#DestinationSpain: A Guide to the Costa Brava and Girona
*Updated July 2019
Costa Brava means “rugged coast” and this north eastern part of Catalunya boasts some of Spain’s most beautiful scenery, including many unspoilt rocky coves and delightful beaches, especially around the area of the Baix Empordà. The bays of Sa Riera, AiguaBlava, Llafranca, Calella de Palafrugell and Tamariu are some of Spain’s most beautiful.
Girona’s international profile is growing fast. The region offers a quality of life arguably unrivalled elsewhere in Spain, thanks to its exceptionally beautiful countryside, a rich tradition of art, culture and award-winning gastronomy, its close proximity to the magnificent beaches of the Costa Brava and a global reputation as one of the world’s best destinations for professional and amateur road and off-road cyclists.
Girona itself is one of Spain’s most beautiful cities and is proving an attractive and more affordable alternative to Barcelona, which is an easy 40-minute commute away via high speed rail link (AVE). It is just 1 hour 40 minutes from the ski slopes, 40 minutes from the coast and only 3 and a half hours from Madrid.
Platja de Castell, Palamós
The only beach on this part of the coast to have escaped development, Platja de Castell boasts some beautiful little coves concealed by pine forests.
Calella de Palafrugell
Just a few minutes’ drive from the town of Palafrugell, the bay of Calella de Palafrugell spreads along half a dozen sandy coves connected to each other by car-free promenades. With many cafés and restaurants under the arches of the pastel-coloured buildings, this pretty resort is popular with both locals and tourists.
Platja de Santa Cristina, Blanes
Platja de Santa Cristina is worth a visit for its breathtaking landscape alone. A small, often deserted cove, it is surrounded by lush woodland and boasts fine, pale, dusty sands.
Sa Tuna is a small pebble beach in front of some charming converted fishermen’s houses set in a deep cove with a backdrop of pine clad hills.
An idyllic cove at the end of a winding road through a hillside of pine trees and villas, AIguablava’s shallow and crystal clear waters make it an ideal beach for families.
Tragamar, Calella de Palafrugell
Tragamar, in the charming village of Calella de Palafrugell, offers Mediterannean cuisine prepared with delicious local produce. Situated on the sea front, the restaurant boasts breathtaking views of the sea and a terrace for outdoor dining.
Platja de Canadell s/n
17210 Calella de Palafrugell
+34 972 614 336
Es Dofi, Tamariu
Just metres from the sea in the small bay of Tamariu, Es Dofi’s delicious food and wide selection of wines combined with ocean views and a pleasant seaside atmosphere create the perfect dining experience.
Passeig Mar 21
+34 972 620 043
This Michelin starred restaurant is very popular for its exceptional yet simple and modern cooking. The food has its roots in Catalan tradition but is served in an interesting and innovative way.
34 972 300 104
Can Climent Platillos, Begur
This small, cosy restaurant located in the charming town of Begur offers an excellent fusion of traditional Catalan cuisine and modern, contemporary style tapas, together with an extensive wine list.
C/Pi i Rallo 8
+34 972 622 502
Toc al Mar, Aiguablava
Located on one of the most beautiful beaches of the Costa Brava, Aiguablava, Toc al Mar is much more than your average chiringuito, or beachside bar, offering exquisite Mediterranean cuisine with ingredients sourced from local fishermen.
C/Platja d’Aiguablava 6
+34 972 113 232
El Celler de Can Roca, Girona
Founded in 1986 by the Roca brothers, the three Michelin starred El Cellar de Can Roca was named the best restaurant in the world in 2013. The cuisine is traditional Catalan but with a contemporary, creative twist and the restaurant boasts a large wine cellar with some 60,000 bottles.
Can Sunyer 48
+34 972 222 157
Situated in a former flour mill, Bo.Tic offers a surrealist terrace, a bright neo-rustic style dining room, and interesting and imaginative cuisine.
Ctra C-66 Girona a Palamós Km 11,5
+34 972 630 869
Castell d’Empordà, La Bisbal
Castell d’Empordà offers a mix a mix of classic Catalan and international cuisine served in a fairytale medieval castle in the heart of the Costa Brava.
Castell d’Empordà s/n
17115 La Bisbal
+34 972 646 254
Els Tinars, Solius
Founded in 1918, the current generation of this family run restaurant has transformed it into a contemporary, modern country house with high quality cuisine using local and seasonal produce.
Ctra de St Feliu a Girona Km 7,2
+34 972 830 626
Can Dolç, Sant Feliu de Boada
Can Dolç is a wonderful restaurant in the heart of the Baix Empordà offering fine, Mediterranean cuisine in a charming rural setting.
C/La Font 9
17256 Sant Feliu de Boada
+34 972 635 003
Situated in an old colonial house, Merci’s beautiful decor and outdoor patio create the perfect location for an after dinner drink or a light meal of tapas and sushi.
C/Pi i Rallo 12
+34 674 100 607
Villa Mas, S’Agaró
Situated In a beautiful 19th Century country house, Villa Mas in S’Agaró provides a lovely setting by the beach and an extensive wine list.
Passeig de Sant Pol 95
17220 Sant Feliu de Guíxols
+34 972 822 526
Hotel Llafranch, Llafranc
The prime location of this family run hotel terrace bar, overlooking the bay, is the perfect place to sit back with a tinto de verano (chilled red wine and lemonade).
Passeig Cipsela 16
+34 972 300 208
Tucked away down one of Begur’s many winding streets, with its gravelled walled garden and hanging lanterns, Croak has become a longstanding Begur institution.
Mas Sorrer, Gualta
Mas Sorrer is located in the Baix Empordà region just outside the medieval town of Torroella. There is a restaurant located in an old stone farmhouse next to a large area which in summer hosts an outdoor bar with dancing, live jazz performances and a film festival in late July.
Ctra GI-643 Km 0.5
+34 677 458 854
Les Teules, Pals
Set in a 17th Century farmhouse in Pals, Les Teules offers an exclusive setting to enjoy your late-summer nights. There is a large terrace, a chill-out area and a spacious dance floor where you can get into the groove until 7am.
Mas Gelabert 2/n
Serres de Pals
+34 972 667 318
Zsa Zsa, Platja d’Aro
This new nightclub opened its doors for the first time in the summer of 2013. A tribute to the glamourous actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, the club boasts elegant decor, high ceilings and a private VIP area.
Avingude S’Agaró 66
17250 Platja d’Aro
+34 635 849 593
La Davesa de Tor, Tor
Located in a beautiful old farmhouse in the heart of the Empordà region of the Costa Brava, La Davesa de Tor offers several rooms, each with a different atmosphere. There is also a huge terrace where you can enjoy drinks until the early hours of the morning.
+34 972 780 623
Costa Este, Calella de Palafrugell
Located on the old highway from Palafrugell to Calella, Costa Este is one of the most famous nightclubs in the region. This new concept of outdoor entertainment is open every weekend in July and every day in August offering salsa, latin and house music.
Ctra de Palafrugell a Calella-Llafranc
17211 Calella de Palafrugell
+34 93 414 63 62
Espai Gironès, Girona
Espai Gironès is located in an urban area of the municipality of Salt, near Girona. Covering an area of over 46,000m², it is home to numerous leading brands including Massimo Dutti, Springfield and Zara as well as an Odeon Multiplex.
Camei dels Carlins s/n
+34 972 239 012
La Roca Village, La Roca del Vallès
Chic shopping outlet La Roca Village is located just outside Barcelona and offers the leading designer brands at exceptional prices unrivalled elsewhere. Designed in the style of a turn-of-the-century Catalan town, La Roca Village allows you to stroll casually between the shops, all handily located in the same boulevard, making it a pleasurable shopping experience. There is also a children’s play area and many restaurants and cafés serving traditional Catalan cuisine.
08430 Santa Agnès de Malanyes (La Roca del Vallès)
+34 93 842 39 39
Vins i Licors Grau, Palafrugell
Vins i Licors Grau is a family run business with a long tradition in the wine and spirit distribution. An industry leader since 1951, the distributor offers over 9,000 products to its customers, including Spanish and international still wines, sparkling wines, cider and sangria.
+34 972 301 835
Platja d’Aro Town Centre
Platja d’Aro offers a wide range of shops and brands in one of the largest open air shopping areas in the Mediterranean.
Lloret de Mar town centre
All kinds of products can be found in the town’s extensive and varied commercial offering, which comprises 1,000 retail outlets. Commercial fairs and activities are held throughout the year, including the Botiga al Carrer festival, where the local shops sell their wares from outdoor stalls.
Club Tennis Llafranc
Considered one of the best tennis clubs in Spain, Llafranc Tennis Club is located in a privileged area of the Costa Brava. Certified coaches give classes for all abilities and tournaments are organized at local, municipal, provincial and national levels. The club also offers a gym and fitness club.
Paratge dels Torrents 8
34 972 30 23 08
Water World, Lloret de Mar
Water World is an aqua park located close to the sea and not far from the centre of Lloret de Mar. A city of water attractions, it hosts a large number of water slides, a swimming pool that imitates sea waves, a jacuzzi pool, a mini golf terrain and one of the world’s tallest towers for bungee jumping. The park has attractions for all ages and a special site for picnics as well as numerous cafés and restaurants.
Ctra Vidreres Km 1,2
17310 Lloret de Mar
+34 972 368 613
Aeroclub Empordà, Torroella de Montgrí
Aeroclub Empordà offers the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful natural parks, medieval villages, coves and beaches of the Costa Brava from the sky. Back on the ground there is also a chill out social club to catch up with other flying enthusiasts in a relaxed setting.
Ctra de Pals a Torroella de Montgrí Km 4
17257 Torroella de Montgrí
+34 619 709 026
Aiguablava Dive Centre
Aiguablava Dive Centre provides access to exceptional dive sites, considered some of the best on the Costa Brava. With 15 years’ experience, it provides an ideal place to learn scuba diving, do a specialist course or to continue to train.
Ctra Begur-Aiguablava Km 3,6
+34 607 599 336
Kayaking Costa Brava, L’Escala
Kayaking Costa Brava is a company dedicated exclusively to sea kayaking activities. It has centres in several areas of the Costa Brava and offers numerous guided kayak tour options along the most captivating and spectacular parts of the coast as well as courses for all abilities.
C/Enric Serra 42
+34 972 773 806
PGA Catalunya, Caldes de Malavella
Located just outside the quiet town of Caldes de Malvella and only a few kilometres from Girona airport, this fantastic course is a test for all standards due to the fact that every hole can be played from five different tees. With its undulating fairways, beautiful green fir trees, abundance of purple heather and large number of lakes, this course is a truly wonderful golfing experience for players of all levels.
Ctra N-II Km 701
17455 Caldes de Malavella
+34 972 472 577
Empordà Golf Resort, Gualta
The Empordà Golf Resort, located in the one of the most beautiful parts of the Costa Brava, enjoys a privileged location just 15 minutes from the best beaches on the Costa Brava. The course offers a total of 36 holes divided into two separate 18-hole courses. The course was designed by Robert von Hagge who took full advantage of the natural beauty of the setting itself.
Ctra de Torroella de Montgrí a Pals Km 345
+34 972 760 450
Golf Platja de Pals
Located on the farmland of Arenals de Mar, Golf Platja de Pals is considered one of the finest in Spain due to its design and construction, and it has been the venue of numerous international competitions. This British-style 18-hole course is the oldest on the Costa Brava and its beautiful setting and proximity to the sea inspire enthusiasm in all types of players, from beginners to experts.
Camí del Golf 64
+34 972 667 739
Golf d’Aro, Platja d’Aro)
Designed by Ramon Espinosa and opened in 1992, the course at Golf d’Aro sits in the Gavarres mountains, 300 metres above the tourist resort of Platja d’Aro, overlooking the Costa Brava coastline. Encircled by a mix of pine, oak and olive trees, the course is routed along and over some deep ravines, making it as spectacular as it is challenging.
Urb Mas Nou s/n
17250 Platja d’Aro
+34 972 81 67 27
TorreMirona Golf Club, Navata
This 18-hole golf course is set in beautiful countryside with challenging greens and gently undulating fairways with fantastic views of the nearby Pyrenees.
Ctra N-260 Km 46
+34 972 553 737
Greco-Roman Site of Empúries
The Greco-Roman site of Empúries is one of the most important archaelogical sites in Spain. The vast and amazingly detailed remains of what was once a thriving Greek (and later Roman) town are located just outside the seaside town of L’Escala. The mosaic floors and the remains of the amphitheatre, forum and various Roman villas give you a real sense of what life here might have been like in days of yore. Tours are offered in several languages.
C/Puig i Cadafalch s/n
+34 972 770 208
House-Museum Salvador Dalí, Cadaqués
The Portlligat House-Museum was Salvador Dalí’s only fixed abode from 1930, the place where he lived and worked until 1982 when, on his wife Gala’s death, he took up residence at Púbol Castle. Reservations must be made in advance.
+972 251 015
Cap Roig Botanical Gardens
Just below the hilltop castle in Palafrugell, these magical terraced gardens cascade down to the beach. The elegant steps are lined with tall cypresses and in the summer, there’s the most gorgeous scent of oleander and yellow sage.
Jardí Botànic de Cap Roig
Camí del Rus s/n
17210 Calella de Palfrugell
+34 972 614 582
Girona Cathedral and Jewish Quarter
The Catedral de Santa Maria de Girona was built between the 11th and 18th centuries. It boasts Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture and Spain’s largest nave. The Jewish Quarter in Girona is one of the best preserved in Europe. It is located just beside the Cathedral and is an area of narrow streets with ancient steps and cobblestones.
Plaça de la Catedral
+34 972 215 814
The Dalí Theatre-Museum occupies the building of the former Municipal Theatre, a 19th Century building which was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. Surreal and theatrical, this is where you will find the Mae West room, complete with “lips” sofa, and a version of Michelangelo’s David, created from car tyres.
Plaça Gala-Salvador Dalí 5
+34 972 677 500
Around 450 thousand
Attend the Cap Roig music festival – book at table at the on-site restaurant for dinner before the show starts, Hire a Burricleta bike (a pedal bike with a small motor) for the perfect way to explore the magnificent natural environment of the stunning Baix Empordà region.
Must not do
Go to the Dali Museum in Figueres without booking online first. Queues can be horrendous and there is only so much staring at the bread rolls on the exterior walls one can cope with!
Lucas Fox favourite haunts
“This tiny restaurant is one of those sheltered little hideaways that makes one think of pirates and smugglers. You can reach it via boat or by the coastal path. It is a lovely walk down but a bit more of a challenge on the way up! They are open only in the summer months, but the cove is great for a picnic all year round. The food is very basic – omelettes, sardines, ‘tostadas’, cherries – that kind of thing. Ideal of for a hearty breakfast.”
— Silvia Portavella, Begur Boats
Taverna del Mar, S’Agaró
“One of the Costa Brava’s most long-established beachside restaurants, this upmarket eatery is situated on Playa Sant Pol in S’Agaró and has been a favourite amongst the locals since the 1930s. With a superb fish menu, great views over the bay and the possibility to rent beach huts (in the case of one G&T too many), this is a great location to sit and admire one of the coast’s most exclusive spots.”
– Tom Maidment, Partner Lucas Fox Costa Brava
Bar Cala Banys, Lloret de Mar
“Hidden away on the coastal path between the beach of Fenals and the main beach of Lloret de Mar – and with views overlooking a small rocky cove – you will find Bar Cala Banys. For many years a favourite amongst the locals, this seafront chill out bar is one of the best places to enjoy a sundowner away from the crowds in one of the Costa Brava’s most touristy areas.”
– Tom Maidment, Partner Lucas Fox Costa Brava
What you will hear on the Costa Brava
“Shall we go to one of the world’s best restauranta, just up the road?”
What you will never hear on the Costa Brava
“If only we could find a little cove all to ourselves, to escape this huge crowded beach.”