The Costa Brava, a region full of surprises
The Costa Brava
remains one of the most beautiful seaside destinations in the Mediterranean, and one to which people never fail to return. It has turquoise coves framed by hills of pine trees and rocks, fishing villages combining authenticity and trendy addresses, Dalinian eccentricities and Catalan traditions. Discover without further ado the must-sees of the Costa Brava
Known as the second capital of Catalonia, Girona is a city steeped in medieval history with a vibrant atmosphere. The Old City walls of the Barri Vell, the banks of the River Onyar, lined with colourful houses, and famous religious buildings such as the Basilica of Saint Felix, make Girona a fascinating city with a reputation for its gentle way of life. Fans of Game of Thrones will not want to miss visiting the filming locations of the cult series. Food tip: try a xuixo, a local speciality of traditional doughnut with cream.
The Costa Brava is not only a first-class seaside destination, but also a rich historical land. The many medieval villages scattered throughout its territory, such as Palau Sator, a picturesque village surrounded by a medieval wall, or Peratallada, a historic jewel, bear witness to this. La Bisbal d'Empordà, the capital of pottery and antiques, is a network of narrow streets, charming squares and old houses built around the bishop's palace. Or Pals, with its unique view of the Catalan countryside and the sea on the horizon. Or Besalù and its historic-artistic ensemble, considered one of the best preserved in Catalonia.
The La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park offers a range of grandiose landscapes, with more than forty volcanoes hidden in the vegetation. Because of its colourful hues, which change from season to season, the Garrotxa is pleasant to visit all year round. The Alta Garrotxa is a high mountain area, quiet and of great beauty. Do not miss the picturesque villages of Oix and Beuda. This area is part of the Natura 2000 network, a European initiative to protect unique natural areas.
The region of Peralada, in the Alt Empordà, is renowned for its centuries-old wine-growing traditions and the quality of its wines. In the heart of this wine-growing region stands a medieval castle, a master's property, surrounded by a beautiful park with trees. The former Carmelite convent, built in the 14th century, houses a museum and a well-stocked library with, amongst other things, more than a thousand editions of Don Quijote de la Mancha.
Cadaques, the pearl of the Costa Brava, is an old fishing village in the heart of the Cap de Creu Natural Park. The village has a beautiful white houses, narrow cobbled streets with bougainvillea and a mountainous backdrop, making it a perfect holiday postcard. Federico García Lorca, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and above all Salvador Dalí: major artists in the history of art and literature contributed to its fame. Worth seeing: the baroque altarpiece in the Santa Maria church, built in the 16th century; the Serinyena house, a fine example of modernist architecture.
With its medieval streets lined with chic, bohemian shops, its turquoise coves and its green hills, Begur is without doubt one of the most beautiful villages on the Costa Brava. The emblematic 11th century castle dominates this elegant village. Worth seeing: the Indian houses, colonial-style buildings built by the inhabitants of Begur on their return from the Americas. The coves of Sa Tuna and Sa Riera are perfect spots for lazy days in the sun and snorkelling.
Botanical Gardens of Cap Roig
The origins of this garden date back to 1927, when the Woevodsky couple settled in this Costa Brava enclave. Dorothy Webster, an English aristocrat and decorator, and Nicolai Woevodsky, an enthusiastic designer and architect, created this beautiful botanical space. The park descends in terraces from the castle to the sea. The Paseo de los Geranios is particularly noteworthy when the geraniums are in bloom. An international jazz festival is held here every summer (Cap Roig Festival).
The coastal path, or cami de ronda, is an emblematic and historic path on the Costa Brava, which runs along the entire coastline. Originally, it served as a watchtower to monitor the coast against pirate attacks, but in the 20th century it became a surveillance area against smuggling attempts. Today, it has become an ideal route to discover small turquoise coves, cliffs, pine forests and traditional Catalan fishing villages.
Aiguamolls de l'Empordà Nature Reserve
At the confluence of the Muga and Fluvià rivers, the Aiguamolls de l'Empordà nature reserve is the largest wetland area in Catalonia, with a series of ponds, enclosures and flooded meadows. It is a place of biological diversity inhabited by numerous species of birds, which can be observed in the morning and at sunset, and especially during the migration periods (March-May and August-October). There are several observatories where you can watch them in peace. Don't forget a pair of binoculars and... mosquito repellent.