My last vacation is, probably, one of the most frequently visited places in Europe. Spanish Barcelona and Costa Brava! I know, it sounds boring, but hold on… I will show you all pros and cons of these destinations as I have been there not as a common tourist, but rented an ordinary apartment and spent time as a local. So, here is the Costa Brava how it actually supposed to be.
In few words, surely Costa Brava is a great place to spend your vacation. Especially if you prefer Europe. What great in this region is the ability to combine European tour, and cultural tourism with lazy laying on the beach vacation.
But, Costa Brava sometimes is too touristic and lacks some adventures or cultural shock we can get in Asia, for example.
I’ve been to most visited Costa Brava destinations like Calella, Lloret de Mar, Tossa de Mar, Blanes. And, I want you to know what good and what bad in these places.
Blanes (is my favourite place in Costa Brava)
Highly recommend this city! Blanes is a Costa Brava port, with beautiful long beaches, incredible centre, and the famous Botanic Garden. Blanes is quite and perfect resort for those who hate crowdy, touristic places. I had a feeling in Blanes that there were only locals there and just some tourists. I rented an apartment via Airbnb, and it cost me on September just 65 euro per night. A central part is constructed in such a way that it’s not as hot because there are shadows everywhere.
Blanes is good for shopping, and, there are few supermarkets in the centre and large supermarket Mercadona 20 min walk from the centre. Almost every day, there is a fruit/vegetable market. As Blanes is port, fresh seafood is a common thing here. Location is great, 50 min by train to Barcelona, and, in case you feel bored in a calm Blanes, Lloret de Mar is 10 min on a bus from Blanes. Botanic Garden is on the top of the hill, you definitely need to visit it. Just 7 euro, and you will see the Catalan natural beauty. There is a Santa Monica beach not far from the garden, spend time there, you don’t regret.
I will create a separate post about Blanes, as I spent more time here, also, I will share some photos from the garden.
Not touristic and crowdy, long beaches, fresh seafood, beautiful garden, great location close to Barcelona.
It can be boring during evenings, not many bars.
What to do:
Visit Botanic Garden and Santa Monica beach, get seafood and fruits from the markets, rent an apartment instead of hotels.
Tossa De Mar
This is the most famous resort in Catalonia (Costa Brava), and was a favourite resort of a Hollywood star Ava Gardner. The city even has her monument on the top of an Old Town (Vila Vella), the 12th-century medieval town. The city is beloved by “French bourgeois”. Seriously, most of the tourists in Tossa de Mar are people 40+ and from France. Tossa de Mar itself is lovely. Incredible beach with a castle and old city. The Old Town is full of places you need to visit, like the Tower itself, with a beautiful view of the town, and various restaurants. However, my advice is to visit this town or stay for a few days, as the beach is crowdy, prices are higher, and the resort is a little bit old-fashioned.
Incredible Old Town, variety of restaurants, beautiful beach.
Touristic and crowdy, expensive, old-fashioned.
What to do:
Spend as much time as possible in the Old Town.
Lloret De Mar
Ibiza Junior, Lloret de Mar (Costa Brava) attracts mostly young people to hang out and for bar crawl. Lorret de Mar has impressed me. I thought that it is going to be a typical overcrowded, ‘overhoteled’ city. But, no way…the city has a beautiful central part, with incredible churches and museums. Bars are ‘Ibiza’ like, and there are some great restaurants as well. What interesting, the prices in Lloret de Mar are lower than in other resorts. The city is quite a good place for shopping. Lloret de Mar is also famous for clubs, but it’s still not Ibiza. The beach is amazing, reminds me Nice and Mayorca…there are lots of really cool bars there, but the beach itself is overcrowded a little bit.
Most of the tourists are Russians, but I saw many Brits, and Germans, of course. The atmosphere was positive and people are nice.
Beautiful city, good bars, lovely beach, some places of interest. More than one hour on a bus to Barcelona.
Not enough for Ibiza. Too touristic. Beaches are overcrowded.
What to do:
Visit Iglesia de Sant Romà, garden, go to bars, and eat paella.
I’ve been to this city a few years ago. Since then, it has changed dramatically. In the past, it was a nice resort. With a wide beach, nice clubs, and a lovely centre. Barcelona is just 50 min on a train. The city itself is ‘eh’. Nothing special. Good if you are the first time in a European resort. Calella is cheaper than other Catalan resorts, and here why. Today, Calella is a touristic market full of supermarkets, Chinese shops, and even ugly hotels. It is overcrowded anytime, with no places of interest. Just a beautiful church in the centre, shops, and cafes. Cafes and restaurants are so-so, and I didn’t see any cool bars. Maybe one or two.
Again, to compare with other Costa Brava resorts, Calella is a cheap version. But, what great in Calella is its close location to Barcelona and other cities, shopping, and nice bars on the beach, where you can listen to live music. Also popular among Russian, German, and British tourist.
Not boring in the evening, has some good shops, good location – close to Barcelona. Cheap.
A touristic city that almost lost its Catalan vibe, no places of interest, overcrowded.
What to do:
Go to bars on the beach, visit a sea restaurant on the way to the train station, and visit its church.
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