The Costa Brava

When we book our holidays we put in hours of research beforehand. It seems laborious at the time but we’re always grateful we’ve done it once we arrive at our chosen destination.

There are surprisingly few up-to-date books covering the Costa Brava so we did a lot of late night web-trawling.

I think in the past the Costa Brava has had a lot of bad press (particularly in the U.K.) so we were slightly dubious at first. However as we dug deeper we realised this was still a place of great natural beauty with many hidden gems.

IMG_4204

We stayed for a week just East of Girona and were initially concerned that we’d be bored but left wishing we’d had longer, with loads of places still on our ‘must-see’ list.

Staying at the beautiful Can Bassa (more pics here) turned out to be a great base from which to explore the area.  It was nice to stay away from the crowds and explore the region by car.

Just inland from the coast are an abundance of beautiful medieval villages to explore, offering great restaurants serving traditional Catalan fare (and some more modern tapas) at low cost and great taste. We didn’t have one bad meal here and they were all served with a smile.

IMG_4095

Monells

IMG_4096

Monells

IMG_4097

Monells

IMG_5528

Juia

IMG_5529

Fantastic Barbecued food at Restaurant Juia in Juia

IMG_5520

Corca

IMG_5521

Modern tapas at Raku in Corca

Grilled meat seems to be a particular speciality. They really are the Kings and Queens of the barbecue!

The more well known villages such as Pals (pics below) are worth visiting in the late afternoon/early morning to avoid any coach parties but don’t let that put you off. They really are quite stunning:

IMG_4158IMG_4157IMG_4156IMG_4155IMG_4153IMG_4151IMG_5525IMG_5526

I’d also recommend hiring a kayak from busy Castell Beach and taking it to some of the nearby tranquil coves away from the crowds.

IMG_4720IMG_4719IMG_4718IMG_4717

If the beach is not your thing, there are also a few wild swimming spots to be found just North West of Girona at Lake Banyoles (which we didn’t get too) and at one of the many gorges. We went to the gorge of Font de la Torre near the town of Canet d’Adri:

IMG_5524IMG_5523

This kind of swimming/wallowing is not for the faint-hearted as the water is cold and the basins seem bottomless. As a swimming enthusiast it is one of the most extraordinary places I have ever swam in – I’m still trying to understand the geology of it. I think it maybe where a subterranean river meets the water coming down from the mountains (but then geography was never my strong suit!). If anyone can shed any light on the area I’d love to know!

We also took our boys snorkelling for the first time from a little cove called Cala d’Aigua Xelida just outside the town of Tamariu:

IMG_4694IMG_4693

Then we progressed to the gorgeous Cala Estreta:

IMG_4203IMG_4175IMG_4181IMG_4183IMG_4184IMG_4189IMG_4190IMG_4192IMG_4202IMG_4219

To get here you need to park and walk from Castell Beach. It’s quite a walk and if you choose the coastal path it takes longer and is somewhat more hazardous (but the views are amazing). Make sure you wear shoes with a decent grip and take plenty of water.

We definitely thought it was worth the journey though – there are no facilities here, just beautiful coves, clear water and the odd nudist, but ever so worth it!

I hope by writing this post that I’ve shown a bit of the ‘real’ Costa Brava as it is indeed an amazing place that is rich in beauty, history, art and culture. We were talking of returning before we even left and would love to go to Begur, Figueres and Cadaques – to name a few! Any recommendations for a future return trip would be most welcome.

X

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s