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Experience the Costa Brava – a region of leisure, mountains, viticulture and sunshine

Sitting prettily on the north-east coast of Catalonia, in Spain, the Costa Brava region offers visitors a holiday packed with sunshine, relaxation and scenic beauty. On the Costa Brava, you can spend easy going afternoons on the beach in towns like Tossa del Mar and Lloret del Mar, or explore local culture in towns such as La Bisbal d’Empordá.

Being out in this part of Spain gives you the opportunity to make the most of your holiday and visit the cities as well. Immerse yourself in the wine culture of the region in Girona, or branch out and take a day trip to the jewel in Catalonia’s crown, Barcelona. If urban life isn’t your thing, though, you can take a peaceful walk around Montseny Natural Park and hike up the Turo de l’Home mountain, or simply just gaze in awe at it. It’s all part of the choice that Costa Brava provides when you’re on holiday here.

 

Culture and history

A stay in the Costa Brava offers the chance to see the work of one of Catalonia’s most famous creative geniuses, the late Salvador Dalí, at the Dalí Theatre–Museum, in Figueres. The museum houses some of the artist’s finest works, including the clever double image painting ‘Gala Nude Looking at the Sea Which at 18 Metres Appears the President Lincoln’.

Don’t forget to glance up at the ceiling when you walk around the museum: you’ll catch the mighty ‘Central Panel of the Wind Palace Ceiling’. This oil on canvas painting is based on a poem by Joan Maragall and shows Dalí and his muse, Gala, contemplating the ship of destiny.

The artistry in Costa Brava also extends to wine-making, and the area enjoys an extensive wine tradition, with a lot of its vineyards situated in Empordá. One of this region’s more prominent wines is the sweet wine, Moscatell, and the ‘garnacha of the Empordá’ is a red wine grape native to the region.

If you happen to be visiting Girona in April, then you can catch the wine festival, Vivid, which is designed to help promote the region outside of the peak tourism season. The programme of festival activities includes beginner classes and instructed wine tasting, cookery with wine, music and poetry with wine, and wine hiking. Yes – attending the festival is a real education in the world of wine!

Things to do

The Costa Brava is packed with things to do and places to see, from visiting quaint towns and areas of immense scenic beauty to adventuring further afield with a day in the thriving capital of Catalonia, Barcelona. Booking a Saga holiday to the Costa Brava is your time to enjoy the best of all worlds.

La Bisbal d’ Empordá

This town has a claim to fame that fills the town with pride – La Bisbal d’Empordá is renowned as the pottery capital of Catalonia. The trade stretches as far back as the 18th century in the town, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to ceramics! While you’re there, you buy one of the La Bisbal’s signature green mugs or bowls as a memento of your trip.

Local pottery may take most of the limelight, but the town also has a reputation for producing majestic meats, especially sausages. Many of the owners of Barcelona’s top restaurant turn to La Bisbal for their supplies. Naturally, when you try out the cuisine in La Bisbal, meat dishes are a major part of the menu. 

Barcelona

Naturally, you can’t visit the Costa Brava and not at least go on a day trip to the Catalan capital, Barcelona. This culturally impressive city grabs your attention from the get-go with buildings such as La Pedrera, the magnificent cathedral the Sagrada Família and the Parc Güell with its iconic dragon. These cultural sites showcase the skill of visionary architect Antoni Gaudí, one of Catalonia’s favourite sons.

Barcelona is good for taking a stroll – in this regard, the city is hard to beat. Walk down Las Ramblas, where you can watch street performers entertain the crowds or just admire the boulevard’s famous human statues. Call in at La Boqueria on the way down and pick up some nice juicy fruit to refresh your palate, and when you reach the end of the boulevard, stroll on further to the Maremagnum and indulge in a little shopping.

Montseny Natural Park 

Take the chance to appreciate the natural splendour of the region during your holiday, and book yourself on a walking tour of Montseny Natural Park. This nature reserve is just 50 minutes by car from the popular seaside town of Lloret del Mar and is the site of the Turo de l’Home, the park’s highest peak at a little over 1,700 metres above sea level.

The peak is part of a cluster of mountains that make up the Montseny Massif mountain range, the others being Les Agudes, Matagalls and Pla de la Calma – the hills of Sant Marçal and Collformic connect them all. If you like hiking in hills and mountains, Montseny Natural Park is the place for you.

Flight time

London to Costa Brava flights take just over 2 hours, which is plenty of time to get started on your new holiday book before you arrive. Alternatively, you can pick up a magazine at the airport for the journey.

Currency

Euro

Passports and visas

British citizens only need a passport to visit Spain, so there’s no need for a visa.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Timezone

Costa Brava is only 1 hour ahead of the UK, so you won’t need to catch up on any extra sleep!

Electricity

Costa Brava uses standard European two-pin sockets, so all you’ll need is a European plug adaptor to use your own electronics in a local hotel or restaurant.

Language

Spanish; Castilian

Tipping

Local etiquette states that you should leave a 10% tip in restaurants if you’ve received good service, but 5% is acceptable if you’re in a small group or didn’t order a lot of food. Bars and cafés don’t tend to expect tips, but if you sit outside then it’s polite to leave 30-50 eurocents – perhaps round up to the nearest euro – for the extra clean up that’s involved.

For taxi drivers, rounding your fare up to the nearest euro is fine, but if the journey is particularly long or the driver has helped you with your bags, you can tip a little extra. If you’d like to tip hotel staff or cleaners, then leaving a contribution in an envelope, around 1-2 euros per night of your stay, in your room is the best way to tip. Alternatively, some hotels will have a tips box at the front desk, so inquire with reception before check-out day.

Climate

The sun has a real tendency to shine the whole year round in the Costa Brava region. Out of season, the weather is generally pleasant. If you plan to head here in the summer, you can look forward to an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius in July, which may soar into the 30s on particularly hot days, so make you bring those sunglasses and protective cream! Both July and August spoil visitors with an average of 11 hours of sunshine per day.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

Costa Brava is a coastal region that stretches all the way from the town of Blanes, which is only a short distance from Barcelona, to the French border. The region covers around 6,000 square kilometres – that’s nearly the same size as Trinidad – and its biggest resort, Lloret de Mar, has a population of up to 200,000 during the summer months.

Smoking

Spain has a similar smoking ban to the one in the Great Britain. Smoking inside isn’t permitted, but most establishments provide outdoor smoking areas. Plus, if you’re sitting at an outside table of a bar or restaurant, smoking is usually allowed.



Climate