About Richard Calvin

Originally from Cumbria in Northern UK, been living in Catalonia since 2001 and together with Sara running Charming Villas Catalonia

Costa Brava soccer training camps

Football training camps Barcelona and Costa Brava

Considering a family vacation close to Barcelona or the Costa Brava and looking for ideas of healthy activities for your kids? Then a Costa Brava soccer training campus could be a good option for you and your children.

Xavi football campus
Xavi football campus 2020 (photo credit Campus Xavi)

Choosing the right Costa Brava football campus for you

There’s various soccer training camps on the Costa Brava to choose from. Here at Charming Villas Catalonia we are here to help you choose the right one for you and your family. There’s a whole host of Important factors to consider before deciding which campus is right for you.

  1. Start and finish dates. Are you looking for a one week, two week or longer campus?
  2. Prestige and reputation. It’s an important investment you are making so you need to be sure it’s the right one.
  3. Safety for your kids. Let us go through in detail with you Covid-19 safety protocol of each campus.
  4. Location. Quite possibly the most important decision of all. Choosing a location close enough to the campus yet also close to other amenities and beaches. Outside of football time you want to make the most of what the region has to offer.
Cadaques, Costa Brava
Cadaques on the Costa Brava

Soccer training camps on the Costa Brava

Girona football club is the biggest soccer club in the Costa Brava region. Currently in the 2nd tier of Spanish football after a recent stint in the top division alongside the most famous Catalan club of all Barça. Girona hold a five week campus normally from the last week of June and throughout July.

Campus Xavi is located close to the town of Banyoles. Banyoles is famed for its natural lake, scene of the 1992 Olympic rowing events. The campus location is around one hour from Costa Brava beaches and 20 minutes from the medieval village of Besalu.

The Costa Brava is home to many other football summer camps and we can help you plan the best one for your needs. Why not combine a week at a soccer campus with a week at a tennis campus? Or golf lessons for children at one of the many high standard golf courses on the Costa Brava? We offer a free concierge service to all our clients where we can help you plan all your activities and extra services.

Browse our selection of luxury Costa Brava villas and farmhouses. We have a vacation rental home on the Costa Brava for every taste and occasion.

What to do in Begur

Where is Begur?

Begur is a small town located on the Costa Brava coastline with Barcelona approximately 80 miles to the south and the French border approximately 50 miles to the north. Sitting in the county of the “Emporda”, more specifically the “Baix Emporda” which means the “lower Emporda”. The cosmopolitan city of Girona is just 35 miles inland.

Where is Begur
Begur is located on the Costa Brava north from Barcelona

The closest beaches

The town of Begur sits in an elevated position two miles inland from its beaches. Each beach is quite different and has it’s own characteristics. Pals has the longest sandy beach and a few chiringuitos where to buy refreshments. Illa Roja is a small sandy beach dominated by the huge red rock from where the beach gets it’s name. This is also a nudist beach. Sa Riera beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area and benefits from a number of restaurants on the beachfront. Aiguafreda is more of a cove and does not have a sandy beach but great for swimming and kayaking. Sa Tuna is a pretty picture postcard small bay with a pebble beach. Platja Fonda is untouched and free of restaurants or shops. Aiguablava beach is possibly the most beautiful beach in the area with it’s turquoise waters.

The beaches of Begur
The beaches of Begur

The history of Begur

The town is steeped in history and the area has been inhabited since Pre-Roman times. Today the oldest remaining link to it’s ancient history are the foundations of the 11th century Castle which sits in a strategic high point overlooking the town and coastline. During the 16th and 17th centuries the town was fortified to protect itself against marauding pirates. Today parts of the perimeter defensive wall and no less than five watchtowers still exist.

The 1950’s saw the dawn of mass-tourism and the Costa Brava was the first Costa in Spain to open up to tourism. The 1960’s and 70’s saw a boom in tourism and the consequent development of accommodation along the coastline in Spain. Some parts of the coast were spoiled by short-sighted over-development however this part of the coastline was largely left untouched. Today it is this factor of well preserved beaches and villages which attract both local Catalans and foreigners to spend holidays in Begur and it’s surrounding beaches.

Things to do in the area

As we have already seen this region has some of the prettiest and unspoiled beaches on the whole Costa Brava. However there’s more to Begur than just it’s beaches and the town of Begur itself has a lot to offer the traveler. The center of town is dominated by the 16th century church and it’s surrounding plaza and restaurants. There’s a good selection of boutique shops selling everything from clothing to home decor as well as bakeries, butchers and grocery stores.

Begur is also great for outdoor pursuits especially walking and cycling. The GR 92 coastal path (Cami de Ronda) stretches the whole length of the Costa Brava coastline and some of the nicest sections are in the Begur region.

The beach of AiguaBlava, Begur
AiguaBlava, Begur

Where to stay in Begur

At Charming Villas Catalonia we offer a selection of luxury villas in Begur from beachfront vacation rentals to a choice of countryside cottages and farmhouses a few miles inland from the Costa Brava coast. Let us know your most important criteria and we can give you unbiased suggestions which best fit your needs.

More information about Begur and it’s surroundings can be found at the official website Visit Begur

Costa Brava wedding venues

One of the questions we are sometimes asked by couples is whether they should choose a destination wedding on the Costa Brava or a Barcelona wedding venue?

There’s no easy answer to that question and it mainly boils down to personal taste. Within Barcelona itself and populated areas close to the city one may be subject to curfews with regards to playing loud music late into the night. On the Costa Brava and Girona province there may be more options of isolated country wedding venues where music restrictions are less severe.

Another important aspect for many couples is proximity to a major airport for guests flying in from overseas and this is why Barcelona and the Sitges area is such a popular wedding destination. From Barcelona airport to Sitges is around 30 minutes. From Barcelona airport most of our Costa Brava wedding venues are between one hour and 90 minutes away. So for all the benefits of choosing the Costa Brava over Barcelona there will be a bit more travelling involved for those flying in from further afield. The Costa Brava also has it’s own airport at Girona which connects the UK and other European cities but does not have any inbound flights from outside of Europe.

Costa Brava wedding venues (photo credit Barcelona Wedding)

At Charming Villas Catalonia we list a selection of Masia’s and Villas that accept weddings and events. Our wedding planner also knows many more venues which are not listed on our site and can make suggestions based on the couple’s special criteria and wish-list. We can also suggest extra accommodation for guests from our luxury villas on the Costa Brava close to your chosen venue

Considering getting married in Barcelona or the Costa Brava? We’d love to hear from you and help you plan your dream wedding. Send us an email to enquiries@charmingvillas.net and we will introduce you to our dedicated wedding planner who can help you every step of the way.

Dog friendly beaches on the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava is split into two zones; The Northern section (Alt Emporda) and the Southern section Baix Emporda). The Alt Emporda is considerably more dog-friendly than the Baix Emporda when it comes to dog-friendly beaches. As a result this is perhaps one consideration to take into mind when planning a family holiday on the Costa Brava with your pet dog.

Dog friendly beaches Costa Brava
Dog friendly beaches Costa Brava

Costa Brava dog friendly beaches.

Here is a list of dog friendly beaches on the Costa Brava during the summer months. Starting from the Northernmost:

Platja de les Portes, Colera. This is the main beach of the village and a section of the beach is deemed dog-friendly.

Platja de Sant Jordi, Llanca. Located to the northern section of the town this is a nice sandy beach easily accessible by foot on the Cami de Ronda.

Platja la Ribera is located in the centre of the town of Llanca.

Platja el Port de la Vall, Llanca. Located to the south of Llanca and in between Llanca and Port de la Selva.

Platja de la Rubina, Empuriabrava. Located on a long stretch of sandy beach between Empuriabrava and Roses.

Platja del Rec del Moli, L’Escala. Located between the north of the town of L’Escala and the coastal village of Sant Marti d’Empuries.

Platja Els Griells, L’Estartit. Located on a long sandy stretch of beach to the south of Estartit.

The Begur and Palafrugell Town Halls told me that officially, dogs are not allowed on any of the beaches in the Begur/Palafrugell region at any time of the year. However I have seen plenty of images on Instagram of people on these beaches with their dogs in the low season so expect it is not strictly policed.

Browse our selection of Costa Brava pet-friendly villas and farmhouses.

The following map shows the location of the above mentioned pet-friendly beaches:

More information about travelling in Catalonia with pets can be found on the Catalunya.com page.

Barcelona Luxury Villas

Featured

Luxury Barcelona vacation rentals

At Charming Villas Catalonia we offer a selection of luxury villas, farmhouses and apartments close to Barcelona. Locally based we provide a free concierge service to all of our clients and can help arrange bespoke extra services, activities and excursions. Established for over 15 years Charming Villas Catalonia are pioneers in the Barcelona and Costa Brava luxury villa sector. Other agencies have copied our format, our properties and some have even unashamedly copied our text yet we strive to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Modern Barcelona villa
Luxury villa close to Barcelona

Family vacation rentals Barcelona

Planning a family reunion in Spain? Let us guide you through our Barcelona family vacation apartments and Beachfront villa rentals close to Barcelona. We have a selection of luxury Barcelona villas for every taste and need.

Barcelona wedding venues

Thinking of getting married in Barcelona? We have a large selection of luxury wedding and event venues close to Barcelona and Sitges. Our dedicated wedding planner can help craft the perfect wedding from venue selection right down to the last detail.

We select only the very best properties and we inspect each property before for adding to our site. From modern design villas to historic country farmhouses we have a selection for all tastes and occasions.

Barcelona corporate getaways

Barcelona is the perfect location for weekend getaways and corporate retreats. The options of activities are almost endless. With a pleasant year round climate, an amazing gastronomic tradition and a whole range of Barcelona corporate escapes to choose from let us help you plan the perfect package for your company team building trip.

At Charming Villas Catalonia we pride ourselves on our reputation for high standard customer service and selecting only the very best rental properties on the Costa Brava, Girona and Barcelona. We can be contacted at enquiries@charmingvillas.net

We would be delighted to hear from you and help you in your villa selection process and to help plan a memorable vacation in Catalonia.

Cadaques supermarkets

Cadaques is a small compact town with a handful of small supermarkets and grocery stores. Access for cars within the town is restricted which means grocery shopping in the town can be quite tricky. This is especially an issue if you are staying in a vacation villa away from the center of town.

We normally recommend to our clients to stop off at Roses, on the way to Cadaques, to buy your “big first shop”. Here in these supermarkets you have a bigger selection, easy parking and slightly better prices.

Supermarkets in Roses

Probably the two best options are “Carrefour Market” 75C2+F6 La Garriga and Esclat supermarket before Roses at; Carrer La Closa dels Frares. These two stores are recommended for two reasons: They have a wide selection of good, fresh products and the stores are located on the road to Cadaques meaning no long detours in to the center of Roses.

Supermarkets in Cadaques

Once in Cadaques you have a selection of smaller supermarkets to choose from including;

Spar 77QG+QP Cadaqués

Condis Life 77QG+WV Cadaqués

Novavenda 77RF+2P Cadaqués

Biosana organic food store 77QH+W2 Cadaqués

Supermarcado Ca La Mama 77RJ+JX Cadaqués

Spar offer free home delivery if you spend 60€ or more.

Vacation villas Cadaques

Charming Villas Catalonia offers a varied selection of vacation rental villas in Cadaques. Please browse our portfolio and let us know if you have any questions about our Cadaques vacation villas.

Skiing in Catalonia

With four well equipped and very different resorts why not try skiing in Catalonia? The Catalan Pyrenees make a refreshing alternative to the traditional European getaways and is easily accessible from Barcelona and Girona airports.

Vallter 2000
Vallter 2000 ski resort, Catalonia. Photo credit of Vallter 2000

Skiing holidays in Catalonia

Choosing your next Skiing holiday in Catalonia not only gives fresh new pistes to explore but also some beautiful scenery and backdrops. Not to mention exquisite Catalan cuisine and the famed Costa Brava beaches on the doorstep.

Here is a list of each resort:

La Molina has 68 Km’s of ski runs and a daily pass is 38€

Masella has 74 Km’s of ski runs and a daily pass is 43€ https://www.masella.com/en/home

Vallter 2000 has 19 Km’s of ski runs and a daily pass is 25€

Vall de Nuria has 7.6 Km’s of ski runs and a daily pass is 12€

Here is a map showing the locations of the Ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees

Costa Brava holiday villas

At Charming Villas Catalonia we offer a selection of hand picked luxury villas on the Costa Brava. Browse our portfolio of luxury Costa Brava vacation rentals and Barcelona beachfront homes.

Locally based we offer a free concierge service to all of our clients. Our goal is to make sure that our clients make the most out of their time while in Catalonia. We can help plan fun day-trips to the Costa Brava and all kinds of activities and extra services. From tables at the number one restaurant in Spain, El Celler de Can Roca to dining on a pier with fishermen. Let us know how we can help plan the perfect vacation and we will do the rest.

Girona cycling holidays

Girona cycling vacations

The province of Girona is well known as a cyclists Mecca and today around 80 professional cyclists are based here full time. Girona is where Lance Armstrong moved to in 2000 when he was in his prime and won seven consecutive Tours from 1999 (now struck-off since his doping revelations). Cycling holidays in Girona are now well catered for and there’s many companies offering different packages.

Cycling holidays Catalonia
Girona cycling holidays (image copyright of Bikecat)

What makes Girona so popular with cyclists? The answer is a number of factors including the favourable climate and varied terrain. Other factors are the geographical location close to the Pyrenees, the Costa Brava, Barcelona and the French border. Also the excellent logistics and infrastructure of all things cycle related which has grown and flourished over the years.

Professional and amateur cyclists in Girona

Since 2016 the largest cycling event in Europe, the Sea Otter festival, has taken place in Girona. https://www.seaottereurope.com/ This is where all the major brands and cycling companies showcase their new bikes and apparel.

But it is not just professional cyclists that Girona is about. Amateurs and members of leisure cycling clubs from all around the world come to Girona. Not only to rub shoulders with the pro-cyclists but also to combine the trip with a vacation taking advantage of staying in a Charming Villa on the Costa Brava. When not in the saddle there’s a whole load of other stuff to do in the region. We can help arrange sampling the famed local cuisine, tasting the local wines and visiting farmers markets and for art lovers there’s the Dali triangle in Cadaques, Figueres and Pubol.

Girona cycling holidays
Girona cycling tours (image copyright of Bikecat)

At Charming Villas Catalonia we help our clients select the best property for their Girona cycling holidays based on cycling criteria and can also help set up bike rentals and guides. Below is a list of alternative local cycling holiday companies and also bike rental companies.

Girona cycling holiday companies

Bikecat https://bikecat.com/

Cycle Tourism https://www.cicloturisme.com/giro/

Bike Breaks https://www.gironacyclecentre.com/

Trek and Ride http://www.trekandride.com/

Happy Bikes Girona https://www.happybikesgirona.com/

Cicles JK http://www.ciclesjk.com/

Burricleta https://burricleta.com/ca

Charming Villas Catalonia specialize in the rental of high standard vacation rentals on the Costa Brava, Girona and Barcelona. Locally based we offer a free tailor made concierge service to all our customers. We work with you on all aspects of your vacation from initial villa selection right down to the last detail. Drop us a message and let us help you plan the perfect vacation in Catalonia.

Private chefs and caterers on the Costa Brava

One of the most frequent requests from our clients is for a private chef to come and cook a special meal at their Costa Brava vacation villa on at least one occasion during their stay. We work with a number of different chefs from Michelin star rated chefs right down to cooks who offer more homely local dishes.

Below is a video from when Dave & Deb from the Planet D had Chef Lee prepare a paella at Can Puig in Cadaques

Choosing which Costa Brava chef to go with

I give our clients a list of our trusted chefs on the Costa Brava and What i suggest is to take a look at each of their websites. Then depending on which chefs appeal we can reach out and contact each one to ask more information about menus, rates and availability.

Having a private chef and their staff cook, serve and clear away afterwards at your villa is a fun experience. Some clients choose different chefs for different days. For example we know chefs who specializes in paellas. Another may specialize in a different aspect such as fine dining and pastries. The choice is yours!

Private chefs Costa Brava
Costa Brava private chefs

Private chef or catering company?

Usually a private chef is the better option for smaller, more intimate family groups at a villa vacation rental. However some of our private chefs have cooked at some of our Corporate getaway venues and also smaller, more intimate weddings on the Costa Brava. A professional caterer is generally your better option for larger events such as weddings.

We also know a number of cooks who do not have websites and we would be delighted to put you in contact with them. If you have any questions please contact us at catalonia@charmingvillas.net or take a look at our extra services/activities page.

Port Lligat Fisherman’s lunch

Port Lligat is a small bay right next to Cadaques famous for being where Salvador Dali lived for many years of his life. His wonderful sprawling amalgamation of fisherman’s houses is now a museum and open to the public. Read on how to book a Port Lligat fisherman lunch.

Portlligat fisherman lunch

Not quite so well known is that the last remaining fishermen of Portlligat offer an informal lunch and dinner service. Right on the pier meters away from the water, it is not a restaurant and you will not find it on Tripadvisor. Think of it as a “pop-up” table run by two fishermen who like to cook. Several journalists and even food critics have over the years tried to publish but the fishermen always refuse. It is a combination of this “anti-marketing”, the unique location on the water and the freshness and quality of the food which make this a sought after and favorite of our clients.

Portlligat Cadaques
Portlligat, Cadaques (image credit www.visitcostabrava.com)

Tables for this Port Lligat fisherman lunch are limited. Only one group for lunch and one group for dinner is catered for. Bookings are for a minimum of 10 people and maximum 16 people. Less than 10 people and you pay the price for 10. Places should be reserved as far in advance as possible, especially for summer where they are often fully booked six months in advance.

Charming Villas Catalonia offer a selection of luxury Costa Brava villas and Barcelona vacation rentals. We offer our clients a free Costa Brava concierge service where we can arrange activities and extra services such as a table with the Port Lligat fisherman for lunch or dinner. We can help create a bespoke day trip to Cadaques combining the fisherman lunch with other activities. Check out our earlier blog post, What to do in Cadaques.

Please contact us for more information about menus and how to reserve a table. catalonia@charmingvillas.net