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The best of Costa Brava – the ultimate guide

Costa Brava is a stunning region in Catalonia that extends from the Mediterranean coast to the majestic Pyrenees, which form a natural border with France. Costa Brava loosely translates as ‘wild coast’, a reference to the rocky coastline with its spectacular cliffs and countless coves, a favourite haunt for pirates in the 17th century. Famous for its beaches and sunshine, Costa Brava is a treasure trove of historic, cultural and gastronomic delights! A Costa Brava road trip is the best way to explore the region at your own leisure – mix up beach time with a wander through medieval towns, and visits to cultural attractions with hikes along the coast or in the mountains. In between, you’ll feast on some of the best food and wines that Spain has to offer! Here’s my guide to the best places to visit in Costa Brava.


This Costa Brava guide contains links to three services I often use myself and can recommend: Skyscanner (flights), (hotel bookings), (car hire) and GetYourGuide (easy-to-book tours). If you make a booking via one of these services, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). These commissions help me to maintain my blog and share more travel experiences with you.

The ultimate guide to the Best of Costa Brava

I’ve visited Costa Brava several times and explored the region quite extensively. Based on these trips, I’ve compiled this guide featuring the best places to visit on a road trip in Costa Brava including my recommendations for hotels and restaurants. You can do this in 1-2 weeks but I suggest taking your time to enjoy these places. I’ve also included a suggested 15-day ‘ Best of Costa Brava ‘ self-drive itinerary below.

The line in the map denotes the sequence of the places described in this guide: starting in Girona, then the coast (south to north) before moving inland towards the Pyrenees. You can pick up a rental car at Barcelona Airport or in Girona. Find flights to Barcelona with KLM.

Girona is less than a two-hour drive from Barcelona. Often overlooked by tourists, Girona is a gorgeous city located smack in the middle of the confluence of four rivers. As a consequence of its strategic location, Girona was occupied at different times in its history by the Romans, Visigoths, Moors and the French. Its medieval core is still intact, as are large parts of its medieval city walls. Fans of the Game of Thrones series shouldn’t miss Girona!


The highlights in Girona include walking its medieval walls, exploring the old Jewish Quarter and visiting the magnificent Cathedral . Read about things to see in Girona and walking the medieval walls of Girona .

Search for accommodations in Girona.


In the city centre, grab a meal at Le Bistrot , a popular restaurant that serves traditional Catalan fare. In addition, scenes from the Game of Thrones were filmed at the steps right outside the restaurant. There’s a Game of Thrones walking tour which fans can join.

Just outside Girona, you’ll find one of the world’s best restaurants: El Celler de Can Roca. A meal here is a truly extraordinary (not to mention unforgettable) experience! Read about my meal at El Celler de Can Roca .


The coast (south to north)

The Costa Brava coast is what most visitors come for, and rightfully so. You’ll find picturesque towns, nature parks, sandy beaches and secluded coves lapped by the crystal-clear water of the Mediterranean Sea.


Blanes – Lloret de Mar – Tossa de Mar

The stretch between Blanes and Lloret de Mar , with its beaches, hotels, restaurants and bars is a popular holiday spot but look a bit further and you’ll find quieter beaches with golden sands and lush nature reserves. Visit the beautiful Jardins de Santa Clotilde park for a tranquil stroll and gorgeous sea views, hike through the Massis de les Cadiretes nature reserve or go on a leisurely coastal drive along the edges of the reserve (heading north along the coast from Tossa de Mar). Beautiful beaches in the area include Cala Sa Boadella (a section of which is for nudists) and Cala Treumal .

Search for accommodations in/around Lloret de Mar.

Jardins de Santa Clotilde photo

Tossa de Mar , with its wide beaches against the backdrop of an impressive castle, is a lovely town to visit. Don’t miss the 12th century Castell de Tossa de Mar with its fortification walls and towers.

Search for accommodations in Tossa de Mar.

costa brava road trip

Palamós and beyond

Palamós is a bustling fishing town with long beaches, a harbour packed with fishing boats and a yacht marina. A visit to the Fish Museum (Museu de la Pesca) and fish auction at the harbour is a fascinating experience.

Palamos fish auction photo

The coast northwest of Palamós is full of little coves with gorgeous, secluded beaches backed by cliffs and pine trees. Suggested beaches include La Fosca , Cala s’Alguer , Platja de Castell and Cala Estreta .

Costa Brava coastal trails

The rocky cliffs between these beaches are a hikers paradise! Part of the Cami de Ronda (Costa Brava trails that wind along the coast for about 200 km!), this particular stretch is famous for its stunning sea views and towering cliffs.


Calella de Palafrugell to Begur

One of the most scenic parts of the Costa Brava coast stretches from Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc , past Tamariu , to Begur . This part of the coast consists of beautiful beaches, rocky inlets, pine-covered cliffs and picturesque towns and villages. The Cami de Ronda continues along this stretch of the coast.


There’s a multitude of charming hotels and excellent restaurants along the coast. My favourite hotels in this area, which also have outstanding restaurants, are Sant Roc (Calella de Palafrugell), Casamar (Llafranc), El Far (Llafranc) and Aigua Blava (near Begur).

Search for accommodations in Calella de Palafrugell or Llafranc .

costa brava road trip

Begur is a hillside town overlooked by a 16th century castle. There’s a lovely square packed with terraces, and cobblestone alleys with a good choice of restaurants and cafés, some tucked away in beautiful courtyards.

Search for accommodations in Begur.


From Begur, take the road to Sa Tuna , a hamlet on the coast with a small beach. The road winds through quiet neighbourhoods and thick forests, and offers beautiful vistas of the rugged coast. Check out the fabulous Cap Sa Sal Hotel for a romantic stay or a top-notch meal.


Baix Empordá

Close to this part of the coast, you’ll find the agricultural Baix Empordá region; a colourful patchwork of fields, fruit orchards and beautiful medieval villages.

Baix Empordá photo


Peratallada is a fortified medieval town that’s definitely worth a visit. The town, with its 11th century castle (now home to an amazing luxury hotel ), 13th century Romanesque church, gorgeous cobblestone streets and quaint squares, is a popular place for day-trippers who come here to soak up the medieval atmosphere but stick around in the evenings for a romantic dinner at one of the numerous restaurants. I can recommend Restaurante Candelaria ! Peratallada also makes for a good base from which to explore the Baix Empordá. Search for accommodations in Peratallada.


For a dose of indulgence, I can recommend the Mas de Torrent Hotel and Spa , which is situated a short drive away from Peratallada. The hotel also has an excellent restaurant! Read about my stay at Mas de Torrent .


Pals is one of the most impressive medieval towns in Costa Brava. Situated in the Baix Empordá region, a short distance from Begur, Pals’ main attraction is its beautifully restored medieval quarter. Pals is also home to Vicus , a restaurant where I’ve had some truly memorable meals!

Search for accommodations in Pals.


Púbol is another attractive town to visit. The main attraction is the Castell Gala Salvador Dalí , a castle that the great painter bought for his wife, Gala. The castle forms one of the three Dalí museums in Costa Brava (known as the ‘Dalí Triangle’ and also includes the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres and Casa Dalí in Port Lligat).


Monells lies just east of Púbol and is another atmospheric medieval village that’s worth visiting, if only to explore its arched streets and arcades.


If you fancy staying in a castle, look up Castell d’Empordà near Púbol, a beautifully-restored castle that overlooks the Empordà plains. Its restaurant, Drac , is another terrific dining option I can highly recommend!

Castell d'Empordà photo

Also nearby is the village of Colomers , where hot-air balloon flights over Costa Brava are operated from. It’s a wonderful experience that I highly recommend. You can make a booking here .


Begur to Roses

North of Begur, the hills make way for broad plains and long stretches of sandy beaches. There are also several golf resorts here such as the Empordà Golf Club and La Costa Golf Beach Resort . Nature lovers will enjoy Aiguamolls del Baix Empordà , a nature reserve with wetlands that’s great for bird-watching, and beaches with a stunning view of the jagged tops of the Illes Medes islands.

Illes Medes

Illes Medes is a marine reserve consisting of 7 rocky islets. There’s abundant marine life to be seen, which visitors can enjoy on a snorkelling or submarine trip. The Illes Medes boat trips depart from the L’Escartit harbour.


Further north, you’ll find another nature reserve worth visiting for its coastal cliffs and beautiful sea views: Parc Natural del Montgri . Near the town of L’Escala, history lovers will enjoy the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya – Empúries (Catalan Archeological Museum Empúries) where ancient Greek and Roman ruins have been excavated.


At the sweeping Gulf of Roses, you’ll find, along its seemingly endless beaches, a myriad of camping grounds and another beautiful nature reserve: Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Empordà . The protected wetlands in this park are famous for its bird-watching opportunities. 

In nearby Empuriabrava are two attractions for those who love to ‘fly’: the Windoor Realfly experience and Skydive Empuriabrava ! I’ve experienced both and I’ll never forget my Costa Brava skydive !


Castelló d’Empúries

Also worth a visit is the little town of Castelló d’Empúries , with its medieval centre. Stroll around its atmospheric streets and visit the impressive Basilica of Santa Maria. Every year, the town hosts the Terra de Trobadors medieval festival which attracts medieval enthusiasts from around the world.

Basilica of Santa Maria

At the top of the Gulf of Roses is the town of Roses , a lively town with a long beach boulevard lined by hotels and restaurants. There are various historical sites which can be visited such as the Citadel and the Trinity Castle . Head up to Puig Rom (a reasonable hike) to visit several other archeological sites as well as to enjoy the stunning views of the gulf.


From Roses, the Canyelles road curls its way along the coast past cliffs, coves and smaller beaches. There are various upscale hotels here such as Hotel Vistabella and A lmadraba Park Hotel which offer beautiful views of the gulf.

Search for accommodations in Roses.

Cap de Creus

Northwest of Roses, the Cap de Creus peninsula beckons. A rocky, mountainous region of wind-swept slopes covered by thick gorse, quaint coastal villages, and crystal-clear coves, Cap de Creus is perfect for a leisurely drive or lengthy hikes. Read more about places to visit in Cap de Creus .

Search for accommodations in Cap de Creus.


The charming fishing village of Cadaqués , with its whitewashed houses and gorgeous harbour, is famed as being a favourite haunt for artists and writers, and shouldn’t be missed. It also makes for a great base from which to explore the rest of the peninsula.


In Cadaqués, drop by at Can Rafa for a great meal. The restaurant is owned by the Martín Faíxo family who also own Mas Perafita , a gorgeous winery/B&B in the hills of Cap de Creus.


Port Lligat

Continue further to Port Lligat to visit Casa Dalí , the former residence of the great artist Salvador Dalí – this is a wondrous experience you shouldn’t miss.


Another famous attraction in the area is the romanesque abbey of Sant Pere de Rodes near the town of Port de la Selva .

costa brava road trip

Inland to Figueres

From Cap de Creus, head west towards Figueres, the largest town in the area. Just off the N260 road is another gorgeous golf resort: Hotel Peralada Wine Spa and Golf . The village of Peralada , with its 13th century castle (open to visitors), makes for an interesting stop for its impressive armoury and library.


Figueres , the birthplace of Salvador Dalí, is a popular touristic town primarily due to the Dalí Theatre Museum , which the great artist designed himself. I highly recommend a visit to this fascinating museum and the adjacent Jewels Collection. For lunch, restaurants I recommend include Restaurante Duran (a classic in Figueres frequented by Dalí himself) and El Lloc Cafe Bistrot.


La Garrotxa to the Girona Pyrenees

The Pyrenees mountain range forms a natural border with France, rising to great heights further inland. This region is dotted with picturesque medieval towns, forests, low hills and ancient volcanoes that gradually make way for the mighty snow-capped peaks of the Girona Pyrenees.

costa brava road trip

Besalú is a stunning medieval town in the hills of the Garrotxa region. The first thing that will grab your attention as you approach the town is the magnificent 12th century Romanesque bridge over the Fluviá river. The bridge leads visitors into the town, with its arcaded streets, cobblestone alleys and squares.


There’s a wonderful array of shops selling local produce and handicraft. Other historic monuments in the town include the 11th century Sant Pere church and 12th century Jewish bath (mikveh).


Castellfollit de la Roca

West of Besalú, on the A26 road to the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone , you’ll pass the medieval village of Castellfollit de la Roca . Spectacularly perched on a basalt cliff that was formed by lava flows, this pretty village makes for a great photo stop.


La Garrotxa volcanic zone

The La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone is a beautiful, forested area with 40 volcanic cones and ancient lava flows. You can hike up to the crater rim and into the crater but don’t expect a typical volcano (like Vesuvius or Etna). Instead, along the well-marked trails, you’ll find lush vegetation, different coloured rock surfaces and gorgeous views (don’t miss the viewpoint at Mirador Puig Rodó). The town of Olot is a good base from which to explore the area. I recommend staying at one of the converted farmhouses or cottages in the hills around Olot such as Casa Rural Mas Garganta . I also recommend going on a hot-air balloon flight over the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone.

Search for accommodations in La Garrotxa.


Santa Pau is another medieval village in the Garrotxa region that I absolutely love. Located near the La Garrotxa volcanoes, Santa Pau is tiny but boasts gorgeous porticoes, alleys and arcades as well as a 15th century Gothic church. Moreover, this wonderfully atmospheric village is home to another of my favourite restaurants in Costa Brava: Cal Sastre .


Ripoll lies to the west of the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone and is famous for its magnificent Benedictine monastery, a true Romanesque gem. The Monastery of Santa María de Ripoll , founded around the 9th century, is considered to be one of the most important monastic centres in Catalonia.


For those interested in more Romanesque art, continue to Sant Joan de les Abadesses , home to the Monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses (9th century), approximately 10km from Ripoll. The village, located on the banks of the River Ter, also has a gorgeous medieval bridge (in Gothic style) that’s worth a photo stop.

costa brava road trip

Girona Pyrenees

From Ripoll, follow the N260 road northwards. You’ll soon be surrounded by the breathtaking mountain landscapes of the Girona Pyrenees. This mountain region, with its glistening peaks, awe-inspiring granite surfaces, serene valleys and shimmering lakes, is popular in the winter for its skiing opportunities, and hiking in the summer months.

Search for accommodations in the Girona Pyrenees.

costa brava road trip

There are many spots to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery such as the Cerdanya and Camprodon valleys, and the simply magical Vall de Núria . This area has the most popular ski resorts in Catalonia such as La Molina and Masella . In the summer, it’s a mecca for hikers!

costa brava road trip

If you’re accustomed to winding roads, continue past Camprodon to the village of Beget . Often listed as one of the prettiest villages in Catalonia, Beget is a charming medieval village, and its location, tucked in a valley surrounded by thick vegetation, is gorgeous.

costa brava road trip

Vall de Núria

The Vall de Núria (Valley of Núria) is a stunning valley almost completely enclosed by imposing mountains, some almost 3,000m high. Popular as a getaway for nature enthusiasts, it also attracts pilgrims who come to visit the Shrine of Núria . Cars are not permitted in the valley. Instead, visitors take the scenic 12.5km-long Vall de Núria Rack Railway that connects Vall de Núria with Ribes de Freser and Queralbs. Check the Vall de Núria website for more info.

costa brava road trip

Further to the west, the town of Puigcerdà lies just a few kilometers from the border with France and is mainly used as a base for a myriad of mountain activities. This vibrant town has many restaurants, cafés and shops (centred around Plaza de Santa Maria), and a photogenic lake. The rooftop of the Bell tower offers beautiful views of the town and the mountains.

Search for accommodations in Puigcerdà.

costa brava road trip

Cross the border into France from Puigcerdà, drive a further 1.5 kms, and you’ll find yourself back in Spain, in the little Catalan enclave of Llívia ! Completely surrounded by France, Llívia is a charming medieval town with slate-roofed houses that’s great for a stroll and a meal at one of its excellent restaurants.

costa brava road trip

How to get to Costa Brava

Costa Brava lies in the northeast corner of Spain. The capital, Girona, is connected by trains from Barcelona (Estació Sants) and France (via Figueres). The Girona-Costa Brava Airport has connections with major cities in Europe (primarily operated by holiday and low-cost airlines). The closest international hub airport is Barcelona. From Barcelona Airport, it’s less than a two-hour drive to Costa Brava. There’s also a scheduled bus service from the airport to Blanes.

15-day ‘Best of Costa Brava’ self-drive itinerary

This 14 night/15 day self-drive itinerary takes you past the best places in Costa Brava as described above. If you’re flying into Barcelona or Girona, I recommend picking up a rental car upon arrival. Planning to visit Barcelona? Read my top ten things to do in Barcelona post.

You can start Your Costa Brava  trip on the coast and follow the entire itinerary through to Girona or concentrate on 1-2 areas, depending on your interests or the length of your stay. I’ve included a suggested length of stay per place/area. The itinerary is as follows:

4 nights: Costa Brava coast . From Lloret de Mar, continue along the coast to your accommodation for 4 nights. Spend some time at the beach and the coastal towns, walk along the Cami de Ronda and explore the medieval villages of Baix Empordá. Suggested base: Llafranc, Calella de Palafrugell or inland in/around Pals or Peratallada.

2 nights: Cap de Creus . Continue up the coast past Roses to Cap de Creus. Suggested base: in/around Roses or Cadaqués. Wander around Cadaqués, hike in the hills, and visit Casa Dalí in Port Lligat and the Sant Pere de Rodes abbey.

3 nights: La Garrotxa . From Cap de Creus, continue to Figueres (visit the Dalí Theatre Museum) and on to La Garrotxa. Explore the medieval towns and hike in the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone. Go on a day trip to Camprodon and Beget. Suggested base: Besalú, in/around Olot or Santa Pau.

3 nights: Girona Pyrenees . Head further into the Pyrenees, stopping at the Santa Maria de Ripoll monastery. Take the rack railway to Vall de Núria. Wander around Puigcerdà and have lunch in Llívia. Suggested base: in/around Ribes de Freser and/or Puigcerdà.

2 nights: Girona . Explore the medieval centre, walk along the old city walls and visit the Cathedral.

Accommodation search

More information on costa brava.

Visit the website of Costa Brava Girona Tourism for more information.

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costa brava road trip

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18 Responses

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Very detailed post on Costa Brava. I bookmarked your website because I enjoy detailed writing and descriptive photographs. Girona, at the the confluence of four rivers and past multicultural habitations looks like an interesting city to visit.

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[…] the Salvador Dali museums in Costa Brava, nothing is what it seems at first sight. The works of the great master first grab your attention […]

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Looks like we missed a lot of this region when we drove through, but I LOVED Cadaques and the gorgeous town and beaches there. Thanks for all the info. We did a much quicker tour through the region, but still enjoyed what we did get to see.

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costa brava road trip

Costa Brava Itinerary: 45 Best Things to do in Costa Brava (2024 GUIDE)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - 5 Day Costa Brava Itinerary - Guide to Best Places to visit in Costa Brava 2023

This is the land of Dalí, Gaudí, Spain’s highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants, a rugged coastline lined with pine-edged coves, and transparent waters stretching over 200km. This is Costa Brava. Here are the best places to visit and things to do in Costa Brava. 

T his pocket of Spain is home to countless scenic treasures, (seriously, you’ll never put your camera away!), charming medieval villages, and remarkable cultural attractions. There are so many reasons to visit Costa Brava . My Costa Brava itinerary gives you everything you need to know to see this hidden gem tucked away in the corner of the Mediterranean.

What is the Costa Brava

The name Costa Brava literally translates to ‘rugged coast’ or ‘rough coast’ and rightly so. The term originated in 1908 by the Girona-born journalist, Ferran Agulló, who used the term to describe the coves and towns of the Mediterranean coast.

The Costa Brava is a diverse region with exceptional natural beauty, a unique artistic heritage thanks to Salvador Dalí, and important Greco-Roman ruins.

Each day brings a new opportunity to explore each of the intimate beaches along the rocky coast that boasts varied wide bays, small coves, and high cliffs.

While this holiday region has well-known resort towns, you won’t find tacky tourist strips here. Far from it. Instead, you’ll experience chic establishments alongside fishing villages that cling to the rocky seascape.

Where is the Costa Brava

Best things to do in Costa Brava - S'Agaró coastal walk Camins de Ronda mansions

But where is it exactly?

Located in the northeast corner of Spain at the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Costa Brava sits within the province of Girona in Catalonia. Its coastline runs from Portbou to Blanes covering some 200 kilometres.

Are you ready to visit Costa Brava?

Five Things You Should Know about the Costa Brava

Before we jump in, here are five important things you should know about this itinerary to Costa Brava.

  • If you’re visiting Costa Brava for the first time, this guide is for you! This guide assumes you have no prior knowledge of the region and coastline and its incredible beauty. Boy, are you in for a treat!
  • You’ll need a car. I highly recommend you hire a car as there is little to no public transport. Plus, having a car will give you the freedom to start and end your days on your terms. Compare the best car rental prices here .
  • I’ve tried to find a balance between quality and quantity. That being said, how often do you get to go to a drop-dead gorgeous region like theCosta Brava? For some, this might be a once off experience and you want to see as much as possible. The best part of this itinerary is that you can adjust it to suit your needs and personal preferences. For each daily bucket list, each location is no more than one hour from the next, which gives you total flexibility should you prefer to linger a bit longer at any location.
  • Keep a towel handy. There are lots of beaches on this itinerary, so make sure you come prepared.
  • It gets hot in Costa Brava. If you’re visiting during the summer, in the words of the Australian Cancer Council, Slip, Slop, Slap! Slip on a t-shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat. Check the forecast for the day ahead and consider rearranging any activities so you’re not outdoors at the hottest time of day (unless you’ re at the beach, of course) and always carry water with you. This a great compact water-bottle solution .

So, without further ado, here is my complete 5-day Costa Brava road trip itinerary that will guarantee you see all the best places to visit in Costa Brava.

Included in this guide to the Costa Brava

Looking for something in particular? Use these links to jump around.

Map of Costa Brava Itinerary

  • Day 1 itinerary
  • Day 2 itinerary
  • Day 3 itinerary
  • Day 4 itinerary
  • Day 5 itinerary

How to Get to Costa Brava

Where to stay in costa brava.

  • When to Go to Costa Brava / What is the Costa Brava Climate like
  • Got more time? More Things to Do and See

Want to know where you’ll be going? Take a look at the detailed map below.

Tip: For a larger view of the map, click on the icon in the top right corner.

Click on this interactive map and see where this itinerary will take you. I’ve created this map using Google Maps which you can save and use as you travel around Costa Brava.

The coloured pins represent different pockets of Costa Brava to explore each day. Click on any pin for more information. Day 1 – Purple pins Day 2 – Green pins Day 3 – Turquoise pins Day 4 – Yellow pins Day 5 – Pink pins

Best Things to do in Costa Brava

Day 1 itinerary – purple pins.

Whether you arrive in Costa Brava in the morning or the night before, use your first day to get to know your base, Tossa de Mar. Did you know that Tossa de Mar was the first place in the world to declare itself an Anti-Bullfighting City in 1989?

Tossa de Mar

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Tossa de mar beach panorama

Marc Chagall, the French painter, loved the quality of life here so much that he nicknamed Tossa de Mar – Blue Paradise. If it’s good enough for him…;)

What to do in Tossa de Mar

Vila vella (old town).

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar old town cobblestone alley with flowers

Take your time to meander through the quiet cobblestoned streets of the Old Town. These narrow passages are decorated with flowerpots and laundry crisp dry from the Costa Brava sun.

Step inside any of Tossa de Mar’s numerous bars, restaurants and shops, which seamlessly integrate into the historic part of the town.

Two beautiful churches to worth visiting are:

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar Chapel of Our Lady of Socorro

Located in the middle of the shopping district, this tiny chapel manages to maintain a peaceful ambience, making it a favourite amongst locals for its tranquillity.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar Parish Church of Saint Vincent

Originally, the church was decorated with Baroque altarpieces and images which later disappeared during the Spanish Civil War. The only exception is the altar of the Immaculate Conception. A recent renovation of the interior paintwork has brought back some of the church’s former beauty.

It might be a small city but Tossa de Mar has three main beaches!

By the way, the Spanish word for beach is ‘playa’ however, in local Catalonian language called Catalan, beach is ‘platja’.

Get my free Spanish travel guide here.

Platja Gran

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar beach and castle

Platja La Mar Menuda

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar - La Mar Menuda beach

Platja d’es Codolar

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar view of Platja d'es Codolar

Where to Eat in Tossa de Mar

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar where to eat paella

Tips for Visiting Tossa de Mar

  • Time: Allow 2-3 hours to slowly explore the Old Town. There lots of boutiques and shops to browse and plenty of photo ops.
  • Price: Free! It’s free to wander around inside the walls of the medieval castle and Old Town. Lunch, on the other hand, is up to you.
  • Getting around: Tossa de Mar is tiny, so leave your car at the hotel and head out on foot.
  • Pro Tip: Reach the top of the medieval castle by walking through the old town rather than via the winding path next to the beach. Instead, take this route on your way back down. This way you’ll have a shaded ascent to the top with a much-needed escape from the hot Costa Brava sun.

After you’ve digested a hearty and satisfying lunch, head to the colourful city of Girona.

Girona’s history stretches back 2000 years with two fortified enclosures, the Força Vella and the Medieval Quarter. The Força Vella dates back to the city’s Roman past while the medieval extension of the city walls was carried out during the 14th and 15th centuries.

What to do in Girona

Passeig de la muralla (city walls).

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona skyline

The best part is that you can still walk along the defensive walls that encapsulates almost all of the entire old quarter. There are numerous watchtowers with spiral staircases leading up to some of the best vantage points of Girona’s skyline.

Sant Narcís and the flies

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona flies of sant narcis

As the legend goes, in 1285, under the order of the French king, Philippe the Bold, Girona was surrounded by French troops who sacked and damaged numerous churches in the city.

When the troops entered Sant Fèlix (also included in this itinerary), with the intent of profaning the body of Sant Narcís, the city’s patron saint, giant flies began to fly out of the former bishop’s body, killing many of the French troops and their horses.

To this day, the fly is a sort of hero for the Gironí people which is why you’ll see stone flies  (as pictured above) all over the city.

This legend even inspired the idiom “Les mosques, per Sant Narcís, a cada picada en maten sis“ which means “the flies for Sant Narcís, for each sting they kill six”.

Palanques Vermelles aka the Eiffel Bridge

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona eiffel bridge over River Onyar

This striking metal structure painted bright red will definitely remind you of Gustave Eiffel’s more famous piece of work. Crossing the bridge will give you a lovely view of the coloured houses that line the river. Which leads us to the next thing to see in Girona.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona coloured houses and eiffel bridge

Cases de l’Onyar (Houses on the Onyar)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona coloured houses river onyar

Built in the 19th century, the houses sit along where the old medieval city wall used to run. One of the houses, named the Casa Masó, is even open to the public. This was the former home of the local architect Rafael Masó. A great vantage point of the houses is both from Palanques Vermelles and Pont d’en Gómez.

Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona

While the main layout is Gothic, this impressive cathedral combines several architectural styles from different periods. It also has the widest Gothic nave of any church in the world, and the second largest of all, second only to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona cathedral

El Call (Jewish Quarter)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona el call staircase game of thrones location

The Jewish Ghetto started to form around the 1100s and continued to develop over the next 300 years eventually becoming one of the largest in Spain.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona el call staircase game of thrones location

This part of Girona was even selected by the producers to film parts of Season 6 of Game of Thrones . If you’re a GoT fan, you’ll recognise scenes from Braavos and Kings Landing, minus a bit of CGI here and there.

Museum of Jewish History

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona el call staircase game of thrones locations

Esglesia de Sant Feliu (The Collegiate Church of St. Felix)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Girona Church of St Felix

Be sure to also go inside and see the eight Roman and early-Christian sarcophagi which date back to the years 200 and 400.

La Lleona (The Lioness)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona lioness

Located just outside Church of Sant Feliu is this odd looking lion which if kissed will guarantee a return-trip to the city.

The official message reads:

“Qui besa el cul de la lleona retorna a Girona” “Whoever kisses the lioness’s ass will return to Girona.”

The tradition of kissing the Lion’s bottom used to be a way to officially declare your allegiance and love for the city of Girona and a way to recognise your status as a “gironí.”

Banys Àrabs (Arab Baths)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Girona Arab Baths

Rambla de la Llibertat

As you come out of the narrow alleyways of the Jewish Quarter you’ll arrive in Girona’s Rambla de la Llibertat. This wide pedestrian and commercial boulevard is a place for locals and visitors to shop, meet up and go for a coffee. On any given day of the week, you’ll see one of the city’s markets.

Plaça de la Independència

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona Plaça de la Independència

Catalan Museum of Archaeology

Located within the atmospheric 12th-century Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants is Girona’s Archaeology Museum. If you’re interested in learning more about Girona’s past from prehistory to the Middle Ages, this place is for you. You’ll enjoy eyeballing the artefacts collected from Roman and Ancient Greek site at Empúries, including tableware, glassware and mosaics.

Museu del Cinema (Film Museum)

If you’re a film geek, pay a visit to Girona’s Film Museum. This museum focuses on the evolution of moving photography with the journey starting way back in medieval times using camera obscura before making its way to the 19th-century with the arrival of photography.

There are also some great bits of movie memorabilia, like James Dean’s boots from Rebel Without a Cause and a lamp from Rick’s Bar in Casablanca.

Where to Eat in Girona

El celler de can roca.

You can’t talk about food in Girona without mentioning that it’s home to the world’s #1 restaurant (as of June, 2018). Every year since 2011, El Celler de can Roca has been voted the best restaurant with an impressive three Michelin stars. The restaurant is run by the three Roca brothers, the youngest of which is in the Netflix series “Chef’s table”. If you’re keen, then you’ll need to book months ahead and be prepared to fork out a few hundred Euros.

If you’re on a more modest budget, I recommend eating at either Casa Marieta located in Plaça de la Independència and Indigo at Hotel Carlemany, just outside the historical centre.

Casa Marieta

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Girona where to eat

Casa Marieta creates seasonal dishes based on traditional and market cooking. The average price per person ranges between 17 and 23 €.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - girona where to eat

Located inside Hotel Carlemany, Indigo restaurant serves the best cocktails in the city and provides a more modern culinary experience.


While you may not be able to afford to dine at El Celler de can Roca, you can get dessert at Rocambolesc which is run by the same owners! You’ll find all sorts of oddly shaped ice-creams from the finger of Columbus, a nose, and of course the Girona Lion.

How to get to Girona

From Tossa de Mar, Girona sits just 40km / 25miles northwest and will take you approximately 50 minutes to arrive in Girona’s historical centre.

If you’re based in Barcelona (100 km / 62 miles away) and fancy a day trip, by car, the journey will take you just under 90 minutes. Alternatively, there is a high-speed train which takes 40 minutes. Check train times and prices here .

Tips for Visiting Girona

  • Time : Depending on how many museums you want to visit and how far along the wall you want to walk then wander the ancient streets, allow anywhere between 3-6 hours.
  • Getting around: Girona is best explored on foot, however, you can also jump on a bike and ride around the city too.
  • Pro tip: Girona is full of cobblestones so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

Day 2 Itinerary – Green pins

Today, you’re going to step inside the world’s largest surrealist object thanks to one of the most prolific artists of all time, Salvador Dali. After you’ve experienced the surreal, it’s then time to visit a gorgeous mountain-top medieval town.

But, first…

Since Figueres is the birthplace of surrealist artist Salvador Dali, Figueres has made its mark on the tourist trail. Located an hours drive from Tossa de Mar, Figueres is a perfect day trip option.

What to do in Figueres

Dalí theatre-museum.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres Dali Theatre Museum exterior eggs and statues

After this former municipal theatre was destroyed by a fire at the end of the civil war, Dalí converted the building into a spectacular, and at times, strange Theatre-Museum between 1961 and 1974.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres Dali Theatre Museum Mae West

No surface is wasted. From the outside, you’ll see a castle-like building, topped with massive eggs and golden Oscar-like statues with bread rolls dotting the walls.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres Dali Theatre Museum Oscar-like statues

Once inside, every turn you’ll experience illusions, tricks, and see bizarre yet profound pieces. You need a guide to explain the pieces inside and understand Dalí’s thought process. Trust me, he had one, but it takes some imagination to grasp.

In his own words, Dalí said:

I want my museum to be a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealist object. It will be [a] totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream.

Below the museum, Dalí is buried in the crypt below where the stage was.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres Dali Theatre Museum ceiling above stage

It’s also wonderful to see Dalí’s wife, and lifelong muse, Gala seen throughout the museum. The way he portrays her in his work and captures her beauty, for me, was really romantic to see.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres Dali Theatre Museum Jewels Gala portrait

Dalí Joies (Dalí Jewels)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres Dali Theatre Museum Jewels melting clock

This permanent exhibition showcases a collection of 37 jewels designed by Dalí. Dalí designed these on paper between 1941 and 1970 and were made by specialists in New York.

As you ascend each of the three floors, the pieces become even more imaginative, some of which animate thanks to intricate built-in mechanisms. My personal favourite is the heart, which up until a year ago, used to beat to the same rhythm as a real heart. A video is played next to the heart showing how it once looked. Unfortunately, in order to repair the mechanism inside the heart it would need to be almost entirely destroyed. Booo!

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres Dali Theatre Museum Jewels beating heart

Tips for Visiting Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres

  • Time : Allow 3 hours to see both the Dalí Theatre-Museum and Dalí Jewels.
  • Getting around: No need for a car, this place is totally doable on foot.
  • Price : A ticket to the Dalí Theatre-Museum including Dalí Jewels is 14€.
  • Pro tip: This place gets busy so book your tickets online ahead of your visit. Tickets have set entrance times so make sure you arrive in time for your allotted time slot.

Castell de Sant Ferran (Sant Ferran Castle)

Just 10 minutes walk from the Dalí Theatre-Museum is Sant Ferran Castle. This 18th-century castle is very well-preserved. You can walk the entire 3 km perimeter of the castle for free and take a tour of the interior for €3. The tour includes an audio guide available in English, Spanish, Catalan, French, German, Russian, Dutch, and Italian. Lasting 45 minutes, the tour covers 14 of the most important points of interest. Also available is a more traditional tour with a guide.

Esglesia de Sant Pere (St. Peter’s Church)

Even if churches aren’t your thing, you might want to visit this one. St. Peter’s Church is where Salvador Dalí was baptised! You won’t have to go far to get there either because it’s located in the same square as the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

Where to Eat in Figueres

Duran restaurant.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Figueres where to eat

How to get to Figueres

If you don’t have a car, there are many other ways of arriving in Figueres. Take either the train, bus or even an organised tour. Check here for available tours.

If you’re coming from Barcelona, check train times and prices here and here for Barcelona-Figueres buses .

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Besalú fort bridge

Just 25 minutes down the road you’ll arrive in one of the most stunning medieval towns on this itinerary, Besalú.

The name Besalú comes from the Latin ‘Bisuldunum’, which means a fort on a mountain between two rivers. Don’t you just love how literal Latin place names are?

Besalú was once a Christian pilgrimage destination which spawned pilgrim housing and several hospitals, only one of which survives today, Sant Julià.

Things to do in Besalú

Pont de besalú (besalú bridge).

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Besalú fort bridge

With its pale sandstone and two turreted gates, the bridge provides one of the most striking vantage points of Besalú.

Jewish Quarter and Mikveh (Jewish Baths)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Besalú Jewish Bath Miqveh

For a time the Jews lived alongside Christians until the 14th century when the Jewish people were persecuted.

Surprisingly, it is said that the Jewish families of Besalú were able to leave the city with relatively little bloodshed; a stark contrast compared to many other towns in Catalonia.

Today, remnants of the synagogue and the city gate the Jews used to enter and exit to town can still be seen. However, Besalú’s most famous and important attraction is the ancient ritual purification bath known as miqveh. While the bath was discovered by chance in 1964, it dates back to the 12th century.

Just two years after the baths discovery, the site was declared a national historic and artistic patrimony. Not only is the mikveh well-preserved, it’s also the only remaining Jewish ritual baths in Spain. It is believed that the baths remained so well-preserved thanks to the quality of the soil and water of the river which surrounds the miqveh.

To visit the mikveh, get a ticket from the tourist office located near the car park before crossing the bridge.

Sant Pere de Besalú (Saint Peter of Besalú)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Besalú Saint Peter of Besalú

Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart Chapel)

After meandering through the flower pot lined streets, make your way up to Sacred Heart Chapel for Besalú’s highest point. After strolling along a tree-lined path you’ll be rewarded with epic panoramic views of the town and surrounding hills.

Tips for Visiting Besalú

  • Time : Allow 2-3 hours to wander around the town
  • Getting around: Yup, you guessed it, explore this place on foot.
  • Pro tip: If you happen to be visiting Besalú on a Wednesday in summer, then you might want to stick around to see its 2000-odd residents dress up in period attire and relive their medieval past.

How to get to Besalú

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Besalú main square

Driving to Besalú from Barcelona will take about 1 hour 45 minutes via the AP7/E15.

Alternatively, there are also four daily bus services that operate between Barcelona and Besalú and take roughly the same amount of time as driving.

The services are operated by Teisa , and depart from the company’s offices at C/ Pau Claris 117. Check here for the latest bus timetable and prices . Teisa also runs buses from Besalú to Girona.

Day 3 Itinerary – Turquoise pins

It’s time to soak up some rays and discover why Costa Brava is known for having the second clearest waters in the world, after the Carribean!

Platja d’Aro

Platja d’Aro is one of the many gorgeous beaches that makes up Costa Brava’s rugged coastline. The town, Castell d’Aro is located in the heart of the Costa Brava and 80 km north of Barcelona.

What to do in Platja d’Aro

Sea. Sun. Snorkelling! Platja d’Aro’s seafront is full of intimate coves and long beaches but the best way to experience the turquoise waters is by either going snorkelling or diving.


Best things to do in Costa Brava - Platja d'Aro snorkelling

As the name suggests, Ictinio Diving Centre also offers both scuba diving courses and trips out for the more experienced water dwellers.

You’ll definitely want to take a GoPro with you to capture the moment as the water here is simply gorgeous. Mixed with the elegant white-washed homes lining the coast, try your hand at capturing a split photo like this one. All you need is this inexpensive housing for your GoPro.

Tips for Visiting Platja d’Aro

  • Time : For a snorkelling trip, allow 2 hours plus time to get changed before and afterwards.
  • Pro tip #1: Ictinio  has a toilet, two showers, and a changing area plus all the diving and snorkelling equipment you’ll need. So there’s no need to bring anything but a towel, sunscreen and a change of clothes.
  • Pro tip #2: The office is locked up when you’re out on the water, so you can leave your bag behind. The boat also has room for smaller bags in case you want to keep more valuable items on you such as your phone and wallet.

Where to eat in Platja d’Aro

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Platja d'Aro where to eat casa brinda

Camins de Ronda in S’Agaró (Coastal Path)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - S'Agaró coastal walk Camins de Ronda

The path stretches to over 200 km / 124 miles and initially had a double function. Firstly, it provided a quick transit route for fishermen who had to move from one beach to another and secondly, it was patrolled by guards who kept an eye out for any maritime smuggling.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - S'Agaró coastal walk Camins de Ronda arch pathway

This is, incidentally, how the paths got their name. In Catalan , ‘rondes’ means guards hence Camins de Ronda (Guard Paths).

While you don’t need to walk the entire length of the path, one of the best places to start is from S’Agaró.

The mansions you’ll see that line the coast start at a cool 4 million Euros and have their own private entrances to the coastal path.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - S'Agaró coastal walk Camins de Ronda from above

Tips for Visiting Camins de Ronda in S’Agaró

  • Time: Allow 2 hours to complete a round circuit from S’Agaró beach to the stone verdana temple. Here you’ll see a staircase leading up to street level. Turn left and follow the road back to where you started.
  • Pro tip: Take a bottle of water with you and wear sunscreen, it gets hot hot hot in summer.

Itinerary Day 4 – Yellow pins

Today, let’s head back to the beach but this time to Platja de Fenals for a spot of kayaking! Located in the Mediterranean coastal town of Lloret de Mar, Platja de Fenals is just 13 km (8 miles) south from Tossa de Mar and 30 minutes by car.

Things to do in Lloret de Mar

Kayaking in platja de fenals.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - lloret de mar kayaking

Navigating through shallow aqua-green waters and jagged rocks, this is a lovely way to enjoy views of the blue sea and the rocks just below your feet.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - lloret de mar kayaking

Tips for Kayaking in Lloret de Mar

  • Time : Transbrava have both a 2-hour and 4-hour kayaking tour
  • Cost : 30 € for 2 hours, 50 € for 4 hours,
  • Pro tip #1: You will get a little bit wet in the kayak so I recommend wearing your swimmers, a t-shirt for extra sun protection and sunglasses. As always, wear sunscreen.
  • Pro tip #2: Transbrava have a small hut on the beach where you can leave your bag.
  • Pro tip #3: There are no private showers in Platja de Fenals, just beach showers. There are however a few toilets you can use to get changed in.

Where to eat in Lloret de Mar

Sybius cala canyelles.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - lloret de mar where to eat paella

Jardins de Santa Clotilde (Santa Clotilde Gardens)

Best things to do in Costa Brava - lloret de mar Santa Clotilde Gardens mermaid staircase

Originally, there was a vineyard here which was sold to Marquee Raul de Roviralta Astoul (that’s quite a mouthful) in 1919. The marquee transformed the land into his residence and designed these private gardens for his first wife and family.

The design was inspired by the famous gardens at Villa d’Este just outside of Rome and feature slong stairways lined with statues.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - lloret de mar Santa Clotilde Gardens mermaid staircase

The marquee was a doctor, perfectionist, and a generous man. Each year he would invite local children to the gardens to receive a gift of their choice.

The marquee died in 1979 but it took another 13 years before the gardens were opened to the public, just in time for the Olympic games.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - lloret de mar Santa Clotilde Gardens fountain

Santa Clotilde Gardens are evergreen which means that no matter which time of year you visit, you’ll be sure to see the gardens at their best.

Tips for Visiting Santa Clotilde Gardens

  • Time : Allow 1-2 hours
  • Cost : 5 € for adults, 2,50 € for pensioners, students and people with disabilities.

Blanes marks the start of the Costa Brava and is considered the “Gateway to the Costa Brava”. Its name comes from the Romans who called it Blanda, meaning ‘mild’ after its mild and comfortable temperatures.

What to do in Blanes

Marimurta botanical gardens.

Established in 1920, the Marimurta Botanical Gardens are located on top of a cliff with more than 4,000 species of plants, primarily Mediterranean and subtropical. The gardens feature a large lake and a long flight of stairs leading up to the Linnaeus temple where you’ll have gorgeous views over the coast and sea.

There is market held every Monday morning in Blanes selling everything from fruit, vegetables, jewellery, shoes, leather goods and clothing made by locals craftsmen. There is also a fruit and vegetable market in the Passeig de Dintre that runs every day from Monday to Saturday.

Blanes is home to the longest beach on the Costa Brava called Platja S’Abanell. All the beaches here have showers and wooden boardwalks for easy access to the shoreline.

Sa Palomera

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Blanes Start of Costa Brava Sa Palomera

Castillo de San Juan (Sant Joan Castle)

Sitting 173 metres up, the Castle of Sant Joan has the best panoramic views over Blanes, the port, its beaches and the coastline.

The castle dates back as far as 1002 and was designed to defend the Viscounty town from the dangers that arrived by sea. The castle consists of a large tower, surrounded by a moat and a rectangular walled area.

Tips for Visiting Sant Joan Castle

  • Time : Allow an hour once you’ve reached the castle
  • Cost : 3€ for adults, 1,50 € for pensioners, students and people with disabilities.
  • Pro tip #1: On clear days you can see Montjuïc mountain in Barcelona. The signs with information will tell you how to spot it
  • Pro tip #2: Wear comfortable shoes for the walk up and be sun smart.
  • Pro tip #3: If you don’t feel like walking, you can drive up the winding road where there is free parking

Where to Eat in Blanes

Es blanc restaurant lounge and club.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Blanes where to eat

Es Blanc is located opposite Sa Palomera and has a seaside terrace and three different indoor spaces. Take your time and work your way through their delicious menu starting off with their Mediterranean sushi fusion. Thirsty? Their cocktail bar has more than 30 varieties of gin! After dinner, why not stick around for the nightlife as their inside area transforms into a dancefloor.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Blanes where to eat

Day 5 Itinerary – Pink pins

Ditch the car, it’s time to explore sandstone medieval villages far from the tourist radar. How? On a burricleta of course! Otherwise known as an electric bike.

Cycling through Medieval villages

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Cycling to Peratallada

Starting at Ocitània’s office, we set off on the hunt for several neighbouring villages that could only be described as absolutely gorgeously charming (yes, I speak good English :P). I mean, just look at these photos!

Passing through the countryside you’ll stop in villages such as Peratallada and Palau-sator with each town prettier than the last. My absolute favourite was Peratallada.


Best things to do in Costa Brava - Peratallada medieval village main square

Its name derives from pedra tallada, meaning ‘carved stone’. The village was declared a historic-artistic monument and I can see why. It’s an absolute treasure! A defensive wall still surrounds parts of the village and its stone castle.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Peratallada main square with flowers

Spots of interest include Arche en pierre, Church of Sant Esteve, and the Walls of Peratallada.

Here’s a random fun fact, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was filmed here in 1991.

It will take no more than 30 minutes to see most of village.

Choose your bike tour and check prices here .

Tips for Cycling through Medieval villages

  • Time : Tour last between 2-7 hours.
  • Cost : Starting from 25€
  • Pro tip #1 : The bikes have two small baskets in the rear which can hold small backpacks and handbags
  • Pro tip #2: Wear comfortable closed shoes that won’t slip on the bike pedals.
  • Pro tip #3: Take a large bottle of water, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Pro tip #4: Before leaving Peratallada, grab a gelato from the local Gelats Angelo to cool off.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Peratallada medieval village ice cream

Mooma Cidery

Best things to do in Costa Brava - mooma cidery orchard

What started as an orchard 60 years ago has now been producing cider for the past 2.5 years. Mooma sells a selection of different apple based product including four types of apple juice, vinegars, gin, compte, dried apple pieces and of course, cider.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - mooma cidery production

Mooma is going from strength to strength as it continues to expand. Its latest addition is its restaurant that serves an awesome apple-based menu. Save yourself for dessert, a delicious apple pie awaits!

Learn more about its history and production by booking one of Mooma’s   tasting menus and tours here.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - mooma cidery grilled vegetables

One of the best ways to reach Costa Brava is with Jet2 who fly into Girona/Costa Brava airport from Belfast, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle.

Jet2 even have an included 22kg baggage allowance which is a much welcome bonus.

Check flights to Girona with Jet2 here. If you’re travelling from London Stansted, Jet2 have loads of low-fare flights to destinations around Europe.

Best things to do in Costa Brava - tossa de mar where to stay reymar hotel room

I stayed at Premier Gran Hotel Reymar and Spa which sits on a hilltop and has gorgeous views from your room. They have an outdoor pool, two restaurants, free Wi-Fi, and spacious rooms with a balcony.

Click here to get discounted rates with Jet2holidays when you stay at Hotel Reymar in Tossa de Mar. 

Best things to do in Costa Brava - Tossa de Mar hotel

Sunrise over Tossa de Mar

When to Go to Costa Brava

Best things to do in Costa Brava - S'Agaró beach huts

Costa Brava has a mild to warm climate making it the perfect destination to visit all year-round.

Since it’s located in the northeast of Spain, Costa Brava has slightly cooler temperatures than most of the country. This means it has cooler winters but also very pleasant summers.

If you want the classic beach holiday, then the best time to visit Costa Brava is anywhere between July and August with temperatures hovering around 30°C.

If you want to enjoy the sun without the intense heat, the best time to go to Costa Brava is either in the spring or autumn months when the temperature ranges from 19°C to low 20s.

Heading to Costa Brava? Get my free Catalan Travel Phrase guide here .

Packaged Holidays

Don’t want all the fuss of planning your own trip? Jet2Holidays have package holidays to Costa Brava that will help you check off all these itinerary items. Check options to  Girona with Jet2holidays and for the entire Costa Brava region with Jet2Holidays .

costa brava road trip

Got more time? Take a day trip!

Got more time? Here are some more exciting things to do in Costa Brava.

  • Girona – Game of Thrones 90-minute Walking Tour
  • Girona – Roman History Walking Tour
  • Girona- Small-Group Walking Tour
  • Girona: 3-Hour Gastronomic Tour
  • Canyoning at La Riera d’Osor Gorge near Girona
  • Family canyoning in Sant Privat d’en Bas in Garrotxa
  • La Garrotxa Volcanoes Half-Day Hot Air Balloon Flight
  • Montgrí Castle 4-Hour Excursion from Girona
  • Montseny Natural Park 5-Hour Excursion from Girona
  • From Roses: Catamaran Cruise to Cap de Creus
  • From Roses: Catamaran Cruise to Cadaqués
  • Hot air balloon flights in Emporda, Girona
  • Go Scuba diving in l’Estartit, Costa Brava
  • Jet Pack Lesson in l’Estartit, Costa Brava
  • SSI Scuba Diver course in Costa Brava
  • Snorkeling tour in l’Estartit, Costa Brava
  • Coastal Via Ferrata at Cala del Moli on the Costa Brava
  • Hot spring canyon of Thuès-Entre-Valls
  • Highest Bungee Jump Spain (70m) near Barcelona
  • Via Ferrata in ‘Les Baumes Corcades’ near Barcelona

I hope my Costa Brava itinerary has helped you narrow down what to do and see so you can experience a little bit of everything. Whether you’re based in France or in Barcelona , many of these places can be visited on a day trip, however, I highly recommend basing yourself in Tossa de Mar and venture out to the surrounding areas. Having a hire car will allow you the flexibility to rearrange things and linger a little longer in places that you enjoy most.

If you have questions about my rather epic Costa Brava itinerary, please reach out!

A big thank you to for taking me to Costa Brava and to the Costa Brava Tourism Board for sponsoring this trip.

Going to Spain? Don’t miss my other Spain travel guides

  • 36 Exceptional Things to do in Gran Canaria, Spain (Canary Islands)
  • Where to Stay in Gran Canaria, Spain (The BEST Hotels)
  • 13 Free things to do in Barcelona, Spain
  • 23 Beautiful Must-See Places in Madrid, Spain
  • 19 Absolute Best Things to Do in Bilbao, Spain
  • 19 Reasons You’ll Want to Visit Costa Brava in Spain Right Now
  • 19 Absolute Best Things to do in San Sebástian, Spain’s Basque Country

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Costa Brava Itinerary - Guide to Best Places to visit in Costa Brava

Over to you!

Have you visited any of these places? What other things to do in Costa Brava would you recommend? Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

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The Barcelona Diaries

Road Trip In Costa Brava: Tips & Best Places To See

Taking a weekend road trip in Costa Brava is becoming a yearly tradition that marks the beginning of spring for us. Barcelona is such a special place to live in that sometimes we forget the beauty and richness of the surrounding areas. That’s why, for a few years now, we love going on a little spring roadtrip where we keep going to some places we love but we also discover new ones. What always strikes us is how, no matter how many roadtrips we’ve done by now, there are so many special places still to discover! From charming villages by the sea to cute little towns in the countryside, Catalonia has so many amazing things to see.

Car by Centauro Rent a Car

Our road companion on this weekend roadtrip in Costa Brava was this pretty yet powerful car that took us to some of the most beautiful places under two hours away from Barcelona. For some years now we’ve been choosing Centauro Rent a Car for our road adventures in Spain, Italy and Portugal (and they also offer car rental in Greece), because of their friendly service and unbeatable value for money.

You may also like… Best Beaches In Costa Brava: These Are The 20 Most Beautiful Beaches Cadaques Guide: Tips For A Perfect Holiday In Cadaques, Spain

Choosing the road for your road trip in Costa Brava

Costa Brava is one of those places that are best visited by car. First of all, because the public transport infrastructure is not that comfortable and can be quite pricy. But, most importantly, because the exciting part is having the freedom to stop on any of the many spectacular places you’ll find along the way.

costa brava road trip

The quickest option is taking the AP7 straight away, which is the main highway connecting Barcelona to France. This is, of course, the fastest way but as it’s the main highway it’s located more inland, so don’t expect to see anything from the sea until you take the exit and continue towards your beach destination. 

Another option would be skipping the AP7 and going for the roads close to the sea, maybe a good idea if you’re not in a rush and would like to make stops along the way to explore different beach towns. Some of these roads are the C32, N11 and GI682. Keep in mind that, in certain points, they can become quite curvy and challenging.

Both of these options include tolls, the AP7 being more expensive than the other options. On the first, you will see more rural landscapes, traditional catalan masias and maybe the snowy peaks of the Pyrenees in the background. On the second option, you’ll have the sea by your side most of the time!

Places to see in Costa Brava

Calella de palafrugell.

This little fishermen’s town is famous for its white houses lying by a turquoise blue sea. This was the first stop of our weekend roadtrip in Costa Brava , where we enjoyed a walk by the beach, admiring the sea from its cobblestone streets and across the vaults of some of its buildings. We also had a perfect tapas lunch at a restaurant called Calau , with pinchos and a glass of wine, on a sunny terrace overlooking the sea. 

costa brava road trip


Only 20 minutes away from Calella de Palafrugell you can find a perfectly preserved, charming little medieval town called Peratallada. The village developed around its castle, which was built in the 10th century. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth it to make a stop and travel back in time in one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Catalonia.

costa brava road trip

We were lucky to be there on the last weekend of April, as we later found out that on this date every year takes place a very picturesque flower and herb market. Other interesting events to see are the village’s Festa Major on the 6th and 7th of August, and the Medieval Market on the first weekend of October. 

Cadaqués has a very special place in my heart. A little village of white houses and cobblestone streets swirling up and down, tucked in between the mountains and the sea. It is for me a place where I can completely unwind, walk by the sea, hear the waves and enjoy good food. 

costa brava road trip

Its fame is due, in big part, to Dalí’s legacy. His house is now a museum which can be visited in Port Lligat, 10 minutes away from Cadaqués. Cadaqués is a common element in many of his paintings. I love how reproductions of them are placed all around the village, showing the precise viewpoint from which Dalí was inspired.

Each time we go back to Cadaqués we like to explore new corners in the area which we haven’t seen before. This time, we decided to explore the lighthouse or Far de Cala Nans . You can reach it after a 60-minute hike from the village, up the surrounding mountains and across a beautiful, turquoise-blue cove. The hike is not difficult, but it can be a tiring walk uphill sometimes. However, the views of Cadaqués and of the sea from up there are completely worth it!

costa brava road trip

If you would like to read more information and tips about Cadaques, you can take a look at this post with general recommendations and this post about its restaurants and boutiques .

Other Top Places to Visit in the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava is full of special corners to discover, many more than these, and there are still so many on my list.

Some of them are the beach towns of Tamariu, Cala Sa Tuna and L’Escala. Another charming old village that I’ve heard so good about is Pals. Among my all-time favorites, I do have to mention also Tossa de Mar, Cala Giverola and Blanes, with its beautiful botanical garden by the sea.

What are your favorite spots? Did I miss any? Let me know!

Looking for a hotel in Costa Brava? Take a look at these top hotels in Costa Brava and book now with the best price guaranteed!

Are you more of an Airbnb person? CLICK HERE TO GET A 25€ DISCOUNT ON AIRBNB!

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Foodie Flashpacker

Costa Brava, The Best Roadtrip In Spain: A Foodie’s Guide to Exploring the Region

By: Author Nathan

Posted on Last updated: November 25, 2022

Categories Spain , Europe

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Check out this foodie roadtrip travel guide to exploring the region of Costa Brava in Spain.

For this post, I’m excited to team up with the Costa Brava Tourism Board to bring you a foodie’s guide to the region. I spent a week road tripping my way through Costa Brava in search of the best foodie experiences.

First off, for those of you wondering, “what/where is Costa Brava?” — Costa Brava is the coastal region of Catalonia, located in the northeastern part of Spain , which I’m sure you all know by now is one of my very favorite countries in the world.

Another interesting fact about the area, especially for fellow foodies, is that Costa Brava has one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred chefs in Spain!

When I visited, it was a fortuitous time to be in Catalonia, as it was when Catalonians were voting on whether to leave Spain and become an independent country.

costa brava catalan catalonia

This isn’t a political blog, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t fully understand the discussions on both sides, so I won’t weigh in with an opinion. However, I will say it was all anyone talked about, and I was pleased I could visit during such an important, historic moment.

I flew in to Barcelona from Athens right after I had completed the Discover Syros press event. The first thing that struck me was the weather. I was visiting in October, and although summer had definitely ended on the Greek islands, it was still sunny and warm in Spain!

My first stop: the Hertz counter. You can’t take a road trip without a car, after all. I had a good time chatting up the guy at the counter, as his favorite basketball team is the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is from my hometown. Somehow, this conversation ended with my car being upgraded to this gorgeous Volvo SUV:

costa brava spain

The car was seriously amazing, the interior was beyond comfortable, and it was so hi-tech that I felt like I was piloting a spaceship. As the trip unfolded, I found myself coming up with reasons to drive–often taking a long way just because I enjoyed driving the car so much.

Leaving Barcelona, I set a course for the town of Blanes, where I would spend my first night. As I cruised along, I found myself admiring the coastline and small towns I passed along the way.

I soon arrived in Blanes, the “Gateway to Costa Brava.” Proving my point about the better weather (77 degrees in October!), I saw people still on the beach as I looked for my hotel.

I planned to spend one night at the Hotel Horitzó , which I found to be perfectly situated within walking distance of everything I wanted to see and do, including the city center and the best restaurants. The room itself was large, clean, and modern. There was even an onsite spa that I sadly hadn’t set aside enough time to visit. Next time for sure.

To make my stay in Blanes even more enjoyable, my room was also advertised as having a sea view. As I peered off my balcony, this was the scene that unfolded below me:

blanes costa brava spain beach

That settled it, I was headed to the beach, at least for a couple of hours.

After spending a bit of time at the beach, I decided to grab lunch. Strolling back along the beach, I found Sorrall , a restaurant near my hotel that offered a set lunch. It was still busy– crowded with locals at 3 pm– and I took that as a good sign.

The employees were friendly and seemed happy when they found out I was a tourist. They carefully explained their menu to me and helped me make my selections. As with most set lunches in Spain, this one included wine for the same price as water or soda. I chose wine, of course.

The set lunch was 16 euro, or about $19 USD. To be honest, I’ve found set lunches throughout Spain that are as good or maybe even better for less money, but this one wasn’t bad at all, and I’d happily return because of the seafront location and friendly employees.

I returned to my room at the hotel for a quick siesta (when in Spain…) before my dinner reservations at Sa Lola , a fusion/concept tapas restaurant. I was really looking forward to this dinner, as I had read many reviews online and they all made the place sound amazing.

As I strolled along the beach toward dinner, I stopped to take in the view from the small hill along the way:

blanes spain costa brava

This overlooks the city center and really captures the charm of the town.

A short walk later, I entered the restaurant and was immediately impressed by the decor. I was seated on the outdoor patio, where chandeliers and birdcages hung throughout.

At first, I was a bit skeptical of the menu, as some of the plates sounded overly technical– emulsions, foams, etc. But this apprehension turned out to be entirely misplaced.

My dinner at Sa Lola proved to be a true high-end gastronomic experience. Course after course of intricate dishes came to the table. Every dish was perfectly executed.

Some of my favorites included (perfectly) roasted octopus, fall of the bone Iberian pork ribs, foie gras encrusted in frozen white chocolate, and a dessert of goat cheese ice cream with basil foam and tomatoes.

Sa Lola is a must-eat for foodies visiting Blanes. The food was amazing, the staff was friendly and attentive, and all of their wine pairings were on point. But be sure to call ahead for reservations, as the restaurant frequently books up.

Waking up the next morning, I was a bit sad to leave Blanes after only one night. I definitely hope to return and spend more time in the city. I grabbed breakfast at my hotel’s impressive buffet (made-to-order omelettes, cured meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, etc.) before setting off for my next destination.

Running slightly ahead of schedule, I decided to make a quick stop to check out Monells, a medieval village on the way to my next destination.

monells spain costa brava

To be honest, there’s not much to see in Monells (and even less to do), but the village was quaint and charming and all the other superlatives we use to say “small.” It’s maybe not worth planning a trip around, but if you find yourself with an hour or two to spare, I’d say it warrants a visit.

Monells Spain Costa Brava

I navigated to the village of Llofriu for lunch at La Sala Gran , another restaurant impressively filled with locals in the middle of the afternoon, in spite of the place being so isolated.

I also seemed to be the only non-local, another good sign. I checked out the menu, noting that all the plates emerging from the kitchen for the tables around me looked amazing. Fortunately I wouldn’t have to make any decisions, as the restaurant had prepared a special menu for me.

Although I legitimately loved all the dishes served, two stand out:

la sala gran costa brava spain roadtrip

and easily my favorite:

la sala gran costa brava spain roadtrip

These were maybe the best mussels I’ve ever had. They were so tender, full of smoky flavor, and paired perfectly with a glass (or two) of crisp white wine. I would return to Costa Brava just for another plate of these mussels.

My next stop was in  Palamós, a port town famous for its fishing trade, to visit the fish market, auction, and museum.

I learned all about the area’s specialty– red prawns. The prawns are famous for their bright red color and firm/delicious meat.

I was able to watch the sorting of the fresh catch before taking in an auction.

red prawns Palamos Spain Costa Brava

It was interesting to see how the process is now automated, with bidders holding electronic buzzers. I learned that the bidders are mostly made up of restaurant and seafood shop owners. The bins, sorted with various catches that have been weighed and carefully graded for quality, make their way down a conveyor belt with video displays that link to where the bidding action takes place.

It’s was all fast and automated, completely different from what I expected.

Next, I toured the Museu de la Pesca  (Fish Museum), which I thought would be touristic but was actually quite interesting. I was impressed by its focus on conservation. The museum also showed the different techniques and tools of the trade and how they’ve changed throughout time.

With their great access to the sea, Palamós is famous for their food, especially the famous red shrimp.

I embarked on a small tapas tour of the town and, at Taverna El Galeó I found a bacon tapas, something I’d never seen before.

palamos spain costa brava tapas wine

Leaving Palamós I set off for Girona to check into the Hotel Carlemany , which would serve as my home base for the next 5 days as I explored the area.

The Carlemany is a four star hotel set at the center of Girona’s commercial downtown. All the best shops and restaurants, and even the city’s historical center are a quick walk from the hotel. The room was spacious, the front desk employees were friendly and knowledgeable, and there was even an H&M directly across from the hotel, which made me happy.

Hotel Carlemany Girona Spain Costa Brava

For dinner that night, the hotel was kind enough to host me in their restaurant Indigo . The chef had prepared a special menu and paired each course with a gin and tonic cocktail.

To be honest, I’m not the biggest gin drinker. I’ll have it if someone else is buying or when we’ve drunk all the vodka, but it’s never been my go-to choice. Still, I kept an open mind, as some of the combinations did sound very intriguing.

All of the food was impressive, and I even enjoyed most of the cocktail pairings. My favorite was the starter of grilled octopus with peppers over potatoes and a grilled scallop paired with a Japanese gin/sake blend with yuzu tonic.

Indigo restaurant Girona Spain Costa Brava

After an engagement-free morning (mostly spent sleeping off all the gin cocktails from the night before) I set off for lunch at Es Portal  in the small village of Pals.

The restaurant is located in the Es Portal Hotel, a gastro-boutique hotel. I was given a quick tour of the property and have put it high on my list of places I’d love to return to classy, elegant, and sophisticated without being fussy. Seriously impressive.

Once again, my difficult choice of what to eat had been made easy, as the restaurant informed me the chef had recommended I try the tasting menu. I didn’t have to be convinced.

I hate to pick a favorite, but Es Portal may have possibly been the best dining experience of my entire time in Costa Brava.

Every dish was flawless.

My favorite courses were the monkfish over seaweed

es portal pals costa brava spain

and the sous vide beef cheek, which was perfectly tender and full of flavor.

Tiramisú Es Portal Pals Spain Costa Brava

I always mention that I’m not a dessert person, but Es Portal sent out this tiramisu that I couldn’t help but finish:

es portal pals costa brava spain

It was light and tasted of chocolate and coffee. The server was kind enough to bring out (another) glass of red wine that complemented it perfectly.

Next I was off to check out Peratallada. I was fortunate enough to visit during their annual medieval fair. Peratallada is a small village-like town whose name means ‘carved stone’. Fittingly, most of the town buildings were constructed with stone carved from the same moat that still encircles part of the town.

The passageways are made of stone, and it seemed that this night the entire town had come out for the festivities.

Peratallada Spain Costa Brava

The owner of Cireret was nice enough to invite me to her newly opened bistro to sample several local products and dishes.

The owner is very passionate and excited about her venture. Her enthusiasm really shined through as she explained the concept while pouring a glass of local wine she suggested.

She served a local charcuterie platter and a sandwich made of sausage and her award winning aioli, all while excitedly pouring more glasses of wine that she felt best accompanied each dish.

Her enthusiasm was even enough to convince me to try something new– a pig’s feet and pear chutney sandwich.

cireret peratallada spain costa brava

I actually really liked it! Little did I know that although it was my first time to try pig’s feet, it wouldn’t be the last time that I had them on this trip.

I returned to Girona for the night, and the next day, I woke up to join Girona Food Tours for a walking food tour of the city.

I’m sure by now, if you follow my site, you know I’m a huge fan of walking food tours. I feel they’re one of the best ways to get to know a city. You get to learn about the history of an area as you sample some of the best local dishes. It’s a win/win in my opinion.

This tour was no exception. I met the owner, Marc, and we walked the city together, him pointing out interesting things I would have otherwise missed. Marc isn’t a local, but has been living in the area long enough to be considered one.

We went from place to place, exploring the city and tasting dishes along the way, including xuixo, the famous Catalan breakfast pastry:

walking food tour of girona xuixo

The tour did not disappoint. I walked away with a better understanding of not only Girona but the Catalan region itself. I also walked away full, very full.

To read a complete review of my walking food tour of Girona click here

That night, I dined at Divinum , where I had the 11-course tasting dinner. It was good– really good, actually. But, it was a consolation prize, nonetheless. What I really wanted was a coveted dinner spot at El Celler de Can Roca .

Not only is this the best restaurant in Girona, but it’s been voted the best restaurant in the world several times . IN THE WORLD. Sadly, because this trip came together last minute, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a reservation.

Pro tip: Reservations for El Celler de Can Roca open up eleven months in advance. If you want to get in, make your reservation as early as possible when planning your trip. 

The next day, the good people at the Costa Brava tourism department had lined up a full day of tastings for me. First up was a stop at Masetplana , a vineyard and olive oil mill that has produced high-quality products since 1826! Masetplana is located in the tiny village of Garriguella. If you blink, you might miss it village.

In our tour of the plant, I learned about the production of both wine and olive oil and how the processes had changed over time. As a family-owned business, their production is considered to be small, producing only  about 16,000 bottles of wine per year. The bottles are mostly sold in Girona and Barcelona. The vineyard actually produces enough grapes for 400,000 bottles of wine, but most grapes are sold to other vineyards.

Masetplana also processes over one million kilos of olives per year to make their premium olive oils. By keeping their production relatively low, they are able to focus extensively on quality.

masetplana costa brava spain

Finally, after the tour, the best part– the tastings.

Masetplana Costa Brava Spain

Masetplana isn’t just a business, it’s a legacy, and that becomes quite apparent when you try their products.

Masetplana would be a great stop on your road trip to stock up on wines and olives oils to take home with you. 

Next, a stop for lunch in Capmany at the El Parral Agrobodega . El Parral is a cooperative showcasing the region’s best products.

First up, as soon as I sat down, the friendly waiter poured me vermouth tapped straight out of the barrels that lined the back wall.

El Parral Agrobodega costa brava spain

As I sipped, he assembled a charcuterie platter for me and poured me glasses of a few of his favorite wines to accompany it:

El Parral Agrobodega Costa Brava Spain

As much as I love designer breakfasts, fussy ingredients, tasting dinners, and all things similar, this is my idea of a perfect lunch. Give me local meats and cheeses, a bit of bread, and several glasses of wine, and I’ll find my happy place.

This simple lunch really was perfect and did a great job highlighting the region’s local ingredients. Make sure to plan a stop here for lunch as you tour the area.

Before I left, I stopped at another vineyard next door to the agrobodega to check out where one of the wines from my lunch had been made.

Arché Pagès Wine Cellar is another family-owned winery. In fact, when the current owner took me on a tour of his property, we found his dad checking on grapes in the vineyard.

I had a great time touring both the factory and fields, and we were even able to tap several barrels to try wines still in the maturation process:

arche pages wine cellar costa brava spain

The owner told me that Archè Pagès has been growing grapes since 1894 and produces around 70,000 bottles of wine each year.

I found their wines to be complex, especially the reds, which were my favorites.

The next day, my last in town, I woke up genuinely sad that I had to leave the area. I had really fallen for Costa Brava. (With all these amazing foods and wines, is anyone really that surprised?)

I packed up my bag and began to make my way back toward Barcelona to return the car and catch my flight.

As it was a late flight, this left me with the entire afternoon to slowly work my way back. I had one more scheduled stop to make: a visit to the Mas Vida Winery in Cistella.

Mas Vida was a bit tricky to find, as it’s a bit outside the city, but I quickly found it was well worth the trouble.

Mas Vida is another family-owned, multi-generational vineyard and olive oil mill with a small production that focuses on high-quality products. (I feel like we’re seeing a pattern here!)

This time I met the owner, Adriana. It was my first time visiting a vineyard owned by a woman, which I thought was really great. She explained to me that the business had started as a passion project of her father’s and is now another legacy business that she is equally as passionate about.

There was a pleasant welcome waiting for me when I arrived:

mas vida winery Cistella Costa Brava Spain

Glasses in hand, we took off and explored the grounds of the vineyard, Adriana explaining the production process to me along the way. Much attention has been given to gradually convert the vineyard into a fully organic operation.

After we checked on plants, sampling grapes straight off the vines, we returned to open a few bottles.

mas vida costa brava spain

Adriana, a great host, had provided a local herbed cheese produced by a neighbor of hers and a freshly made paté encrusted in goose fat to accompany the wines.

mas vida costa brava spain

Everything about this day was perfect– great weather, great food, and delicious wines getting to be out on the vineyard learning about the process– definitely budget the time for a visit to Mas Vida when planning your Costa Brava visit.

Speaking of time, as I left Mas Vida, I knew now was my chance to finally see something I’ve always wanted to: the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres. It was slightly out of the way, but I had the time.

Salvador Dali has always been one of my favorite artists, and even though I’ve been to Spain many times, I’ve never made it to the museum. I was going to change that this trip.

Even before I stepped foot inside, the museum had impressed me:

salvador dali museum figueres spain

Once inside, the museum exceeded all expectations. I didn’t have time to take a guide, but just walking around and looking at his works at the various stages of his life was incredible.

salvador dali museum figueres spain

But it wasn’t just his work hanging on the walls that was so amazing– check out this ceiling:

salvador dali museum figueres spain

After leaving the museum, I stopped for lunch at Bocam , a restaurant near the museum that Adriana from Mas Vida had recommended. I strongly suggest you try Bocam if you get the chance. I felt the value was incredible, as the restaurant was high-end, but still affordable.

This was the second time this trip I had pig’s feet, this time in a new take on surf & turf– pig’s feet and grilled octopus.

bocam figueres spain

I loved this dish– I would have never thought of pairing these proteins together, but not only did it work, but it also worked really well. 10/10, I recommend a visit to Bocam if you have the chance.

I made my way back to Barcelona, dropped off the rental car, and checked in for my flight, confident I would return in the future to further explore Costa Brava. This one-week overview was enough for me to know I need to see more.

What part of my visit to Costa Brava looked best to you? Have you ever visited the region yourself? Let me know in  the comments section below!

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the Costa Brava Tourism Department for hosting me for much of my trip during my visit. All opinions remain my own, as usual. 

Nathan Aguilera | Foodie Flashpacker

Travel writer and owner of the blog . My work has been featured on Fodors,, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became.  Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.

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Friday 16th of August 2019

Costa Brava A memorable vacation Holiday. Three years back I had visited costa brava with my family. Sea Food is tasty which made me so yummy.

I have stayed in Blanes for three days, the view is really fantastic having sandy beaches, club nights, a perfect out for night life.

I have stayed in Blanes for three days, the view is really fantastic having sandy beaches, club nights, a perfect out for nightlife.


Costa Brava A memorable vacation Holiday. Three years back I had visited costa brava with my family. I had visited most of the places that you visited, only a few I had missed out.

Hoping to go again costa brava to complete my trip to peaks by enjoying seafood, museums, Spanish wines and especially blanes I'm in love with that beach view.

3-day Costa Brava Road Trip from Barcelona Spain

3-day Costa Brava Road Trip from Barcelona Spain

When I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to come with me for a long weekend to Barcelona Spain, his response was: again!? Yes, indeed, we did spend some time in Barcelona and maybe it was time for a change. When I suggested renting a car and explore more of the Costa Brava region, north of Barcelona all he said was: ROAD TRIP! And off we went! We had 3 days for our Costa Brava road trip but we could have easily made it into a 7 day or 10-day road trip.

However, in case you’re visiting the Costa Brava beaches and would like to see more of the region, or you wish to see more and go from Barcelona to Costa Brava by car, here is my 3-day Costa Brava itinerary to explore the highlights of the region.

I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored. All my opinions and experiences are my own.

Probe around the Globe does use affiliate links. If you decide to follow one of my links and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona and Figueres

Short introduction to Costa Brava Spain

The Costa Brava is the name for the coastal region from the French border to Blanes (north of Barcelona) that is very popular with tourists. Golden bays and rough coastline, the area became immensely popular with holidaymakers, looking for sun & fun.

But the area has much more to offer. From the origin, most villages are fishing communities, which you can still find in the local food (like the sardines of L’Escala).

Dotted with little villages and holiday towns, there is plenty to see and do for the whole family. You can find interesting Greek and Roman history or join the Catalan community in apperitivo by the beach.

It doesn’t matter if you plan your vacation at the beach and wish to explore more of the Costa Brava or want to escape Barcelona, a road trip to Costa Brava is always a good idea!

Day 1: on the road from Barcelona to Costa Brava

We arrived really early in the morning at the car rental place. We were surprised by an upgrade with a nice car. This car would have enough horsepower to drive us up the windy roads and we were particularly pleased with the climate control and tinted windows of the car.

We left busy Barcelona behind us and took the fast route to Girona. My initial plan was to meander through the offbeat villages dotting the coastline, but as we had some delays, we decided to head straight for Girona.

Find your best Barcelona car rental here.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

Girona & food

When we arrived in Girona, the city was struck by a thick blanket of numbing heat. In the middle of the day, the city seemed to grind to a hold. People walked slowly on the side walk, the market just packed up their stuff. We checked into our hotel and decide to freshen up first.

Once the scorching heat of the sun had diminished (only slightly) we set out to explore more of the old town. The colourful houses along the river, Eiffel’s bridge and the medieval streets pulled us in. I loved Girona. A cute, colourful old town without the hustle and bustle of big tourist centre Barcelona.

In the evening, we explored the old town on foot with a food tour. Nibbling on Spanish ham, sipping on local wines, tasting the fresh sardines from L’Escala region.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

Where to stay in Girona? I stayed at Hotel Margarit Girona . It was close to the old town of Girona and had on sight parking for a small fee. Excellent choice for a Costa Brava road trip.

Find your parking space in Girona here .

Day 2: to the coast and finding Dalí

The next morning, it was an early rise for us again. We were supposed to go on a balloon ride to see the Costa Brava from above, but due to fog, our ride was canceled. After a good cup of coffee and some breakfast, we hopped into our rental car and drove to Cadaqués.

White Splendor in Cadaqués

This cute village of white houses, hugging the cliffs of the rugged bay is postcard perfect. We arrived just before noon, parked our car in the underground car park at the edge of town and explored on foot. We walked through the streets, stopping at souvenir shops for some postcards and checked out the local antique market in the main square.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

When we became hungry we stumbled on a local bakery with a queue around the block, so we decided to check it out for our lunch spot. And this didn’t disappoint. I can highly recommend Es Fornet bakery for a coffee stop or lunch.

Cadaqués is famous for the nearby Dalí house, but we decided to stay in town, enjoy the sea breeze, look at the lovely white houses and just enjoy the summer vibe. After a refreshing beer (non-alcoholico of course) we continued our route across the rugged cliffs towards Cap de Creus.

End of the world at Cap de Creus

Cap de Creus is famous for its lighthouse at the edge of the peninsula. This might be the most eastern part of Spain and you have a lovely view across the sea. I especially enjoyed the drive up there. Just a half-paved dirt road it wasn’t an easy drive, but the sweeping scenery left and right made up for it.

We took some pictures at the lighthouse and waited for a while to get a seat at the little café with view across the sea. In the end, things took a little too long and we decided to continue our Costa Brava road trip.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

Figueres- capital of the Dali triangle

Our stop for today was Figueres. I found an amazing apartment right next door to the Dali Museum, so we wanted to check it out. After a warm welcome and a refreshing shower, we went to the museum.

It was late afternoon, early evening, so we almost had the place to ourselves. We spend 2 hours in the museum, marveling at the seemingly crazy but definitely artistic Salvador Dalí.

Although I didn’t particularly like his art, we did talk about it nonstop for the remainder of the evening. As we enjoyed our table of tapas at Sidrería Txot’s we discussed what we saw in the paintings, how Dalí must have lived his life, and what we didn’t like about it.

At the end of the day, we rolled back to our apartment for some much needed sleep.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

Day 3: Roman Greek discovery and the hilltop village of Begur

The third day was also already our last day on our Costa Brava road trip. Luckily, we still had the whole day before we had to return our rental car and we made a plan to see as much as possible in little time. But first, we slept in and made some delicious breakfast in our apartment. Priorities and all.

Empúries – find your inner G(r)eek

After we picked up the rental car and left Figueres behind, we set out to Empúries. This Roman and Greek archeologic sights close to L’Escala shows the ancient city of Empúries and the sea. I always get super excited when I can visit a Roman sight, so I couldn’t wait to get in. We paid €5,50 for the entrance fee which included a free audio guide.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

We first walked through the lower Greek part. Ancient houses, the shopping street and the main market. As my boyfriend listened to the audio guide, I couldn’t peel my eyes from the glistering sea behind the pine trees. The sight was amazing. The cool sea breeze made exploring the ruins bearable in the blistering August heat.

After the (air-conditioned!!) museum, we continued to the ancient Roman sights. We checked out the detailed mosaics and watched a small dig take place. We continued down the old street to the city walls to finish our visit at Empúries.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

Begur and the Gulf of Roses

By now, it was already mid-day and our stomachs wanted some late lunch. We drove to the hill top village of Begur, to sit in the shade, sip on a cold drink and devour some amazing tapas spreads. As the food wasn’t that amazing, I kicked myself for not looking further for a better place to eat. But, being lazy by now, we continued eating and sitting.

As it was getting late, we decided on one more sight before heading back to Barcelona. We drove up the hill of Begur, with sweeping views across a big part of the Costa Brava.

We stood together at the top, pointing at all the places we have visited on our Costa Brava road trip. This was the perfect overview to end our Costa Brava itinerary.

3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres.

3- day Costa Brava Road Trip

This was the perfect end of our trip from Barcelona to Costa Brava by car. We left Begur and headed to the motorway . When we returned the car, we added 450 km to the car’s mileage, which doesn’t sound that much. The good part about the inland part of the Costa Brava is that all the villages are small and the roads are good.

You can easily see a lot of things, in a short amount of time. Of course, when you have long lunches, followed by siesta time and lengthy apperativos, then you might need more time to explore.

Although the Costa Brava is known for its endless gold beaches, I hope I showed you some interesting things to see and do on a road trip through the Costa Brava. I showed you, that you can easily rent a car for a road trip from Barcelona. What would be your first stop en route?

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3-day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona Spain. I share the places to stop, where to stay and eat and the best route to explore around Girona, Cadaquez and Figueres

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Road Trip Along the Costa Brava, Spain


When considering a holiday in Spain , a road trip is one of the best ways to discover some of the lesser-known gems and the incredible Spanish coastline. The Costa Brava is a beautiful stretch of coast in the Northeast of Spain. It begins just north of Barcelona in the seaside town of Blanes and stretches up to PortBou on the French border. There are many wonderful spots along this route, so we have picked out a few of our favorites. So, pack your road trip essentials and remember that you could do these as a complete road trip, or as day trips or weekend trips from Barcelona. Whatever you choose, start planning your family road trip now!

Related Read: Learn how to make sure your car is ready for a road trip!

road trip costa brava

Table of Contents

Road Trip in Costa Brava

Lloret de mar.

The first stop on our Costa Brava road trip is the friendly coastal town of Lloret de Mar. With its array of lush Mediterranean beaches, this picturesque town is just north of Barcelona and marks the Southern edge of the Costa Brava. Lloret de Mar is popular for its beautiful, clean beaches and interesting cultural sites within the town. Some must-see spots are the beautiful cove of ‘Playa de Fenals’ and the serene, romantic gardens ‘Jardins de Santa Clotilde’ which overlook the sea.

Lloret de Mar is also home to luxurious casino resort that is particularly popular with French tourists due to the town’s proximity to the French border.


Heading north and slightly inland, you will find the charming town of Girona. Whilst not directly on the coastline, we recommend Girona as part of your family road trip and as a refreshing cultural break from the beaches. Girona has one of the main airports in Costa Brava , so you may choose to begin your holiday here as an alternative to the popular Barcelona . This is a town steeped in history, beginning with its ancient, sloped fortress walls, which you can explore at leisure while admiring the magnificent views. There is also the beautifully preserved Jewish Quarter, Arab baths dating back to the 11th century, and the breath-taking Cathedral de Santa Maria.

The Cathedral Square is a sight to be marveled at, with a magnificent Baroque staircase leading up to the Cathedral doors, which you may recognize as ‘King’s Landing’ in Game of Thrones. In fact, Girona has been placed on the map for Game of Thrones fans, with famous scenes in the town of ‘Bravos’ having been filmed in Girona’s old town. Another must-see spot is the River Onyar with its unique bridges and the distinctive multi-colored houses sitting along either side.

After a morning of sightseeing, we recommend indulging in one of the many high quality restaurants and enjoying the ambiance of the friendly streets. We recommend ‘El Pati de la Veina’ for a wonderful evening meal in a quirky, cozy restaurant.

costa brava road trip

After taking in the rich history of Girona, it is time to head north to the magical coastal village of Cadaqués. The quaint, whitewashed buildings of Cadaqués sit among its green surroundings and shine above the blue waters and pebbled beaches, giving the whole place an idyllic postcard feeling. Cadaqués is known for having inspired famous artist Salvador Dali, who spent holidays here during his youth.

Thanks to its popularity, Cadaqués is not only an idyllic beachside village but also a vibrant cultural destination, especially during the holiday season. Lots of events and festivals take place here throughout the year, and you can feel the buzz amongst the streets in the evenings. So, depending on what type of holiday you are looking for, you may wish to choose your time to visit. Between its serene appearance and vibrant streets, Cadaqués achieves a balance of sophistication and a Bohemian vibe, which makes it our favorite spot on the Costa Brava.

We hope this article has given you inspiration for your holidays in the beautiful Costa Brava region of Spain. We have mentioned just a few places, but the best thing about a family road trip is that it has a ton of benefits , also you can stop and discover all the mini paradises along the way. Enjoy exploring and discovering this scenic coastline.  

If you enjoyed this post, you should read my 5 day itinerary road trip from Barcelona .

Last Updated on October 18, 2023

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Road Trip Costa Brava – 3 Day Itinerary From Barcelona

Planning a vacation in Spain and wondering where to go after Barcelona on an easy road trip? Costa Brava – the Wild Coast of Spain is famous for its rugged cliffs and natural beauty. It is also conveniently close to Barcelona and so lends itself perfectly for a 3-day road trip from the Catalan capital.

This 3 day itinerary from Barcelona is packed with suggestions for activities, places to see and must-have experiences along the way. See some of the most iconic pieces of art while tracing the steps of surrealist Salvador Dalí, taste some local wine from the L’Emporda region and enjoy the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean during a kayak tour in the calas .

Road Trip Costa Brava Itinerary From Barcelona

2 rowing boats on the beach by the sea with Cadaques village across the waters.

Everyone wants to visit beautiful Barcelona city, a must-see destination in Spain. So, after spending 2 days in Barcelona seeing the famous historic sights, it’s time to explore more of the Catalonia Region, especially the popular Costa Brava.

Authored by Christin Braatz

Day 1. Barcelona – Blanes – Tossa de Mar – Palamós – Begur

Blanes castle by the sea on a Costa Brava road trip.

Highlights of the day:

  • Blanes castle
  • Botanical Gardens Martimurtra
  • Walking old city walls in Tossa de Mar
  • Calas along the Cami de Ronda in Palamós
  • Old town and castle of Begur

Total driving distance: 150 km / 93 miles Driving time: 2 hr 30 min

Start early, as you have a big day ahead of you!

Your drive to Blanes from Barcelona will lead you along the Maresme coast north east of Barcelona, with its long sandy beaches. Upon arrival in Blanes you have the choice of either hiking up to Blanes Castle or wandering around in the Botanical Gardens.

The view from Sant Joan de Blanes castle is spectacular and will make for a perfect instagram photo session. With the ruins in the foreground you can see the never ending beaches to the south and the surrounding green hills. It’s about a half hour hike from the beach, but as it is all uphill, make sure to bring water, especially in the summer!

If instead, you go for the Marimurtra botanical gardens , get ready to be surprised. Beautifully maintained flowers, pergolas, ponds, nooks and viewpoints await. From the pavilion you will be able to see one of the small coves the Costa Brava is so famous for. It’s like this garden sits right on the border between Maresme’s beaches and the Costa Brava’s cliffs and coves. This is why Blanes is considered the gate to the Costa Brava.

If you drive up to the castle instead of hiking up you can probably fit both into the day.

Walled medieval town on the Costa Brava coastline.

2. Tossa de Mar

But before lunch, drive to Tossa de Mar. This medieval village offers many choices of restaurants with a view of the sea for you to choose from.

After lunch, go for a stroll in the old town, you can even walk on the old city walls! In the old town, every corner you turn will make for a great photo. In the spring and summer, flowers bloom on the hill with the towers of the fortress overlooking the town itself and the coast.

How about a quick dip in the sea from the sandy beach before you continue?

Then on your way north, stop in Palamós . Not as overrun by tourists, here you can still feel what the Costa Brava used to be like. The wooden fishing boats are drawn up on the beach, ready for their next day’s work. 

This is a great place to hike a short bit of the Cami de Ronda, the coastal trail (GR92) that stretches along the entire Costa Brava. It will lead you to charming coves (so-called calas ) with arching rocks over turquoise water and through pine forests that smell delightful, warmed by the sun. Alternatively, you can rent a kayak or SUP to explore the calas from the sea side.

4. Cami de Ronda

The Cami de Ronda can be divided into several day hikes almost from the French border all the way along the coast of Catalonia. It is well over 100 years old and originates from police patrolling the coast. Ronda is Spanish for patrol. 

Some hikers take their own camping equipment and put up tents along the way. But as it leads from town to town, some also book hotel accommodation each night. With the rocky terrain of the Costa Brava the hikes are mildly challenging, mostly medium difficulty and require proper footwear. 

White-washed houses by a beach on the Costa Brava.

After Palamós your Costa Brava road trip takes you to Begur . Probably the best spot to see the sunset is from Begur Castle, if you like that sort of thing. But really, when you are in this neck of the woods, it is so worth it to get up for sunrise! 

As you are on the east coast of Spain you will see the sun rise above the Mediterranean Sea. So while you enjoy a scrumptious dinner in the historic town, consider waking up early to experience the sky turning pink and orange the next morning. 

Day 2. Begur – Pals – Peratallada – Girona

Colourful buildings of Girona reflecting on the river.

  • Snorkeling in Begur
  • Medieval town of Pals
  • Medieval town of Peratallada
  • L’Empordà wine region
  • Jewish Quarter in Girona

Total driving distance: 55 km / 34 miles Driving time: 1 hour 10 min

Less driving, more action today!

Before you leave Begur you may want to use this opportunity for a morning of snorkeling or scuba diving. Begur Dive as well as the Aiguablava Dive Center offer both activities here. 

One your way to Girona today, you will visit two medieval villages. The first picture stop is Pals . Its Torre de les Hores tower was part of the old castle and still stands today, surrounded by sandstone buildings, the town square, churches and the old city walls. Take a picture from the Josep Pla viewpoint, from here you can see over the Empordà plain all the way to the Montgri mountains. 

7. Peratallada

Stop for lunch in Peratallada , in the heart of the L’Empordà wine region. The medieval town is a cultural heritage of national importance in Spain, thanks to its 1000 year history. Much of the historic architecture remains to this day and buildings now house restaurants, cafés and artisan shops. Peratallada translates loosely to “engraved in stone” referring to the sculpted sand stone structure of the fortified village. Narrow cobbled streets lead onto a porticoed main square and the 11th century Peratallada Castle. 

Rooftops and church spires of medieval Girona at sunset.

Leave enough time in the afternoon to explore Girona , as there is so much to see! After all, Girona was a filming location for Game of Thrones! You can walk on the old city walls, admire the colourful buildings along the Onyar River from the Eiffel Bridge, explore the historic Jewish Quarter and Girona Cathedral. But you must make sure to kiss the lion statue, as that brings luck! 

Why not enjoy some Spanish tapas this evening or indulge in the ultimate fine dining experience? After all, Girona is known for its amazing cuisine. The city’s legendary 3 Michelin stars El Cellar de Can Roca is one of the best restaurants in the world (reservations are vital as tables are fully booked up to a year in advance!). For less fancy food try some Catalan originals in the tapas bars around town. For example patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy sauce), jámon (ham), pan con tomate (bread with tomato) or tortilla de patata (omelette with potato) along with some local wine. A popular grape is Tempranillo. 

Day 3. Girona – Besalú – Figueres – Cadaqués – Empúries

Stone bridge with arches and tower, crossing river to Besalu medieval town.

  • Medieval village of Besalú
  • Salvador Dalì museum in Figueres
  • Picturesque town of Cadaqués
  • Cap de Creus, easternmost point of Spain
  • Greek/Roman ruins of Empúries

Total driving distance: 141 km / 88 miles Driving time: 2 hr 45 min

Today is the day of architecture and art!

Your first stop from Girona will be Besalú where you will want to take the iconic picture of the historic stone bridge leading into the village. 

Another reason people visit Besalú is that it is right on the edge of Garrotxa Volcano Park, boasting 38 volcanic cones and many other natural attractions. But that is an excursion for another time.

10. Figueres

Drive on to Figueres and visit the Salvador Dalí museum. This world famous artist basically created the genre of surrealism right here on the Costa Brava. While there are other museums in Figueres as well, if you only see one, make it this one. The building itself is as unique as the art in it and the story of Dalí is well told, leaving few visitors untouched.

11. Cadaquès

costa brava road trip

In the afternoon, drive on to Cadaquès , the white town on the sea that inspired Dalí and so many other artists. In fact, his house was in the neighboring village Port Lligat. If you wish to see it, make sure to make reservations ahead of time. 

Take a moment to walk around Cadaquès, explore the little shops along the beach. And just a short drive from the village center is Cap de Creus, the easternmost point of continental Spain. It’s worth a visit in its own right, too, with a lighthouse on top of the rugged cliffs. 

12. Empúries

For the finale of your 3 day Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona, drive to Empúries. Follow the signs to the Ruins of Empúries , you will be able to park very close to the site. For a small admission fee here you can wander where the ancient Greek and the Romans walked since the 6th century BC. The settlement grew during the time of Julius Caesar to include an amphitheater and much more! Before it gets dark, allow about 1 hour 15 min to discover this special place. 

Fun activities on the Costa Brava

costa brava road trip

Hopefully, this 3 day itinerary from Barcelona has given you some inspiration to explore la Costa Brava. Maybe you even found some places you want to come back to and spend more time.

If you like the outdoors, why not extend your trip for one of these activities?

Skydive in Empuriabrava

If you want to end your road trip with a true highlight, consider a skydive in nearby Empuriabrava! Companies such as La Tierra del Cielo offer tandem jumps over the artificial harbor town. Near the canals of Empuriabrava you will notice countless campgrounds in this area. It is popular for caravans and RVs but also the odd tent. 

Coasteering on the Costa Brava

Coasteering is a half-day or full-day activity, usually in a group. You’ll be climbing up rocks and cliffs, then jumping into the water. A guide will give you the safety equipment and advise you were the water is deep enough to jump. For beginners, jumps are up to 8 metres.

Climbing a Via Ferrata on Costa Brava

A via ferrata is a pre-determined route of climbing on a rock, guided by a steel wire. Climbers are hooked to this wire at all times via two carabiners. The via ferrata in San Feliu de Giuxols on the Costa Brava is easy enough for beginners and offers fantastic views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Hiking the Cami de Ronda  

Catalonia has an extensive network of hiking trails, some of pan-european importance. One of these is the Cami de Ronda, GR92, part of the Grand Route network. The trail leads along the coves of the Costa Brava and through the towns and villages. It is usually well marked with red and white signs.

costa brava road trip

About the Author

Christin has lived in Germany, Switzerland, USA, UK, Spain, Canada, Norway, Italy and on a cruise ship. She is currently based in Barcelona, Spain, but travelling for a living. She started Christin has Fernweh after a trip to the Provence, France in 2018 in order to share stories of beautiful places and beautiful people with a larger audience.

If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment box below!

This Costa Brava road trip is simple to do from Barcelona whether you’re driving your own car or hiring a rental vehicle. Alternatively, you can do a similar itinerary by local bus if you have more days to spare or consider an organised trip.

costa brava road trip

Female travellers have the exciting option of joining this exclusive women’s only tour of Barcelona and the Costa Brava . Just sit back and enjoy the experience without the hassle of planning or driving. This is a chance to see the best of Catalonia, accompanied by a local guide and a small group of like-minded ladies. Away from the top tourist sites, there’s much more to see and do – start with a heli trip over Barcelona City, discover secret coves, vineyards, winetasting and authentic cuisine, and finish with a private beach party. Sounds perfect to me!

Related Posts on Barcelona

Barcelona 2 Day Itinerary

costa brava road trip

Barcelona city is an open-air museum with a multitude of fascinating things to see. Follow our Barcelona 2 day itinerary through the historic quarter down to the fashionable seafront boulevard.

Barcelona: Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia Cathedral


On our second morning in Barcelona, we caught the hop-on/off tourist bus and followed the Modernista Route stopping off along the Paseo de Gràcia to view outstanding examples of Catalan art-nouveau architecture, such as Casa Amatller, Casa Batlló and the imposing stone façade of Casa Milà (La Pedrera), designed by Antoni Gaudí.

What to See in Montjuïc (Barcelona)


On our third day in Barcelona, I took time out to discover some of the interesting sights further away from the city centre. You’ll definitely want to see Montjuïc. Barcelona in 3 days is rather hectic to see but a little planning with our ultimate city guide makes this easy.

costa brava road trip


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This is a brilliant guide. The detail is really helpful will definitely be bookmarking this for a future trip to Spain. Thanks a million for this

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The Costa Brava is beautiful! We did a road trip up to Cadaques and Girona. I wish we had had more time to see some of these other places in your post especially the coastal hiking trails.

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I’ve traveled this region with buses years ago and it’s just beautiful. I especially enjoyed Tossa.

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Cadaquès looks other worldly. Great post. Gotta hold onto this for my next med adventure.

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This is a road trip we could be into. Have never visited the Costa Brava but ut looks sensational. Will keep this one saved for future reference

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Loving this three-day itinerary to Costa Brava, Spain. A beautiful road trip from Barcelona!

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You had me at Tossa de Mar. That village is stunning! I’m a huge sucker for medieval castles and architecture. It looks like there’s plenty and more to see on this road trip.

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Beautiful guide! Costa Brava looks amazing, I would love this trip.

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Costa Brava road trip – old town Girona, seaside Cadaques and all the Dalí in between

Ah, Costa Brava – fresh green wheat fields, yellow rapeseed edged with poppies and views over the olive trees to the snow capped Pyrenees in the distance. These are the memories that we brought home from our recent Costa Brava road trip, staying in a rustic luxury villa with our hire car to explore a new place each day.

Car route around the Costa Brava

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Table of Contents

Costa Brava by car

If you are staying in a villa as we were and want to see something of Costa Brava by car, you really need a hire car and ours was kindly provided by Auto Europe . The pickup and drop off at Girona airport was painless and we found that the roads easy to navigate, with much less traffic than we are used to in the overcrowded UK.

It really made driving Costa Brava a pleasure with passing fields full of wildflowers and yellow rapeseed edged with poppies. Of course in the high summer by the coast it might get a bit crazy, but away from the coast I suspect that even in high season these country roads are an easy drive.

Costa Brava driving route with Auto Europe

The only thing I would advise with a hire car is to avoid the centre of older towns and village centres that are not really made for cars. In Girona or Cadaques, we found that when you get close to the centre it’s best to park in the first public car park you see and walk into the old centre.

Beware also of the small country villages which normally have a route that goes around them as well as a road that goes through them. The streets can be incredibly narrow, as we found out accidentally on a couple of occasions, so drive around if you can. You can check out my Costa Brava driving route tips in the video below.

Visiting pretty, painted Girona

Our first day was spent in Girona, the regional capital of Costa Brava. I’d visited a couple of times before and was looking forward to showing it to the family. ( Read about my last visit to Lloret de Mar )

Girona has a similar feel to its big sister Barcelona, but without the crowds of tourists and dare I say a more authentic Catalan flavour (we don’t talk about Spain here). There’s modern shopping if you want it, but I prefer to just wander around the old streets that surround the cathedral, stopping here and there for some people-watching on a café terrace.

If you want the postcard shot of Girona, cross the bridge and walk along for a view of the coloured houses that overlook the river.

Costa Brava road trip

Lunch on the terrace at Konig

Our lunchtime spot was Konig (Carrer dels Calderers, 16), a well placed café below the Basilica de Sant Feliu. There’s a large terrace overlooking the river where we could bask in the sunshine.

They serve good quality local dishes, salads and pasta. Nothing too gourmet, but tasty and not too expensive if you are feeding a large group of hungry offspring.

Konig for lunch in Girona - Costa Brava by car

Is this the best gelato in the world?

For desert we fancied an ice cream so I led the troops across the river admiring pretty painted houses. We went through the Plaça de la Independència and down the small street to find Rocambolesc (Carrer de Santa Clara, 50).

Of course, I knew the gelato would be great, since it is run by the Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca fame, a.k.a The best restaurant in the world if you believe these highly prized lists.

Rocambolesc ice cream in Girona - road trip Costa Brava

The six flavours of ice cream change with the season and come out of the machine in a piped swirl, Mr Whippy style. If you think that six choices may not be enough, even if they include coconut and violet.

And, just look at the endless selection of toppings! The lady who served us reeled off her topping recommendations in just the same way as they recite the dishes when they serve you in Michelin star restaurants. I knew then that we were on to a good thing.

Casa Moner in Girona - driving Costa Brava Photo:

Pastries that ooze with cream at Casa Moner

Right across the street we were tempted into Casa Moner (Carrer de Santa Clara, 45), a local bakery chain that serves artizan breads and pastries. I bought one of their Xuixo signature pastries, a rolly-polly doughnut filled with custard cream. The kind that oozes out the sides and drips down your chin when you take a bite.

Beyond the narrow shopfront there was a sizable cafe area at the back where you could sit to enjoy all the cakes, but sadly that would have to wait for another day.

Fabrica cafe in Girona - Costa Brava driving route Photo:

A trendy cycle cafe at Fabrica

Crossing over the red metal lattice of the Eiffel bridge made by Gustave Eiffel a few years before he even thought of that tower in Paris. We headed back into the old town, having spotted on the map the old walls that encircle half of Girona.

We hoped to find some steps to get up onto the path that leads along the top. But, it took a coffee stop at the trendy cycle café, La Fábrica (Carrer de la Llebre, 3) to get directions to the start of the wall.

Walking the walls in Girona

Walking the walls of Girona

Once up at the top, the path was an easy walk giving us views over the rooftops. We could effortlessly peep into windows below us and snoop on gardens and terraces.

The path ran from one end of the old town to the other, with towers along the way where you could climb up for even more expansive views. We walked around 30 minutes to get from one end of the wall to the other. I ended up behind the cathedral so I popped in to have a look around.

Majestic Girona Cathedral

The cathedral was majestic and tranquil, with towering stone pillars and stained glass lit up by the sun. Photographs were not allowed inside and although many people had their mobile phones out I decided to respect that. Instead I’ll give you a shot of the cathedral cloister which I visited on my way out.

Cathedral cloister in Girona

Staying at Mas Gorral with Charming Villas

I think it’s time to tell you something about our villa which was kindly provided by Charming Villas Catalonia . Set in the countryside a short drive from Figures, we were blown away by Mas Gorral.

It’s an old farmhouse that has obviously been added to over the years. Although all in such authentic style that it’s difficult to tell what is centuries old and what is new.

The villa was set on the hillside so we had views over the countryside. We could view the snow capped Pyrenees and over the nearby village of Pontos, all terra cotta roofs and narrow streets that you could just about get a car through.

At our villa Mas Gorral through Charming Villas Catalonia

Inside we had 5 spacious bedrooms with 3 bathrooms between us. A huge dining room and living room featured natural stonework, colourful walls and antique furnishings.

There was local painted pottery mixed with Asian pieces, perhaps inspired by the owner’s travels. With quirky artworks, well kept gardens and a (bracingly fresh) pool this was the perfect place for our two families to share.

At our villa Mas Gorral through Charming Villas Catalonia

The Dali Theatre-Museum at Figueres Costa Brava

On your car route around the Costa Brava there’s no escaping that giant of 20th Century art, Salvador Dalí . Dali was born just down the road from our villa at Figures.

As we drove the hire car into town and circled to find parking I have to admit that Figueres looked unremarkable. We walked towards the red towers topped with white eggs of the museum. Luckily we got inside just before waves of French school children began to arrive.

Dali Museum in Figueres Costa Brava

The museum was created over 10 years in the old municipal theatre and was Dali’s personal project. He called in his artworks from all over the world and added art installations specially for the museum.

Dali Museum in Figueres

The Rainy Cadillac

We entered the first courtyard that would have been the theatre auditorium. Here we found the Rainy Cadillac topped with a huge breasted and bellied goddess figure.

Gold statues like Oscar awards looked down from the walls and a fishing boat was stranded at the top of a column of Michelin tyres. I saw those again at Dali’s house in Port Lligat.

On the stage was another artwork the size of a cinema screen. In the niche to one side a nude figure of Dali’s wife Gala with her back turned. Except when you cross your eyes or look at it through your camera you realise that it’s a portrait of Abraham Lincoln.

Dali Museum in Figueres

The whole museum was packed full of artworks with that feeling of ‘it’s not quite what it seems’. I did buy the guidebook but didn’t read it until afterwards.

It was an enjoyable game to just wander through the rooms, absorbing the impression without overthinking the meaning. At the end of the day it seems to be a projection of Dali’s rich subconsciousness and dreamworld.

Dali Museum in Figueres

Once you have left the main museum, there is the jewellery collection which is included in the same entrance ticket, full of most gorgeous bling. I coveted the ruby lips with pearl teeth and the red ruby heart brooch that has a mechanism inside so it literally beats.

Gala’s Castle at Pubol

After the Dali museum we decided there wasn’t an awful lot more to see in Figueres. We drove back to the villa where the rest of the crew decided to have a relaxing afternoon.

Guy and I (OK it was mainly me) wanted a bit more of the Dali fix. So, we drove south towards Girona to visit the Castle at Púbol that Dali gave to his wife Gala.

It really was a beautiful drive on country roads with little traffic and only the occasional mishap. We inadvertently drove through one of those old villages where the houses close in and the lanes became so narrow that you worry for your wing mirrors.

Gala Dalí Castle House-Museum in Púbol

This fortified country house or castle was a gift that Dali had promised Gala years before. A place that she could come on her own and relax. A place where even her husband would have to request written permission to visit her (or so the story goes).

Gaia’s sanctuary

Once the museum at Figures was nearly complete the couple were able to start work on the renovations for their new project. It was designed to suit Gala’s taste with some of Dali’s surreal art such as the cupboard painted with radiators to disguise the real radiators.

Gala Dalí Castle House-Museum in Púbol

The decoration here was luxurious but the overall effect simpler than the house we would see the next day. At Port Lligat, the same amount of furniture was squashed into half the space.

This was much more Gala’s retreat where she would come for a few weeks at a time to relax away from all the showmanship that surrounded her husband.

Gala Dalí Castle House-Museum in Púbol

Gala was clearly an elegant woman, her hair swept back into a girlish style, which was pinned with a large black velvet bow. Since I used to work in fashion, I loved looking at Gala’s dresses on display upstairs

There were garments from the 50s and 60s, purchased from designers such as Pierre Cardin and Elsa Schiaparelli. Her dresses show her loved colour, luxurious fabrics and the subtle sparkle of lurex.

The wild Costa Brava at Cadaques

Our final day was blessed with glorious sunshine at Cadaques. This old fishing town is now quite a tourist hotspot on the wild and rocky Cap de Creus. You drive on a winding road that snakes up through the unspoiled natural park, and brings you down the other side to Cadaques.

Cadaques in Costa Brava

Parking the hire car in the first main car park we saw as we came into town was the right decision. There was little space to pass in the smaller roads close to the beach. We walked around the seafront away from the busiest terrace restaurants and cafes.

We found a smaller place that had been recommended to me called Enoteca MF. It’s the wine bar and tapas restaurant that’s run by the same family that has a vineyard and winery set above Cadaques called Sa Perafita which you pass on the way into town.

Lunch at Sa Enoteca in Cadaques in Costa Brava

Tapas for lunch

They serve fabulous tapas with the seafood being especially fresh and delicious. We tried a bit of everything including a bottle or two of their Cava and a glass of the local Vermouth. This is the fashionable drink of the moment in Catalunya.

There was the pan tomat rubbed with tomato and garlic and a plate of local cheeses. Also, red tuna sashimi and a salmon tartare topped with guacamole.

We were impressed to see the staff peeling a huge bowl of pink shrimps which were then pulverised to make a shrimp carpaccio. It was enough to melt the heart of the most avid opponent of raw fish.

Port Lligat in Costa Brava

After lunch we walked up the lane beside the wine bar and in 10 minutes were overlooking the next bay at Port Lligat. This small fishing bay is where Dali spent most of the time with his wife Gala.

Dali House at Port Lligat

The house was created by knocking together a number of fishing huts and then extending them over the years. Because the individual rooms are so small you need to book timed tickets in advance. In April we were able to get them the day before.

Dali House at Port Lligat

Although there were not many large scale artworks here, Dali’s vision was felt everywhere. Dried yellow ‘everlasting’ flowers were in almost every room, a favourite of Gala’s.

Dali’s art studio was one of the largest spaces with light flooding in and an easel that could be moved up and down. This enabled Dali to always paint sitting down on his chair.

Dali House at Port Lligat

We moved from room to room, up a few steps each time since the different cottages were on different levels. Soon we emerged on a lovely terrace.

Whitewashed stonework, pots of flowering plants and olive trees provided shade. The surprise was that they’d cleverly fitted in a swimming pool on the terrace with a round section and narrow channel for swimming up and down.

Dali House at Port Lligat

Since not all of our group had visited the Dali house, we joined the rest enjoying a drink at the Es Raco d’en Dani Xiringuito. Located at the other end of the beach, it is another offshoot of the Sa Perafita winery.

There was plenty of seafood on the menu. Although we stuck to the beers and coffee the waft of grilled octopus was mouthwatering.

Cadaques in Costa Brava

Exploring the artisan market

Rather reluctantly we walked back over the headland to Cadaques and wandered around the artisan market. Here we bought olive bread and pastries from the Cas Mona stand that we had seen in Girona.

Market near Pontas in Costa Brava

What a fabulous break we’d had but the next day it was time to return to Girona airport for our flight home. Still we managed a quick trip to the Sunday market at nearby Bascara. We bought some salad and rotisserie chicken for lunch on the terrace.

As we basked in the warm sun I think we were all trying to soak it up and take a little piece of Costa Brava sunshine home with us.

Costa Brava countryside Photo:

Have you been to Costa Brava or Catalunya and if so, what did you enjoy?

Read more about costa brava.

Lloret de Mar – sun, sea and so much more… Val de Nuria – a Sunday stroll in the Pyrenees

Visitor Information for Costa Brava

Thanks to Charming Villas Catalonia for providing our villa Mas Gorral near Figueres. Charming Villas specialise in luxury and character villas in Catalonia. Choose from rustic villas in the countryside to modern coastal villas.

They have over 80 villas to choose from. Richard and his wife who run the company are based locally they are able to help with planning your holiday and on hand to sort out any issues.

Auto Europe work with 20,000 car rental locations in 180 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, as well as North and South America.

For more information to plan your holiday in Costa Brava, visit the Costa Brava Tourism Website and the Catalunya Tourism Website .

Read about our driving tour of Costa Brava

Thanks to Auto Europe for providing* our hire car for exploring Costa Brava.

* More info on my policies page

This article is originally published at

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Subscribe to Heather on her travels newsletter

Saturday 6th of April 2019

Hi Heather. I know this article is quite old now but it was very useful and informative. I am staying in Blanes this month and have a hire care booked. We have a 3 year old and a 6 month old and are planning on bringing a double buggy. Will it be possible to get around the town's with such a big buggy or will we have to make other arrangements or avoid certain places? Best wishes.

Heather Cowper

Tuesday 9th of April 2019

@Jack please you found this useful - The Spanish love kids so I'm sure you will get lots of positive reactions from the locals - I would say you'd be fine in places like Girona and in smaller places too but you may need to make accommodations in the villages or places to visit that are very old, involving smaller access and steps - so I think you may have to play it by ear when you get there.

Friday 13th of April 2018

i want to 1 time visit Costa Brava, thanks your post

3 unique locations for the perfect spring break - Boutique Travel Blog

Wednesday 7th of March 2018

[…] Discover more in Heather’s post, A driving tour of Costa Brava. […]

Natalie @ Turkish Travel

Sunday 17th of July 2016

I had a chance to visit here years ago and turned it down. Wish I hadn't now :(

Monday 18th of July 2016

@Natalie Always another chance!

Mary @ Green Global Travel

Monday 25th of April 2016

I feel like I was right there with you in Costa Brava. That gelato looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your photos!

Tuesday 26th of April 2016

@Mary I did enjoy the gelato for sure

costa brava road trip

5 places you must visit during your Costa Brava road trip!

Costa Brava (literally meaning wild or rough coast) is one of the most scenic road trips of Europe. This beautiful coastal region of Catalonia in Spain stretches from the French border to the town of Blanes (60 km northeast of Barcelona). The breathtakingly beautiful Costa Brava has enchanted many with its stunning beaches, azure waters, abundant sunshine, quaint little towns, and windy roads along the coast! No wonder it was the playground of famous artists like Salvador Dalí and Picasso.

The best time to visit this place and enjoy the brilliant sun is from May to September (August has the highest footfall). So, without further ado, here are the 5 places you must visit on your Costa Brava road trip!

costa brava road trip

1. Cadaqués - The Beautiful White Village

A 3-hour drive from Barcelona, Cadaqués is arguably one of the Costa Brava’s best spots. This beautiful fishing village nestled between the mountains of Cap de Creus had me completely captivated with its stunning landscape and architecture. What’s unique about this place is that even with a lot of tourists around, it still manages to retain a tranquil feeling. This cute village of white houses, embracing the cliffs of the rugged bay is picture perfect. My favorite thing here was gazing at the turquoise waters dotted with pretty fishing boats bobbing along the harbor.

costa brava road trip

I also absolutely loved exploring the town, walking through the streets, stopping at souvenir shops and the local antique market in the main square. The town’s cobbled streets wind up, down and around surreal art galleries, stunning cafés and tiny hotels.

costa brava road trip

Oh, and If you are a Dalí lover, this is just so your place, the real house-museum of Portlligat was the only stable house of Salvador Dalí; the place where he lived and worked until 1982.

2. Tossa De Mar

The “Blue Paradise”, Tossa De Mar is a 2 hour drive from Cadaqués and one of the most beautiful towns of Spain! This sleepy beachside town turned into a major attraction overnight when Ava Gardner and James Mason came here in the 1950s to film Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. This pretty town is constructed around a magnificent ancient castle, its 14th Century walls are the last fortified medieval town to survive to today on the Costa Brava. I especially loved the beautiful mountainous hinterland which creates a stunning backdrop and the old town Vilavella Enceinte that can be spotted from the beach.

costa brava road trip

A striking part of Tossa de Mar is La Vila Vella castle which gives this city a medieval feel; the towering castle walls perimeter the most delightful part of the city, the old town. It’s a charming labyrinth of medieval alleys lined with shops, restaurants and ancient houses. (Random Food Tip - I highly recommend the typical sea dishes served in the numerous restaurants in the city centre.)

costa brava road trip

Medieval Tossa dates back to the year 966; in 1187 the castle was built on the headland to defend the town. The trip through the area of the old castle only takes a few hours and you pass by various cute corners with many historical buildings, monuments or stunning views of the coast and mountains. I was delighted in a sense of history and the wonderful views from the castle, the highest point of the town.

3. Cap de Creus Natural Park

The Cap de Creus (Creus Cape) is one of the most gorgeous places in Costa Brava. A paradise with stunning sea and mountain landscapes, this is a peninsula and headland located at the far northeast of Catalonia.

costa brava road trip

Legend has it that Cap de Creus was hewn by the Roman God Hercules and it sure looks ethereal! The collection of beauty spots in this place have left a lasting imprint on my memory. The unforgettable views of the wild coastline with its dizzying cliffs and hidden coves, and with islets spread all along are sure to blow your mind too! The signature quirky-shaped rocks, sculpted by the wind and the erosion of the sea; seem like figures of lions, dragons, horses, eagles and other mystical beings. The park’s interior consisting of forests and meadows is a biological paradise.

costa brava road trip

4. Castel d’Emporda

Castell d’Empordà is a 4-star hotel in Costa Brava, set in a restored 14th-century castle. It stands on a 12-hectare property, spangled with olive trees and oak, and a fantastic swimming pool offering panoramic views. It is the perfect combination of a magical thousand-year old castle and modern-day luxury and comfort. I was smitten by the beauty of the castle, surrounded by olive groves and well-kept gardens. The castle enjoys a commanding position atop a hill overlooking the broad plains and rolling hills of the Empordà.

The interior is elegantly decorated with contemporary design furniture, stone arches and chandeliers. Dinner at Drac, the castle’s well-known restaurant, paired with fantastic wines from the Empordà region, the food was sumptuous. My exploration of the castle took me to the top and views from there were absolutely stunning!

costa brava road trip

5. Hikes on Camins de Ronda

One of Europe’s greatest hiking trails, the Camino de Ronda coastal trail spans over 200 km (125 miles) through gorgeous beach towns that are a must visit! I would suggest a day hike along the main trail. There are smaller dirt trails, which branch off towards the ocean down to little rocky coves, fishing spots and small beaches. There are signs and maps posted all along the trail to guide you.

costa brava road trip

It’s important to note that there are many variations of the route. Along the way different bike paths and trails connect to the Camino de Ronda and wander inland before usually meeting back up later. My favorite beach was ‘Cala Rostella’, which is a 100 m long coarse sand cove, accessible by boat or on foot along dirt track (about a 20 minute walk).

costa brava road trip

The turquoise waters, sandy beaches and delicious coastal cuisine of Costa Brava have absolutely stolen my heart. The surreal landscapes and enchanting experiences have made this journey an unforgettable road trip for me! So, when are you planning your trip to Costa Brava?

costa brava road trip

Paulina Klimkiewicz

Paulina is an OutdoorTrip ambassador who is a freelance travel writer and photographer. She has traveled to over 30 countries and is just getting started! Paulina enjoys sharing her hunger for travel in hopes of inspiring others to pursue exploring as well.

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Latitude 41

Latitude 41

Best Costa Brava Towns for a Road Trip

*This site contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission when you buy. See my full disclosure .

Just call it the “coast gone wild” or, in other words, the Costa Brava. While this northeastern region of Spain is famous for its rocky coast and long stretches of sand, it also has medieval villages, natural reserves, and fine art. I’ve taken several variations of a Costa Brava road trip with my family over the past 15 years. And in this blog post, I’m sharing the best places to see in the Costa Brava if it’s your first time. Below, I’m suggesting “clusters” of destinations that are in close proximity. Read on, my friend!

Best of Costa Brava

Table of Contents

What is the Costa Brava?

Costa Brava is in the northeastern region of Spain above Barcelona and stretches to the French border. (If you were to drive from Barcelona and go north, it would take about 2.5 hours.) It grew as a popular holiday beach destination in the 1960s, becoming an icon of mass tourism in Spain. Tourist pamphlets boasted sandy beaches and endless sunny days, earning the Costa Brava a reputation of being solely a coastal region. But it’s isn’t just beaches! It covers an enchanting and rich region of wineries, ancient medieval towns and villages, art, and Salvador Dalí-land. 

Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar ( Beaches and villages)

Lloret de mar.

While the touristy area of Lloret de Mar is nothing to write home about, Lloret has beautiful coves like Cala Morisca or Sa Boadella. It also has the beautiful Esglesia de Sant Roma , which was built between 1509 and 1522. Nearby are the Jardines of Santa Clotilde (Saint Clotilde Gardens) , a picturesque botanical garden with Italian renaissance notes of marble sculptures, lush trees, and flowers. For the young folks, they like flocking here for the lively bars, restaurants, and nightlife.

For a scenic atmosphere, walk the camis de ronda. They are pedestrian roads lining the coast that fisherman, military, and even smugglers used to travel between towns. Some stops include enchanting surroundings such as the Cala Figuera or the remote Cala d’Allà. 

costa brava road trip

Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar is a small, calm, and residential beach town.  Its most outstanding feature is the Villa Vella, or the walled city, perched atop a hill overlooking the beach. Climb the hill, or take the cute tourist train to go up. Once there, you get beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and a delightful little town of cobblestoned streets. A curious statue in the area is that of Eva Gardner, who filmed “The Flying Dutchman” in 1951. The main beach is the Platja Gran (pictured below), which is the main beach closest to the town’s area. But Tossa de Mar also has more intimate coves like Platja Es Codolar or the rocky Cala Llevadó.

Tossa de Mar, one of the best Costa Brava Spain beaches

Pals, Peretallada, Begur, and Calella de Palafrugell ( Medieval villages and beach)


Peratallada is an ancient stone village whose name comes from petra (“stone”) and tallada (“engraved”).  Its fortified castle built from the 11th to 14th century has a palace and a tribute tower, and the Church of Sant Esteve was built in the 13th century. It also has a moat surrounding the town (sans dragon!) and is excavated into the rock. If you’re here in October, you may come for the Medieval Market, where the city is transformed into artisans, jugglers, and medieval clowns.

costa brava road trip

Pals is another charming, cobblestone town reminiscent of medieval times, winning many awards for the preservation of its Catalan heritage. Its beautiful Romanesque tower goes back from the 12th century. And the Gothic building Ca la Prina , built in the 15th and 16th century is currently a cultural center. The Church of Sant Mere boasts Roman, Gothic, and Baroque influences. Go up the lookout point of Josep Pla , to get a panoramic view of the natural reserves of the Medes Islands. (Yes, they are small islands nearby!)

Pals, Costa Brava, Spain

 Calella de Palafrugell

Calella de Palafrugell is a small resort and fishing village with a warm, special charm. It conserves its original beauty for generations, of fisherman boats parked among the sand and rocks. Visit the Platja de Port Bo where you can see Les Voltes, or old porticoed houses. You won’t find many hotels in the area, but a good Airbnb will give you a more authentic experience.

costa brava road trip

Begur is a two-fold delight. It has an old town with the small Romanesque settlement of Esclany, a 15th-century medieval castle , fortified city walls , and five ancient defense towers . It also has eight coves and small beaches. Begur also has curious “Indies” houses, built in the colonial architectural style by townsfolk who emigrated to the Americas in the 19th century. (They returned to Begur with a fortune!) For an intimate beach, head to L’Illa Roja, with its beautiful rocky cliffs and remote atmosphere.

Begur Costa Brava

Cadaques, Cap de Creus, and Figueres ( Art and nature)

Cadaqués, a small fisherman village protected by the wind, appealed to many artists like Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, and March Chagall. Its unassuming loveliness is found in the whitewashed homes, rocky lanes, and fishermen boats that dot the bay. More than that, it boasts the Esglesia de Santa Maria , a gothic church, first built in the 16th century. Just nearby is the Casa-Museu Dalí, where the surreal artist lived and worked until the death of his beloved wife, Gala, in 1982.

One of the best towns, Costa Brava, Spain

Cap de Creus

Cap de Creus is a beautiful nature reserve inspired by surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. This refreshing area is for lovers of nature and the outdoors. Walkers, trekkers, and mountain bikers wander the paths or follow the cattle trails. Follow the paths to the lighthouse in Port de la Selva. See more about my long weekend in Cap de Creus here !

Costa Brava travel in Cap de Creus

There’s only one reason to go to Figueres –  for Salvador Dalí! It’s the birthplace, hometown, and burial site of the famed Catalan artist. And the mecca of Dali-land is the Dalí Theatre-Museum, hands-down my favorite museum in Spain. Dalí helped design this museum, once a damaged municipal theater. It’s considered the largest surrealist object in the world and has many recognizable art pieces like the Mae West furniture installment. Read about the Dalí museum in my post here.

Dalí Theatre-Museum: best of Costa Brava sightseeing

Girona (Medieval City)

If you like culture, history, and the Game of Thrones, then you can’t miss the stunning city of Girona. Located inland, Girona was a major Roman city, possessing the Onyar River, which divides the urban center from the old town, Barri Vell. Its beauty lies in the Girona Cathedral, a Gothic cathedral that started construction in the 11th century. The Call Jueu is the labyrinthine cobbled streets, one of the most well-conserved Jewish quarters in Spain. We can’t forget the Banys Àrabs, ancient public baths dating as far back as the 12th century.

Costa Brava, Girona, Spain

TLDR; My favorite places to go to in Costa Brava

If I were to pick three towns, I would pick:

1) Tossa de Mar – the Villa Vella is a unique place! Where else can you see a castle overlooking the beach? Wandering around the streets behind it also gives you gorgeous views.

2) Cadaqués – this town is well-preserved and untouched by ugly mass tourism. Plus, you can feel the spirit of Dalí here.

3) Girona – It’s an important historical city with plenty of things to do.

Want more? Read my detailed guide of Barcelona day trips from Barcelona !

Or want a longer-ish vacation? Read about the best weekend getaways from Barcelona !

How to Get to Costa Brava from Barcelona

The easiest way to travel the Costa Brava is to rent a car and take a road trip. However, if it’s not possible, trains and buses work just fine in Catalonia. See the map below!

But if you don’t want to drive, you can take the train or the bus. The RENFE train system is the official railway. Find RENFE train schedules here . The buses can vary from destination to destination. Some of the bus companies are Sagalés or TEISA .

But why not make it easy? Sometimes an organized trip can take the headache out of travel. Check out these exciting Costa Brava experiences with Get Your Guide:

Costa Brava Sample Itineraries

Mix and match, baby! Here are a few suggestions of itineraries you can take to see the Costa Brava.

1) Tossa de Mar (beach and history) + Figueres + Cadaques (art and quiet village) 2)  Lloret de Mar (pretty beach) + Peretallada (medieval town) + Girona (history and culture) + Cadaques (art and quiet village) 3) Tossa de Mar (beach and history) + Lloret de Mar (pretty beach) + Cadaques (art and quiet village) + Figueres 

1) Tossa de Mar (beach and history) + Lloret de Mar Begur (beach and history) + Cadaqués (art and quiet village) + Figueres 2) Lloret de Mar (pretty beach) + Peretallada (medieval town) + Pals (medieval town) + Girona (history and culture) + Cadaques (art and quiet village) 3) Tossa de Mar (beach and history) + Girona (history and culture) + Begur (beach and history) + Calella de Palafrugell (beach)

1) Tossa de Mar (beach and history) + Lloret de Mar (pretty beaches + Girona (beach and history) +  Cadaqués (art and quiet village)  2) Lloret de Mar (pretty beach) + Peretallada (medieval town) + Pals (medieval town) + Begur (beach and history) + Girona (history and culture) + Cadaqués (art and quiet village) + Figueres (art)

How many days do you need in Costa Brava? At least seven days would be ideal. But not everyone has that luxury of time, so 3 days would be the minimum to see at least two towns in the Costa Brava. But do what you can!

Can tourists drive in Spain? If you are an EU citizen, you can rent a car by just showing your driver’s license and identification. If you are not an EU citizen, you must have an international driver’s license. Europeans usually drive manual (stick shift), so be sure to check that detail of the car you’re renting one.

Is driving in Barcelona difficult? The driving signs in Barcelona and Catalonia are probably different from where you are. But they are fairly intuitive and easy to read. Parking spaces are tighter than in the US. Also, if you are going to a big city (like Barcelona) it’s difficult to find parking. I suggest that you familiarize yourself with traffic signs in Spain. Google is your friend!

What about toll roads? This was a huge shocker for me – the expensive toll roads in Catalonia! But they are definitely  the faster way to get from city to city. My family and I prefer using them to avoid any winding roads. If you want to estimate how much the toll roads are, visit the Via Michelin website , which estimates the tolls and gas mileage based on the type of car.

Costa Brava map

That’s it for things to do in Costa Brava! Have you been to Costa Brava? Have I missed any must-see towns? Do you have any questions about this beautiful region? Let me know in the comments!

By Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

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Everywhere Bucket List

How To See The Costa Brava in 4 Days

costa brava road trip

During the summer months, we spent 5 days in the South of France for a wedding, followed by a road trip through the Costa Brava in 4 days.

We absolutely loved the Costa Brava!  Whilst the Costa Brava has a reputation for being a spot for English party-goers, I found that mostly, the Costa Brava is just a stunning area of Spain to visit and not at all trashy (which is what I expected)!

Things To Know About The Costa Brava

Girona is the Costa Brava Airport (and capital of the Costa Brava!) though you can also get there from Barcelona.

The region is dotted with great small towns with character and beautiful beaches along it’s rugged coastline. 

It is known as a party place, so try to avoid towns like Lloret de Mar and you’ll find much more non-touristy places!

Here’s the road trip we took through the Costa Brava in 4 days!

costa brava in 4 days

Day One in Costa Brava

Our road trip around the Costa Brava started in the South of France, where we had spent the previous 5 days attending a family wedding. The drive from the Toulouse region takes around 3 hours, making it a very easy option for weekend trips from France, too!

On our way down to Spain, we stopped at the French beach resort town of Argeles sur Mer for lunch. We gobbled down our last ‘steak & frites’ and headed onto the beach. The beach was so windy and so full of people we didn’t hang around for long, opting to get down to Roses earlier than planned!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

On To Spain

The drive into Spain on the highway is quite interesting as the terrain changes quite dramatically from flatter inland plains to mountains, cliffs, and a rugged landscape! 

We stopped on our first evening in the Costa Brava in the town of Roses. After checking in to our lovely little hotel room, we got ready for dinner and a walk around town. We had heard Roses was a great place to start our trip and I would agree! Though it was much larger than anticipated!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

In the evening we found a lovely little tapas bar where we had our first Catalonian beers/sangrias. We also strolled around town for a long while, enjoying the shops, the liveliness of the town, and had a mega ice cream sundae, because – vacation calories totally don’t count!

Day Two in Costa Brava

Our hotel breakfast was a fantastic place to start our day. Along with our extensive breakfast, we also packed ourselves some sandwiches of Spanish hams and cheeses and fruits to take with us for lunch later on the beach! Cheeky I know, but it’s a great way to save some money on vacations. And who wants to leave the beach to go grab lunch?!

Beach Day at Cap de Crues

We jumped in our rental car and headed for Cap de Creus. It is the eastern-most point of mainland Spain, and the coastline is wild, windy and rocky! Due to it being located furthest from the resorts along the sandy coastline, Cap de Creus isn’t super touristy. BONUS!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

After arriving and luckily scoring a parking spot, we grabbed our beach bags, our big bottles of water, and headed over to the lighthouse. The views from Cap de Creus are amazing!! Seeing out onto the Mediterranean Sea, with the sun hitting the water like diamonds was just magnificent.

Costa Brava in 4 Days

After doing a recky of the different tiny beaches we could spot from up on top of the cliffs, we saw a beach with very few people on it. A 10-15 minute climb down the cliff later and we had made it to our beach for the day.

Costa Brava in 4 Days

No sand, just pebbles and rocks, we created a flat surface and put our towels down and got comfortable. When I say there were hardly any people, I mean, there were a total, at the busiest period of the day, a maximum of 10 people.

costa brava road trip

The water was clear and cool and our day was extremely peaceful. Our hotel breakfast ‘lunch’ came in extremely handy considering the climb back up the cliff for lunch was not something either of us would have been prepared to do!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

In the late afternoon, we decided to head back up the cliff to head for aperitivo in Cadaques, a gorgeous seaside town nearby. But first, the 15 minute climb back up the cliff. Once we had made it up to the lighthouse again, we decided to take shelter at the shaded bar and had a delicious beer (my Dutchie had a coke since he was driving).

Costa Brava in 4 Days

Afternoons along the water

Cadaques is somewhere I could have stayed for days in a row. After finding a parking spot, we walked around town and along the stunning waterfront, stopping for gin tonic happy hour, perched at the waters edge.

Costa Brava in 4 Days

Cadaques, while beautiful it is also small. The restaurants along the water-side were already packed full of people so we went to Empuriabrava for dinner. Empuriabrava is known as the Catalan Venice, with many beautiful canals through the town.

We had a really delicious chicken paella, dessert of creme catalan (catalan version of creme brulee), yummy drinks and great service! Empuriabrava was a very happening town with a huuuuge beachfront! Though not as much cosy charm as I had enjoyed from Cadaques.

Costa Brava in 4 Days

Our hotel was booked for Girona the next 2 nights, so after our delicious dinner we drove an hour to the Double-Tree in Girona (highly highly recommend!) and checked-in.

Day Three in Costa Brava

The Hilton Double Tree in Girona serves an epic breaktast! We again took extras to avoid having to leave the beach at lunch time, wrapping up sandwiches of Spanish ham and cheese and taking more fruit with us, too.

Our destination of the day was Begur, a hilltop town on the coastline 45 minutes drive away. Begur and the surrounds are littered with drop-dead-gorgeous beaches. We found a parking spot grabbed our gear and headed down a long downhill pathway.  We found a beach at the bottom and boy was it a stunner!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

This could be one of the best-looking beaches I’ve ever laid eyes on. We had not purchased any shade for our beach days on this trip which was a rookie mistake! This beach has no shade! However, after finding a spot on this beach, we went for a swim to cool down, followed by swim after swim after swim. The sand was SO HOT from the beating sunshine that we could barely lay down on our towels from the sand burning us! 

Costa Brava in 4 Days

After a few hours we could take no more of the heat and decided to pack up and head for Begur town, in search of ice cream or something cold! A short stop for mango smoothies and we were blasting the car rental’s air-con as we headed back to Girona. 

The Hilton Double Tree has a great rooftop pool, so after we arrived back in Girona it was straight to the rooftop bar for a glass of wine/beer and a swim! I’ve become a real hotel w/ pool snob since our trip to Portugal where we had a rooftop pool. I never thought I was much of a hotel pool person, but we swam every day at our pool in Portugal . And again, having this pool in Girona was a welcome addition!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

After our afternoon swim, we checked out Girona. Girona has a really nice vibe to it. It’s got quite some lovely architecture and the older part of the city has narrow streets and laneways with funky bars, great little restaurants and friendly people. Our dinner along Las Ramblas, one of the main shopping streets, was fantastic.

costa brava road trip

Day Four in Costa Brava

Waking up on our last day in Girona meant one thing – having a morning dip in the rooftop pool! Luckily we had the pool all to ourselves! HOT TIP: You’ll generally always get the pool to yourself if you go for a swim in the morning 7-8:30am! 

Costa Brava in 4 Days

We decided since it was our last morning we would head into Girona for breakfast and great coffee! After a little google search, we decided on Espresso Mafia, which did not disappoint! If you are hunting for the best of the best coffee in Girona – this is your place! We had 2 exceptional flat whites, 2 ham and cheese croissants and a choc-chip banana bread which satisfied our tummys and tastebuds.

Costa Brava in 4 Days

Girona has gained fame in recent years due to its participation in Game of Thrones. This was one of my motivations behind checking out Girona. But Girona is beautiful in its own right, no wonder Game of Thrones chose to film in this city! The old centre has a lot of beautiful buildings to visit, including the very impressive Giorna Cathedral. 

costa brava road trip

Whilst walking around the charming streets, we all of a sudden saw the wolf logo of Game of Thrones. Blinking, I looked again and also spotted the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones! We paid €2 to sit on the throne in full costume & took our own photos. How about this for your queen?!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

Salvador Dali

After my crowning moment, we jumped in our car and drove towards Figueres, which houses the Salvador Dali museum. If you want to visit the Salvador Dali museum in Figueres, make a booking online for a specific time slot. Please make sure you arrive with ample time prior to your booked entry. Parking is VERY difficult in Figueres!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

With great difficulty and a long walk from our parking spot to the museum, we stood in a long queue to get in. 15 minutes later, we got inside this remarkable museum. The museum itself is very unique, not only housing some of Dali’s great works (and strange but interesting works never seen before), but architecturally it is a fantastic building to be inside.

Costa Brava in 4 Days

Although we enjoyed the museum, I have two negatives. Unfortunately, even while ticketed with time slots – the museum allows too many people inside. The whole museum was just as packed as when you view the Mona Lisa in Paris. Which made for a slightly frustrating experience. Also – with so many of Dali’s artworks all across the world, most of his well-known art is not inside this museum. 

costa brava road trip

Once we had seen everything inside the Dali museum and had eaten lunch nearby, we jumped in our rental car and headed towards France. We had rented our car in Toulouse, and it was time to head back! We stopped at a lovely beach-side town in France called Grousson Plage for dinner, and continued on to Toulouse airport in time for our flight. 

The end of the roadtrip

We spent 4 days in the Costa Brava, seeing just how much this region has to offer! Two days on two fantastic beaches and we visited many beautiful towns and cities. We enjoyed art from a famous Catalan, and ate some truly incredible food! Our four days in the Costa Brava were perfect. I hope this blog post has sparked your interest in also visiting the Costa Brava! 

Booking your trip to the Costa Brava? Let me help you!

Make sure you get the cheapest flights via Skyscanner ! 

Need accommodation? Get your hotel booked on ! Or more of an Airbnb person? 

Find out more about Spain

Prefer an organised tour?

Here are some options I recommend if you prefer to take it easy and have a guide for your trip! 

Let me know if you are heading to the Costa Brava and if you have any questions for me!

Feel free to share your adventure with me via social media – too! 

And above all – have fun!

Costa Brava in 4 Days

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Costa Brava in 4 Days

Australian expat, married to a Dutch guy, living in Amsterdam. Previously lived in London for 3 years, too! Lover of travel, coffee, brunch, beaches, fresh flowers, and family. Now a new mum, navigating life with a baby!

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5 thoughts on “ how to see the costa brava in 4 days ”.

Extremely well written post, as someone who’s been Spain lots, it seems I’ve seen little, well done

Thanks John! Appreciate your generous feedback! Hopefully you’d get a chance to see the Costa Brava again & see some of the places I’ve highlighted in this post!

Very enjoyable read. I want to do this trip also

Thanks mum! Let’s add it to the Bucket List!

Costa brava was amazing – it has so much more to offer than what I remember from Lloret de Mar. Highlight for me was beach on Cap de Creus!

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Costa Brava Travel Guide: What to Do and Where to Go

With an arresting scenery and sparkling Mediterranean coastline, the Spanish region of Costa Brava ticks all the boxes for a sun-soaked getaway. Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Catalonia, it stretches from the French border all the way to the ‘Costa Brava gateway’ of Blanes. Once in the shadows of the more touristy Costas of mainland Spain, in-the-know travellers have been taking holidays in Costa Brava since the sixties. With a treasure trove of fishing villages and lively seaside towns, Costa Brava, aka the ‘Wild Coast’, has so much to offer .

The warmer Mediterranean climate means that you can get good weather almost year-round – even March can see highs of 17°C! However, we’d say the best time to visit Costa Brava is either May-June or September – October because the weather is still warm, and you’ll avoid tourist season (and higher prices). However, we know school holidays dictate when a lot of families can go away – so although peak summer is also peak tourist season… you can enjoy the sunny weather in a villa that’s a little more secluded if the crowds bother you (win-win).

How to get there

Airlines such as Ryanair, Jet2 and TUI Airways all fly directly from the UK to Girona. It takes less than 90 minutes to drive from Barcelona to Costa Brava (Barcelona is just 57 miles south of Girona). So, a flight to Barcelona with EasyJet, Jet2, Ryanair or British Airways is also an option. From Barcelona city centre, you’ll find good rail and bus links to the Costa Brava region, as well as private transfers and car hire options.

Why visit Costa Brava?

Blanes town costa brava

The view of Blanes from St John’s Castle

From the hidden inlets of Calella de Palafrugell to the relaxing coves of Blanes, you’re never far away from beautiful golden sands. If lying horizontally isn’t your thing, the coastal paths that traverse the Costa Brava region offer spectacular views. Get the full low-down on our blog, The Best Beaches in Costa Brava .

The landscape

Costa Brava’s coastal landscape is simply stunning. From sweeping bays and rugged, steep cliffs, to protected marshes and sand dunes – you’ll be in awe of all of the views. Head inland and you’ll be treated to a visual feast of quaint white-washed villages strewn in dashing bougainvillea. And don’t forget those verdant foothills of the Pyrenees – it’s easy to see why artist Salvador Dali was so inspired!

It’s family-friendly

Families are not forgotten in Costa Brava. The city of Girona is a fantastic place to enjoy lively markets and street performers, while many of the pristine Blue Flag beaches here are perfect for children . You’ll find many resorts also carry the Family Tourist Destination seal, awarded by the Catalan tourist board.

Costa Brava

History and Culture

The Costa Brava is home to a layered history, dating as far back as the 1 st Century BC. Today, you’ll find many examples of Roman, Medieval and Arab influences in the way of Gothic buildings, hilltop castles, and ancient monuments. Once a frontier between the Arab and Christian worlds, the walled city of Girona is worth visiting for historic treasures and panoramic views.

The Catalans know how to party, and the best Costa Brava holidays, in our opinion, are those that coincide with one of Catalonia’s outstanding festivals. Various carnivals take place in February, and the Fireworks Contest , held in Blanes in July, is spectacular. The Porta Ferrada Music Festival  and Girona Flower Festival also pull in the crowds.

Hidden Gems

Begur Costa Brava

The colourful buildings of Begur old town

The Mas Molla Winery

The Costa Brava wineries are some of the most highly acclaimed in Spain. A visit to the family-run Mas Molla Winery offers a glimpse at some of the oldest farming methods in the region.

Gala Dali’s castle

Visiting the Dali Theatre Museum in Girona and the Salvador Dali house in Port Lligat, Cadaqués, are just a couple of the top things to do in Costa Brava. However, the biggest fans will also visit the ‘ Gala Dali Castle ’, the former home – and now mausoleum – of the legendary painter’s wife.

Do as the Barcelonians do and visit the charming town of Begur. Home to a colourful historic quarter and a 15th-century hilltop castle, it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns in Costa Brava.

Where to visit in Costa Brava

Cami de Ronda hiking Costa Brava

One of the many parts of the Cami de Ronda trail along the coast of Costa Brava

Explore the National Parks

The Costa Brava National Parks are a nature lover’s paradise and one of the most popular, Cap de Creus National Park , is known for its dramatic cliffs and panoramic sea views. Find a quiet spot to enjoy the vistas and visit the lighthouse, home to its own restaurant and bar.

Hit the water

Historic catamaran trips, excellent water sports facilities and impeccably clear bays offer plenty of opportunities to hit the open water. Check out our suggested boat trips on our Things to do in the Costa Brava round-up.

The Costa Brava plays home to some of the best golf courses in Europe. The golf clubs here fringe the Mediterranean coastline and the cloud-piercing Pyrenees. As a result, they offer up some of the most stunning locations to perfect your putt. Happily, we have a huge selection of Costa Brava homes near golf courses that are certain to delight those who just can’t keep their clubs at home!

Hike the Cami de Ronda

One of the region’s most well-known hiking trails is the Cami de Ronda. It runs almost the entire length of Costa Brava, from Blanes up to Portbou on the French border.  Although it’ll put your fitness to the test… the views are out of this world.

From quaint, rustic villas in the countryside to 14th Century Catalan mansions and architectural masterpieces with infinity pools… our collection of properties in Costa Brava, Spain, cater to every type of family, traveller, and taste. Now you’ve done a little more research on the area, you can start planning your next unforgettable family trip with Oliver’s Travels ! And, for any special extras you might need to make your trip even more memorable, contact our friendly Concierge team who will be happy to help.

Costa Brava, Spain – everything you need to know

Top 10 villas in Costa Brava

Most beautiful towns and villages in Costa Brava


4 Responses

costa brava road trip

Nice blog about the beautiful Mediterranean city. The beautiful shine beaches welcome with pleasant atmosphere and make you relax. Thanks for sharing your experiences, your blog has given good guidelines to who are planning for a vacation to costa brava.

costa brava road trip

Thanks for sharing the excellent information on Costa Brava. The picture of the view from the St John’s Castle is just so vivid. Feel like going there and the information will be so helpful to explore Costa Brava to the core. Thanks again!

costa brava road trip

Glad you found it helpful Nick 🙂

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Memories of the Pacific


5 day Costa Brava itinerary: the best things to do

Dali House

A road trip is the best way to explore Costa Brava and this blog post includes everything you need to plan your visit: a thoroughly planned itinerary, travel tips, restaurant and hotel recommendations, a map to take with you on your trip and finally a video that shows you the very best things to do.

Whether you are planning a family trip, romantic escape, or a solo adventure, Costa Brava is a dream summer destination.

Here’s your ultimate guide to five days in Costa Brava!

Costa Brava itinerary: Day 1

If you are a fan of Salvador Dali's work, there are three places in Costa Brava you can't miss: his museum in Figueres, his house in Portlligat and his wife's castle in Pubol. Tickets for all three places sell out fast so I recommend you buy them online before your trip. 

Spend day 1 in Figueres . The town’s main claim to fame is that it was where the artist Salvador Dalí was born and is where his main museum in Spain is located. The museum building is a large red theatre. The outside is covered in yellow pieces of bread, with white eggs on the roof and golden statues. Dalí designed it himself and wanted the museum to be a surrealist journey through his bizarre world. The museum houses one of the best Dalí collections of art in the world. Right next to the Dalí Theatre Museum is the Dalí Jewels Collection which shows a collection of jewellery made by him.


Where to eat: at Restaurante El Motel you can find the exquisite food and the most spectacular dessert trolley! It's pricey but worth it.

Figueres restaurant

Costa Brava itinerary: Day 2

Start your day at Cala Montjoi , the cove where the world-famous restaurant El Bulli is located. Note that the restaurant is not open anymore. Something else to take into account is that the road to the cove is closed from 10:30am to 4:30 pm.

During our trip we stayed in the coastal town of Roses . Not much to see here but the beach is really nice, there are many hotel resorts and the location is really good to travel around Costa Brava.

Where to eat : Ona is the coolest beach bar in Roses. Surf vibes surround you as soon as you walk in the hut. They serve burgers, sandwiches and healthy bowls. Ona is also a great choice for cocktails when the sun goes down. 

Where to stay: Hotel Mediterraneo Park (Roses)

Costa Brava

Costa Brava itinerary: Day 3

Apart from dreamy coastal towns, in Costa Brava you can find quaint medieval towns with cobblestone streets, stone houses and bougainvillea hanging from balconies. Pals and Peratallada are two of those villages that must be on your itinerary. Once you get there all you have to do is wander around the streets and find the prettiest spots. There are also amazing shops here. No tacky souvenirs, it's all good quality craftsmanship.

Where to eat : Restaurante La Roca at Peratallada has the lovieliest patio to eat al fresco. Their 23€ menu includes a starter, main course and dessert which is a great deal!


Costa Brava itinerary: Day 4

Cadaques is one of the most beautiful places in Costa Brava. Once the location of artists like Joan Miro or Pablo Picasso, this white washed village recieves many visitors every summer for good reason. Cadaques is a unique seaside gem that you should not miss.

Tip: the mountain road that leads to Cadaques is not for those who get car sick. If you are going to be traveling around the area, I suggest you stay somewhere else and spend a day in Cadaques

Where to eat: if you are eating in Cadaques, be sure to book a table in advance. The town is packed with tourists during the summer and it will be difficult to get a table otherwise. We had lunch at Talla and loved it. They serve Mediterranean food with a modern twist. The food quality and cooking was exceptional. Another option is Compartir, one of the most famous restaurants in Cadaques.

Where to stay: Hotel Boutique Villa Gala


Cap de Creus natural park is paradise for nature lovers. Here you will find hiking trails, secluded coves and a lighthouse. You can reach the lighthouse by bus until 8pm when the road opens to the public. Since many people want to see the sunset there, it gets really busy and the road is very narrow and parking is limited. So you may consider using the bus service. You can find a restaurant with live music by the lighthouse. The experience is really cool but the food is overpriced.

Cap de Creus

Costa Brava itinerary: Day 5

Aiguablava beach -literally blue (blava) water (aigua) - is a must in Begur. It´s a small beach with crystalline waters. Its shallow waters and golden sand make it one of the most famous and beautiful beaches on the Costa Brava. Located on the Begur coastline it boasts spectacular views of the bay and the cape of Begur.

Tip:  this is a very small beach and due to the pandemic access to Aiguablava beach is limited. Get there as early as you can to avoid queuing. 

Where to eat: Mar i Vent  Paradores restaurant's terrace overlooks the crystalline waters of the sea and the golden sand of the beach. The amazing views combined with the quality of Paradores make this place a must.

Where to stay: Parador d'Aiguablava  is a balcony over the Mediterranean Sea. If that wasn't appealing enough, this hotel also offers some of the nicest beaches, the best traditional cuisine and great views. 

Lobster paella

Costa Brava itinerary map

This Costa Brava map includes the best towns and places to see in the area, amazing restaurants and hotels to stay in. Click on the star next to the title to save to your maps in Google and take it with you on your trip.

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Check out the best places in Costa Brava on my YouTube channel

Costa Brava

  • Art  · Eat  · Paradores  · Photography  · Spain  · Tips  · Travel

So beautiful. I love these posts. My wanderlust is high.

Descobri este site essa semana e já estou adorando os conteúdos, são ótimos! Parabéns! 👏 Meu Blog: Blog da Mara

Thanks so much for sharing at

This is truly fascinating! I feel like travelling to spain now.

Thank you for taking out the time to leave a comment!

Overview of white washed coastal town.

Michael Heffernan

Costa Brava

Stretching north from Barcelona to the Spanish–French border, the Costa Brava ('rugged coast') is undoubtedly the most beautiful of Spain's three main holiday coasts. Though there's plenty of tourism development, this wonderfully scenic region of Catalonia also unveils unspoiled coves, spectacular seascapes, wind-battered headlands, coast-hugging hiking paths, charming seaside towns with outstanding restaurants, and some of Spain's finest diving around the protected Illes Medes.

Leave the planning to a local expert

Experience the real Costa Brava. Let a local expert handle the planning for you.


Must-see attractions.

Salvador Dali museum

Teatre-Museu Dalí

The first name that pops into your head when you lay eyes on this red castle-like building, topped with giant eggs and stylised Oscar-like statues and…

Casa Museu Dalí

Casa Museu Dalí

Overlooking a peaceful cove in Port Lligat, a tiny fishing settlement 1km northeast of Cadaqués, this magnificent seaside complex was the residence and…

Greco-Roman archaeological sites of Ampurias (Empuries) in the Gulf of Roses, Catalonia, Spain.

The evocative seaside archaeological site of Empúries, 1.5km northwest of central L'Escala, immerses you in a strategic Greek, and later Roman, trading…

Castell de Pubol.

Castell de Púbol

Palafrugell & Around

If you’re intrigued by artist Salvador Dalí, the Castell de Púbol is an essential piece of the puzzle. Between Girona and Palafrugell (22km northwest of…

Girona cathedral facade with statues in a beautiful summer day, Catalonia, Spain.

Catedral de Girona

Towering over a flight of 86 steps rising from Plaça de la Catedral, Girona's imposing cathedral is far more ancient than its billowing baroque facade…

Natural Reserve of Illes Medes near L'Estartit, Spain.

Illes Medes

The allure of the Illes Medes, seven islets off L'Estartit beach, lies in their range of depths (down to 50m), kaleidoscopic marine life, and underwater…

costa brava road trip

Monestir de Sant Pere de Rodes

Views of distant Pyrenean peaks and the deep-blue Mediterranean combine with a spectacular piece of Romanesque architecture at this hillside monastery,…

Museu d’Història dels Jueus

Museu d’Història dels Jueus

Until 1492, Girona was home to Catalonia’s second-most important medieval Jewish community, after Barcelona, and one of the country's finest Jewish…

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costa brava road trip

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Costa Brava and beyond

Overview of white washed coastal town.

Road Trip EuroGuide

3-Day Road Trip from Barcelona: Costa Brava & Priorat Wine Region

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If you’re looking for a 3-day road trip from Barcelona to escape the city, it can be tough to know where to go and how to make the most of your time. Not to mention where to stay, the logistics of “ do I drive ?!” or not, and so many other things that go into planning a mini-getaway.

Here are 2 fantastic options for road trips I recommend close to Barcelona, one heading north to the beaches of Costa Brava, the other heading south to the Priorat wine regions.

✅ 3 Days In Costa Brava: Great for Relaxing, doing some coastal hikes, and heading north into the town of Cadaques.

✅ 3 Days in Priorat Wine Region: Great for wine and hiking around Falset, a hidden local gem of a town, and a bit more off-the-beaten-path. Think cute mountain towns and vineyard visits.

This is Costa Brava, a great place for a 3 day road trip from Barcelona.

I stand by these road trips because I’ve actually done them when I’ve visited Barcelona. What’s more, they are locally approved by my friends in the city. One girlfriend even asked, “ How did you find Falset?! It’s a Spanish secret of a town ” Travel blogger mission accomplished!

On a personal note, Barcelona holds a special place in my heart because this is where I spent my study-abroad semester in college. It was one of the home base cities when I started traveling in Europe, and even though I’m on foreign soil, Barcelona is familiar and feels like a home to me.

Table of Contents

FULL ITINERARY: 3-Day Road Trips From Barcelona

If you have 3 days in Barcelona, you can easily visit some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city itself, but this is about getting out of the city. Where do the locals go? Well, they hit the road and either go south to Sitges and the vineyards of the Prades Mountains or north to the beaches of Costa Brava.

  • Beach Life: 3 Days in Costa Brava [Great for Relaxing, More Luxurious]
  • Wine Life: 3 Days around Falset [Hidden Local Gem, Off the Beaten Path]

Both of these road trips are within a 2-hour driving distance and I’ll share the full itinerary I did and recommend, where to stay, and some of my favorite spots along the way.

🏖️ 3 Days in Costa Brava [Beach Life]

This itinerary is for those who want to experience an authentic slice of Catalonian life on beaches that will rival the California coast. Located on the northeastern coast of Spain 2 hours north of Barcelona, Costa Brava is known for its dramatic coastline, hidden sandy beaches, and Mediterranean vibe.

The town of Cadaques is a great place to stay when you're doing a road trip north of Barcelona.

Where to Stay

I recommend the small town of Cadaqués right near the border of France or the even smaller town of Palafrugell nearby. Both are little tucked-away gems that can be used as a hub to visit the area.

📍 Hotel Playa Sol in Cadaqués – Worth booking the room with a view. Fantastic terrace overlooking the sea and the town of Cadaqués. 📍 Casa Sol Y Platja in Palafrugell – This is where I stayed (a small town outside of Cadaques). loved the view, the fact that parking was easy, and while it was a bit more remote, the little village was enough of an outing for dinner for a long weekend.

Day 1: The Hidden Gem Town of Palafrugell

I spent a whole weekend in Palafrugell on a girls’ trip last year, and it was a wonderful surprise in a little seaside village. There is an amazing coastal walk starting in the town to Mirador Punta de Canyers that we loved.

Loved our stop-over in Costa Brava on our 3 day road trip from Barcelona.

Get ready for some spectacular views. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a bottle of wine, your bathing suit, and a towel so you can catch the sunset from some of the lookout points.

For dinner head to the tiniest of little beach restaurants, Restaurant Fiego . I’m telling you right now, it won’t seem like a very fancy place, as you’ll practically have your feet in the sand, but it’s excellent, local, and authentic.

Day 2: The Dali Museum, Girona, and the Fishing Villages of Cadaqués

While Barcelona claims the prize for top museums, if you’ve decided to spend your 3-day road trip on Costa Brava, you have to spend a day visiting the Dali Museum in Figueres and exploring a few fishing villages.

➡️ DALI MUSEUM TICKETS: I would recommend the Dali Museum in the morning and definitely get the guided tour for this one ( tickets here ) because the man is an onion of surprises.

Dali is one of the most famous surrealist artists, but he’s also a notorious fascist who aligned himself with the infamous Franco regime to benefit himself. And while we can continue to enjoy his art, it’s important to understand the big picture as well – which is why the tour is a must!

Pretty sure Dali was a fascist piglet, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating his art on the 3 day road trip from barcelona.

Grab lunch and wander around Girona for the afternoon, and head to the fishing villages of Cadaqués for sunset – Far de Cap de Creus for live music and an excellent dinner.

Day 3: Hiking & Kayaking in Costa Brava

On the last day of your 3-day road trip from Barcelona, I want you to step out of your comfort zone and explore the sea and the cliffs of Costa Brava – but for real! Pack accordingly because this is an adventure day.

costa brava road trip

Start your morning with some hiking and a via Ferrata in Cala Moli. If it’s your first time or you don’t have the gear with you, grab this Via Ferrata de Sant Feliu de Guíxols guide and bon voyage!

For the afternoon, a more relaxed Kayak and Snorkel Adventure in Sant Feliu to wrap up a day in the sun.

🍷 3 Days In Priorat Region [Wine Life]

My last recommended 3-day road trip from Barcelona takes you to wine country. It’s a 2-hour drive south to the town of Falset, where I spent the weekend. I only discovered this little gem thanks to a few local friends of mine who escape Barcelona for these wineries as frequently as they can.

The town of Falset in the Priorat region.

I stayed 2 nights in the town of Falset near the mountains and 1 night in the beach town of Sitges on my way back to Barcelona

📍 Priorat Aparthotel – probably one of the cutest places in the town of Falset with a rooftop terrace and wonderful local hosts. 📍 Hotel Lotus Priorat – I stayed here and it was magical – the rooms were cute and the restaurant patio for dinner is fantastic. 📍 Calipolis in Sitges – Super nice beachfront hotel with a view of the sea, great for 1 night!

Day 1: Falset and Hikes in Serra de Montsant

Once you’re settled into your lodging, stretch your legs by heading out into nature. Park here and do a quick little hike to St. Gregori Chapel to enjoy the views of Falset from up high. Dinner will be back in town at the Restaurant Hotel Lotus, where the octopus ( pulpo ) was my favorite.

The Priorat region is just 2 hours south of Barcelona, and a great long weekend road trip.

Day 2: Wineries in the Priorat Region

Today is a full, all-inclusive tour – and you will want to book this to get into the wineries without a specific reservation. My tour was excellent in its education around the history of the area, the cuisine, and the wine – my favorite day of the weekend!

➡️ Loved this Private Wine and Oil Tour – highly recommend it! ⬅️

Day 3: A Beach Day in Sitges

On the last day of the road trip, I actually drove back towards Barcelona and stopped in the town of Sitges for the day. Sitges is known for its nightlife and an active LGBTQ community. This alone was a big sell for me because traveling in Europe can sometimes feel a bit closeted. I missed seeing pride flags openly showcased, something I’m used to at home in Austin.

I spent the day exploring the little town and sunbathing on San Sebastian beach. Dinner will need to be at the cutest little spot, El Castell .

Sitges is a great end to a 3 day road trip from Barcelona into the Priorate Region of Spain.

3-Day Road Trip From Barcelona

What more can you do in spain for 3 days.

OMG so much! If you’re starting in Barcelona, there are a few 3-day road trips you can take. Some of these, like Mallorca and Sevilla you would have to fly to, but it’s a quick 1-hour flight.

  • Beach Life : 3 Days in Costa Brava, great for coastal walks, hikes, and beaches
  • Wine Life : 3 Days around Falset, a local gem wine town, off the tourist path
  • City Life: 3 Days in Barcelona – stay in the city and enjoy it like a local would.
  • Island Life: 3 Days in Mallorca , fly to Palma de Mallorca, and spend a weekend road-tripping the island.
  • Spanish Culture: 3 Days in Sevilla – fly to Sevilla and spend a weekend in Andalucia, eating tapas and enjoying flamenco.

Getting Around Spain

You’ll need a car rental for any of the 3-day road trips from Barcelona , as you’ll be driving up and down the coast into little towns where the train or bus is either not available or inconvenient. You will need an International Driver’s Permit to rent a car from Barcelona.

➡️ Check Discover Cars for the best rental prices in Spain. ⬅️

What is Driving in Spain like?

Driving in Spain is easy enough. The roads are in good condition, and the highways are well-marked. Regarding driving style, Spanish drivers tend to be fast but they follow good driving etiquette. Tolls are rare on this road trip, but if you do run into any, they are easily paid via credit card.

What are some tips for road trips in Spain?

The great part about these 3-day road trips from Barcelona is that nothing is more than a 2-hour drive from the city. That said, make sure you check these off the list before you go.

costa brava road trip

9 Tips for Packing Comfy Road Trip Outfits

Go through my checklist for what to pack for road trips (summer and winter) and how to make sure I’m maximizing outfits and minimizing luggage. Take it from a pro!

costa brava road trip

7 Unique Ways to Spend Time on a Road Trip

From games to play, ways to make up time, and what to bring, this is the motherload of all things to do so you don’t get bored compiled into one post. Plus my favorite road trip albums – from rock to rap !

When Is The Best Time to Visit Barcelona?

The best time to visit Barcelona for a 3-day road trip really depends on what you want to see and do. If you’re interested in exploring the city’s museums and attractions, then the spring or fall is ideal . The weather is pleasant, but not too hot, and there are fewer crowds than in the summer.

I went to Barcelona in August and it was pleasant enough to be on the beach - a great itinerary stop on the 3 day weekend road trip.

However, if you’re more interested in spending time on the beach and partying, then you’ll want to visit during the summer months . July and August are when the weather is at its hottest, but it’s also when the city comes alive with music festivals and outdoor activities.

FAQ: Road Trips Around Spain

Here are a few logistical things to consider for a long weekend around Barcelona or Spain.

Is a road trip from Barcelona to Costa Brava worth it? 

Yes, yes, and yes! Costa Brava is where the locals in Barcelona go for a beach weekend, so why not you? The thing is, the beaches in Barcelona are nice, but not the best Spain has to offer. Plus, they get quite crowded.

Renting a car is super easy and cheap in Barcelona, and Costa Brava is an easy 2-hour drive north along the coast.

Are 3 days enough if I stay in Barcelona?

Honestly, there are not enough days in the year to explore all of Barcelona, so the idea is to take it in stride – one neighborhood at a time, a few highlights at a time, and several glasses of cava and tapas at once! That said, check the 3-day itinerary options above and do your best to follow along!

Is there a high-speed train from Barcelona to San Sebastián?

San Sebastian is a gorgeous resort town northwest of Barcelona, almost to the border of France. It’s a coastal provincial town, tucked in between mountains and the sea, and is stunning – a good getaway from the city.

Northern Spain could be a destination after your 3 day road trip from Barcelona - but you will need to allow 2 weeks for this trip.

You can either take a 1-hour direct flight from Barcelona to San Sebastian (around $60) – which is what I recommend ( see Skyscanner price comparison to find the cheapest/fastest flight ). Alternatively, you can grab the Alvia high-speed train (around $40), which lasts between 6-8 hours depending on the schedule for the day. I use Omio to search and book most of my trains.

Is there a high-speed train from Barcelona to Valencia? 

Yes, Barcelona to Valencia by train is the best way without renting a car. I use Omio to search and book most of my trains – the ride should be around 3 hours (300 km), and there are about 10 departures a day.

Is there a ferry from Barcelona to Mallorca? How long is the boat ride? 

Yes, but taking the ferry is not the best way to go. Flying is the best way to get to Mallorca. A flight from Barcelona to the island of Mallorca should take about 50 minutes for about $50. Check out Skyscanner’s price compares to find the cheapest/fastest flight for this.

You can of course, also ferry. This will take you about 6.5 hours each way and cost about $40 ( ticket link ).

Final Thoughts: Beyond A 3-Day Road Trip From Barcelona

As you can see, there are quite a few 3-day road trip options from Barcelona. Some include:

If you have a few more days and can string 2 weekends together, are an absolute foodie, want to take a hike through the Picos de Europa, or want to check the Guggenheim Museum off your bucket list, consider choosing a few stops from this itinerary and making it a trip! One of my favorite road trips was through Northern Spain for a couple of weeks, from Bilbao to Santiago de Compostela. Get to planning!

Travel Planning Services

Mariana Barbuceanu is the owner and author of the Road Trip EuroGuide, a blog that inspires fellow travelers to explore Europe more authentically through slower travel and digging deeper into the culture of a place. When she isn't writing about her adventures, she is planning trips for her community and coaching people on how to take that next step towards a much-needed sabbatical.

costa brava

  • Travel Guides

A Day Trip To Costa Brava From Barcelona: A Complete Guide

Explore dramatic cliffs, beautiful beaches, historic cities, charming towns and villages all in a day with a trip to Costa Brava, Barcelona’s most stunning region.


If Barcelona is on your mind, make sure to keep aside a day to explore the most stunning stretch of Catalonia’s coastline, the Costa Brava. Set against a scenic backdrop from the French border in the north to the town of Blanes in the south, the Spanish region of Costa Brava is the perfect option for a sun-kissed getaway from Barcelona.

In Spanish, Costa Brava means “wild or rough coast.” As the name suggests, this sparkling Mediterranean coastline is characterized by calming mountain tops, charming seaside villages, stunning beaches and rugged rocky coastlines. Travelers flock to this picturesque region for it makes a perfect base for a day trip from Barcelona Spain . Walk right into a real-life postcard with a day trip to this hidden gem of the Catalonia Region.

choose from the plenty of costa brava activities

Table of Contents

Barcelona To Costa Brava Day Tour At A Glance

Distance from Barcelona, Spain: 146 km (via C-32 and AP-7)

Travel Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Duration Of Day Tour: 10 to 12 hours

Best Time To Visit: Months of May, June, September, October

How To Get There: Train, Bus, Car 

What To Expect: You’ll spend your day basking in the Mediterranean sunshine, exploring medieval coastal towns, enjoying the many activities and relishing some local delicacies. 

Best Costa Brava Day Trip From Barcelona

 costa brava from barcelona trips to see them all

Extend your Barcelona trip by a day to visit the beautiful Costa Brava. Enjoy the untouched nature of this rugged coastline with some stunning tours. You can choose between a full day tour, half day tour or private excursion tour with a guide. Here are some of the most popular tours to consider during your visit. 

Tour Of Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar also known as “blue paradise” is a beautiful coastal town that provides panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. There are several guided tours to choose from: you can go on a relaxed tour by exploring the medieval streets while enjoying authentic local foods from the area. For adventure seekers there are options to combine a sightseeing tour with a Kayaking and snorkeling trip, Scuba diving trip or a hiking trip. Either way you are going to love this tour, so book your tickets now. 

Cycling Tour Of The Medieval Villages

The charming and well-preserved medieval villages of Costa Brava Barcelona is something you just cannot miss while here. There are specially designated cycling routes that take you through three of the most beautiful medieval villages, Pals, Gualta, and Peratallada. One can either opt for a guide or go on a self-guided tour. Best time to discover this place with a cycling adventure is during the months of May, June, September, and October.

Dalí Themed Tour

If you are a lover of art then the Dali Themed Tour is what you should be looking for. The famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali was born and spent many years here. This tour basically takes you to the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres and his house in Port Lligat. The museum, full of works from Dalí, is dedicated to the artist himself. On the other hand a tour of his house will amaze you with the quirky sculptures, its unique interiors and exteriors. 

All Inclusive Multi Adventure Trip

If you are looking to explore in an adventurous way, this multi adventure tour is much more than what one can ask for. Be ready for an action-packed day as you will be hiking the Camí de Ronda, kayaking in Sant Pol de s’Agaró, snorkeling and cliff jumping all in one day. You don’t need to worry about food, equipment or transportation as this tour is inclusive of all. 

Combined Tour Of Girona and Costa Brava

Girona, the popular Game of Thrones filming location, is another incredible historical center to discover. What better way to do it than experience both places on a day trip. Spend the morning in the coastal area and after lunch move to Girona to discover the city. The best way to do it is by joining a guided tour for a wholesome experience. 

Wine Tasting Tour

How about combining a Costa Brava tour with a wine tasting tour. This is a fun filled experience as you get to see this beautiful place and also get an in-depth knowledge of how wine is produced here. This half-day excursion includes understanding the boutique winery’s history, tasting a variety of high-quality wines and a stroll through the vineyards. The wine yards are not as big as the ones in Spain but they do stretch from the Figueres town all the way to the French border.

Best Things To Do And See On A Day Trip To Costa Brava

Here’s a compiled list of things to do and see to help you experience this region to its fullest.

chose from the many costa brava tour from barcelona for a wholesome experience.

Visit The Game Of Thrones Location – Not many people know that the famous Game of Thrones series was shot in the charming capital of Costa Brava. You will be surprised to see that nothing much about the place was changed for the shoot. Most part of the city was filmed as it is since the medieval architecture was a perfect location for the show. It’s enchanting to see people still living here and going about their day to day chores in this historic place.

Sun Bathe In The Stunning Beaches – Costa Brava has become a hot tourist spot not just because of its quiet fishing villages but also because of the splendid beaches. This place is blessed with stunning beaches like Illa Roja Beach, Castell Beach, Cala Tavallera Beach and many more. Hidden gems like El Crit in Mont-ras need a lot of walking to get there, but the efforts are totally worth it. 

Indulge In Some Adventure Activities – Costa Brava’s rugged landscape and wild sea makes it a perfect spot for some exciting outdoor adventure. Costa Brava activities like bungee Jumping, kayaking, Sea swimming, Canyoning, hiking, hot air ballooning, Costa Brava scuba diving, snorkeling and an adrenaline trip to Sant Feliu de Guíxols is sure to delight the whole family.

Explore La Garrotxa Volcanic Natural Park – Between the Pyrenees & the beautiful Costa Brava lies a unique site, La Garrotxa. With 40 inactive volcanoes that are 10,000 and 700,000 years old, this natural park is one of the best preserved volcanic landscapes in Europe. You can even walk over the craters and lava flows which are inactive but not extinct.

Admire The Architecture At Girona Cathedral – Also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona, the Girona Cathedral is an iconic symbol and a must-see on your Costa Brava day trip. This masterpiece is the highlight of the beautiful city of Girona as it stands tall in the center as a crowning glory. Admire the Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque architecture while exploring the inner and outer beauty of this majestic Cathedral.  

Key Things To Know Before You Go

costa brava must see places and things to know

  • Costa Brava is an enormous place, so to see the best of the Costa Brava in a day it’s ideal to hire a car.
  • This place is not just about villages but it is loaded with mountains, valleys and large natural parks.
  • The locals here mostly speak Catalan rather than Spanish, however most restaurants have menus in both languages and if lucky, in English too.  
  • It is an all year round destination but avoid the summer months of July and August as during this time the place is scorching hot and the prices for accommodation are high. 
  • This place is a family friendly place, however note that there are many Costa Brava beaches where clothing is optional. 
  • Dress modestly while visiting religious places like churches and temples.
  • There will be a lot of walking and hiking during your tour, so come prepared with comfortable walking shoes and sunglasses. 
  • Tour participants who are aged 6 and below can join the tour for free of charge.

Suggested Reads: My Guide To Barcelona For Solo Female Travellers

Final Thoughts On Costa Brava Day Trips

Tossa de Mar is a must visit place

Picturesque Costa Brava is a place where one day is not enough to experience it all. But for travelers who are short of time, a day trip is an excellent option. Set off to discover this incredibly photogenic place with a day trip from Barcelona. Which is your pick: dramatic seascapes, medieval villages, multi-adventures or exquisite gastronomy tours? Do comment below.

FAQ’s On The Beautiful Costa Brava

Iconic landscapes, stunning beaches, secluded rocky coves, medieval villages, vibrant culture, historic hotspots and delicious Costa Brava food. Ever imagined experiencing all of this in a day? Yes, this is why it is a must visit on your Barcelona vacation.

The easiest and fastest way to book your tour is through online. You can also ask your tour operator to add this day trip to your Barcelona itinerary. Make sure that all reservations are done well in advance to avoid last minute disappointments. 

Your first stop on the way to Costa Brava will be Girona which is one of the many medieval towns and cities in Costa Brava. The coastal roads, scenic Catalan countryside, olive groves and picturesque towns will be your view as you zip through the winding roads. 

Though Costa Brava is just a short drive from Barcelona, once here it gives a feeling of being in another world. It’s totally worth your time and money.

I enjoyed reading your article about Costa Brava. You have captured the beauty and charm of this region very well. I especially liked the photos of the beaches and the medieval village. Thank you for sharing your experience and recommendations.

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7 amazing Costa Brava day trips from Barcelona

Cala Sa Tuna in Begur (Costa Brava)

Looking for Costa Brava day trips from Barcelona?

Squeezing a day outside Barcelona from your trip and venturing to Costa Brava is one of the best things you can do! There, you’ll discover medieval villages , fisherman towns , crystal-clear beaches , and many adventure opportunities (both on land and sea).

Keep scrolling for seven cherry-picked Costa Brava day trips from Barcelona!

Stunning Costa Brava day trips from Barcelona

Tossa de Mar Old Town

Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar is a beautiful coastal town and one of Costa Brava’s villages closest to Barcelona. It offers panoramic views across the Mediterranean Sea and is famous for its sandy beaches, lighthouse and, of course, historic fortified medieval village,  the only example of a fortified medieval town still standing on the Catalan coast!

You can get to Tossa de Mar on your own or join a trip from Barcelona with transportation, food, and activities included.

There are several guided trips we recommend in Tossa de Mar depending on what you like to do:

  • Kayaking and snorkelling trip : Excellent option if you want to combine some exercise with a visit to Tossa de Mar Old Town. This trip lasts  12 hours  and includes kayaking, snorkelling, eating in a traditional restaurant, and exploring the beautiful medieval town.
  • Sightseeing and hiking trip : Join a local guide and explore Tossa de Mar and its surroundings in this 9-hour trip . It’s a great way to get to know the city’s history and hike to the nearby coves (level easy). The trip includes transportation and guiding, and you can either bring your lunch or book a local restaurant.

If you’d prefer to go on your own, you can  get to Tossa de Mar by bus  from Barcelona . The journey takes 1 h 15 min, and there are many buses daily.

And what can you do once there? Check our  Tossa de Mar guide  for everything you can do, from hiking and scuba diving to chilling at the nearby coves or wandering around the medieval street. In the guide, you’ll also find restaurant recommendations where you can try  authentic local foods  from the area, like  fideuà ,  arròs negre , or tapas.

A woman walking around the medieval streets in Pals

Cycling trip through medieval villages

Besides crystal-clear coves and fisherman towns,  Costa Brava is also home to many charming and well-preserved medieval villages . Up for discovering them on two wheels?

Get the  bus from Barcelona Estació del Nord to Palafrugell , which takes 2 h 15 min. Once in Palafrugell, head to  BikeOn  (20 min walk), a bike rental service with super friendly staff and great bikes (gravel, road, and e-bikes).

They have designed several routes to explore the area, and we recommend  this cycling route  that will allow you to discover  Pals ,  Gualta , and  Peratallada , three of the most beautiful medieval villages in the area.

If you find yourself more comfortable with a guide than a self-guided tour, BikeOn also offers a guiding service.

If you opt for this trip, we wouldn’t recommend doing it in July and August as the temperatures are scorching during the day. Also, it’s when the villages are most crowded.  May, June, September, and October are excellent months for this cycling adventure .

Teatre Museu Dalí in Figueres

Dalí-themed trip

As you might know, Costa Brava is where famous surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was born and lived for a long time. Also, the region’s landscape inspired him and can be observed in his paintings.

If you want to know more about this excentric surrealist painter, you can’t miss the  Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres  and  his house in Port Lligat .

The first is one of the world’s best museums dedicated to the artist. The inside is full of works from Dalí, but the building is also a piece of art! It’s a quirky pink castle-like building with giant eggs on the rooftop, known as  the world’s largest surrealistic object .

The second is  a house in the little village of Portlligat, north of Cadaqués, where Dalí lived from 1930 to 1982 . During that time, he turned what used to be a fisherman’s hut into a surrealist house! Pink lips sofa in the garden, egg sculptures on the rooftop, quirky sculptures in the interior… You get the idea!

To take this day trip, you have two options:  join a  guided tour  or  do it on your own . The first option is more comfortable and relaxed, as you don’t need to worry about transportation or tickets. And, of course, going by van is much faster than by bus.

However, if you prefer the second one, you’ll have to take  the train from Barcelona to Figueres  (approx. 2 h journey), spend the morning in the museum, and later take the  bus to Cadaqués  (1 h 15 min journey and only 4 buses a day!). Dalí’s house in Portlligat is 15 minutes (walking) from the centre of Cadaqués. To get back to Barcelona, you can take a  bus from Cadaqués (approx. 3 h).

Suspension bridge in the via ferrata Cala del Molí

Adrenaline trip to Sant Feliu de Guíxols

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and  excellent panoramic views of the Costa Brava , you’re in for a treat!

In Sant Feliu de Guíxols, you’ll find  the only via ferrata on Europe’s coast  The route is  480 meters long  and can go  as high as 20 metres , offering impressive views of the Mediterranean Sea.

This activity is 100% suitable for beginners. However, we highly recommend going with a guide  if you’ve never done a via ferrata before or feel more secure with an instructor. For more info on this via ferrata, check our “ Via ferrata Cala del Molí guide “.

To get to Sant Feliu de Guíxols, you can  take a bus  from Estació del Nord in Barcelona , and you’ll be there in 1 h 30 min. The buses run approximately every two hours, costing around 15 € one way.

⚠️ Important!

We recommend doing the via ferrata early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the midday high temperatures.

To complete your day trip, you can  get lunch at one of the many delicious restaurants in the city centre . Great ones are  El Pícaro  (tapas),  220 sushi   (Japanese food),  La Baleada  (Honduran food), and   Taverna La Cava  (Catalan food).

You can also grab some takeaway food at  Orgànic  (healthy food like poke bowls, quiche, and smoothies) or Supreme Artesanas de la Cocina (typical Moroccan food) and eat it at the main beach.

If you’re up for a challenging hike, you can walk to Tossa de Mar  following the Camí de Ronda  (it takes around 6 hours!) and take the bus back to Barcelona from there.

A person snorkelling

Multi-adventure trip

Can’t decide if you want to hike, snorkel, kayak, or cliff jump? Why not do everything?!

We bring you two activity-packed day trips to explore the Costa Brava in an adventurous way.

The  first trip  includes  hiking  the beautiful coastal path known as Camí de Ronda and  sea kayaking  in Sant Pol de s’Agaró crystalline waters. Don’t forget to jump from the kayak with your  snorkel  and explore the seabed! This trip lasts 9 hours, and you don’t need to worry about equipment or transportation; it’s all included.

If you don’t fancy kayaking, here’s our  second option . This trip also includes  hiking  the Camí de Ronda, but instead of kayaking, you’ll make a stop for  snorkelling  and  cliff jumping ! Lunch in a local restaurant, transportation and snorkel gear are included.

Colourful houses next to Girona's river

Girona and Costa Brava trip

Costa Brava’s capital, Girona, is a  gorgeous city with an incredible historical centre  and a vibrant atmosphere. Also, it was one of the popular Game of Thrones filming locations!

But the best is yet to come. Girona is strategically located between the sea and the mountains and is close to many Costa Brava villages. So, if you only have one day to escape Barcelona and venture to the Costa Brava, you can  mix a trip to Girona with a coastal town  and experience both.

The easiest way to do so is to join a guided tour. We recommend this  small-group 9-hour tour  with a local guide and transportation to and from Barcelona. In the morning, you’ll spend time in the coastal area of Costa Brava, moving then to Girona to discover the city.

If you’d rather discover Girona and Costa Brava on your own , you have many options. Many buses link Barcelona with several coastal towns, so you can spend the morning exploring the beaches and coastal paths. After lunch, you can take a bus to Girona and discover the city in the afternoon/evening. Check our Girona guide for our favourite things to do there.

To get back to Barcelona, hop on the high-speed train from Girona station , and you’ll reach the capital in less than 1 hour! It will be an intense daty, but 100% worth it!

A person kayaking during the Herbocaiac experience

Foraging and kayaking trip

Are you curious about edible plants and algae? Do you want to discover the Costa Brava in a unique way? Then, hop on a bus from Estació del Nord to Palamós and sign up for a  Marine tapas in kayak  adventure.

This guided tour involves  kayaking along the coast of Palamós , snorkelling , and hiking the Camí de Ronda with an expert  botanist . During the experience, he explains which algae and plants are suitable for  foraging  and how they can be eaten and cooked.

Actually, you won’t be doing this activity with any botanist; you’ll be doing it with the gastro botanist of the Celler de Can Roca , a famous 3-star Michelin restaurant in Catalonia!

For more info on this activity and to know our experience, check our “ Herbocaiac, a foraging and kayaking adventure in the Costa Brava ” guide.

After paddling and swimming, we’re sure you’ll be pretty hungry! Nice options for lunch are  La Cala Taverna  (sophisticated tapas and rice dishes),  Arrels gastro taverna  (gastro bar with delicious tapas), and  Kaos Palamós  (innovative tapas and rice dishes).

Is Costa Brava worth visiting?

Absolutely yes ! It’s a wonderful area with charming villages, hidden emerald coves, and plenty of adventure opportunities. Also, the food is delicious there, and it’s sunny all year round!

Although we recommend spending more than one day in Costa Brava to fully live the Mediterranean life, we understand that not all travellers have the time. Therefore, day trips to the Costa Brava from Barcelona are an excellent option to get a taste of this coastal region.

Costa Brava travel tips

The primary language spoken in Costa Brava is  Catalan . However, all locals speak Spanish, and due to its popularity as a tourist destination, many people also speak English.

Costa Brava enjoys sun all-year round . Temperatures are pleasant in spring, autumn, and winter, whereas in summer it gets pretty hot. We’re talking 30-38 ºC.

📅 Best time to visit

It depends on your preferences and activities.

Summer (June to August) offers great temperatures for water sports like scuba diving, kayaking, and swimming. However, it’s when you’ll find more crowds and you need to book everything way in advance.

Fall (September to November) and spring (March to May) provide pleasant temperatures for cycling, hiking, and sightseeing with fewer crowds. To us, April, May, June, September, and October are the best times to go .

Winter (December to February) is the lowest season. No crowds at all and pleasant temperatures. However, you might find some restaurants and accommodations closed.

Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes, such as sneakers or hiking sandals , as there will be a lot of walking and hiking on most of the Costa Brava day trips from Barcelona we’ve mentioned before.

The Camí de Ronda is a hiking path, so we don’t recommend doing it in flip-flops.

If you’re eating out, it’s good to know that tipping is not mandatory in Spain. If you’d love the food and service, then by all means tip! It will be greatly appreciated.

One of Costa Brava's beaches in summer

We hope this post makes you want to squeeze a day outside Barcelona and discover the beautiful Costa Brava region! We’ll assure you won’t regret it. If you think about any other day trips to the Costa Brava from Barcelona, let us know in the comments! 🙂

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