Girona, the medieval Catalan city that is 90 km away from Barcelona has been on my bucket list for the longest time! Why? Because of the nature, the romantic coastlines, the glorious fine blue Mediterranean seas, the history, and most importantly, the world-famous Salvador Dalí Museum and the quaint seaside village of Cadaques where the artist lived and worked for many years.
Costa Brava should be on your bucket list and here is a little travel guide to Costa Brava. We spent 4 days exploring the coast by car and foot. In my opinion, Tossa De Mar stays here if you are looking to be central and not keen on exploring other cities, you will find all sorts of accommodation but not as higher end as in Platja D’aro, Begur is a hilltop town, be prepared for a long walk down to the beach, stay here if you enjoy the medieval little streets, the local cuisine and the beautiful vibe. Cadaques and Roses are beautiful and almost on the borders, if you stay here, going to Tossa for a day visit should be done in the morning. Platja D’aro is more upscale. You will find higher-end hotels here and beautiful coves and beaches are found just like in Tossa.
How to get there?
You can start your journey from Barcelona. We rented a car from SixT (You can choose over a million places to rent your car, we booked it directly but you can use sites like this one here and here.
Ultimately you can take a taxi, it will be about 300 euros, or a bus or fly into Girona airport. Driving was definitely the easiest way and you will need a car if you want to drive around the coast.
The time of arrival will depend on where in Costa Brava you want to stay. Many different locations around the coast could take up to 5 hours to drive.
Where to stay?
I stayed in Platjo D’aro at the Salles Hotel & Spa Cala Del Pi and booked it through batuta.com
Where to go?
The list below is in chronological order on your drive through the coast. Ultimately there is a great drop-down guide list of the beaches and coves in each town right here. You could pick your favorite one and set a route plan!
Blanes – 1 hour from Barcelona by car. A popular destination for weekend visitors from Barcelona due to the proximity to the city. We passed through Blanes by car but did not explore much of the town.
Lloret de Mar – The incredible town of Lloret de Mar has beautiful gothic architecture and historic churches. We visited the streets of the Old Town and sites such as Can Xardo and Can Comadran. There are plenty of hotels and places to stay here as well.
Tossa de Mar – 1 hour and 40 minutes. We stopped here and spent the whole afternoon! You can walk everywhere here in the city center and it's beautiful!! They call it ‘ The Blue Paradise’. Tossa is a historic fishing community that dates back centuries and is today a popular tourist attraction on the Costa Brava. There are many beaches, coves and historical things to see and is one of the most popular towns with tourists. Most importantly you will find the castle, Sometime in the 12th century the medieval town was walled off and a castle was built on the highest point of Mt. Guardí, this castle was eventually going to be replaced by a windmill, and that in turn was going to be replaced by a lighthouse that is still in use today. If you plan on staying here, book at Hotel Diana, it was initially our first plan but then decided to drive further into Platja D’aro.
Platja D’aro – A 2-hour drive into Platja D’aro (30 minutes from Tossa) and we checked into Hotel Salles Cala Del Pi. Hidden coves and beaches along the way make this one of the greatest experiences! You can cross the town coast through a little trek. Across the coves, into the pathways to find more hidden gems. We started from the hotel and went into a tunnel from the beach and walked for miles.
Begur – A 3-hour drive from Barcelona and a 1 hour and 20-minute drive from Platja D’aro, Begur is something out of a Game of Thrones series. Although it has one of the best diving locations, most people come to Begur for hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking. You can also find wonderful local shops. The town is found on a hilltop and it is one of my favorite towns. You can walk all around the little medieval corners and will not stop staring at the architecture of this place! I think Begur won my heart the most. It’s different than the others, everyone is jealous of Begur dating back to the 11th century. Spend the afternoon here, watching the sunset reflect on the stone rooftop houses. You will not regret Begur!
Roses – Skipping through the coast, we drove by Roses, home to stunning little coves and beaches once again, Roses used to be a Greek colony, centuries before Christ. Greeks came from the lovely island of Rhodes in 776 BC, tempted by the peaceful waters of Roses’ natural harbor, when they set up their commercial colony and you can see the facade and remains of this Greek city! In Roses, you can visit La Ciutadella – The Citadell Roses, the lighthouses, the historical monuments, and of course, the beautiful beaches. If you are into little coves here are a few: Cala Murtra, Cala Rustella, and Cala Calitjas.
Cadaques – Almost to the borders of France, we took a long, long, long drive into the town and it’s the eastern point in Spain. The beautiful waterfront town has a facade of Greek architecture and the statue of Dali right in the center for you to take pictures with! With a population of about 3,000 inhabitants, the town dates back to the Iberian period. The town of Cadaques is beautiful and picturesque on so many levels.