Costa Brava Vineyards

The aim of this blog post is to list all the local vineyards located in the province of Girona that offer to the public activitats such as wine tasting, tours, meals and picnics.

Most cellers require pre-booking of tastings and it is recommended to contact at least 24 hours in advance. Contact details are listed on the websites of each celler.

More information on the wines of the Emporda region can be found here: http://www.doemporda.cat/en/the-wines.html

Celler La Vinyeta La Vinyeta is one of the youngest and most dynamic DO Empordà projects. Its owners, Josep and Marta, are two young entrepreneurs who set up the business in 2002 with just 4 hectares of old vines located in Mollet de Peralada. In 2006 they built the cellar and began to produce their first bottles. In the space of just a few years, La Vinyeta has received numerous plaudits and has earned the appreciation of many visitors, drawn to the winery by a very personal service.La Vinyeta offers wine tours of the vineyards with tastings.They also offer picnics amongst the vines. http://www.lavinyeta.es/

Celler Espelt Espelt has been founded by members of a long line of winemakers who understand that the culture of wine lies in agriculture, quality, creativity and passion. The winemaking tradition of Empordà and the love for the earth and its fruits are what led those behind the project to plant vines in the Cap de Creus Natural Park, to set up the Espelt winery and to sell its wines.Espelt has a shop which is open to the public and offer wine tastings. http://www.espeltviticultors.com/

Celler Hugas de Batlle The “Celler Hugas de Batlle” is a small family ran winery based in the centre of Colera. It has a patio which serves as a production area and a shop inside with a place for the ageing process and another area for tasting.The celler offers various wine tasting options including a breakfast option and tours of the vineyards. http://www.cellerhugasdebatlle.com/

Celler Arché-Pagès is a family-owned winery located in the town of Capmany. Five generations of winegrowers have cultivated the estate’s 14 hectares of vineyards, in which mainly the indigenous varieties of the area are planted: garnacha and cariñena. The company exercises absolute control over the entire process, from pruning the vines to selling the wine. This modern and dynamic winery offers visitors the chance to visit its facilities in the company of the winegrower and winemaker, to stroll through the vineyards and to taste wines with a distinctive personality.
www.cellerarchepages.com

Mas Lunes Mas Llunes is a modern winery that specialises in the production of wine from the grapes grown in the estate’s own vineyards. It is owned by the Roig de Garriguella family, which has been closely involved in the world of winegrowing in Empordà for several generations. They offer wine tastings and tours of the vineyards in their own 4×4 vehicles.
http://www.masllunes.es/

Mas Oller Mas Oller currently has 12 hectares of wine-producing vines and 4 hectares of newly planted vines. The approach of Mas Oller is based on reviving the winegrowing tradition of Empordà, with a modern interpretation of the concept of wine. Both the winery and vineyards can be visited at Mas Oller, while the enoteca offers visitors the chance to purchase and taste the wines that it produces in an idyllic setting. They offer tastings and visits of the vineyards. Also check their website for information on special cheese and wine tastings.
http://www.masoller.es/

Celler Can Sais This small family-owned winery with a long winegrowing tradition is located in the old part of the town of Vall-llobrega, in the Gavarres Massif and 5 km from the sea. At Can Sais we attempt to produce wines with concentration and personality, wines that say something about the area and its way of life. They offer guided visits of the vineyards and instalations, wine tastings and other activities such as wine therapy massages. www.cellercansais.com

Celler Bell-Lloc This Empordà farmstead is imbued with a philosophy rooted in the land, which takes advantage of recent advances to provide quality, without losing spirit and authenticity. They offer celler visits and a gastronomic experience of a meal paired with their own wines.
http://www.fincabell-lloc.com/

Cellers d’en Guilla New wines produced with grapes from old vines: this is the approach adopted by Cellers d’en Guilla, a new winery with limited production located in the Delfià district of Rabós d’Empordà. Offering visits and wine tastings with local food products.
www.cellersdenguilla.com

Terra Remota Terra Remota is a winery that is highly sensitive to its surroundings and, consequently, is strongly committed to becoming integrated within its environment. The result is a top quality wine and an enchanting landscape. They do winery visits, tastings and picnics amongst the vines.
http://www.terraremota.com/

The best beaches on the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava has many great beaches from the isolated, hard to get to bays and coves on the Cap de Creus to the popular sandy beaches of Begur and Palafrugell. With over 200kms of coastline from Portbou in the north to Blanes on the southern tip there is a beach for everyone. Here is a selection of our personal favourites.

Aiguablava beach, Begur.

Aiguablava beach Begur

Aiguablava beach, Begur

The beautiful turquoise waters of Aiguablava make this one of the most beautiful beaches of the Costa Brava. The beach has a few restaurants, toilets and showers. Large car park nearby.

Platja Castell, Palamos

Platja Castell, Palamos

Platja Castell, Palamos

With over 300m of fine sand, this is one of the largest and less busy beaches in the Palamos/Palafrugell area.

Tamariu beach, Palafrugell

Tamariu beach, Palafrugell

Tamariu beach, Palafrugell

One of the most popular beaches of the whole Costa Brava, Tamariu beach has beautiful clear waters and fine sand. There are also a choice of restaurants to choose from on the beach front.

Cala Taballera, Port de la Selva

Cala Taballera, Port de la Selva

Cala Taballera, Port de la Selva

The largest beach in the Cap de Creus peninsula. The Cala is a good two hour hike from Port de la Selva and well worth the effort.

Platja del Ros, Cadaques

Platja del Ros, Cadaques

Platja del Ros, Cadaques

The beaches of Cadaques are not huge but this is one of the best and has great views of the Cadaques seafront in the background.

Sa Sabolla, Cadaques

Sa Sabolla, Cadaques

Sa Sabolla, Cadaques

Sa Sabolla is a pleasant 45 minute walk from Cadaques in the direction of Cala Nans and the lighthouse. Pebbles rather than sandy and a great place for a swim.

Cala Joncols, Roses

Cala Joncols, Roses

Cala Joncols, Roses

Roughly half way between Roses and Cadaques Cala Joncols makes a great stop off for a swim if you are walking the coastal “Cami de Ronda” between the two towns.

Portixol beach, L’Escala

Platja de Portixol, L'Escala

Platja de Portixol, L’Escala

Portixol beach is a great sandy beach sitting half way between the charming coastal village of Sant Marti d’Empuries and the larger town of L’Escala. There are a number of similar lovely sandy beaches each side of Portixol and a selection of restaurants within walking distance.

Cala Montgo, L’Escala

Cala Montgo, L'Escala

Cala Montgo, L’Escala

Just on the southern edge of L’Escala Cala Montgo is a lovely sandy bay with great views of the Montgri national park. There’s also a couple of nearby restaurants to choose from.

Sa Riera, Begur

Sa Riera, Begur

Sa Riera, Begur

Another of our favourites, Sa Riera in our opinion, is the best beach of Begur. With a large area of sand and a handful of restaurants to choose from the beach offers space yet at the same time a sense of intimacy.

Llafranc beach, Palafrugell

Llafranc beach, Palafrugell

Llafranc beach, Palafrugell

Similar to the nearby Tamariu beach, Llafranc has a lovely sandy beach and a number of beachside restaurants to choose from.

Cala Estreta

Cala Estreta, Palamos

Cala Estreta, Palamos

Cala Estreta and El Crit beaches are on the Cami de Ronda coastal path and are a nice walk from either Platja Castell or from Calella de Palafrugell to the north. Isoloated and with no bars or shops these are a great beaches to escape the crowds.

Sa Conca, S’Agaro

Sa Conca, S'Agaro

Sa Conca, S’Agaro

With numerous facilities, you can access it both by car and on foot, via a pleasant stroll along the coastal path. It has a blue flag and a few metres away from here is also the Port d’Aro marina.

Here is a map showing the locations of our favourite beaches on the Costa Brava

Guided tours in Barcelona

The Catalan city of Barcelona is without doubt one of the most loved and visited cities within Europe and welcomes more than seven million visitors each year.
Sagrada Familia, The Ramblas, Park Güell, Casa Battlo are some of the better know attractions of the city and although they are a “must do” there’s so much more that the city has to offer the seasoned traveller.

There’s countless guide books you can read about the city which will give you some great pointers but to find those off the beaten track gems you really need an insider’s help to get the most out of your time in the city. Again, there’s lots of guides out there to choose from but we highly recommend the British Ex-Pat Simon Harris. Simon has been living in Barcelona since 1988 and knows the city like the back of his hand. Fluent in both Catalan and Spanish Simon is the man behind the website http://www.barcelonas.com/

The website lists ideas of places to visit and things to see but Simon is also available to give private guided tours and can be contacted from the website. Let him know what your interests are and Simon can arrange a bespoke itinerary best suited to your interests and Schedule.

For those of you interested in history Simon is also the author of the book “Catalonia is not Spain” which gives a detailed account of over a thousand years of Catalan history up to the present day. I truly believe that in understanding the history of the often troubled relationship between Catalonia and Spain visitors will appreciate more their time in Barcelona and Catalonia.

The best place to stay on the Costa Brava?

We are often asked by people who are coming to the region for the first time which area along the Costa Brava is the best place to stay. There’s lots of great places to choose from and this blog post is to help people get a better idea of what area might be best for them.

Probably the most popular coastal area is the Begur and Palafrugell region and their beaches which include Sa Riera, Sa Tuna, Aigua Blava, Aigua Xelida, Tamariu and Llafranc.

Sa Riera, Begur

Sa Riera, Begur

Like most of the Costa Brava this area is very family orientated and laid back. It is popular with local Catalans and Spanish as well as with other Europeans and increasingly North Americans who are discovering the region.

The beaches can get pretty busy during July and August and unless you are within walking distance to a beach you may have to leave your villa quite early in the morning to find a good parking place.

Cadaques is another popular destination. A beautiful old fishing town, Cadaques is where Salvador Dali lived for a large part of his life. His old house in the little bay of Port Lligat is now a museum and open to the public.

Cadaques

Cadaques

There is only one road in and out of Cadaques which is quite narrow and windy through the Cap de Creus headland. This inaccessibility is the main reason why Cadaques has retained its charm and avoided the developers. So because of the nature of the access to the town I always suggest to people that Cadaques makes a great base if you plan of parking up the car and sitting back and relaxing. The town is quite compact and all of our villas in Cadaques are within walking distance of the centre with its restaurants, bars, shops and beaches. There is a quite special and unique ambience to the place. However nice Cadaques is, I would not recommend it for people who plan to spend a large part of their time driving around and exploring the region.

Empuries

Greek/Roman ruins of Empuries

Sant Marti d’Empuries is off the beaten track and a favourite of ours. This tiny coastal village has a few restaurants and shops and is right on the beach. With nice sandy and un crowded beaches this is the place we normally go to ourselves if we are having a day at the beach. For those of you interested in history there’s the ancient Greek and Roman ruins and neighbouring Empuries. L’Escala which has a larger selection of bars and restaurants is only a 20 minutes walk along the seafront.

If bars, disco’s and partying you are after then Lloret de Mar is where you should go. Otherwise avoid it.

Other areas of the Costa Brava worth considering include Port de la Selva, Roses, and Palamos.

 

 

The best Costa in Spain?

Which is the best Costa in Spain is a question we are asked from time to time. Spain has no less than 13 Costas to choose from, 9 of which are on the Mediterranean coastline from the Catalan Costa Brava in the north and on the border with France down to the Costa del Sol on the southern tip of Spain.

The Costas of Spain

Spanish Costas

We have visited most of the Costas and for us the hands down winner is the Costa Brava. In fact we liked it so much we decided to come and live here!

There’s a number of reasons why we love the Costa Brava so much. From its intimate hidden coves, the climate, the people, its culture, the food, its medieval villages and the all round general ambience make the Costa Brava the best coastal region in Spain.

The Costa Brava was the very first Costa in Spain to welcome holiday makers back in the 1950’s and 60’s and for many people the Costa Brava conjures up images of tacky package holidays, fish and chips and sangria and for the first decade or so this is what people came here for. But because of the rugged nature of the Costa Brava coastline the developers quickly moved further south in search of flatter, more accessible land to build their high rise apartment blocks and for the most part left the Costa Brava behind. So today the Costa Brava is perhaps one of the better preserved Mediterranean coastal areas with little fishing villages, unspoilt coves and a distinct lack of large hotels and apartment blocks and package holidays.

Aigua Gelida, Tamariu

Aigua Xelida, Tamariu

With the exception of Lloret de Mar you will not find package tourism, loud all night bars or drunken teenagers on the Costa Brava. There is a more laid back family orientated culture here with holiday makers from a wide selection of countries from all around the world and local Catalan and Spanish people who have second residences in the area.

The temperatures on the Costa Brava do not reach the heights of those on the Costa del Sol although an average of the mid 30’s in July and August is hot enough for most people.

The province of Girona has a lot more to offer the traveller than just a fantastic coastline. There’s loads of things to see and do in the region from visiting unspoilt medieval villages, the Dali triangle, visiting the beech forests of the extinct volcanic region of La Garrotxa or a nice walk around the lake of Banyoles.

A view of Banyoles lake along a jetty

Banyoles lake just after sunrise

Then of course there’s the food! With a great selection of fresh local products at their disposal Catalan chefs are recognised worldwide as innovators from the record 5 time No1 restaurant in the world El Bulli to the current No1, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. But it is not just all about Michelin star restaurant food as the general standard in the region is very good.

The best bits of the Costa Brava? The area around Begur and Palafrugell with its small bays and coves is very popular as is the Dali famed Cadaques. We also like the coastal village of Sant Marti d’Empuries which does not get as crowded as Begur or Cadaques and has nice beaches and a few decent restaurants to choose from.

The beach of AiguaBlava, Begur

Aigua Blava, Begur

 

Costa Brava water parks

The Costa Brava has three water parks suitable for a great family day out.

Aquabrava in the northern section of the Costa Brava is a water park which has no less than 18 attractions to choose from http://www.aquabrava.com/

Aquabrava

The Anaconda

Water World close to Lloret de Mar is a well known water park which was first opened in 1985. http://m.waterworld.es/ The park has around 20 rides and is a firm favourite for all the family

Water World Llorett de Mar

Water World Lloret de Mar

Aquadiver is another water park situated close to Platja de Aro with around 15 rides for all the family. http://m.aquadiver.com/

Platja d'Aro

Aquadiver, Platja d’Aro

 

 

Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes

Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes

Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes

The lovely little bay of Cala Sant Francesc just to the north of Blanes is one of the nicest intimate beaches on the whole Costa Brava. With its aquamarine waters and fine sand, Cala Sant Francesc is a very popular beach during the summer months.

Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes, Costa Brava

The beautiful beach of Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes

Cala Sant Francesc also has some rock pools which are great for children to explore and search for marine life. There is also a great restaurant, Cala Bona, which is right on the beach. It does get quite full during summer and tables should be booked in advance.

Luxury villa, Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes, Costa Brava

Luxury villa Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes, Costa Brava

Charming Villas Catalonia lists a great luxury villa with views over the Cala Sant Francesc which is one of the most sought after locations on the whole Costa Brava.

Girona Barcelona high speed train timetable

Travelling between Figueres and Girona to Barcelona is now much easier and quicker thanks to the new AVE high speed train line. Opened in early 2013 the travelling time between Figueres and Barcelona is around 52 minutes and 38 minutes between Girona and Barcelona. The cost of a return ticket is around 25€ from Girona and around 32€ from Figueres. Here is the timetable of high speed trains between Figueres and Barcelona and Girona and Barcelona.

Figueres, Girona, Barcelona timetable

The timetable of the high speed train between Barcelona and Girona and Figueres

Platja Fonda, Begur

Platja Fonda, Begur

Platja Fonda, Begur

The Begur coastline stretching from Platja de Raco in the north to AiguaBlava in the south offers the beach lover some great choices of beach. Perhaps one of the best of these beaches is Platja Fonda.

Platja Fonda, Begur

A Spring day in Platja Fonda beach, Begur

Not as big as Sa Riera and lacking restaurants, shops and bars this is perhaps a somewhat less crowded option suitable for serious beach lovers.

Platja Fonda, Begur, Costa Brava

Platja Fonda beach, Costa Brava

The clear turquoise waters and the lack of mass tourism make this a great choice of beach for those looking to simply enjoy swimming and sunbathing.

Platja Fonda, Begur

Platja Fonda beach, Begur, Costa Brava

Cadaques: Where I Left My Worries Behind The Mountains.

Cap de Creus

Onboard the Sant Isidre

This is a guest post by Ash Clark, one of our bloggers on our recent “blog trip” to Cadaques and the Costa Brava.

Seeing as I arrived at night, it wasn’t until the next day that I really got to appreciate the unique location that Cadaqués is set in.

When I woke the next morning, I got to see what it is that has made this sleepy fishing village grow into a popular summer holiday spot.

Walking from my villa through the cobbled lanes that wind around the town’s whitewashed buildings and villas, I had no doubt in my mind that I was on the Mediterranean.

Cadaques

A typical street of Cadaques

I was lucky enough to spend my first day sailing on a ‘laüt’, a traditional Catalan fishing vessel. While I generally find most sailing experiences rather memorable, this particular one especially stood out as we sailed along the coastline of the Cap de Creus National Park. The unique perspective offered from the decks of our boat really allowed me to appreciate how spectacular the natural landscape is in this part of Spain.

While the coastline that Cadaqués sits on is without a doubt its main draw card, it was the mountains around the town that drew a lot of my attention.

The vast majority of the hillsides around Cadaqués have terrace levels, made from stack-stone retaining walls.

It doesn’t take one long to realise that most of these impressive walls are rather aged and that the incredible amounts of manual labour it would of taken to construct them was originally completed to serve a specific purpose.

The blank terraced hillsides that dominate the area today haven’t always been that way. I soon learned that Cadaqués was once a major producer of wine and olive oil. Unfortunately the wineries and olive farms that once thrived here were completely wiped out after an outbreak of a plant virus that destroyed the plants.

Today, wineries in the region are making a come back, offering some high quality drops of both red and white which, like almost every aspect of Catalan, have their own unique flare to them.

Cadaques

A little bay along the Cap de Creus

As the local saying goes, “When you come to Cadaqués, you leave your worries behind the mountains.” The natural scenery, food, art and culture on display in this fascinating town really do play true to those words for those who visit.

 

About the Author: Ash Clark is a travel writer and photographer from Sydney, Australia. With a strong curiosity, he never manages to stay in one place for too long. To keep up to date with his current travels you can follow his personal travel blog at www.themostalive.com and on twitter @themostalive.