from Hans Peter Samstag
For many years now I have spent my holidays on the Costa Brava, my wife and I actually lived in Barcelona for 3 years while I was working as an engineer for an American high tech company.
As a PADI SCUBA instructor, I enjoyed the beautiful dive sites along the coast. The information in this flyer is a compilation of impressions and highlights of the Costa Brava from my point of view. It will emphasize various points of interests. The information in the flyer is subject to change and not intended to be used as a professional travel guide.
The flyer covers the north east of Catalunya starting at the French border continuing south until we reach Calella de Palafrugell, the real highlight. The information does not include private companies or agencies. For tour booking or any kind of reservation contact your local travel agency, please
enjoy reading and furthermore visiting the great country and sea side –Costa Brava–
Catalunya is located in the north east of Spain and is economically one of the strongest area in the Iberian Península
Local language is Català but Spanish is understood and spoken everywhere. In the tourist centres English is widely accepted as well as French, Italian and Dutch. Currency is Euro. €
The main Airport in Catalunya is Barcelona (Aeroport del Prat) and can be reached with most of the major airlines from anywhere in the world. The Costa Brava airport in Girona (Aeroport de Girona) is connected by a couple of low cost airlines from most European countries. If you travel individually and not in August (Spanish School holidays) Car rental is fairly inexpensive and many agencies are available to choose from.
A beautiful spot in the North of Catalunya, close to the French border. Accessible from Cadaqués. The península can be reached via a small paved winding road, perfect for hikers and mountain bikers.
Dive sites, operated by Dive centres in Cadaqués, are also available.
One of the most beautiful villages at the Costa Brava. Originally a village with many fishing boats, it is now a real tourist highlight. A beautiful road leads from Roses to Cadaqués with many good spots for taking pictures. The centre of Cadaqués is very tiny,as are the streets… It’s really a must see. Take your time and be aware of parking. Lager parking lots are outside as parking inside the village inside is almost impossible
Rosas is a small city situated beside a large sandy beach. All kinds of water sports are offered and a new marina was opened not long ago. In Roses there are many hotels, apartments,restaurants and large camp grounds. It is a good base for day trips to many of the places mentioned in here.
Figueres, not far from Roses, also in Catalunya, has, like many other cities in the area a beautiful old town with many small shops, bars and restaurants. Without doubt, the main attraction is the Dalí Museum which is in the centre of the city. People from all over the world come to enjoy this unique cultural highlight. It’s easy to spend hours or even days in the museum.
At the southern end of the Bay of Roses, there is an old village with an old Catalan style centre in the northern part and (a beautiful) the beautiful
Cala Montjoi to the south. Here one can find a nice sandy beach surrounded by mountains and many camp grounds and hotels close by. An unpaved trail leads you to L’Estartit ideal for mountain bikers. Not really recommended for ordinary street cars. (ordinary street car.) L’ Escala also offers SCUBA diving which operates from the Marina. SCUBA centres are opened from Easter until October.
Situated very close to Roses at in the bay of Roses. This village was only built some 30 years ago with focus on tourism. You´ll find a very large marina. Many houses have direct access to one of the many water canals connected to the sea. Many bars, restaurants and small funfair’s are available for families travelling with children who enjoy typical tourist activities. For those interested in Roman history it is an absolute must to visit the Empúries Ruins. If you like camping try check out Sant Pere Pescador.
Again, a small village about 8Km away from L’Estartit. Torroella has a lovely old centre with small shops, cafés and small supermarkets. For those spending their holidays in an apartment or camping it is a perfect place to by all kinds of fresh food. It might be a little bit more expensive than in some large supermarkets in the area but the atmosphere in this village is just great. Within short distance Golfers can find a large Golf course (2x 18 holes), an independent driving range and another Golf course at the beach some 10 Km away.
The 2 medival villages are quite original and perfectly maintained. Only few Km away from Torroella, walking through the old narrow streets is a perfect way to relax by. Don’t forget your camera! In both villages you can explore the many small bars and restaurants. Local artwork, especially pottery, is sold in many pretty little shops that line the streets. Look up the web, many weekends there are medival markets and lots of other attractions on offer.
The beach starts in L’ Estartit and leads along the bay of Pals into Platja de Pals. There are some dunes combined with a large sandy beach. Ideal for surfers and kite surfers. Camp grounds, hotels and apartments are available.
Undoubtably the most well-known village on the Costa Brava for Scuba diving. Originally a fishing village, it offers the Medes Islands and everything else from the touristic point of view. The main Island, along with some big rocks offer diving for practically everyone. The islands are full of large caves and caverns which can be explored even by beginners. Many dive centres offer boat trips to the islands and to various dive spots. For non-divers a fleet of glass bottom boats leave from the marina and go along the Islands as well as along the coast towards L’ Escala. Combined with a large sandy beach (Platja de Pals) L’Estartit offers something for everyone. Kayaks, sail boats and mountain bikes can be rent and you´ll find many bars and restaurants to relax or enjoy in the evenings.
The Medes Island are a protected area which does not allow fishing, sailing or any other activity besides diving. The dive spots are marked with buoys (bojs) and are the used by the dive centres to moor their boats.
One highlight is the dolphin cave in which a local artist has placed a small bronze dolphin statue.
The cave is like a Swiss cheese and can be observed from the entrance even by beginners. Cave divers can enjoy large halls and an air chamber. The other major cave is La Vaca which combines a massive hole with a gorgeous wall full of corals, Gorgonies and plenty of live. Very big Groupers can be found almost anywhere around the islands. The main spot for fish is around the big rock, Bernat, at the southern end of the Islands.
For me this is the most beautiful village on the Costa Brava. It has small beaches separated by rocks. A small pedestrian street winds its way up and down the hills offering an incredible view of the area. Many bars and restaurants are situated at the beach front. The place, unfortunately, is no longer a secret which makes it fairly difficult to find a parking spot in high season and on weekends. Many apartments and hotels are available but in high season they are not cheap.
Along the coast are really beautiful reefs which can be reached by boat in less than 30min. The Ullastres are 3 reefs at a distance of a couple of 100 m with drop off’s, full of Gorgonies (soft coral) and a great variation of marine life. Nudibranches, schools of fish, barracudas and groupers can be seen in almost any dive. Advanced divers can find moray and conger eals below 20 m depth. With a bit of luck it’s possible to see a moon fish which is not a very common creature.
Food in Catalunya is quite different to the typical Spanish cousin. There is much more than Paella. Try local bars and restaurants away from the tourist centres. The variation is tremendous and really good. Look for menus, (which can be found) for 10 to 15 €. It might be a bit difficult to read the daily menus as they are written in Català. Give it a try! Bon Profit!
Copyright © Hans Peter Samstag ©