The best place to stay on the Costa Brava?

One of the questions we are asked by people who are coming to the region for the first time is which is the best place to stay on the Costa Brava? 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.

Begur and Palafrugell

Probably the most popular coastal area on the Costa Brava is the Begur and Palafrugell region and their beaches. Their beaches 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. 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 in the north

Cadaques is another popular destination and quite possibly the best place to stay on the Costa Brava. 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. Because of this relative isolation of 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 vacation villas in Cadaques are within walking distance of the center with its restaurants, bars, shops and beaches. There is a quite special and unique ambiance to the place. However beautiful Cadaques is, I would not recommend it for people who plan to spend time driving around and exploring.

Empuries
Greek/Roman ruins of Empuries

Sant Marti and the ruins of Empuries

Sant Marti d’Empuries is a little off the beaten track and a favorite 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 neighboring Empuries. L’Escala which has a larger selection of bars and restaurants is only a 20 minutes walk along the seafront.

If it is 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.

Luxury villas on the Costa Brava

At Charming Villas Catalonia we have a wide selection of luxury vacation rentals on the Costa Brava. Locally based we offer a free concierge service to all our clients. Please contact us for more information.

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. Nine of which are on the Mediterranean coastline from the Catalan Costa Brava in the north on the border with France down to the Costa del Sol on the southern tip of Spain.

The Costas of Spain
Spanish Costas

The Costa Brava, the best Costa in 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. For us the all round general ambiance make the Costa Brava the best coastal region in Spain.

Early tourism on the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava was the very first Costa in Spain to welcome holiday makers back in the 1950’s and 60’s. For many people the Costa Brava conjures up images of tacky package holidays, fish and chips and sangria. It well may have been like that in the 1960’s but not any longer. 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. What we have are fishing villages, unspoiled coves and a distinct lack of large hotels, apartment blocks and package holidays.

Aigua Gelida, Tamariu
Aigua Xelida, Tamariu

With the exception of Lloret de Mar you will find very little package tourism, loud all night bars or drunken teenagers on the Costa Brava. There’s a more laid back family orientated culture here with holiday makers from a wide selection of countries from all around the world. A lot of 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.

What to do on the Costa Brava?

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

A view of Banyoles lake along a jetty
Banyoles lake just after sunrise

Catalan cuisine

Then of course there’s the food! With a great selection of fresh local products at their disposal Catalan chefs are recognized worldwide as innovators from the record five 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

So for us the question “which is the best Costa in Spain?” is a resounding Costa Brava!

Costa Brava water parks

Water parks on the Costa Brava

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

Aqua Brava in the northern section of the Costa Brava close to the town of Roses is a water park which has no less than 18 attractions to choose from. Aqua Brava. When tired of the water park (as if!) there’s also the nearby Roses Go-Carts to keep both young and older occupied.

Aquabrava
water parks Costa Brava

Roses sits at the northern end of the Costa Brava and has many options of activities for the whole family. As well as the water part and Go-Karts there’s also the Wind Tunnel at Empuriabrava or if you are feeling brave Empuriabrava sky diving. Close to Roses is the coastal town of Cadaques, one of the prettiest and unspoiled towns on the Costa Brava.

Close to Lloret de Mar, Water world is a well known water park which was first opened in 1985. Water world Lloret The park has around 20 rides and is a firm favorite 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. Aqua Diver

Platja d'Aro
Costa Brava water parks

Where to stay on the Costa Brava

At Charming Villas Catalonia we offer our clients a selection of hand picked vacation rentals on the Costa Brava. Browse our collection of beachfront holiday villas and large country farmhouses. Locally based we know the Costa Brava and province of Girona very well and offer our clients a free concierge service. We can help set up extra services and activities as well as suggest interesting day trip itineraries.

Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes

The Costa Brava coastline around Blanes

Blanes is the last coastal town on the Costa Brava before it becomes the Maresme which then arrives at Barcelona. Cala Sant Francesc is perhaps the prettiest beach of all the beaches close to Blanes.

Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes
Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes

The lovely little bay of Cala Bona (as it is also known) 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, the beach is a very popular destination during the summer months.

Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes, Costa Brava
The beautiful beach of Cala Sant Francesc, Blanes

Cala Sant Francesc and the beaches of Blanes

Many of the main beaches closer to the camping and budget hotel district in central Blanes do tend to get rather crowded during the summer months. Because Cala Bona is located a bit further out from town and away from the budget district it perhaps has a reputation as a slightly more refined area.

This stretch of the Costa Brava coastline 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
Blanes, on the Costa Brava

Charming Villas Catalonia lists a great number of luxury villas along the Costa Brava and province of Girona. Browse our selection of luxury Costa Brava villas and farmhouses. 

More information about the region can be found at the Visit Blanes website.

Platja Fonda, Begur

The beaches of Begur

The coastal area around Begur has some of the nicest beaches on the whole Costa Brava. Platja Fonda Begur is without doubt one of the nicest and definitely one of our favorites. This 160m long wild and hidden spot is accessed by a long flight of steps.

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. Each beach in the area of Begur has its own distinct character. Platja Fonda is what i would describe as a “virgin beach” with no bars, shops or nearby mass tourism. With just one path leading down to the beach it is totally untouched.

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. With coarse dark sand/small pebbles the beach is perfect for those wanting to avoid the crowds of bigger beaches.

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. Tip – Go early in the morning or later in the evening and enjoy the beach to yourselves.

Platja Fonda, Begur
Begur, Costa Brava

Platja Fonda villas

Overlooking the beach we have the magnificent nine bedroom luxury villa Platja Fonda which is just a stone’s throw walk from the beach. This is a ultra-modern villa with full air conditioning and en-suite bedrooms. We also have a wide selection of alternative luxury villas close to Platja Fonda. Check out our portfolio of luxury Begur villas

For more information about Platja Fonda and the other beaches of Begur here is a link to the official tourism board of Begur

Cala Guillola, Cap de Creus

Cala Guillola, Cap de Creus Cadaques

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.

Cala Guillola
Cala Guillola, Cadaques

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.

Cala Guillola
Cala Guillola, close to Cadaques

The area around Cadaques and the Cap de Creus peninsula is dotted with little coves like this. Check out another blog post which lists all of the many coves and bays in the area; The beaches and coves of Cadaques. Or check out the local Visit Cadaques website which has plenty of local information.

Cadaques vacation homes

At Charming Villas Catalonia we offer our clients a selection of the best properties on the rental market in Cadaques. Browse our portfolio of Cadaques vacation rentals and holiday villas for rent in Cadaques.

Locally based we can help our clients plan activities and extra services. Fancy a lunch with fishermen on the pier at Portlligat? Take a Costa Brava hot air balloon trip or sail around the Cap de Creus? We can help plan all these and many more.

Aiguablava beach Begur

The beaches of Begur

One of the prettiest beaches along the whole Costa Brava, Aiguablava beach Begur is a popular beach for holiday makers and locals alike.

The beach of AiguaBlava, Begur
AiguaBlava, Begur

At around 150m in length Aiguablava (Blue Water in Catalan) can become pretty crowded during the peak months of July and August. For this reason it is best to get there early to claim your spot!

Aiguablava beach, Begur
Aiguablava, Begur, Costa Brava

The beach of Aiguablava

One of our favourite beaches, Aiguablava is in our list of favorite beaches on the Costa Brava.

Aiguablava Costa Brava
The empty beach of Aiguablava close to Begur

Not as commercialized as nearby larger beaches such as Tamariu, Aiguablaba does however have a couple of decent restaurants. Toc al Mar is a restaurant located right on the water overlooking Aiguablava. Their specialty dishes are paellas and other rice dishes.

The photographs posted here were taken on a slightly overcast and windy February day.

Aiguablava
Aiguablava, Costa Brava

Aiguablava vacation villas

At Charming Villas Catalonia we have a good selection of luxury Aiguablava holiday villas to choose from. Browse our portfolio of vacation rentals in Aiguablava and Begur.

Locally based we offer a free concierge service to all our customers. We love to help our clients make the most of their time while in the region and take great pleasure in helping arrange all kinds of activities and extra services.

Please contact us – we would be delighted to hear from you.

The beaches of Begur

Begur and it’s beaches are far from the tacky image of all day breakfasts and mass package tourism that many people may have of the Costa Brava. This family orientated region has some of the prettiest pine clad beaches and clearest waters in the whole of the Catalan coastline.

Begur has long been a favorite summer destination for Spanish and Catalan people, especially from Barcelona, many of whom own a second home in the area.

What are the beaches of Begur?

Begur has eight beaches starting with Platja del Raco to the north of the town. With great views of the Medes Islands this is a long beach which eventually merges into the beach of Pals. Just down from Platja del Raco is the beautiful Illa Roja, a famous nudist beach. Sa Riera, Begur’s largest beach is next in line and is one of our personal favourites. A good sized beach which although does get quite busy in peak season. It retains a pleasant, intimate air to it with a handful of decent restaurants a stones’ throw from the beach.

Begur beaches
The beaches of Begur

To the East of Begur you find the bays of Auigafreda and Sa Tuna. Not as big and sandy as Sa Riera these are charming and atmospheric nonetheless and are great for people who prefer smaller, quieter beaches.

To the south of Begur you find the beaches of Platja Fonda, Fornells and Auigablava. Platja Fonda is one of the wildest and most unspoilt beaches you can find on the Costa Brava and the best in this region for sunbathing. Accessed by a series of steps this really is one of the gems of the area.

The beach of AiguaBlava, Begur
AiguaBlava, Begur

Fornells and Aiguablava are the most southern beaches of the Begur region. Here you will also find the small secluded coves of Estasia, Malaret, Ses Orats and Port Esclanya.

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

Begur 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.

The beaches and coves of Cadaques

A comprehensive list of the beaches and coves of Cadaques

Situated within the Cap de Creus headland, the beaches of Cadaques and its surrounding area tend to be smaller, more intimate coves and bays. If it is long sandy beaches you are looking for then Cadaques is not for you.

The best beaches on the Costa Brava
Platja del Ros, Cadaques on the Costa Brava

Where is Cadaques?

Cadaques is located at the end of the Cap de Creus peninsula. Windswept, wild and unpopulated, Cadaques really is stuck out on it’s own. The feeling of detachment from the rest of the Costa Brava is one of the reasons which make Cadaques so unique.

A great place for swimming, the water quality in this region is probably the best of the whole Costa Brava.

Although not official nudist beaches, don’t be surprised to see nudists in some of the more secluded bays further from Cadaques especially in the Cap de Creus.

The best beaches of Cadaques?

We have a few favorite beaches such as Platja del Ros, of of the few sandy beaches close to the town of Cadaques. We also love Cala Sa Sabolla which is a fair old walk in the direction of the Far de Cala Nans. The walk itself is a pleasant 5Km stroll through nice countryside with lovely sea views. The beach itself is pebbles rather than sand but nonetheless a great place to spend a few hours.

Another hidden favorite of ours is Cala Guillola. This is located to the north of Cadaques in the direction of the other lighthouse of Cap de Creus. Small and intimate this cove is sheltered from the local Tramuntana wind.

Cala Guillola
Cala Guillola, Cap de Creus, Cadaques

More information about Cadaques and the surrounding area can be found at the official Visit Cadaques website.

In the following Google map you will find the location of all the local beaches of Cadaques.

What to do in Cadaques

Brief history of Cadaques.

One of the most sought after holiday destinations on the whole Catalan coastline, Cadaques has an undeniable charm and mystique which draws you back time after time.

Cadaques for the most part evaded the developers of the 1960’s and 70’s mainly because of it’s isolated location within the Cap de Creus national park right at the top of the Costa Brava. The developers were more interested in flat, easily accessible beachfront real estate to exploit so thankfully left the town alone. Cadaques has been around for centuries but the only road in and out of the town was built around 1908, meaning that up until then the only real access to the town was by boat. By all accounts some Cadaques residents had sailed to Cuba and North America but had never traveled inland to the nearby town of Figueres!

Cadaques

The beautiful coastal town of Cadaques

The Cap de Creus peninsula is the most eastern point of Spain. This means that it is also the first part of Spain to witness the sunrise. People from the region gather at the Cap de Creus lighthouse in the early morning of the 1st of January every year to welcome in the New Year with dancing and merriment!

The area has inspired many artists, most notably Salvador Dali who lived in the area. He venerated the elements of light and texture which inspired him throughout his lifetime.

Dali bought a bunch of fisherman’s shacks on the harbour of PortLligat which I guess you could call a suburb of Cadaques. He converted them into one abode and spent a great part of his life here. The house is now a museum which is open to the public.

Cadaques

Cadaques beach

Things to do in Cadaques

Staying in one of our Barcelona vacation rentals or one of our luxury Costa Brava villas in Begur or Tamariu? Charming Villas Catalonia can help put together a bespoke Cadaques day trip itinerary for you. We can arrange a driver to pick you up from your villa and take take you back in the evening. Set up a local guide to walk you through the ancient heart of the town exploring the cobbled streets, artists galleries and hidden corners.

Have a unique fisherman’s lunch on the pier at Portlligat or in one of the many good standard restaurants in the town. Try the famous Cadaques Taps – a sweet dessert cake made for generations from a secret recipe by the local bakery Pastisseria La Mallorquina. Take a refreshing smoothie or organic juice at Brown Sugar, one of the most authentic bars in Cadaques.

Visit the Dali museum, take a boat trip or a pleasant walk to the the lighthouse at Cala Nans or the hidden beach of Cala Guillola. Let us know your interests and we can help you plan a bespoke and memorable day out in Cadaques, our favourite coastal town on the Costa Brava.

A great way to spend a day or half a day is to take a boat trip around the Cap de Creus. The Sant Isidre is a classic Catalan fishing boat built in 1925 and which has a capacity for up to 35 people. You will visit isolated bays which are only accessible by boat and have the option of lunch onboard.

Where to eat in Cadaques?

Cadaques also has some great restaurants and too many to list here but here is a small sample:

Martin Faixo is a producer of some great local wines grown in the Cap de Creus and they also run the two very good restaurants Can Rafa and the Enoteca MF.

Compartir Cadaques . Opened in 2012 by three local chefs who worked at the world famous El Bulli, Compartir has quickly became one of Cadaques’s most popular restaurants.

MOS Cadaques is another new restaurant which opened its doors in 2012. Contemporary food from a Michelin starred chef.