Travel Ninja

Secret Paradises: Best Towns Along Costa Brava [Revealed]

Discovering the best towns in Costa Brava reveals a treasure trove of destinations that blend the beauty, culture, and history of Catalonia, Spain. From the charming sunny seaside villages to the hilltop medieval marvels, each town offers a unique gateway to the finest gastronomy and rugged beaches framed by the scenic Spanish-French border.

As you wander from Blanes to beyond, you’ll encounter hidden caves, meander through hiking trails, and marvel at the sea caves that make Costa Brava a truly beguiling destination. Whether it’s the wild coast’s dramatic landscapes or the quaint streets bustling with life, these towns encapsulate the essence of a perfect Spanish getaway far from just being a stop for British holidaymakers, they are cherished for their vibrant and uplifting spirit.

Explore beyond the mainstream and immerse yourself in the regional delights that have crowned these locales as some of the prettiest in Spain, making each visit both a serene retreat and a thrilling exploration. If you’re venturing through Spain, consider extending your journey to the best beaches in Malaga, the vibrant beach clubs in Marbella, or the serene stretches of Alicante for a comprehensive taste of the Spanish coast’s offerings.

Best Towns In Costa Brava

Exploring the best towns in Costa Brava offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Catalonia’s northeast Spain, where each locale boasts its own unique allure. From beaches that stretch into serene horizons to quaint towns steeped in history, Costa Brava is a treasure just a day trip away from Barcelona. For those eager to delve deeper, consider renting a car; this freedom allows you to uncover hidden gems along the coastline, from secluded coves to vibrant market towns, enhancing your experience by overnighting in multiple places.

For adventurers, the Cami de Ronda, a coastal hiking trail that weaves through rugged cliffs, offers a spectacular way to explore the region on foot, revealing breathtaking views and connecting you intimately with the natural beauty of Costa Brava. Whether you follow a guide, embark on recommended tours, or chart your own path via public transport, each approach promises a rich palette of experiences in this sun-drenched part of Spain.

Pals

Nestled in the shadow of the Mountains of Begur, Pals is a captivating medieval town perched on a hilltop. This village is famed for its old-world charm, where timeless beauty meets ageless tranquility. Pals is encircled by natural splendour, from its golden beaches to expansive dunes and lush rice fields. Wander through winding cobbled streets lined with quaint trinket shops and cozy local restaurants that capture the essence of Catalan culture.

Architecturally, Pals’ Old Town is a mosaic of honey-colored sandstone towers, residences, and churches. Not to be missed, the Tower of the Hours offers breathtaking views of both the mountains and the sea, painting a picture of a town steeped in history yet vibrantly alive with the local community and visitors alike.

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For those drawn to the outdoors, the nearby Castle of Begur provides dramatic views over the Mediterranean coast, easily accessible within a ten-minute drive. Whether you’re exploring the historic sites or enjoying a leisurely day at nearby beaches such as Aiguafreda and Fornells, Pals offers an enriching retreat from the bustling coastal resorts.

Girona

Girona is not just a town; it’s a treasure of the Costa Brava, celebrated not only for its proximity to Barcelona but for its rich tapestry of medieval architecture nestled along the banks of the River Onyar. Often overlooked compared to its coastal neighbors, Girona offers a deep dive into history with its Gothic churches and the Girona Cathedral, an imposing structure with a grand staircase that echoes tales of the past.

The Old Quarter, or Barri Vell, is particularly mesmerizing, where 12th-century public bath houses stand near the walls that once protected the city. For those who cherish urban exploration, the pastel-colored buildings viewed from the city walls provide a picturesque scene at golden hour.

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Girona serves as a gateway to Costa Brava’s beaches, seamlessly integrating medieval charm with coastal leisure, making it an essential stop on any Catalan road trip. Whether you’re following a tour from Barcelona or venturing independently, the city offers an array of museums, galleries, and restaurants that make it one of the most beautiful towns in Spain for cultural and culinary delights.

Cadaqués

Cadaqués, a white-washed town on the Costa Brava coast, has long been a magnet for those drawn to its upmarket yet quaint charm and the artistic spirit of Salvador Dalí, who lived here from 1930 to 1982. This seaside town isn’t just about picturesque pebble beaches and crystalline cove waters; it’s a cultural hub with a calendar filled with festivities that make it an ideal base for holidaymakers. At the heart of Cadaqués’ allure is the Cap de Creus Natural Park, a marvel of rugged, wild coastlines best explored by boat or via lighthouse hikes.

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The Salvador Dalí House Museum, once the permanent address and hillside home of Dalí and his wife, ranks among the most unique places in Costa Brava for an intimate glimpse into the life of this visionary artist. Whether you’re wandering its whitewashed streets or dining in its cozy restaurants and bars, Cadaqués encapsulates the essence of the region’s wild beauty and its enduring cultural legacy.

Blanes

Blanes, once a former fisherman’s village where fishing remains at the core, now invites visitors and residents alike to relax in its warm and welcoming atmosphere. This coastal gem is renowned not just for its beaches and coves perfect for exploration, but also as the host of the International Fireworks Competition every July a spectacle that eclipses even London’s NYE fireworks. Beyond the sandy shores and pyrotechnic marvels, Blanes offers a chance to ascend San Juan Hill, where breathtaking views await. Whether you’re soaking up the sun or meandering through local streets, Blanes offers an authentic slice of Costa Brava life, making every stay a chance to create lasting memories.

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Begur

Begur, a town where time stands still, is a perfect escape from the beaten tracks of mainstream tourism. Nestled away from the hustle, Begur exudes a colourful and full of life ambiance that captivates anyone in search of authenticity. This jewel of the Costa Brava, with its roots reaching back to prehistoric times, continues to charm with its boutique hotels, dreamlike streets, and a culinary scene that could rival any cosmopolitan city. Restaurants here offer a taste of Catalonia that keeps even the most discerning Barcelonians coming back. Just an hour’s drive from Barcelona, Begur offers more than just a getaway; it promises a portal to a slower, more enchanting pace of life.

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Calella de Palafrugell

Nestled within the municipality of Palafrugell, Calella de Palafrugell earns its reputation as one of the most beautiful coastal villages in Spain, where white houses and wooden boats create a postcard-perfect scene against rocky inlets and hidden coves. This seaside resort is not just about its dream-like atmosphere; it’s a vibrant hub where the centre of town buzzes with waterside cafes and restaurants serving Catalonian food, and a local market offering fresh fruit and veggies. Beyond the charming streets, the Cap Roig Botanical Garden showcases a stunning collection of over a thousand species thriving in a Mediterranean-type climate.

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For beach lovers, Calella de Palafrugell along with nearby Llafranc and Tamariu, offers an array of swimmable beaches, medieval ruins, and summer watersports. Whether it’s taking a leisurely swim in tidal pools, snorkeling in caves, or savoring seafood by the shore, this town embodies the quintessential Costa Brava charm, making it a favorite for families, groups, and couples alike.

L’Escala

L’Escala offers a culturally enriching holiday along the Gulf of Roses, where the main beach area features silky smooth waters framed by lush green mountains. This town is not only renowned for its scenic beauty but also its rich history showcased at the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia, where you can dive into the ancient history of the Greeks and Romans. For food enthusiasts, the Anchovy Festival is a must-visit, with the Anchovy Tapas Trail allowing you to sample the best anchovy tapas at various bars, collecting stamps at each place to potentially win bundles of prizes. Whether you’re a history buff or a culinary adventurer, L’Escala blends historical intrigue with gastronomic delights to create unforgettable experiences.

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Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar, just a 90-minute drive from Barcelona, encapsulates the ideal mix of beaches, history, and outdoorsy pursuits that define the Costa Brava. This gem, closer to the Catalonia capital, is famed for its Old Town (Villa Vella) with well-preserved medieval buildings, a picturesque seaside fort, and a lighthouse that offers stunning bay views. A popular summer escape for Barcelonians, it caters to foodies and those seeking laid-back nightlife with an array of tapas bars serving fresh seafood and traditional Catalan cooking.

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For the adventurous, the clear waters provide perfect conditions for scuba diving, kayaking, or exploring coastal caves via kayak or stand-up paddleboard tours. Given its popularity, securing an overnight stay requires booking accommodation well in advance during the peak summer months, making it a bustling hub for both locals and tourists seeking a quintessential Spanish beach town experience.

Platja d’Aro and S’Agaró

Platja d’Aro and S’Agaró are two distinctively different yet complementarily charming seaside towns in Costa Brava, often visited together due to their close proximity. Platja d’Aro, the larger of the two, is celebrated for having some of the longest beaches in the region, equipped with vibrant water sports and aquatic parks that make it a prime destination for family vacations in Catalonia.

Just to the north of town, the more isolated lagoons appeal to local cliff divers looking for a thrill. In contrast, S’Agaró is often likened to Beverly Hills for its upscale resort vibe, featuring striking cliffs and crystal clear water, perfect for those seeking serene coastal hiking routes.

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Both towns are linked by the historic Roads of Ronda, with a scenic trail that offers a splendid mix of cultural and natural attractions, stretching from Platja d’Aro to S’Agaró and beyond to Sant Antoni de Calonge. This region not only captivates with its natural beauty but also provides an enriching coastal experience, showcasing the best of both worlds in terms of leisure and adventure.

Figueres

Figueres, an inland town in Costa Brava, is renowned as the birthplace of the visionary artist Salvador Dalí. This town ranks among the best towns for those curious about Dalí’s life and art. The Dalí Theater and Museum, not only a top attraction for fans but also a masterpiece designed by Dalí himself, showcases an extensive array of his work. Beyond the museum, Figueres invites exploration of its historic Castell de Sant Ferran and vibrant marketplaces nestled among charming green pockets and shops. Its strategic location and variety of conveniences make it an ideal base for those looking to hop between the coastal and historic places throughout Costa Brava.

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Roses

Roses, nestled at the northern end of the Gulf of Roses, boasts some of the longest and sandiest beaches in Costa Brava. The water here is shallow and gentle, making it a popular spot during the Mediterranean summer. As a large town, Roses serves as an excellent base for tourists with its wide selection of hotels, amenities, and restaurants. Beyond sunbathing, the town offers abundant water activities and boat tours that provide unique perspectives of the Costa Brava coastline.

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Just south of the Gulf of Roses, the Natural Park of the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà offers a nature reserve with wetland marshes a vital habitat for birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals like badgers and deer, making it a must-visit for nature lovers.

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