The Costa Brava is a must-see when in Catalonia. Meaning ‘Wild Coast’ for its rocky nature, this coastal region in the northeast of the country occupies about 60 km, from Blanes and all the way up to Portbou. The Costa Brava not only comprises splendid beaches, cliffs and coves but also amazing natural parks and impressive cultural heritage such as the Ruins of Empúries and medieval legacy, found in towns like Tossa de Mar, not to mention that the region was home and inspiration to one of the greatest artists of all times, Salvador Dalí.
Although the possible combinations are endless, here is my suggested itinerary for a low season day trip:
Many travellers who come to sunny Barcelona for a vacation usually take the opportunity to escape the city and visit the unique Costa Brava for at least one day, in summer and winter alike: it’s really worth it, that is why there are several tour operators which offer a wide variety of organised day trips by bus. Having said that, another option is renting a car and driving along the coast at your own pace. I’d suggest to leave early in the morning if you are just going for the day since there’s a distance of 170 km until Cadaqués.
About 2 hours later you will arrive in Cadaqués, one of the most picturesque coastal towns on the Costa Brava and also one of the closest to the French border. During the high season, Cadaqués is crowded with tourists and Catalans enjoying their summer houses, but on a winter weekday the town is so quiet that even some waterfront restaurants are closed. You can take a walk along the shoreline, go see St. Mary’s Church and end your visit having some fresh fish for lunch at one of the restaurants on the esplanade, like S’estrop. Afterwards, head to Portlligat bay and go see Salvador Dalí House-Museum and the magnificient landscape that inspired this one of a kind surrealist artist, right next to Cap de Creus.
Since in late autumn/early winter the sun sets before 6pm, you can enjoy the dusk in Roses, another beautiful coastal town that is just a 30-minute drive (southward) from Cadaqués. Here you will find a much bigger beach and esplanade. Even tough the Mediterranean Sea faces the east (so no sun setting on the sea), the pastel-coloured sky is worth it.
At this point you could either drive back to Barcelona or stay in Girona city overnight (second option strongly recommended) and use the opportunity to spend an extra day in this charming medieval city, which has over 2000 years of history and hides a wonderful heritage. In the next post I’ll suggest an itinerary around Girona in one day, stay tuned!