Where to stay on the Costa Brava

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This blog post is designed for those who are planning on visiting Catalonia and the Costa Brava for the first time and who are seeking information about where to stay and what to do. Bellow is a basic map highlighting the Costa Brava and the Maresme coastline.

The Maresme coastline starts from Barcelona and finishes at Blanes where the Costa Brava starts and ends 214 kilometers later at the French border. The Costa Brava can be split into three rough sections; Northern and Southern sections and the middle. The southern section from Blanes to Palamos, the middle section from Palafrugell to L’Estartit and the northern section from L’Escala to Portbou.

The Southern section of the Costa Brava is perhaps the most developed, attracts more budget tourism and has a reputation (perhaps unfairly) for being more of a party location for drinking and discotheques, especially lloret de Mar. For me personally, Tossa de Mar is the nicest coastal town on this southern section of the Costa Brava.

The middle and Northern sections of the Costa Brava are less developed (with one or two exceptions) and are more family orientated and this is where the vast majority of our properties are located.

Popular locations are Begur (and it’s beaches of Sa Riera, Sa Tuna, Aiguablava), and the beaches of Palafrugell – Tamariu, Llafranc and Calella de Palafrugell. Cadaques is the jewel of the Northern section of the Costa Brava.

For first time visitors to the Costa Brava i normally recommend the area around Begur/Tamariu. There’s a lot to see and do in a compact area and day-trips to explore the north or south of the Costa Brava are doable. Here is a map showing the main coves and beaches of the Begur/Palafrugell area;

The beaches of Begur/Palafrugell

Cadaques in the north is probablly our favourite coastal town on the whole of the Costa Brava. There’s only one road in and out of town and it is a windy mountain road which can take up to 30 minutes’ from the neighbouring town of Roses. But once you finally descend into Cadaques the mountain road adventure is quickly forgotten. The town has a unique charm and ambiance which has been preserved down the centuries thanks to it’s relative isolation from the rest of the Costa Brava located on the end of the Cap de Creus peninsula.

Cadaques has seen many artists staying over the years including Picasso, Man Ray, Duchamp, Joan Miro and most famously of all Salvador Dali who lived a large part of his life in the neighbouring Port Lligat. This link to the rich history of Cadaques is tangible today in the many local artists galleries you will find among the narrow cobbled streets of the town. The town has a somewhat Bohemian atmosphere and a wonderful selection of good quality restaurants.

However i am always cautious on recomending Cadaques to first time visitors to the Costa Brava because of it’s isolated location. If travelling around visiting other towns/beaches is an important factor this can be quite a tiresome experience driving over the mountain road every day. For people who like to explore other areas i recommend finding a base in the Begur/Tamariu area and then taking a day trip to Cadaques during your holiday.

This post is just a rough guide and with our clients we go into much more detail not only with location and villa selection but also, if needed, advice and help planning activities and day trip itineraries. Please contact Sara or Richard at catalonia@charmingvillas.net for more information.


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