The wild Costa Brava shoreline runs from north of Barcelona to the border with France, with Girona its capital. And while sandy beaches and azure waters are a recurring theme along the 300 kilometre coast, the specialties unique to each village mean that every pit stop you make will take you on a new adventure - whatever kind of traveller you are. Here are 10 of the most beautiful towns populating the Costa Brava and exactly what you can expect to find there for a 10/10 trip.

If you like calm crystal-clear waters you’ll love Aiguafreda Bay

Time has mostly stood still at this whitewashed village around Begur, with residents largely ignoring the influence of the glitzy high-rise resorts that have saturated the surrounding towns. Instead, relaxed-family run hotels, and even more relaxed locals, warmly welcome visitors with unashamedly slow-pace style into this small cove sheltered by the hill of Puig Rodo.

If you like nature, you’ll love Calella de Palafrugell

In this coastal town the botanical garden of Cap Roig is as popular as the sea that surrounds it. No mean feat when one considers the glorious competition! Acknowledged as one of the best green spaces in the Mediterranean, Cap Roig is 17 hectares of vibrant florals and medieval-style castles hugging the top of a cliff overlooking El Golfet beach and cove below. Over the summer the gardens of Cap Roig also host a music and dance festival of the same name, to showcase just how superior the acoustics in the great outdoors really are.

Calella de Palafrugell

If you like art, you’ll love Port Lligat

The legacy left behind by the creative geniuses of Catalonia can be found all over the Costa Brava. You could visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres (where Salvador Dalí was born), or the artist’s castle in the town of Púbol. However, it is Port Lligat that proudly positions at the peak of the Dalían Triangle – the most enduring location of Dalí’s dystany. Here you will find the well-renowned surrealist’s quirky summer home, where visitors are greeted by a polar bears draped in jewelled necklaces and a stuffed donkey lies in the boudoir! In fact, the creative pull of this area was so strong, that Pablo Picasso was also known to have visited nearby Cadaqués on occasion.

If you like seafood, you’ll love Palamos

Costa Brava is synonymous with seafood. Unsurprisingly, lobster, squid and mullet are freshly fished from the waters daily. However it’s the prawns of Palamos that provide the most iconic of gastronomic experiences in the area . Their signature is a striking red hue – the crustaceans achieving a ruby-colour because of the high concentration of carotenoid pigments in the plankton they feed on. But regardless of the finish of their shells their reincarnation onto a grilled seafood platter will leave you tickled pink.

Palamos Bay

If you like history, you’ll love L'escala

One of the biggest draw cards in this fishing port is the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia. This open-air landmark facing the Mediterranean Sea features the ruins of Empúries and conserves the legacy of the ancient Iberian, Greek and Roman civilisations that coexisted there. (Interesting, albeit somewhat less relevant, L’escala also has a festival dedicated to its famous anchovies!

If you like wine you’ll love Peralada

People may come to visit the towers of Peralada Castle in this pretty medieval town, but as the sun sets and the night time festivities begin, there’s no doubt they stay for the wine. Peralada Castle has a history for producing excellent wines, one that dates back to the 14th century, before it was recovered by the local Carmelite monks in the 1920s. Today, the Peralada Castle Winery in the heart of Emporda (which also features a museum, wine spa and cellar) continues to produce some of the most prestigious wine in the world.


If you like culture you’ll love Besalú

This popular medieval village in Garrotxa county, is a short drive (roughly 30 minutes) from Girona, and well-worth a day trip during your Costa Brava stay. The town’s most significant feature is its 12th-century Romanesque bridge over the Fluvià river. Other monumental sites include the consecrated church of Sant Pere, a historic Jewish quarter and the Museum of Miniatures created by jeweler and art affinicado Lluís Carreras. [Side note: If you’re still looking for a fix of fascinating architecture, you should consider adding the smaller town of Peratallada to your itinerary].

If you like family fun you’ll love Roses

Some coastal towns, such as Blanes or Lloret de Mar, have been awarded certificates formally recognising them as Family Tourism Destinations. (Hotels with indoor water parks might have something to do with that!). Others have also achieved this accolade, albeit without official honour. One of the best is the sweetly-named Roses. Among Roses’ most family-friendly activities is Aquabrava – a waterpark with 19 different attractions, including slides, swimming pools and waterfalls with mini toboggans; and Karting Roses – which has both an adult track and a special one for little riders, so the entire family can enjoy the exciting experience together.

Lloret de Mar

If you like watersports you’ll love Tamariu

The rugged landscape of the Costa Brava naturally lends itself to a host of sea activities. And the town of Tamariu is one of the best places to enjoy them all. There is no shortage of companies offering adventurous tourists water-based excursions such as diving, kayaking and sailing. For those travellers who would rather walk than get wet, a more relaxed coastal stroll starting from Tamariu can be taken south to Llafranc (via Cap de Sant Sebastià) in about 1½ hours. A condensed version of the iconic 215-kilometre “Camins de Ronda” (Portbou to Blanes hike), this stroll also features clifftop trails with beautiful views of cliff and ocean, but can be enjoyed with much less physical commitment.

If you like tradition with a touch of trendy you’ll love Llafranc

One third of the trinity of towns belonging to the municipality of Palafrugell (the other two are Tamariu and Calella de Palafrugell) Llafranc has been described as “one of the best unsung beach holiday resorts in Europe.” A perfect mix of modern conveniences with classic village charm, some of the highlights include Far de Sant Sebastià – a scenic lighthouse with sweeping ocean views and a bar with a patio, as well as Hotel Llafranc, which dominates the sea promenade and was popular with artists such as Salvador Dalí and Ernest Hemingway.