The Costa Brava and the province of Girona has a great selection of Tennis clubs of which probably the most well know is the club at Llafranc. Here is a map listing all the tennis clubs in the area:
The Costa Brava is not just about the amazing beaches and award winning cuisine. Here you will find some of the best Golf courses in Spain with no less than eight courses to choose from.
The first golf course to be built on the Costa Brava was at Pals, close to Begur, in 1966 and is still a firm favourite with many golfers. The PGA Catalunya resort has two courses, built in 1999 and 2005 respectively and is perhaps regarded as the best golf course in Catalonia, if not the whole of Spain.
Here is a map with the locations of all the golf courses indicated:
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.
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.
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.
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 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/
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
Aquadiver is another water park situated close to Platja de Aro with around 15 rides for all the family. http://m.aquadiver.com/
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are looking for great activities to partake in while in the Costa Brava there can be few better than taking a Hot Air Balloon ride. There are various balloon companies to choose from in the Girona province. In our opinion the extinct volcanic region Garrotxa offered us the best mix of terrain and a closer proximity to the stunning snow capped Pyrenees.
We flew with http://www.voldecoloms.cat/ who have great modern installations between Olot and Santa Pau. There is a sweet feeling of anticipation as the balloons are being prepared and adrenalin starts to surge once you get into the basket. You lift silently up into the clouds and are quickly welcomed by some spectacular bird’s eye views of the surrounding landscape.
Typically a flight lasts for 1.5 hours and although the wind can never be guaranteed, a common landing zone is around the picturesque medieval village of Besalu. Whilst airborne everybody is offered a glass of Cava and some biscuits. Upon returning to the installations close to Santa Pau everyone is treated to a typical Catalan breakfast of Pa amb tomaquet, cheeses, cured meats and wine. If you only take one Hot Air Balloon ride in your life make it over the Garrotxa region with Vol de Coloms.
If hidden little coves and bays are your thing then look no further than Cala Guillola, roughly half way between Cadaques and Cap de Creus.
It can be a little difficult to find (you won’t see any signs pointing you where to go) and a little difficult actually getting there but your efforts will well be worth it.
We chanced upon the cove on a bright and fresh January morning with no other people in sight. Talk about idyllic, the temptation to try out the crystal clear water was very strong but the fact that we were in the middle of winter ensured sanity prevailed.
One of the prettiest beaches along the whole Costa Brava, Aiguablava is a popular beach for holiday makers and locals alike.
At around 150m in length Aiguablava (Blue Water in Catalan) and due to its popularity the beach can become pretty crowded during the peak months of July and August.
During the high season there are two or three small bars/restaurants and shops that open but it is not as commercialised such as somewhat larger beaches like Sa Riera or Tamariu.
The photographs posted here were taken on a slightly overcast windy February day.