Rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and some of the best-rated holiday resorts in Spain – welcome to the Costa Brava. Besides world-class gastronomy, natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, you can also expect outstanding hospitality – especially at this pick of hotels, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Beginning at the town of Blanes – dubbed the Gateway to the Costa Brava – the coastline here extends 60km (37mi) through northern Catalonia to the French border. To get the most out of your stay, check out our guide to some of the best accommodation options you’ll find on Spain’s northeast coast.
Overlooking the picturesque fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, Sant Roc Hotel provides some pretty terrific views from its clifftop setting. Dine on site on fresh sea bass ceviche in El Balcò de Calella, washed down with a local vermouth. If you don’t want the sea-gazing to end, head up to your room to watch the sun set, perhaps with another vermouth in hand.
Es Cel de Begur sits up a hill, providing a wonderfully secluded spot to unwind amid the pine trees. This family-run hotel is a pleasant stroll from the medieval town of Begur, best known for its dramatic hilltop castle. Also close by is the beautiful sandy cove of Platja de Sa Riera, all the better for being off the beaten track. The hotel also has a small pool where you can cool off, all the while taking in the fabulous sea views.
A skilfully restored 12th-century convent, Hotel Mas Lazuli marries ancient architecture with contemporary chic. Amid rows of vineyards, olive groves and footpaths edged with lavender, the 12ha (30-acre) estate is every bit the Spanish campo dream. Facilities-wise, you’d be hard-pressed to find fault: there’s a saltwater infinity pool, while the in-house spa offers blissful body treatments under the stone vaulted ceiling.
Boasting top views across the Bay of Roses, Hotel Vistabella really does deliver what its name promises. It’s also one of the most luxurious hotels in the area, with high-end facilities including a spa where even massages come with a sea view. In summer, guests are invited to attend a champagne party at the El Pirata beach club every Sunday – where you’ll arrive in style by private boat.
Jazzy Art Deco touches and pops of colour give Hotel Eetu a vibrant character that helps it stand out from the crowd. That being said, the leafy surrounds give this adults-only complex a feeling of seclusion, while still being within strolling distance of several pretty beaches. If you prefer, you can while away the hours by the pool, where you can kick back on a Bali bed while sipping cocktails from the poolside bar.
Salvador Dalí famously tried (and failed) to buy this 1,000-year-old castle with his artwork – and it’s not hard to see why he felt so compelled. The beautifully preserved Castell d’Emporda sits on a hilltop overlooking acres of Girona countryside, just a few kilometres from the coast. Its Dutch owners have struck a clever balance between ancient architecture and contemporary design: the sleek swimming pool and two restaurants serving Catalan fare blend well into their medieval surroundings, while the rooms and suites – including one in the castle tower – could have come straight from an upmarket city boutique hotel. Until you look out of the window, of course.
It’s hard to miss the flamboyant pink-painted facade of Hotel Aiguaclara, a 19th-century mansion in the centre of enchantingly medieval Begur. Inside, the maximalism continues with an eclectic collection of restored furniture, curios and quirky decor. Tastefully styled rooms are finished in more calming tones, and some have their own chillout terrace where you can relax outdoors in total privacy.
Legends of the big screen such as Ava Gardner and celebrated novelists such as David Niven and Truman Capote once stayed at the Hotel Trias – you can still book the lavish sea-view suite today. In fact, it remains a popular landmark hotel for well-heeled holidaymakers thanks largely to its impressive beachfront location and Mediterranean restaurant. A stay here will also give you access to a swanky beach club right on Playa Palamós.
A gorgeously revamped 1930s villa provides the setting for the family-friendly Hotel Mediterrani, in the quaint fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell. It’s set just metres from a little sandy cove, so plump for a seafront room if you want to gaze out over the water. The Tastets del Mediterrani serves an impressive selection of Catalonian cuisine, but you’ll need to book in advance to bag a table on the terrace.
This 18th-century family finca turned boutique hotel will give you something to write home about. The pretty Mediterranean garden comes with poolside palm trees offering shade, while the adults-only policy ensures the atmosphere will always be low-key. Best of all, the property sits on the edge of Cadaqués, one of the prettiest towns in Catalonia.
These recommendations were updated on December 23, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.