations around Europe.
I stayed at Premier Gran Hotel Reymar and Spa which sits on a hilltop and has gorgeous views from your room. There have an outdoor pool, two restaurants, free Wi-Fi, and spacious rooms with a balcony.
Planning a trip? Don’t risk it. I never travel without getting travel insurance. I used World Nomads for my trip to Spain.
So, what is the Costa Brava climate like?
Costa Brava has a mild to warm climate making it the perfect destination to visit all year-round.
Since it’s located in the northeast of Spain, Costa Brava has slightly cooler temperatures than most of the country. This means it has cooler winters but also very pleasant summers.
If you want the classic beach holiday, then the best time to visit Costa Brava is anywhere between July and August with temperatures hovering around 30°C.
If you want to enjoy the sun without the intense heat, the best time to go to Costa Brava is either in the spring or autumn months when the temperature ranges from 19°C to low 20s.
Heading to Costa Brava? Get my free Catalan Travel Phrase guide here.
Don’t want all the fuss of planning your own trip? Jet2Holidays have package holidays to Costa Brava that will help you check off all these itinerary items. Check options to Girona with Jet2holidays and for the entire Costa Brava region with Jet2Holidays.
Planning a trip? Don’t risk it. I never travel without getting travel insurance. I used World Nomads for my trip to Costa Brava.
Got more time? Here are some more exciting things to do in Costa Brava.
- Girona – Game of Thrones 90-minute Walking Tour
- Girona – Roman History Walking Tour
- Girona- Small Group Walking Tour
- Girona: 3-Hour Gastronomic Tour
- La Garrotxa Volcanoes Half-Day Hot Air Balloon Flight
- Montgrí Castle 4-Hour Excursion from Girona
- Montseny Natural Park 5-Hour Excursion from Girona
- From Roses: Catamaran Cruise to Cap de Creus
- From Roses: Catamaran Cruise to Cadaqués
Don’t miss my other Spain guides
- 13 Free things to do in Barcelona, Spain
- 23 Beautiful Must-See Places in Madrid, Spain
- 19 Absolute Best Things to Do in Bilbao, Spain
- 19 Reasons You’ll Want to Visit Costa Brava in Spain Right Now
- 19 Absolute Best Things to do in San Sebástian, Spain’s Basque Country
I hope my Costa Brava itinerary has helped you narrow down what to do and see so you can experience a little bit of everything. Whether you’re based in France or in Barcelona, many of these places can be visited on a day trip, however, I highly recommend basing yourself in Tossa de Mar and venture out to the surrounding areas. Having a hire car will allow you the flexibility to rearrange things and linger a little longer in places that you enjoy most.
If you have questions about my rather epic Costa Brava itinerary, please reach out!
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Over to you!
Have you visited any of these places? What other things to do in Costa Brava would you recommend?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
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