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Costa Brava, Spain - Top Things to Do and See in Spain | Wanderlist Travel

Costa Brava, Spain Travel Guide: Top Things to Do and See in Spain

Stretching north from Barcelona to the Spanish–French border, Costa Brava (‘rugged coast’) is undoubtedly one of Catalonia’s most stunning regions. Beautiful beaches, Mediterranean weather, coastal hiking paths, hidden coves, and charming seaside towns are just a few things to look forward to when planning a trip to Spain.

Itinerary

  • My Costa Brava itinerary included:
    • 1 night in Blanes
    • 2 nights in Lloret de Mar (with the Camino de Ronda day trip to Tossa de Mar)
    • 3 nights in Cadaqués (with a day trip to Figueres)
  • The beaches, hikes, and history made it the perfect, relaxing getaway from the busy cities of Barcelona and Madrid during my Spain trip.

Blanes

Known as the ‘Gateway to Costa Brava’, it is an hour-long drive or train ride from Barcelona

  • Botanical Gardens Marimurtra – the Instagram-worthy gardens are perched on a mountaintop that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Catch views of the rocky coves below the garden, as well as over 4,000 different plant species
  • Beaches – Blanes is able to claim ownership of the longest of the beaches of Costa Brava. From the beach, visitors can walk to the rock that signifies the official start of the Costa Brava region
  • San Juan Hill – as a castle and viewpoint in one, a 173 metres high hike up this hill is worth the beautiful view of Blanes
  • Markets – while walking along the main street that runs along the beach, check out the local food and souvenirs that Blanes has to offer

Lloret de Mar

Known as the Las Vegas of Costa Brava due to its lively nightlife and abundance of daytime parties

  • Lloret Beach – at first glance, Lloret beach appears like a set from a spring break movie. Opt to jet ski and paddle board, or grab a beach towel and a drink, and hang out with thousands of young 20-somethings
  • Night Clubs – party until the sun rises at popular clubs such as Disco Tropics, Disco Colossos, and Disco Londoner
  • Parish Church of Sant Roma – completed in 1522, this Catalan-gothic style church is a must-see attraction due to its fortification features and dazzling colours
  • Castell d’en Plaja – take some photos and enjoy a nice little walk around this historic castle, but don’t go inside as it is a private residence

Camino de Ronda: Hike from Lloret de Mar to Tossa de Mar (highly recommended)

  • This portion of the Camino de Ronda begins at the edge of the Lloret de Mar main beach, winding around the edge of a castle that overlooks the Sa Caleta beach
  • The path boasts shoreline views of azure blue waters and rocky cliffs that look like they came straight from a dream
  • Red and white markers are on every corner, from stone walls to rocks and trees, in order to navigate those who do not have Google Maps
  • After hiking through windy roads and a residential area, hikers approach the breathtaking Canyelles beach – it is definitely worth a “swim break”! Personally, I spent 2 hours relaxing on the beach and taking in the scenery before heading back on the Camino
  • Overall, this path is 13 kilometres long (approximately 4 to 5 hours, depending on how often hikers stop). Path conditions range from well-maintained cobblestone paths to gravel, concrete, asphalt, sandy beach, back to asphalt, and ending on the cobblestone streets of Tossa de Mar. Pending time constraints, hikers are able to travel the full 220 kilometre multi-day hike from Blanes, through all of the towns in Costa Brava, to the town of Collioure near the border of France

Tossa de Mar

  • Castillo de Tossa de Mar – hilltop castle ruins that are nearly a thousand years old, with seaside views
  • Platja Gran Beach – a pebble beach, but the main destination for Tossa de Mar tourists. Enjoy castle views and eat at one of the delicious restaurants along the boardwalk
  • Platja d’es Codolar Beach – a smaller, less touristy option that is known as the “hidden” beach. It is perfect for a romantic date or snorkeling day trip
  • If Tossa de Mar is the final stop from the Camino de Ronda hike, buses back to Lloret de Mar run about every hour. It is also easy to catch a taxi

Cadaqués

Cadaqués is one of the most famous and enchanting fishing villages of Costa Brava that attracted several artists in the last century, including Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. However, Cadaqués is best known for being the hometown of Salvador Dalí

  • Port Lligat – it is a 15 minute walk (1 kilometre northeast) from Cadaqués to Port Lligat, where Dalí lived with his wife, Gala, from 1930 to 1982. Access to Dalí’s whitewashed, surrealist house, also one of Costa Brava’s most important tourist attractions, is by semi-guided eight-person tour (40 to 50 minutes long). Book tickets well ahead, as Dalí’s assortment of offbeat furnishings, narrow labyrinthine corridors, and sunny terraces are not to be missed!
  • The beaches are rocky, but are a real-life paradise surrounded by stunning white buildings
  • In town, the nightlife is superb with chill bars along the beach promenade
  • Cap de Creus, a natural park (or Cala Bona, a beach) – take a boat to the intimate, unspoiled bays around the north of the Cap de Creus
  • Fun fact – the town is home to fewer than 3,000 people, but during the peak summer tourist season more than 30,000 people visit Cadaqués

Figueres

  • Figueres is a short day trip from Cadaques, and worth every second
  • Teatre-Museu Dalí – Between 1961 and 1974, Dalí converted Figueres’ former municipal theatre, destroyed by a fire in 1939 at the end of the civil war, into an incredible building full of illusions, tricks, and jaw-dropping pieces. A substantial portion of Dalí’s life’s work is in this museum, and a separate entrance (with the same ticket and opening times) leads into Dalí Joies, a collection of 37 Dalí-designed jewels
  • Tip: book your museum tickets in advance if you are going during high tourist season, and ensure you arrive at your scheduled ticket time

From Cadaqués, head to southern France, Andorra, or back to Barcelona (via Girona, which is also worth a day trip for Game of Thrones fans). Oh yes, and don’t forget to drink copious amounts of sangria along the way.

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