Being one of the most pristine stretches of coast in Europe, and considered among the top things to do when planning a trip outside Barcelona, the Costa Brava (wild coast) is a romantic and gorgeous rock-rugged coast with the Mediterranean sea glimmering on one side and pine trees providing shadow on the other side.
Visitors will find tastefully polished fishermen towns and gloriously wild coves with crystal clear waters.
As well, visitors will be able to find luxury style accommodation as well as independent hotels and camping sites, all close to the Mediterranean waters, and when lucky someone speaking English, especially outside the summer season.
And for those who are food lovers, this is the land to enjoy the epitome of Catalan Gastronomy and superb local wines. This little paradise has probably the biggest concentration of Michelin starred-restaurants in Spain, and an excellent selection of lesser-known restaurants, which locals refer as Masias (old houses).
The Costa Brava is located between the towns Blanes to Portbou, and it is around 1 ½ drive from Barcelona´s international airport. As well, many visitors, especially those coming from the UK, choose to land at Girona Airport which is closer. Apart from the stunning coast, Costa Brava hosts three natural parks (Cap de Creus, Aiguamolls de l’Empordà, and Montgrí), the Medes Islands and the Baix Ter area.
Enjoying the spectacular scene of Costa Brava implies going on coastal walks, diving or snorkeling, sailing and certainly eating and uncovering local culture. Here is a curation of the best things to do to go wild at this wonderful Mediterranean coast.
Visit the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens
Hike the hilltop towards the castle at Palafrugell and then walk down the magical gardens that cascade down towards the beach. The views and the flowers and cypresses from the gardens are just stunning.
Dive into the waters of Isles Medes
Head to the coastal town L’Estartit where plenty of scuba diving companies will take you to the Medes Islands, a series of rocky islands that rise dramatically from the Mediterranean Sea off the northeast, and that are a natural habitat. Enjoy breathtaking views and a relaxing experience.
Hike the Cap de Creus Natural Park
Dramatic views over pristine waters and a wind-beaten coast by the relentless tramontana, a wind that batters this area almost all year long, and that has shaped its craggy coastline. The park has around 13,000 hectares to get lost around and share time with wild seagulls.
Eat with the locals at the Aiguablava cove
Find a spot at one of the local ¨chiringuitos¨ for a bite of chargrill seafood, a catch of the day from the famous Palamós prawns and octopus, or a rice dish (the local version of paella), and pair it with a local wine from Emporda, the new Spanish wine region on the rise.
Go on a kayaking expedition among coves
The areas around the Costa Brava coves are characterized by its rich vegetation and a serrated shoreline, with caves and narrow straits, virgin beaches, imposing limestone cliffs within a rugged and wild landscape.
Party with the student at Lloret de Mar
In case you are a natural and wild partygoer, the Lloret de Mar coastal town in Costa Brava, not stunningly beautiful, it is a world-renowned site for those looking to enjoy the Catalan rumba all night long. Plenty of young crowds from all over gather here for the best summer fun.
Uncover Salvador Dali´s life at Cadaques
Locally known as the ¨Pearl of the Costa Brava¨, Cadaques is a charming town where Salvador Dali set his residence, and where due to its geographic isolation it has managed to avoid the massive tourist development and retain an air of authenticity. There are two main things to do: visit Dali´s museum and sip wines at any bar by the beach watching the sunset.
Take your kids on a train journey
The Roses express train is an excellent activity for the little ones, this train takes families to the Puig Rom summit, which has stunning views over the Alto Ampurdian and the Aiguamolls Natural Park of the Empordà and to the bay and the Medes Islands.
Sunbath at the most secluded cove: Cala Jugadora
Getting there is an experience, from the lighthouse of Cap de Creus you have to descend on foot along a dry riverbed for about half an hour until you reach one of the most beautiful places in Costa Brava, a small sandy stretch with transparent and calm waters, home to an extensive range of sea life.
Ride on a boat from Blanes
Several companies run boat trips along the rugged coast of Costa Brava, and it is a great way to uncover hidden beaches and coves from the sea. Many of these boats have a glass bottom from where kids can see marine life. The main destinations are the protected Medes Islands, Cap de Creus, Cadaqués, and some include visits to underwater caves.