Along with the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol, the Costa Brava (or ‘Rugged Coast’) is one of Spain’s three most popular holiday coasts. And it’s no wonder, really: with its endless sandy beaches, quaint villages and dramatic cliffs, this long stretch of Catalan coastline is, quite simply, spectacular.
Like a destination from your wildest Mediterranean dreams, the Costa Brava ticks all the boxes: glorious beaches, incredible diving spots, ocean-fresh seafood and a proud artistic heritage. Look past the overdeveloped resorts, and get to know the real Costa Brava.
Day 1: Underwater Delights and Monastic Heights
Arriving at the Costa Brava, divers will think they’re in paradise. The best-known of the coast’s many dive spots is one-time pirates’ lair, the Illes Medes. Located off L'Estartit, this group of protected islets boasts some wonderfully diverse marine life. For the spiritually-inclined, Montserrat is unmissable. Perched majestically on a holy mountain, this Benedictine monastery is famous for its black Madonna (La Moreneta) and the exquisite wine made by its monks.
Day 2: The Surreal Feel
This is Dali country, and you can get your surreal fix in several places. To the north lies Cadaqués, a picturesque seaside resort where Dalí and his friends would come to unwind. Púbol is home to the incredible House-Museum Gala Dalí Castle, a medieval castle converted by the artist into a flamboyantly romantic shrine to his wife; while the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres – the self-declared ‘largest surrealistic object in the world’ – has to be experienced to be believed. Not too far away, Barcelona dazzles with the extraordinary legacy of another Catalan genius: modernista architect Antoni Gaudi.
Day 3: All the Fun of the Fair
Feeling frivolous? Why not unleash your inner child at medieval feast in a castle at Lloret de Mar, where jousting, dueling and sword-fighting performers entertain you as you eat. Sure makes restaurant-dining seem a little tame!