By: Ana Mañas
When you think ‘Barcelona’ you think Sagrada Familia, tapas and sangria, and beautiful beaches that go on for miles. The Costa Brava, (Catalan for ‘Wild Coast’) is the 214km coastline that extends throughout Catalonia and has some of Spain’s most beautiful beaches, not to mention beach towns. But how do you choose where to go? Our Ambassador in Barcelona, Ana, has provided her tips to choosing the best beach to compliment your next trip to Barcelona.
1. The “I Only Have One Day” Traveler: Tossa de Mar
If you only have one day to check out what Costa Brava has to offer, Tossa de Mar will give you a good idea of the beauty of Costa Brava without having to spend hours traveling from Barcelona. You can enjoy a beach with crystal clear waters and you can also visit the ancient part of the town behind the medieval wall that surrounds the old village. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider taking a one hour hike to one of the nearest bays like Cala Pola.
How to get there: Train R1 to Blanes + bus to Tossa
Pros: quality of water; nature; plenty of services; easily accessible from Barcelona
Con: It is quite touristy and can be very crowded.
2. The “Party” Traveler: Platja d’Aro
If you are looking to enjoy a great beach during the day and a party at night, Platja d’Aro is your destination. Platja d’Aro has several beaches but we recommend Sa Conca because of its beauty and smaller crowds. That’s because you have to walk longer to get there, but we promise it is worth the effort! There is a gorgeous path starting from Sa Conca beach that will take you to incredible rocky bays and beaches. It’s called “Camí de Ronda” (follow the red and white signs). Don’t expect silence, though, as the area is quite popular and it’s full of tourists. But don’t complain, you’re the “party” traveler! At night, the town of Platja d’Aro comes to life. You will find, pubs, bars, restaurants, discos, and everything else needed to enjoy a perfect night out!
How to get there: Bus to Platja d’Aro
Pros: quality of water; plenty of services; wide range of accommodations; near Barcelona
Cons: expensive in high season; quite crowded
3. The “Not in a Hurry” Traveler: Begur
If you choose this option, congratulations! This means you can spend more than one day visiting and Begur would be the perfect otption. Begur is a medieval town but it doesn’t have a beach! Why go there then? This is the town where you can get accommodation and from which you can walk to some of the most amazing beaches you’ve ever seen. Also, public transportation from Barcelona drops you off in Begur, so it’s the best jumping off point. We know you came for the beaches, but don’t forget to visit Begur’s castle!
The beaches: Tamariu is only one hour on foot from Begur. It is one of the top rated beaches in Costa Brava, but it’s still unknown because it’s no that close to Barcelona. The quality of the water is excellent and the nature around is breathtaking. The Water is always calm as it’s a closed bay. Theres also a trampoline if you want to take a dive. From Tamariu there is a path to get to some other incredible beaches, and the path is clearly marked so you shouldn’t get lost. Don’t miss Aigua Xelida beach, to the north of Tamariu, or Llafranc, to the south. The path to Llafranc is easier, and there are beautiful bays in between. Going to Aigua Xelida may be harder as you need to cross woods, but it’s very secluded and not at all touristy so will be a great break from crowds.
How to get there: Bus to Begur, then by foot
Pro: quality of water; nature; plenty of services around; many cheap accommodations nearby (campsites); many activities and places to visit
Con: services at the beach are very expensive
4. The “Adventurous” Traveler. El Port de la Selva
El Port de la Selva is a charming town right next to the Cap de Creus, a natural protected area. As you swim inside its beach, you will feel like you’re floating inside a pool because of the enclosed bay lack of waves. No need to go snorkeling to see its variety of fish swimming near the shore. Don’t forget to visit the town either, it’s cute, cheap as not very touristy. If you love hiking, this will turn out to be your best seaside choice in Costa Brava. You must not miss the historical town of Cadaqués, where the famous artist Dalí lived, and where you can visit his house, now converted into a museum. Follow the signs of GR 92 (red and white stripes), and enjoy the three hour walk through the natural park. Also, you can go the other direction starting from El Port and visit Sant Pere de Rodes, a huge monastery from where you will enjoy astounding views of the seaside. Finally, if you are a real adventurer craving to get off the beaten track, you can even walk to the Pyrenees from here!
How to get there: Train to Llançà (line R11) + bus (or walk)
Pro: not touristy; nature; Pyrenees Mountains are close-by
Con: three hour trip from Barcelona
No matter how much time you have, there is a piece of Costa Brava that fits you. Whether it’s taking a day trip to Tossa de Mar, hiking from Begur to the coast or exploring the incredible Pyrenees from El Port de la Seleva, Costa Brava will be an unforgettable addition to your next Catalonian adventure.