The Costa Brava’s Best Beaches

Despite the region’s name denoting it as the ‘Wild’ or ‘Rough’ coast of Spain, the Costa Brava is actually home to some of the most picturesque beaches to be found anywhere in the country. And these stretches of golden sand, rounded pebbles and turquoise waters are much of the reason why the area was landmarked for tourist development in the 1950’s. So which are the best beaches to visit or plan a holiday around?

Secret Coves and Bays

Cadaques, Costa Brava, Spain
Beautiful Bay of Cadaques

Starting in the northern most part of the Costa Brava, there is the pretty seaside town of Cadaques, which has a stunning natural harbour and a shingly shore lying just in front of the promenade.

Only a few kilometres south of Cadaques are several smaller beaches and bays that make this one of the prettiest stretches of coastline. In fact, Cala Calella, Cala Pedrosa and Cala Ferriol in the Montgri Massif area are only accessible by foot which means that these little bathing spots never get overcrowded. The rocky promontories all have pathways leading down to the shore, where there are gently shelving pebbly beaches.

Golden Sands

For those who prefer long vistas of golden sands, the five kilometre stretch at L’Estartit joins up with Pals beach and is also where the Ter river meets the sea. L’Estartit is also favoured by scuba divers, while the usual beach facilities come in abundance, with pedalos and kayaks for hire and a good range of beach side bars to choose from.
Along this part of the coast you will also come to Platja de la Pletera, which is close to the Ter Vell Nature Reserve, so this is a good place for birdwatchers to come. The beautiful sand dunes and rocky islets just off shore give this beach a very unspoilt feel.

Further south, the beach at Lloret de Mar successfully combines a seafront holiday town with a lovely curving bay of golden sand, surrounded by stone pine forests and rocky bluffs. This pretty spot is ideal for a family day at the beach, although obviously it can get quite busy during the height of the summer season.

City Beaches

Holiday makers who prefer the more vibrant scene of a city break won’t have to sacrifice the opportunity for a spot of sun-bathing as the beach at Barcelona is equally stunning. Not only does this cultural hotspot have its very own stretch of golden shoreline just minutes from the town centre, but there are also the neighbouring sandy bays at Castell de Fels and Sitges only a few kilometres away.

Tourists Flocking To The Canaries

Although there are still three months remaining of 2014, it seems that tourist visitor numbers to the Canary Islands and Lanzarote in particular are set to exceed figures for the last few years. With the most easterly island in the archipelago already having received more than 1.5 million tourists between January and September this year.

Ryanair, Lanzarote
Ryanair Boosting Tourism In The Canaries

Much of this growth is down to rapid expansion in new markets, such as Finland, Poland and France. Countries which in the past have contributed only a tiny proportion of the annual total of holidaymakers. Some of these gains will be attributable to the addition of new routes by budget airlines such as Ryanair.

Other reasons why the islands are enjoying such a resurgence probably owe more to their relative isolation from other parts of Europe, Africa and beyond, with their physical location in the Atlantic providing the perfect barrier to socio-political difficulties that are currently hampering countries such as Egypt and Turkey. Recent negative publicity regarding poor hotel hygiene in resorts in Bulgaria will do little to boost tourism in Eastern Europe as well.

Poland’s sudden emergence as a growing tourist market may owe much to the fortunes of its residents having improved so much during the last fifteen years. Since freedom of movement within the EU was introduced for many Baltic States in 2004, Polish workers have found their way to many European countries where pay is significantly better than at home. With the result that a decade later, there is clearly a strong demand for foreign holidays in warmer climes.

And while the figures themselves are still comparatively low, with only 22,826 Polish visitors so far this year, the increase represents growth of nearly 42% (41.97%) compared with 2013. The quantity of French visitors is far greater, with over 63,000 holidaymakers arriving on the island from France. Statistically, this is an increase of 67.2%, with the annual total for 2013 of 58,864 already well exceeded.

Amongst the Finns, although only 12,740 have so far flown over for a holiday on Lanzarote, this total represents a healthy rise of 85.5%, meaning that they may be on course to try and catch up with their Scandinavian neighbours in Norway and Sweden who already have a long history of choosing to holiday in the Canary Islands.

The perennially strong British market also shows no signs of slowing down, with 852,119 tourists arriving from the UK during the first nine months of the year, which is only 107,000 less than the total for 2013. This rise is probably more a reflection of economic improvements, allowing greater numbers of people to take a holiday again after several years of austerity.

 

 

Cuisine On The Costa Brava

If you’re planning on taking a break in one of our villas in Costa Brava then you’re in for a real culinary treat. As this coastal stretch of Catalonia is now well established as a world renowned destination for foodies.

The quality of cuisine in the region is high across the board, making it difficult to have a bad meal even in relatively low to mid-range eateries. But it’s at the high end that the Costa Brava really hits the top notes, not least as the region boasts Michelin starred restaurants that don’t always have to cost the earth.

Sea and Mountain Mixture

It’s fair to say that the region’s location is key to its position as one of the best culinary destinations in Europe. Squeezed between the sea and the mountains this part of Catalonia enjoys the very best of the bounty from both of these environments, so ensuring meat and fish dishes are all totally top quality.

The El Bulli Factor

Ferran Adria, El Bulli Restaurant, Costa Brava, Spain
Master At Work…Ferran Adria

The region really came to prominence thanks to the creative efforts of the world famous chef Ferran Adria, who set new, experimental benchmarks at his renowned restaurant El Bulli, located close to the lovely coastal town of Roses.

At the height of its popularity El Bulli was said to have received over 2 million reservation requests. Yet despite the fact that they were also charging northwards of 250 euros per head it was still nigh on impossible for Adria to turn a serious profit, such was the scope of the project and the investment in personnel and product. So this once much loved restaurant is now more of a culinary research centre.

Great Places To Eat

So now that El Bulli is no longer with us which are the best restaurants to visit? The region is stuffed with Michelin starred restaurants but the current leaders of the pack are El Cellar Can Roca and Restaurant San Pou, both of which boast no less than three stars.

El Cellar Can Roca

Dining Room, El Cellar Can Roca, Costa Brava, Spain
Dining room at El Cellar Can Roca

This modernist and streamlined restaurant is located on the outskirts of Girona and is under the stewardship of the Roca brothers, serving classic Catalonian dishes with a contemporary twist. However quality of this calibre doesn’t come cheap, so expect to pay €155 for their current tasting menu, which includes five courses and two desserts.

Contact Details
Tel : 972 222157
Web : www.elcellerdecanroca.com

Restaurant San Pou

El Cellar is not the only three starred Michelin establishment in the region however as south of Girona in Sant Pol de Mar lies the fabulous San Pou Restaurant, which is home to the talents of Carme Ruscadella and her dedicated team.

The location is almost as stunning as the food, as the restaurant is located in an old seafront townhouse which looks out over a lovely garden to the shimmering Med below. The current tasting menu comes in at €159 and features six courses and a dessert, with dishes including Pirinese Foal Loin cooked with black garlic and banana and Miso and Diced Foie Gras served with champignons, vegetables, umeboshi & lemon.

Contact Details
Tel : 937 600662
Web : www.ruscalleda.cat