Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Costa Brava
This picturesque mountain town of Besalú is well known for its ancient Catholic monestaries and iconic Romanesque architecture, in particular a photogenic 12th century bridge that has become the symbol of the town. In the Middle Ages, it was a regional capital, overseeing this scenic section of Catalán.
Subsequent centuries only added to its cultural mystique, from a symphony of Moorish arches reflected in the Fluvia and Capadella Rivers, to the Jewish ritual baths and ancient synagogue, hewn from the same gleaming stone. Besalú also makes a fine base for exploring the region's hiking and climbing opportunities, including la Zona Volcánica de la Garrocha, with more than 40 dormant volcanic cones surrounded by protected forests.
A medieval village in the Catalunya region of Spain, Pals retains much of its aged charm with a well-preserved old town. Surrounded by walls and marked with winding cobblestones streets, many of the old homes and structures can still be explored today. Stone arches, walkways, balconies keep up the area’s medieval look and feel. The village’s Romanesque tower dates back to the 11th century, with a clock tower ‘The Tower of Hours’ standing nearly 50 feet above. The Mirador del Pedró provides a lookout over the sea and surrounding landscape, including citrus groves and rice fields.
Views of the coast and afternoons on the beaches make Pals a peaceful, relaxing holiday spot for many. Pals also has one of the best golf courses in Spain. The main beach, Playa de Pals, is crescent-shaped and surrounded by the shade of the area’s many pine trees.
Built above 12 kilometers (8 miles) of beautiful beaches paved with soft, golden sand, the medieval town of Palafrugell has long been a port of some importance. Until recently, it was also the region's top producer of cork, for popping off fine Spanish wines.
Today, the windy, winsome spot is a popular resort town, though it remains a real city beyond the quaint tourist quarter. Palafrugell is best known for its impressive coastline, which can be explored in yachts, kayaks, or on foot. But culture lovers and adventurous foodies will also enjoy the city's famed markets, selling fresh seafood (sea urchin is a local specialty), produce, and inexpensive eats made with the same - don't miss the famous night market. La Cuina de les Festes, the city's Spring Festival, is known for its gastronomic delights. There are several other festivals held here throughout the year, as well museums, botanical gardens, and other attractions to keep you busy between tanning sessions.
Cap de Creus is a peninsula in the far northeast of Catalonia, not far from the French border. Covering 73 square miles, it is the easternmost point of Spain and is now a protected national park. Salvador Dali, who was born in the nearby city of Figueres, painted the cape in “The Persistence of Memory” and built a home in Port Lligat. While Cap de Creus contains the largest uninhabited area in the Spanish Mediterranean, it does have a number of small towns, the most well-known of which is Cadaques.
Cap de Creus is generally quite rocky and dry, but is also home to more than 800 species of plans, as well as rare species of sea birds that are close to extinction. Hikers will enjoy a variety of trekking routes around the cape and visitors should be sure to visit the Sant Pere de Rodes, an 11th century monastery with great views of Cap de Creus.
This is a serious theme park, Spain's biggest and baddest, with a collection of wild rides - like Dragon Khan and Furios Baco, both clocking in at well over 100kph (65mph) - that will keep thrill junkies coming back for more. Port Aventura is the flagship park, divided into several "lands," such as the Wild West, Mexico, and China, with themed shows, restaurants, and gift shops. Though it could keep a family busy all day (or week), that's just the beginning.
In addition to Port Aventura, you could also visit several other parks - Port Aventura Aquatic Park, with dolphin shows and water slides; the Beach club, right on the Caribbean; and Golf PortAventura, with three premium golf courses. Savvy travelers can find packages that include several parks, special shows, and even discounts on hotels.