With its mountain backdrops and hidden coves, the Costa Brava is perfect for nature and beach lovers, while the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona is a haven for culture vultures.
The Costa Brava isn’t called the ‘Wild Coast’ for nothing. It’s famous for its dramatic cliffs and untamed natural beauty. But there are plenty of beautiful beaches sprinkled along the shore, too.
The coast comes with resorts of all sorts, from the traditional cobbled streets of Tossa de Mar to sun and fun-oriented holiday towns like Lloret de Mar. Wherever you choose, sunbathing and swimming come guaranteed.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and one of the most culture-crammed cities in Europe. Surreal architecture, world-class museums, trendy boutiques, cutting-edge restaurants and hip music venues all vie for your attention as you stroll around its tree-lined avenues and narrow Gothic streets.
From lively, family-friendly golden stretches to quiet pine-fringed coves, the Costa Brava has it all. Tossa de Mar comes with two Blue Flag beaches, while Lloret de Mar has 5 sand-and-shingle stretches to brag about. Even Barcelona comes with a city beach blanketed in soft imported sand.
Barcelona comes with back-to-back attractions, from the winding alleys of the Gothic quarter to the surreal spires of the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. If jaw-dropping mountain views are your thing, make for the medieval monastery of Montserrat, about an hour’s drive from the city.
Thrill-seekers will be pleased to hear that PortAventura, Spain’s biggest theme park, is just along the coast. It boasts a waterpark, an 8-loop rollercoaster and its own bit of beach. You’ll find it about an hour’s drive south of Barcelona, just behind La Pineda.
Catalonia’s independent spirit really comes across in its cuisine. In place of paella, expect fideuas, a tasty dish made with seafood and short noodles instead of rice. The local meat, fish and vegetables are all first-class thanks to the region’s lush fields and abundant seas. The local red wines and cava are top-notch, too.
Barcelona leads the pack when it comes to shopping in Spain. You can pick up everything from designer clothing to hand-painted ceramics. Art is big business, too, especially in the independent galleries near the Picasso and Contemporary Art Museums. Most towns have a regular market brimming with souvenirs and super-fresh picnic supplies.
Barcelona enjoys a sophisticated after-dark scene and is home to some seriously chic clubs. But there’s plenty of fun to be found in the resorts along the coast, from discos to seafront cafés with live music. For something higher octane, Lloret de Mar is the place, with energy-packed clubs like the Colossus.
Backed by the Pyrenees, the Costa Brava coastline stretches 300 kilometres or so along the Mediterranean on the northeast corner of Spain. It’s part of the region of Catalonia, whose capital city Barcelona sits at the bottom of the Costa Brava strip.
LanguageCatalan and Spanish
Time differenceGMT +1 hour
3 course mealaround €30