The Costa Brava, in the northeast region of Catalonia, stretches from the French border down to Barcelona. Home to some of Spain’s best beaches, historic cities and famous art museums, it’s well worth the trip north of the Catalan capital to explore. Here is our pick of the best things to do and see here.
The capital of the Costa Brava, Girona has a history going back 2,000 years. Its well-preserved medieval and Jewish quarters date back to between the 11th and 15th centuries. Highlights include the Arab baths, the romanesque and baroque cathedral, the 14th-century city walls and the colourful houses lining the River Onyar. Girona is also a city of festivals, with celebratory events held throughout the year. Visit in May to see one of the best – the Temps de Flors flower festival.
The Costa Brava is Salvador Dalí country, so no trip here would be complete without seeing some of his work. One of the world’s best museums dedicated to the artist, the Dalí Theatre-Museum shouldn’t be missed. The exhibits are housed in a quirky pink castle-like building, a piece of art in itself. Designed by Dalí, the building features his signature eggs and gold figurines on the rooftop, as well as elaborate art installations inside.
In the north of Costa Brava you’ll find the Cap de Creus peninsula and its beautiful natural park. Characterised by rocky coves, cliffs, small bays and forests, it is an ideal spot for hikers and swimmers. Make your way up to the Cap de Creus Lighthouse for truly spectacular views across the area.
One of the best ways to explore the coastal areas is by kayak, as some of its little bays and inlets can only be accessed from the sea. Remember to take your bathing suit and a snorkel, so you can stop off and swim in the clear water along the way. Kayaks can be hired on beaches all along the coast.
Delve deeper into the life of Dalí by visiting his house in the small village of Portlligat, just north of Cadaqués. Once an old fisherman’s hut, Dalí, who lived here from 1930 to 1982, redesigned the building to include pieces like his iconic eggs on the rooftops and his pink lips sofa in the garden, as well as quirky sculptures decorating the interior. Tickets for the house museum must be booked well in advance, as spaces are limited.
Keen swimmers will love the Costa Brava’s sea lanes, known as the Vies Braves. A series of open-water swimming and snorkelling tracks that follow the coastal paths, they provide safe passage for those wanting to explore the shore from a different angle. The project began in 2014 and now comprises 25 lanes in 20 towns across the region.
Located in the coastal town of Palafrugell, the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens are among some of the best in the Mediterranean. A series of terraced gardens that cascade from the hilltop castle right down to the beach, they feature plants from around the world, as well as sculptures by international artists. If you’re here in the summer, don’t miss the Cap Roig Festival; it has played host to famous acts such as Rod Stewart, Santana, Lady Gaga and Sting.
Some of the best things about the Costa Brava are of course its beaches. There are so many covering this 214km (133mi) stretch of coastline, from the French border down to the region of Barcelona, that even in the height of summer, you can often find a secluded sandy cove all to yourself.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.