The northernmost Costa
The northernmost of Spain’s Costas, the Costa Brava is probably the prettiest of the lot. It’s made up of rugged cliffs and secluded coves, which give way to fishing villages and seaside towns. And in among it all are the long beaches that have been attracting holidaymakers here since the Fifties.
Blue Flag Beaches
Topping the list are Tossa de Mar’s two Blue Flag stretches. Lloret de Mar, meanwhile, offers up five sand-and-shingle sweeps and a waterfront lined with bars and pubs. Then there’s Calella de la Costa, where 3 kilometres of sands merge into neon-lit clubs and pubs. Family-friendly entertainment is out in force on the Costa Brava, too, in the shape of waterparks and nearby Port Aventura.
The bright lights of Barcelona
Traditional Spain shows its face along the coast, as well. Most resorts wrap around old towns of cobbled lanes, plazas and tapas bars. And inland there’s the town of Girona, where pretty, pastel-coloured buildings edge the river Onyar. But for a taste of city life, head for Barcelona. Catalonia’s trendy capital doesn’t do anything by halves, with its surreal Gaudi architecture, fashionable shops, and cobbled Gothic quarter.
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A beautiful town on the Costa del Maresme, Pineda is an all-in-one sort of place geared towards lazy breaks. Restaurants, bars and shops are all here, and the quaint main squares fill up every evening with local families. In the town there are whitewashed houses, tree-lined streets and an 11th-century church, while down by the water there’s a cute pint-sized harbour and a white sand beach that just runs on and on.
Tossa de Mar
This typically Catalan town on the Costa Brava has bags of atmosphere, thanks to its old town. The Vila Vella, as it’s known, is all cobbled streets and traditional houses – there’s even an ancient castle. The surrounding countryside, meanwhile, is some of the prettiest in the Costa Brava, with mountains and valleys to explore. Plus you’ve got not 1 but 2 big, sandy beaches to hop between.
Calella de la Costa
Calella de la Costa on Spain’s sunny Costa Maresme is a two-sided town where a traditional old quarter vies for attention with a long stretch of golden sand and a bustling town centre. All over there’s a relaxed, friendly atmosphere – the bars and restaurants are geared towards a laid-back trip, but there are discos and clubs too. Plus the main shopping street is completely pedestrianised so it has that market feel.