The Costa Brava, situated on the north-eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, was one of the first areas in Spain where tourism really took off – going back in the late fifties. Due to its good summer climate and close proximity to the French border, the Spanish government at the time earmarked it for substantial development as a holiday destination and immediately started to attract the first British and French tourists in numbers.
Today, the Costa Brava is one of Spain’s top destinations attracting millions of tourists annually to its beautiful Mediterranean coastline renowned for its lovely sandy coved beaches, lush pine tree vegetation and protected natural parks.
The region runs from Blanes, 60 kms. north east of Barcelona in the province of Gerona to the border with France and encompasses the now very popular towns of Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Platja d’Aro, L’Escala, L’Estartit and Rosas.
Every type of accommodation is on offer, from top quality campsites, self-catering rural houses, coastal apartments and villas to five star hotels. The Costa Brava is served by the two main airports of Gerona and Barcelona, offering a great choice of budget and low-cost flights from all over Europe. Spain’s high speed AVE train now connects Barcelona and the rest of Spain directly with the French TGV so you can hop-on in London, Paris or Brussels and be there in no time. The AP-7 motorway runs from the French border along the entire Mediterranean coast to the province of Cadiz in the south west of Spain, and long distance coach services connect with the rest of Europe.
Food and wine is one of the great attractions to this part of Spain with the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants in the country, such as El Bulli or El Celler de Can Roca, together with some of the major wine and cava bodegas, so no surprise that the French come here so often.
The weather is another key factor, characterized by hot, dry summers, and moderately cold winters, but with overall, average temperatures lower than some of Spain’s other, hotter coastlines, such as the Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol or Costa Almeria.
The area is steeped in history and offers culture lovers a host of over fifty museums to explore up and down the coast. There are music festivals throughout the summer offering a wide variety of pop, jazz, classical and flamenco, many of which are traditional, annually run concerts often performed in magical open air settings, such as that of the auditorium in the botanical garden next to the sea at the Cap Roig Gardens Festival. Costa Blanca’s nightlife offers something for every age group with cocktail bars and summer evening terraces, pubs, nightclubs and open air discos.
The Spaniards are famous the world over for their fiestas and given that the Costa Brava falls within the autonomous region of Catalonia (Catalonia), it benefits from both national and regional holidays. The Diada de Sant Jordi (St. George’s Day) on 23rd April is the National Feast Day in Catalonia, made famous for presenting friends and family with books and roses.
The official language in Catalonia is Catalan with Spanish accepted as a co-language. But International visitors shouldn’t have a problem being understood in bars, restaurants and hotels in English or French.
Sports facilities abound throughout the region and whether you wish to walk, hike, ski (in the Pyrenees), run, pedal, play tennis or golf, sail, sky jump or swim, there are sporting federations offering professional facilities and all types of courses. For Formula 1 fans, the Spanish Grand Prix is held each year in May at the Montmelo circuit situated about 50 kms. south west of Blanes.
In short, the Costa Brava is a great summer playground for the whole family! And if you wish to take up residence in the area, you have the benefit of a major capital city such as Barcelona and close proximity to France.
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Tourist offices can be found in all the main towns along the coast but here are the principal offices of the Costa Brava:
Catalonia Tourist Office – BarcelonaPasseig de Gracia 107, Palau Robert, 08008, Barcelona. Tel. 932 384 000. Fax: 932 384 010. Official Web.
Girona Tourist OfficeCalle Rambla de la Llibertat, 1 17004, Girona. Tel. 972 226 575. Fax: 972 226 612.
Video – Costa Brava from the air
Video – Costa Brava – The Most Beautiful Beaches