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10 Best Costa Brava Secret Gems!

July 07, 2009

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The best way to experience the beauty of "the wild coast" just north of Barcelona is to skip the package tour hell and high rise resorts, and get on the tiny roads that lead to places hard to build on due to nature's stunning cliffs. Just like the over development that has ruined much of the Costa Blanca, Costa Del Sol and so many of the spectacularly beautiful coasts of Spain, Costa Brava has also been plagued by such. If you have a beautiful coast somewhere, it seems everyone wants a piece of it.

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It is not that these places are so hard to find, but most visitors don't look as many are satisfied to never leave their resort and come just for sun holidays. Most who come to Barcelona, miss these great jewels, many are just a little over an hour away. Even in high season, we knew most of these secret hideaways would not be crowded and didn't book anything ahead. There are still wonderful, hidden delights, beaches & pretty postcard perfect villages to be found on all of these coasts. One just has to look and have a desire to find the authentic beauty that is far from the crowds.

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We have enjoyed some of Costa Brava before ( including Dali's amazing museum), but rented a small car this fourth of July week, to dig deeper for beauty and unique experiences. We were not disappointed!

Our motor home is too heavy to get into some of these tiny spots that we were interested in seeing and we prefer skipping curvy, hilly roads in it, if at all possible. We carry a lot more in our RV than most (lots of  books, can goods and full digital piano weigh us down) so vertiginous  mountain roads are not our favorite, although we did see some RV's in some of the places we went to. We could have done many in our RV, but the 30-euro-a-day little rent-a-car granted us more leeway.

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I will be writing more about these individual places with tons of photos and details, but wanted to get this top 10 list up for those who might be interested in exploring them too. They are in no particular order. Which ones have you seen?


Cap Roig

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Calella de Palafrugell Beach

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Aiguablava

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Pals

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Tossa Private Beach

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Begur

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Llafranc Beach

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San Sebastian Lookout

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Timarui Beach

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Gala Dali House Museum

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Graham

Cool photos. Only been to a couple of them many years ago

Jen Laceda

Wow! I didn't know Costa Brava was this beautiful. I wish I had known and we would have paid a visit to the coast while we were there in Barcelona.

Miguel Marcos

It's nice to see these photos. My wife, daughter and I have been going to Begur in the summer for years now, lately in Sa Riera on the coast.

I love the Costa Brava for lots of reasons, not least of which is you can get great food to cook, the coastline is beautiful, you've got lots of cultural options in the smaller towns and Girona. I could go on and on!

Don't get caught there in September and afterwards, though. The tramontana winds will pursue you!

Jack

Great post and so true, it really is not hard to get away from the touristy parts and discover something truly memorable along the Costa Brava and inland Girona too.
See my website for other ideas: http://discovergirona.net

Nika

Northern Spain, stretching from the Costa Brava to Cape Finistere in Galicia is one big string of beautiful little villages, undiscovered towns and amazing scenery. Your pictures are amazing and bring back wonderful memories of our travels there. But beware of the Calella and Llafranc beach on a sunday in august. They get soo crowded it is hard to find space to put down one towel. It was a great day though as it was so crowded it became funny. We were once there in december though and all these villages and beaches seemed deserted. It was amazingly beautiful.

Best regards
Nika

jessiev

these are GORGEOUS! wow!! it sure makes me want to go. mozart looks so happy on the beach.:)

jessiev

these are GORGEOUS! wow!! it sure makes me want to go. mozart looks so happy on the beach.:)

Soultravelers3

Graham-Thanks! Lovely area, isn't it?

Jen- Thanks! Yep, that is why I wanted to post it as I think many miss it when they come to Barcelona!

Miguel-Lucky you! Funny, but we first came to the Costa Brava in late October & some how missed those winds!

Jack- Thanks!

Nika- So true...last year we did Northern Spain from Galicia to France. Good to know about August, but it is hard to find any beach place not crowded in August in Europe.Galicia is probably fine then, but few others.

Jessie- Thanks! Mozart did have a blast...did 3 beaches and a pool one day! ;)

Janet Davis

It looks like such a pristine and beautiful place. How long did you stay there and where did you stay?

Sara Marti

Great pictures, thanks for sharing.
The Costa Brava is a really beautiful part of Catalonia, worth exploring! Just as much as the local culture, the art and architecture, the language and the gastronomy! There are so many beautiful villages to see a little bit inland too!
I would reccommed anyone to stay in a rented private home. It's best way to discover and sink into the local way of life.
Check my webiste for some beatiful Catalan villas:
www.charmingvillas.net

Wendy Sewell

What beautiful photos! I really enjoyed reading about your experiences! Someday we'll definitely have to go back and see what we missed when we were in Barcelona!

cindy

Those are great photos of the coast. This area has many interesting cultural sites, such as the Jewish-medieval quarter of Girona, the 11th century Tapestry of the Creation found in the Cathedral of Girona and many other places. On the way to visit the Monastery of San Pere de Rodes one can see the neolithic dolmans. There are many great restaurants to discover both near the coast and inland.

Lifecruiser Travel Blog

Ah! You're like us! Exploring small roads leading into the unknown :-)

We love to go on roadtrips, never care to stay at our hotel, resorts or where ever we stays.

We've been thinking of going there exploring when we ever get to Barcelona. Gorgeous photos!

Can you please adopt me? *giggles*

Sandra @ Albany Kid

Thank you for sharing suggestions for exploring Barcelona away from the resorts. Getting to know an area off the beaten path is one of the many benefits of "slow travel," and I'm grateful to benefit from your experience.

nancyhol

We visited all three of the Dali museums while we were in Barcelona. The area is so beautiful - I am dying to go back again!

Alba

Costa Brava is unique, is an indescribable place with words which you really miss when you have grown up there and you live abroad... the Banyoles Lake and its surroundings; the Garrotxa Volcanos, entoured with green fields, typic Mountain Landscapes; Figueres, with the Dalí Museum (Dalí, an admirable painter); the whole zone of l'Empordà, with its quality wine and housemade cold meat; Cadaqués, the small fishing village with white houses and a nice, wild coast; Calella de Palafrugell, with its annual festival of Havaneres (typic catalan Music of the fishermann) and the small beaches with fishing boats; l'Escala, whose anchovy merite to be tasted; Palamós, with the big, red and tasty prawns; Tossa de Mar, well-known for its nice Castle... and Blanes, the last village of the Costa Brava in the South, where every Summer hundreds of people, inclusive tourists, meet to see the spectacular festival of fireworks, in the beach! This things of the Costa Brava deserve to be visited, you find it nowwhere else! ;)

bex

in costa brava now;) its amazing, absolutly blazing, rained yesterday tho;(

Jason Rose

we were in the area just over 2 years ago. I am not game to show these photos to my wife as she wants to go back straight away

Scott

These are such amazing pictures. A good picture makes me want to go there and you succeeded. Plus I love the fact that you travel with your child! We've taken our 2 kids to some cool places through the years and created some amazing memories.
www.worldfamilytravellers.blogspot.com

Amy @ Daily Muttering

Thanks for the info. We've just booked a long weekend flying into Girona. We don't want to hire a car, just relax in a beautiful non-touristy seaside resort (as it's our first holiday away from our kids), where do you suggest? Thanks x

Nilda GOMEZ

I have been to Costa Brava when my daughter was about 5. We loved it. We especially loved the little fishing village Cadaquez, where Dali lived and painted for some years. Did you get a chance to visit that village? It's the type of place you never want to leave.

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