The Costa Brava is a 60km stretch of stunning Mediterranean coastline, running from Blanes in the northeast of Barcelona all the way to the French border. Its sandy beaches and clear blue waters were mainly enjoyed only by locals up until the 1950s when it began to be developed for tourism. Soon large numbers of hotels and apartments were popping up in towns along the coast, and the area’s beauty coupled with the excellent Mediterranean climate quickly made the Costa Brava one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.
The beauty of the Costa Brava has long been associated with Hollywood glamour; the coast was a popular vacation spot for stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles, and is home to a number of luxury resorts and five-star hotels. There are exquisite beaches everywhere, typically with plenty of umbrellas and sun-loungers on offer, and various water-sports are also available, so you will have all you need for the perfect beach holiday.
If you are hoping for a more secluded and tranquil atmosphere you will be able to find smaller and less touristy beaches in most of the towns. The coastline is also strung with great restaurants specialising in fresh seafood, and in the summer months you’ll be offered Banyuls, a sweet fortified wine usually served as an apéritif.
A coast for all seasons
The coast is famed for its immaculate golf courses, which boast gorgeous mountain views; whether you are first-timer after some holiday fun or a seasoned golfer looking to improve your handicap, the Costa Brava has got you covered. And the entertainment doesn’t stop there: there are open-air concerts playing music of all genres throughout the summer, in gardens, on beaches, and in squares, in addition to numerous festivals which bring dancers crowding into the streets.
There are also plenty of great museums along the coastline. One of the most popular of these is the extraordinary Dalí Theatre-Museum in the town of Figueres: the artist built his ‘totally theatrical museum’ on the site of a municipal theatre destroyed in the 19th century, aiming to create the greatest Surrealist object of all time. It is now home to the largest collection of his work in the world, in a fantastical building whose exterior is crowned with giant eggs and gold figures performing semaphore; a geodesic dome cupola surmounts the old stage of the theatre, and Dalí himself is buried in a crypt beneath. Also worth seeing are the Watercolour Museum in Alt Empordà and the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia, to name just two of the coast’s fine crop of institutions.
For a more rustic experience you can still get the sense of traditional Catalonia in small fishing towns like Cadaqués, which have remained relatively unmarked by tourism. Artists such as Mirò
have been attracted to these coastal Catalan towns, taking advantage of the beauty of their rough landscape and the bright natural light which is excellent for painting. From idyllic scenery and traditional Catalan culture to luxury accommodation and tourist entertainment, the Costa Brava is a natural gem with plenty to offer every kind of tourist.