Catalonia ~ Costa Brava
Catalonia has a magical and majestic coast, Costa Brava in Spain. Without a doubt, the towns along Spain’s coastline and beaches make it hard to choose where to lay your towel. We had the wonderful opportunity to visit Catalonia this spring and I just fell in love with this country and its people. Here are a few of my highlights – check out my YouTube channel too for the VLOG as well.
Just north of Barcelona is Catalonia on the Costa Brava. We were excited to visit the beach towns of Tossa de Mar, Pals and Girona. When you book a flight to Barcelona from Germany be sure you know which Barcelona airport you are landing. In the end, we flew into the Girona airport, small, easy in and out but 1 hour without traffic north of Barcelona. So that kind of determined our visit. My friend Eva invited us to tour this area with her and her fiance, Kevin. So we jumped at the opportunity.
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First stop, Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar in Catalonia. As soon as we arrived we walked our way up to the Castel de Mar. Here we found a wonderful park and a bite to eat with spectacular views.
After walking the old town and doing a little shopping we headed to Tamariu.
Ultimately, in Catalonia, we decided to stay in Tamariu. However, it was an hour away from the airport but we were right on the ocean…ahh, no brainer. This coastal town is quiet, has a small beach, a few restaurants and I found this three-star hotel that had wonderful service.
The Hotel Hostalillo was a perfect fit. Right on the water, balcony side view, wonderful staff, clean, clean room, and internet that worked! They also offered a 15% discount for booking directly through their website. Be sure to look for off-season specials. Going in April helped us get a rate of €102/night with breakfast.
The beach town of Tamariu in Catalonia was small but special, it seemed like it was probably a local favorite in the summer months. I felt right at home. We arrived late and had dinner in the hotel restaurant. Very good and service outstanding, but I would recommend making reservations when you check-in as they were quite busy. We stayed a few nights here making this our base to travel to the surrounding coastline beach towns.
This town is a little inland medieval village with an ancient history. Dating back to the 900’s it is charming filled with little shops, eateries, hostels, and museums. We had so much fun wandering the streets.
and testing out the church bells… whoops!
We met colorful Paco from La Muralla Artesanies, a very knowledgeable and talented artist in one of the towers that connected the city wall. We had a little fun with him as he made us take a picture with him standing “inside the city,” Eva, “inside the wall” and me “outside the wall.” As you can see it was very funny!
~ Flea Market finds in PALS ~
One of my favorite towns was the city of Begur. Although this town was a little commercial and visited by many tourists this April, it had a LOT of activity going on. So I would definitely say, “don’t skip it!” As a matter of fact, we stopped by the tourist office and they had a ton of information. We enjoyed a walk up to the castle although it was quite a windy day.
But we couldn’t visit the town without stopping by the beach. Eva found a hiking trail along the water’s edge… we just had to take it!
Our last stop on our adventure was the town of Girona. You might recognize it, it was a film scene for GoT (Game of Thrones.) For us it was also a highlight of our trip because we were there during the Festival of St. George, April 23rd. (A mysterious knight who saved a princess from a dragon.)
This traditional fest includes a red rose and a book. It is customary for men to give their beloved a red rose and the beloved to give a book. So we saw many, many book stores and flower booths throughout the old town where many Catalonian flags were hanging from windows.
Definitely a favorite destination for the French, we found many menus in different languages including German and French. So, I have a feeling this is a busy destination in the summer since it is so close to the southern French border. It is a great place to grab some fresh paella and seafood prepared a little different than their own coastline. I also think with the easy flights from other parts of Europe and the U.K. it is easier than ever to get to this destination.
Of course, no trip would be complete without sharing some of the wonderful foods we tried while we were visiting. A Catalonian dish that is super popular is Paella (this is traditionally served in a big cast iron pan) with rice, lots of different seafood and a red sauce that is super tasty. Remember clams will typically have the shells still on them, but this is traditional ~
Our visit to the Catalonian coast – Costa Brava was short and sweet but definitely just a teaser. With great friends, good beaches and lots to eat it will definitely need to be explored some more!