Things to do in Costa Brava: Attractions and places to visit

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The Costa Brava with its attractive beaches and almost 200 sunny days a year is one of the most popular holiday regions in Spain. It starts at the small seaside resort of Portbou in the immediate vicinity of the French border and extends to the popular holiday resort of Blanes north of Barcelona. In German the term Costa Brava means “wild coast”, but this term does not mean the highly frequented party strongholds Calella and Lloret de Mar.

Rather, the name refers to the rugged coastal landscape with its many charming bays and idyllic hinterland. The 220 km long coastline offers wonderful beaches and an abundance of interesting places and destinations that make a holiday a varied experience.

Below we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights on the Costa Brava.

Litoral de LLoret de Mar (Albert Torelló)  []  CC BY-SA 
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Racons de la Costa Brava (Albert Torelló)  []  CC BY-SA 
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1. The romantic fishing village of Cadaqués

The enchanting backdrop of many brightly whitewashed houses has attracted many artists to the small fishing village. The most famous of them was the painter Salvador Dali. In many of his surrealist paintings he took up motifs from Cadaqués and made the place famous far beyond Spain.

The former residence of Salvador Dali and his wife Gala is just 20 minutes walk from Cadaqués and now houses an interesting museum. The picturesque coastal town offers its visitors a friendly bohemian atmosphere with original boutiques, unusual galleries and a variety of rustic restaurants and cafés.

2. Figueres and the Teatre-Museu Dali

One of the great sights of the Costa Brava is the friendly small town of Figueres. Here stands the Teatre-Museu Dali, one of the most original museum buildings in the world. The museum is completely dedicated to the great painter Salvador Dali and inspires with its striking, extravagant architecture and the imaginatively designed interiors.

Not far from this surrealistic building you will find the huge fortress Castell de Sant Ferran from the 18th century. The Castell is one of the most impressive and largest castles in Europe and forms a strong contrast to the colourful Teatre-Museu Dali. After the sightseeing Figueres offers in the romantic old town many possibilities for shopping and for relaxed breaks in cafes and restaurants.

3. In Girona on the trail of famous films

If you stroll through the charming old town of Girona for the first time, you have the feeling that you have seen it all before. The impression is not wrong, because more than 300 movies have already been shot in this medieval-like setting, including “The Perfume” and several scenes from the series “Game of Thrones”. The long series of pastel-colored houses that romantically stretch along the banks of the Onyar River also seem familiar, since they are one of the most photographed motifs in Spain.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria is a landmark in Girona’s cityscape. The church has been changed over the centuries and is an interesting mix of Spanish and European architectural styles. From the huge staircase in front of the cathedral you have a great view of the city and the distant mountains of the Pyrenees. Girona is also famous for its Arab baths. In the completely preserved building complex from the 13th century you can learn a lot about the customs and traditions of the medieval town.

4. The Cami de Ronda hiking trail

Away from busy beaches and pulsating holiday resorts, a walk on the Camí de Ronda offers wonderful insights into the enchanting landscape of the hinterland of the Wild Coast. The 43-kilometre route begins in Sant Feliú de Guíxols and ends in Begur, a small fishing village. You don’t have to walk the whole way, even on parts of the route the partly untouched nature and the diverse fauna and flora will inspire you.

The Cami de Ronda was once an important escape route to reach ships stranded on the coast too quickly and to help them. Later, the path served as a patrol point for border guards looking for smugglers. Between Begur and Palamos you can admire the still preserved mysterious hiding places for smuggled goods.

5. The Cap de Creus

The rugged Cap de Creus is situated on a peninsula that extends 10 kilometres into the Mediterranean Sea. The Cape is the easternmost point of Spain and offers a spectacular sight with its wild rock formations. The bizarre forms inspired the world-famous painter Salvador Dali to create his surrealist paintings in Cadaqués, a town not far from his home.

San Pere des Rodes Monastery is situated in the middle of this original natural setting. The more than 1,000 year old Romanesque building has been carefully restored and offers impressive panoramic views far beyond the bordering French coast.

6. Tossa de Mar is the starting point for exciting excursions

The small seaside resort Tossa de Mar is located only a few kilometres north of Lloret de Mar and offers with the historic old town a nice contrast to the popular party stronghold. A panoramic road begins here, which leads with numerous hairpin bends close to the cliff edge to Sant Feliu de Guixols.

It is probably this breathtaking rocky landscape that has given the region its name “Wild Coast”. Those who like it just as spectacular, but less adventurous, can cover the same distance in a glass-bottomed boat and admire the Costa Brava from below.

7. The prawns of Palamós

Palamós is an original and rare active fishing village in the Mediterranean Sea. The shrimps of Palamós are famous and sought after all over Spain. You should plan your visit so that you are in the harbour in the late afternoon and can experience the return of the fishing boats.

Immediately upon arrival, lively auctions begin and a handful of freshly caught shrimp is a wonderful delicacy. Palamos is also home to an interesting fishing museum, which offers interesting insights into the technology and processes of fishing.

8. Castell de Peralada

The stately Castell de Peralada is about 20 minutes by car from the coast. The castle-like complex lies in a spacious park and is completely enclosed by a fortification wall. The origins of the fort date back to the 9th century. Today, the noble palace has become the “Peralada Resort”, which offers a multitude of attractions.

These include a casino, a lovingly designed small museum and an internationally renowned winery. A stay on the terrace of the Restaurant del Castell is particularly pleasant. It lies between the two twin towers of the castle and offers a wonderful view of the well-kept park in a fascinating ambience.

9. The villages of Pals, Besalú and Castelló d’Empúries

The enchanting villages in the hinterland are among the most charming sights of the Costa Brava. Strolling through the idyllic narrow streets you feel like you are back in the Middle Ages.

Small shops with handicrafts, tiny cafés and rustic speciality restaurants convey a genuine Mediterranean lifestyle and make a holiday a very special experience to remember. Especially pleasant and relaxing are the small villages in the early evening hours.

10. The culinary highlight of the Costa Brava

Everywhere on the Costa Brava people like to eat well. Along the coast and in the immediate hinterland, there are many restaurants that have been awarded one or more of the coveted stars of the Michelin gourmet guide. The top restaurant is El Celler de Gran Roca.

It is one of the top ten restaurants in the world. It’s not easy to get a table during the season, but every wait is worth it. The traditional 21-course menu is a lasting experience that will be the greatest experience of a holiday on the Costa Brava, along with all the sights.

More things to do and activities for your Costa Brava holiday

Best time to visit Costa Brava

We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Costa Brava:

May, June, July, August, September, and October

You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Costa Brava.

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