The Costa Brava translates as the ‘rugged coast’ and that is perhaps the best description of all for this beautiful Spanish coastline, set in the north-east of the country the region contains some of the most unspoilt stretches of water in all of the Mediterranean.
That isn’t to say that the Coast Brava doesn’t have its cosmopolitan resorts and its lively clientèle, but dig a little deeper and you can enjoy the unspoilt glory of the pink cliffs, pine forests and quiet beaches that hide away from the glare of the glossy brochures. If you think that you know the Costa Brava then maybe it’s time to rethink and put those preconceptions to one side.
If you have the budget for a bit of luxury then the Hotel Blau Mar in Llafranc is near perfect, with its quiet location within walking distance of the local horseshoe beach and the coves that dot the coast, the village itself has plenty of amenities including great shops and restaurants but always retains its small town feel. The hotel is small by Costa Brava standards but is perfectly decorated to create a light space that envelopes you in its care and hospitality.
Llafranc does have more budget conscious hotels that still have similar glorious views, Hotel Terramar is right on the beach front, and although offering a simplicity, still offers light and airy rooms – if possible try to stretch the budget to book a sea view balcony room, the little extra that it costs is absolutely worth it.
The Salvador Dali House Museum is an experience that really shouldn’t be missed by anyone visiting the Costa Brava, the complex of white buildings was Dali’s home for much of his life and is suitably filled with objects that reflect the amazing mind of this creative genius – the tone is set by the huge stuffed bear that guards the entrance and the museum exhibits progress as might be expected!
The Dali Theatre Museum in Figueres is also a great place to get to know the work of the great man, and holds some of his best works, this is always a busy attraction and can be quite difficult to visit during peak season but those that make the effort are rarely disappointed.
Although there are many beaches to choose from it is sometimes nice to try something different, the Aqua Brava Water Park is a great family day out and offers all the fun of the water in a controlled environment, wave machines, raft rides and slides provide the excitement, with waterfalls, lagoons and gardens providing the beauty – no detail is overlooked to make this a fantastic attraction suitable for the whole family.
Lloret de Mar is the place for the nightlife, clubs and bars line the main streets and the lively crowd is well catered for, those that fancy a flutter could try one of the casino’s and those that want to party late into the night are spoilt for choice; Lloret is filled with holidaymakers throughout much of the season and those that seek entertainment know that this is where to find it – the more reserved holidaymakers may want to avoid staying in the resort but should visit at least once, if only to observe the unashamed hedonism.
The smaller more picturesque resorts have a far lower key nightlife and are great for combining food and drink, find a taverna with a stunning location and spend the night relaxing, whilst gently taking advantage of the best of the regions culinary delights – eat after 9pm and follow the lead of the locals and you’ll never go far wrong.