Few places in the world compare to Costa Brava, Spain. This coastal region has inspired artists such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, and it's easy to see why. First, you have one of the world's most picturesque coastlines. Then, once you're done spending a day at the beach, inland towns provide you with more gems to discover. Art enthusiasts, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts will all find plenty of things to keep them entertained throughout their stay here.
Where is Costa Brava?
Costa Brava consists of the coastal region of the province of Girona. Blanes, its southernmost town, is situated just 45 miles northeast of Barcelona, roughly a 60-minute drive. Blanes and Portbou, its northernmost community, which is located on the Spanish-French border, are about 70 miles apart and can generally be reached in about 100 minutes.
How Do I Get There?
If you can catch a connecting or direct flight into Girona-Costa Brava Airport, that would be quickest way to get here as this transportation hub is situated just south of the province's capital of Girona, about a 30-minute drive from the beaches of Costa Brava. Another option would be flying into Barcelona-El Prat Airport, which is about 55 miles, a 75-minute drive, from Blanes. High-speed trains will also bring you to Girona and Vilafant while local ones will take you to Costa Brava's beaches.
When Should I Go?
Most head here in July and August, which is also when it is at its hottest with average highs exceeding 85 degrees. If you have flexibility with your plans, you may want to consider May, June, September and October as it won't be as crowded during those months, and the temperatures will be cooler too. Winter months can be great too although you will have to bundle up a little as average low temperatures dip into the 30s.
Growth of Costa Brava
More than 100 years ago, Costa Brava was not yet a destination attraction as most who had wanted to experience these types of beach communities headed to the Cote d'Azur instead. During this time period, locals focused on fishing. However, this started changing in the 1940s and 1950s as it began being promoted as a holiday destination for those from places north of here, from France up to the Nordic countries. Visitors from those areas as well as throughout the world have been visiting ever since. In fact, Costa Brava was the first part of Spain to really become a popular holiday destination with places like the Canary Islands, Mallorca and Costa del Sol following shortly thereafter.
Salvador Dali, one of the world's greatest surrealist artists, was born, spent much of his life in and died in Figueres, which is Costa Brava's second-largest community. One of the region's greatest attractions is Figueres' Dali Theatre and Museum, which was designed by the artist himself. He is buried there as well. It opened in 1974 – he passed away in 1989 – and is a must-see for Dali aficionados.
The rugged coastline can be traversed on some spectacularly beautiful coastal paths. In fact, those who are really adventurous can even walk the entire 125-mile length over a period of a week or two. Fortunately, this route is bisected many times, giving you much more manageable portions of it to get up close to the water and enjoy a great view of the area's incredible landscape. Probably the most well-known one is Aiguablava-Begur-Pals. It's also pretty accessible. It provides easy access to the beaches it goes past and is surrounded by bushes, trees, rocks and coves. Other popular ones include El Port de la Selva-Llanca, Roses-Almadrava and Cala Llevadors-Tossa de Mar. Note that the last one in that group is a more challenging path, but it does provide spectacular views.
Ruins at Tossa de Mar
While in this picturesque resort community enjoying its old town and beautiful beaches, make sure to check out the ruins of a Roman villa there that dates to at least the fifth century. Guided tours are available, or you can inspect the historic remains yourself. Artifacts discovered here are displayed at Tossa de Mar's Municipal Museum.