In the 1950s, entrepreneurs and local authorities decided that the otherwise rocky and difficult Costa Brava will become one of the most popular attractions in Spain – and invested massively in tourism. As fate would have it, they were right, and today, Costa Brava is visited by countless tourists every year. It’s not just the pristine, postcard-like beaches that make it awesome – there’s also caves and mountains, tons of music festivals, and of course, exquisite cuisine. Costa Brava has it all, and much more; whether you want to chill out by the sea with a fancy cocktail, or whether you want to party all night long, or even explore the wild and savage environment, there’s few places that are as amazing this part of Catalonia. Accommodation is also brilliant – Hoteles-Catalonia, Airbnb, and local websites offer great options, but be advised – it’s not the cheapest area of the world.
Girona is a very historical city of approximately 100,000 people geographically set at the confluence of 4 rivers. You may have not hear much about Girona, but Spanish people have – in a country-wide survey, Girona consistently wins the title of most desired city to live in. The narrow streets, the vibrant Jewish quarter and the ancient walls (yes, there are ancient walls) make for one of the best urban walks you can have. Passeig de la Muralla makes for a great view of the city, Monastery Sant Pere de Rodes gives one of many glimpses into the past, while the rocky coast is just perfect for relaxing. But Girona isn’t living in the past, not at all: countless lively clubs dot the city, and you’ll find that the nightlife has something to offer for everyone.
If smaller cities are your thing, then you shouldn’t miss out on Figueres – home of the famous Dali museum. The Dali museum is the 2nd most visited museum in Spain after Madrid’s Prado, and you can find Dali souvenirs and trinkets everywhere in the city. The food is excellent, there’s good drinks everywhere, and as it always seems to be the case in Catalonia, history is an integral part of the city.
Lloret del Mar
Lloret del Mar can be regarded as a part of Costa Brava, but I’d rather treat it in itself… because it’s so crazy and lively! The resort city seems to always be full of young people who just want to party and have a good time; there are more nightclubs than restaurants, and as you’d expect, the beaches are spectacular. Because of the huge crowd and narrow streets, it makes for an almost impossible drive, but a very pleasant walk. You can kayak or snorkel if you want to be more active, or just chill with a cocktail and sunbathe. There’s a nice castle at the end of the resort, but be warned – it’s a private property and doesn’t allow visitors.
There are many other awesome places to see in Catalonia – one of the things which makes the area so beautiful is that aside for great beaches, it’s also a very rocky and mountainous area, with the nearby Pyrenees. The city of Lleida is widely regarded as the door to the west Pyrenees mountains, and it also has a great cathedral you can visit. Reus is a well known centre for rock-climbing and the birthplace of world-famous architect Antoni Gaudí. Santa Susanna is another well-connected village in the mountains close to the city of Barcelona (60 Km away) which has lots of touristic potential.
If you want more history, then Tarragona is a place you shouldn’t miss; the Roman age capital looks like it was taken from a computer game, with a sea-side colosseum, roman ruins everywhere and stunning beaches, it will make for a unique experience. Seriously, Tarragona’s awesome.