12 of the most beautiful places on the Costa Brava

12 of the most beautiful places on the Costa Brava

From seaside towns with medieval fortresses to picturesque little fishing villages, discover twelve of the most beautiful places on the Costa Brava here.

The Costa Brava, Catalan for “rough coast”, has been a popular holiday destination in north-eastern Spain for many years. This beautiful piece of coastline begins 37 miles north of Barcelona and stretches all the way to the French border. Along its length you will find cosy seaside resorts, picturesque fishing villages, medieval towns and beautiful nature. So, whether you’re looking for isolated coves to explore, great food, or culture and history, this Catalan coast has something for everyone.

From Tossa de Mar to Portbou on the French border, discover twelve of the most beautiful places on the Costa Brava here:

1. Tossa de Mar

The coastal town of Tossa de Mar is the southernmost village on our list. Tossa de Mar has less than 6,000 inhabitants and is popular with foreign tourists, as well as Spaniards themselves, due to its small-scale character. On the main beach of Platja Gran, besides sunbathing and swimming, visitors can also enjoy a view of the medieval castle and the city walls. This fortress on the rock overlooking the sea is certainly worth a visit if you have the time. But if you go in the summer, make sure you visit the castle in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat. Are you looking for some more entertainment? Then take the bus to Lloret de Mar or Blanes.

2. Platja d’Aro

What used to be a small fishing village with a two-kilometre-long beach is now a well-known seaside resort. And the main reason for its popularity is evidently the beach. The sandy beach of Platja d’Aro is very spacious, child-friendly and has all the facilities you may need, from lifeguards to beach bars and water sports activities. In addition, it is also very nice to stroll along the long boulevard in the evenings. Afterwards, why not sit down at one of the many fish restaurants and end the day with a delicious ice cream. Looking for nightlife? Then you are also in the right place.


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3. Calella de Palafrugell

White houses, narrow streets and a rocky cove: Calella de Palafrugell is probably one of the most picturesque places on the Costa Brava. Due to its small size, the village has remained authentic which allows visitors to experience the wonderful Catalan atmosphere first-hand. Although it can get quite busy in the summer months, mass tourism is still lacking here. Stroll through the streets, cool off in the Mediterranean and eat fresh fish in one of the restaurants… Can you imagine a better summer day? Also worth visiting are the botanical gardens and the castle of Cap Roig.


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4. Begur

About eleven kilometres to the north, we find the village of Begur. Although it is now mostly loved for its beautiful beaches, Begur also has an interesting history. One of the symbols of the town is the castle that towers over Begur. In the historic centre you can also admire five defence towers. These towers, which were built as protection against the Moorish piracy, date back to the 16th and 17th century. Do you fancy a dip after all that culture? Then go to Aiguablava beach: the most beautiful bay of Begur.

5. Pals

If you are looking for a typical Catalan medieval village, then head to Pals. The historic centre was built between the 11th and 13th century and is very well preserved. The village was built around a fortress, of which you can still enter the watchtower today. When you stroll through the cobbled streets and admire the centuries-old houses covered with flowers, you will really feel like you have stepped back in time. If you are stopping for a meal, then try a dish including the rice that Pals is known for (arroz de Pals).


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6. Girona

Looking for a larger city with more cultural offerings? Then Girona is the town for you! Girona is the capital of the province of the same name and has an interesting combination of historic and modern elements. In the old part, or Barri Vell, you will find the cathedral and the basilica of Girona. Game of Thrones fans will likely recognise the cathedral and its famous 91-step staircase as King’s Landing. The Jewish Quarter and the Arab Baths are also featured in the series. Even if you are not a Game of Thrones fan, you should not miss these historic buildings! Take a walk along the city walls for excellent views of the city and its surroundings.

7. L’Escala

Towards the north of the coast, we find the port town of L’Escala. There is a fine beach ideal for families and a long promenade. In addition, there are also plenty of cultural activities with a festival in the summer, the historical museum of L’Escala and the Museo de la Anchoa y la Sal (museum of anchovies and salt).

Five kilometres from L’Escala is Empúries and its archaeological site of an earlier Greek and Roman city. The excavations surrounded by the Mediterranean pines overlooking the sea are well worth a visit.

8. Besalú

Besalú is located a bit inland but should not be missed during your holiday on the Costa Brava. This small village of less than 3,000 inhabitants has never lost its medieval charm. Besalú is famous for its 12th century Romanesque stone bridge. This bridge takes you to the historic centre. Here you can admire the monastery, the old squares, the Jewish baths and several centuries-old churches.


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9. Empuriabrava

Empuriabrava, also known as the Catalan Venice, is a coastal town in the Gulf of Roses. It has 24 kilometres of navigable canals, making it the largest residential port area in Europe. You can rent a boat from several places so you can try sailing on the canals yourself. A very nice activity for a warm summer evening. In addition to the canals, there are also a few spacious beaches, and the town is surrounded by hilly nature parks. It is an ideal place for relaxation and exploring nature.

10. Figueres

Are you a fan of Dali? Then you should not miss Figueres and its Teatro-Museo Dalí. This museum is one of the most popular attractions in Spain and gives you a special insight into the life and works of Salvador Dalí. The building with eggs on the roof, meanwhile, is a symbol of the city and a surreal work of art in itself.

Not much of an art fan? Then you can find the castle of San Fernando (Castel de Sant Ferrán) outside the centre. This 18th century fortress is one of the greatest monuments of Catalonia. In addition, Figueres is also known for its great selection of shops and has many terraces for visitors to relax with a refreshing drink.


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11. Cadaques

The most picturesque village on the Costa Brava could well be Cadaqués. This village with its white houses and white church in a bay near Cap de Creus is a scene that attracts thousands of tourists every summer. It is no wonder that Dalí had a house here and was inspired by his surroundings for several works. This villa, Casa-Museu Salvador Dalí, is now open to the public. Besides Dalí, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso also found inspiration here.

Enjoy strolling through the maze of narrow streets, admire the white stone houses up close and then end the day with a delicious meal overlooking the bay and the dozens of boats.

12. Port Bou

The northernmost town on the Costa Brava is Portbou. This village on the French border has less than 1,500 inhabitants and attracts fewer tourists than the above-mentioned places. But that doesn’t make it any less fun. The large pebble beach is spacious and ideal for a refreshing dip. If you are looking for something a little more active, then it is nice to walk through the hills and overlook the sea to France.


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