Known for its combination of glorious sunshine, sandy beaches and laid-back lifestyle coupled with the ease of getting there, it’s obvious why Spain is a holiday favourite with travellers from the UK.
Catalonia is located in the north east of Spain, bordering France and Andorra to the north, Aragon to the west, Valencia to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. The climate of Catalonia is diverse – the populated area along the coast features a temperate Mediterranean climate wheareas the Pyrenean peaks have a mountain or even Alpine climate at the highest summits.
Catalonia is home to two of Spain’s most popular coastal holiday destinations – the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada. This week we’re putting the spotlight on the sunny shores of the Costa Brava.
Head 40 miles northeast of Barcelona and you’ll find one of Spain’s most popular holiday destinations – the Costa Brava. Known as the wild coast, the region stretches from Blanes to the French Border. It is a beautiful area that combines rich landscapes and delightful villages. The mountains stretch all the way to the ocean, creating a series of intimate sandy beaches.
While part of the Costa Brava coastline has been developed into popular tourist resorts, other parts have kept a more traditional look. You’ll find plenty of typically Spanish towns and villages waiting to be discovered by holidaymakers who want more than sand and sangria. Explore the coast between Rosas and Tossa de Mar – you’ll find scenic paths which lead to uncrowded lagoons and villages such as Pals and Fornells.
L’Estartit is a popular tourist resort and fishing village. Visitors flock here for the sandy beach which is more than 3 miles long. If you tire of the beach and souvenir shops, the port of L’Estartit is the best place in the area to take a boat trip. The fabulous Medes islands are a short distance away; here the snorkelling and scuba diving possibilities are endless. Many of the boats are glass-bottomed and offer organised expeditions. Just walk along the pier and pick up leaflets from the various companies offering excursions.
Art lovers and budding painters will enjoy a visit to the area too. Small towns such as Cadaqués (close to the French border and the foothills of the Pyrénées) attracted artists, such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso and provided inspiration for their work. Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres which is today the home of the Dalí Museum containing a remarkable collection of his surrealist work. The museum is fascinating; Dalí’s unique style is evident both inside and outside the building – streams of visitors annually are amazed by his bizarre, surrealist art.
For a fun family day and the chance to cool off for a few hours, visit Aquabrava, a large waterpark in Rosas. You’ll find a variety of slides and swimming pools, complimented by spacious green areas. Younger children are kept amused too – there is a pirate island with smaller slides and a pirate boat.
Catalonia has three main airports; Barcelona, Gerona and Reus, all with flights operating daily from the UK and Ireland throughout the summer, meaning the region is easily accessible. Whether you want to relax or soak up the sun on the beach, embrace the buzzing atmosphere and culture of the cities, or discover the charms of rustic Spain up close and personal, the region contains it all. Fall in love with this lively, yet laid back country, and understand why so many people return year after year.